Dealing with marketing professionals is a daily occurance for a journalist, so it takes a lot to impress me, but I do have to offer kudos to the marketing team at Chief Manufacturing, led by marketing manager Karen Mefford. The reason for this pat on the back is Chief’s keen understanding of the need for, and importance of, useful online tools for customers, dealers, and the media to use in order to fully absorb the Chief message. Thus, this week at InfoComm, the company debuted the latest in a sophisticated suite of web products created by its three-person, in-house web development team–a tool called Chief MountBuilder, which Chief is calling “a visual product configurator” of use to dealers, installers, and others incorporating Chief technology into jobs.
You can check out the free, downloadable configurator for yourself at www.chiefmfg.com/mountbuilder, but the point is that MountBuilder is just the latest online tool from a company that has been, as it celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year, at its core, an engineering firm dedicated to making a very highly specialized product. Chief, in recent months, also debuted its “Online Classroom,” its “Education Center,” its “Knowledge College” and its “Design Center,” among other useful web tools.
Karen’s point to me about these initiatives is that the specific industry Chief is in, the AV world generally, the economy, the Internet’s capabilities, and the nature of marketing itself in an online world all combined to cause her and her colleagues to formulate a plan to produce actual “tools” for Chief dealers and customers and the media, as opposed to merely promoting a marketing message.
“Especially in a difficult market, let’s give people tools and resources to solve problems and not just do the messaging,” she told me. “We’re always seeking creative ways to do that.”
None of which should be construed to make you think she isn’t also busy promoting Chief’s new products at InfoComm. In particular, the Fusion Mounting System, with sliding bars to help eliminate the age-old stud placement and centering problems, among other issues, is getting a big Chief push this week. That tool, and others, Karen suggests, are aimed mainly at solving those annoying “time suck” issues that installers face, like leveling and panel placement, among other things.
She also gave me a quick peek at a new design for a universal interface for projector mounts. That’s a product Chief hopes to debut in early 2009.