Molex Models Health Care and Technology Marketing Best Practices

Molex Incorporated, a global manufacturer of interconnect solutions, was one of the 2010 recipients of the BMA Chicago Innovation Award, for developing the Circular MT Expanded Beam Interconnect Solution. The connection device allows dramatic functional improvement in operating room surgical equipment. Several recipients participated in a BMA Chicago luncheon panel event to discuss their ventures in more detail.

After the conference I caught up with Brian Krause, VP of Global Marketing Communications for Molex, to follow up on his comment about commercializing the product, which in his words “could be the subject of a whole panel discussion on its own.”  I suspected more than a grain of truth in this, and perhaps that some of the more fascinating (and unsung) innovation lay in marketing the product. Of particular interest in our discussion was the level of sophistication Brian described in this product-driven manufacturing company. Torque’s own work is often in the midmarket (rather than the multinational arena of Molex), so the following are the takeaways I felt were relevant to midmarket companies, who are generally far less systematic and structured about their marketing, and might have something to gain by studying them.

Background

Founded in 1938, Molex is a multi-billion dollar manufacturer of interconnect solutions that averages over 300 new products a year, with 200 innovative technology patents. Molex also has over 100,000 product part numbers available on Molex.com.

Marketing is managed by two distinct yet closely integrated groups: the Global Marketing Communications (Marcom) Group and the Product Commercialization (Procom) Group. Global Marcom develops the Molex brand, message and integrated marketing communications efforts including advertising, public relations, lead generation/nurturing, sales support, tradeshows and web marketing. The Product Commercialization (Procom) Group is responsible for building sample sales kits and detailed product data for the website. The Procom group works with Molex global product managers on product commercialization - from conception of product, to end-of-life.

Focus on content

While the Global Marcom develops the ever-important (and expected) integrated marketing programs and campaigns, the Global Procom Group concentrates on producing extensive and detailed product data for the website, to provide user resources and to help drive search.

Driving site traffic

Although Brian is quick to say that Molex is far from complete, they are currently implementing a marketing automation platform that will include technology and practices for tracking user behavior on the website. When users register to request specific information, their actions are monitored based on where they spend time on the site and that data is then used in the sales process. This information proves invaluable for enhancing the user experience and generating qualified leads.

Focus on structure

Molex carefully maps their marketing ROI, both to track sources of lead information as well as applications and use. As a global user of SAP software, Molex draws data from across the organization to help in the marketing process, then feeds the results and insights back to the many functional groups. Building and managing the communications between the worldwide functional groups is an ongoing process.

Social Media and SEO

Molex launched www.connector.com last year, a thought leadership blog site focused on trends, challenges and solutions in the electronics industry. Thought leadership ROI is difficult to measure, admits Brian, although most marketers recognize the value of being seen/heard as experts and opinion leaders within their category. “We’ve tracked traffic increases to connector.com, both in terms of volume of traffic on the blog as well as referring traffic to Molex.com. From search engines, Molex was seeing 4,000 users per month. In 2011 we’re now up to 100,000 each month coming in directly from search engines. Search engine optimization has contributed to total monthly Molex.com traffic of over 600,000 visitors.”

Search is the heart of “pull” marketing

All the content described above, including detailed product information and thought leadership content, is designed to be available and readily findable through search engines. This is what drives traffic to the site and drives conversations into sales.

Integrated Marketing Drives the Right Results

“Our greatest successes are when our global team (including marketing communications, Internet, social media, and product commercialization) is aligned closely on the creation of programs, campaigns and even tactics. Sweeping, seamless execution of integrated activities offer one Molex voice to our market and generate optimal results,” reveals Brian.

The scale of the Molex program is much different than that of midmarket counterparts. However, all of these are practices that can be implemented on a more modest scale, and could well generate sales and growth with a much better marketing ROI than traditional marketing programs.