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PCBD-Dec2016

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38 The PCB Design Magazine • December 2016 marketing plan. They will individually seem like a waste of time and money if they are not incor- porated into a dedicated strategy from which the entire sales team is working. You can add all forms of other common sales instruments to this list and similarly get pro and con on each for the same reason: use of social media; sales reps vs. direct sales; value of "lunch-n-learns," etc. Every organization must have an overall plan to achieve a specific objective. Then, and only then, will they readily see the wisdom—or lack thereof—in any one particular approach. The value of trade show exhibition is some- thing that I hear often argued amongst col- leagues. The larger shows have become a costly endeavor with questionable concrete results (actual leads). However, consistent exhibition at a large trade show is an excellent means of building and maintaining a brand within a mar- ket segment. You may not be seeing actual leads from the show, but when your salespeople walk into accounts that typically attend that show the company name will be recognized—and that is very valuable in developing and short- ening the sales cycle. For specific and territorial lead-generation regional trade shows can be a very good value. Conferences are still one of the best ways to learn about technology trends and to meet the people driving them. There continues to be some reluctance amongst PWB manufactur- ers to "give away the secrets" of their process- ing ingenuity, but mostly amongst companies who do not network well or often and are most likely operating in a bubble. White paper pre- sentations at industry conferences continue to be one of the best methods of identifying those who could most benefit from the presented technology. Shaughnessy: We've all seen how marketing tac- tics have changed in the last 10 years or so. Do you all use social media or any of the newer media formats? Wasserzug: We do use social media at Cirexx, and we often discuss how we can use it more. It is a challenge for a PWB manufacturing com- pany to develop a relevant following on Twitter. However, you would be surprised how many us- ers will "like" and "follow" the same company's Facebook page. The internet in general has be- come an extremely valuable tool for the field salesperson. It instantly provides a ton of infor- mation that previously would have taken years to amass. Social media and use of the internet, including email, are all tools that can help the marketer to be more efficient. However, there is no replacement for incredible value of face-to- face contact. Shaughnessy: What marketing trends do you see overall in the PCB industry? Wasserzug: In my 38 years in the business, I have witnesses first-hand the dramatic changes that have occurred during in our industry. From 3,000+ shops in the late '70s to roughly 260 PCB manufacturing locations today in North Amer - ica, the process of earning revenue making cir- cuit boards is completely different. Also, the rise of the large public company has created a vast divide between them and the traditional small, privately-held, family operations. The two do almost everything differently to survive, much less grow. With the larger, public companies it is all about branding and volume, developing an image and participating in large chunks of busi - ness. For the smaller shops success lies in spe- cialization and flexibility—developing compe- tencies in niche markets and serving those mar- kets with the best customer service available. From a macro perspective, I see a continua- tion of these trends going forward, along with more consolidation to correct for the contin- ued over capacity in the North America PWB industry. There is also an overcapacity situation in Asia that may be interesting to watch play out. The Chinese PWB industry is at a point not unlike North America in the early 1980s. The shake-out will affect the industry globally. On a more granular level I see a continua- tion of technology developments in flex circuits concentrating on high-speed signal integrity and HDI features. These developments will in- volve materials, like DuPont's HT, and process techniques, like resin via fill. Shaughnessy: Is there anything else you'd like to add? FLEX AND RIGID SALES AND MARKETING WITH AL WASSERZUG

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