This is part 2 of a conversation with Wendy Toth, Chief Marketing Officer. Part 1 talked about the operational changes in rebranding Echelon to focus exclusively on the Industrial IoT market. Here, Wendy reviews the marketing changes that are part of the rebranding.
Tell us about your marketing campaign to rebrand Echelon as a leader in the Industrial IoT.
Toth: When I came to Echelon over a year ago, I focused on what I like to call “the 3 R’s”-- repositioning, rebranding and relaunching. My charter was to move the company into the Industrial Internet of Things market, build up sales enablement, create thought leadership and brand awareness, and increase end-user engagement.
My team and I articulated what makes Echelon so special and authenticated our brand story. From that work, we created a “Why Echelon” corporate video. Next, we renewed our brand-identity package and modernized the company’s 25-year-old logo. We also completely revamped the corporate website.
What did you do to help with sales enablement?
Toth: We knew that sales needed a website filled with data and resources on this new market segment called the Industrial IoT. Customers would be hungry for information and it was our job to be educators. That required us to develop a special IIoT website. We had six weeks to create a microsite for our new Industrial IoT platform launch that was being rolled out at the end of Oct 2013. On this microsite, we published case studies on customer companies that had been using our control networking technology since the Echelon’s founding, such as New York Air Brake, ID Systems, fast food kitchens like McDonald’s and naval defense systems. This microsite was a stop-gap for the overhaul and redesign of the Echelon corporate website, which was to launch later in the year.
On the thought-leadership front, we engaged Patrick Moorhead and Paul Teich of Moor Insights to write white papers explaining the differences between the “Human IoT” and the “Industrial IoT” as well as segmenting the market and identifying the brownfield and greenfield opportunities in the Industrial IoT.
Last December, we formed a Market Advisory Board with members of the industry coming together to evaluate our IIoT roadmap. This is an elite group on cross-industry luminaries who spend a day a quarter with us talking through our roadmap and corporate strategy.
As I mentioned, we revamped the corporate website -- a nine-month project involving web designers, website developers and programmers. We brought in a new look-and-feel for the website, modernizing the format and refreshing the pages.
What activities did you do to help create more of a buzz?
Toth: We doubled our PR effort, started participating in a number of IIoT webinars, and began speaking about IIoT at industry conferences and trade shows, such as the IEEE-SA Internet of Things Workshop in November 2013, the TIEcon 2014, The White House Smart America Initiative, IoT DevCon, The Connected Cloud Summit, McRock Capital’s 2014 IoT Summit and the 2014 IoT Global Summit.
We also began an intense contributed-article program and placed guest opinion technical articles and blogs in a number of key industry publications. A few notables include CEO Ron Sege’s guest blog post Connecting Islands of Industrial IoT in EETimes, a guest blog post in Design News on Migrating Legacy Devices to the IIoT and a guest blog post in O’Reilly Radar The Industrial IoT Isn’t the Same as the Consumer IoT and an article in AutomatedBuildings.com on Industrial Internet of Things: Think of it as Control Networking 2.0. These helped to dramatically increase our SEO scores and build awareness of our new strategic focus.
We also started a thought-leadership blog called IIoT Talks for which we interview industry visionaries on the leading issues in the IIoT market. We have spoken with market analysts from IHS, Navigant and VDC as well as executives from Xicato, Think Strategies and McRock Capital, to name just a few.
It sounds like you have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.
Toth: Really, what we have accomplished in a just over a year is quite remarkable. We have rebranded the company from a smart grid supplier to an Industrial IoT player. We delivered technology solutions for engineers to start developing with, and we created an industry buzz around the IIoT. In fact, we created the category itself. And yeah, we’re proud of that!