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Plastic Companies Embrace Social Media

Despite initial hesitations, more plastic companies are participating in the social media arena, as evident during NPE2012. PlasticsToday reports that DuPont and Dow Chemical both have continuous social media presences and kept followers and fans up-to-date about all their companies’ activities throughout NPE2012.

The market and avenue challenge

Steve Trapp, president of custom injection molder Venture Plastics elaborated that “one challenge of working in a specialized market is finding the right avenue to reach its target market. With that said, social media has served as a successful marketing platform,” he said: “We have actually received leads off of our Facebook page. That made us stop and pay more attention to those mediums.”

Jeff Newman, VP sales and marketing for Wilmington Machinery, elaborated “his company works in a niche market. The company is a manufacturer of blow molding and injection molding machines and processes for both monolayer and multilayer applications, serving the dairy, juice, foods and liquid yogurt markets.”
While there is less competition in the space, there can also be fewer opportunities and present unique challenges how a company finds its ways to reach new customers.

Platform creation

Another way reaching new customers could be the creation of a new, vertical platform. Niche means relevancy, focus, visibility and centralisation of topics and visions in a certain field.

Retention

The second point is retention. Acquisition is one side of the coin. There might be fewer opportunities in a less competitive space, but mediocre customer experiences will drive existing customers away. Retention is just –or even more- important than acquisition. (Think of Reicheld, which calculated that acquisition is six to seven times more expensive than retaining existing customers).

Broadening the scope – social media as business accelerators

Social media, their insights and technologies can be used for more purposes than just marketing. Integrating social media in your organisation and value chains, you are –for instance- faster, better and cheaper in your customer and market understanding, product innovation, time to market and customer support. Further diffusion will occur, pragmatically, doing small projects, sharing results and celabrating success.
The chemical industry is focussing more and more on the end consumer, wanting to be perceived as a sustainable and green industry, having an important role in the global society. There are many objectives that can be supported by social media, an interesting time for chemical companies to adapt to the networked world.