Company: AK Material Handling Systems
Title: Marketing Communications Strategist
Years on Job: 3
My journey at AK Material Handling Systems and in the material handling industry started as an intern, while I was finishing up school in Duluth, Minnesota. I worked full-time over the summer that year as a marketing intern, attempting to learn all of the nuances of inbound marketing in the material handing industry. I was then grateful to have been offered a full-time position in inside sales and marketing upon graduation. Eventually, I earned additional marketing responsibilities, and am now focused on generating inbound leads, primarily through digital marketing channels. Going into that internship, I knew nothing about the industry. Since then, I’ve tried to be a complete sponge and soak up as much knowledge about the industry as I can.
Material Handling definitely has its own unique challenges as an industry. One of the biggest challenges from a marketing standpoint is meeting the needs of a wide range of age groups and demographics. In my own experience, many young professionals in the industry prefer digital channels like social media, email, and primarily digital documents, while many who entered and gained experience in the industry prior to these technologies may prefer more traditional channels, and often value simplicity and straightforwardness. Of course, there is a ton of overlap and I’m speaking in broad generalizations. The most effective method is to try to meet the needs of individuals and the businesses they work for whenever possible.
Strong communication is essential in my day-to-day job, as it is with most of the people I work alongside. Communication is the building block of effective strategy, content production, project management and so many other important things. Without effective and timely communication, everything begins to break down. One of the skills I use quite a bit is writing. It’s not that I’m particularly good at it, but I enjoy doing it for a few hours at a time, which allows me to write at least a couple of articles each month and do things like update web page copy without getting bored or discouraged.
I wouldn’t be able to do my job without the CRM that our company uses or the Google Suite of tools. There are also project management SaaS platforms that make my job and the jobs of the marketing team much easier. Honorable mention goes to my standing desk, because I feel like it helps me to be more productive and comfortable.
Learning The Trade
The vast majority of the skills I use here have been learned, either with the help of the awesome people we have here or my experiences in school. In school I had to develop work habits, learn how to write, and practice giving presentations over and over. When I came to AK, the people here became mentors who were willing to teach me everything they knew about the business, the material handling industry, and marketing. Between these two experiences, I’ve learned much of what I use today. I found that I became a much better marketer after having gained experience in material handling sales. Much of the marketing material deals directly with product specs and uses, so it’s challenging to be a very good salesperson or marketer without having at least a basic working knowledge of your product and service offerings.