The Kula Ring

Episode 92 Using Video to Optimize Your Customer Base and Supply Chain

The Kula Ring podcast is essential listening for manufacturing marketers who want to grow their digital presence and compete online.

Sponsored by Kula Partners—an agency committed to helping leading B2B manufacturers craft digital experiences that transform how they engage buyers, serve customers, and outpace their competition—The Kula Ring podcast features conversations about marketing, sales, and technology with top manufacturing executives from across North America.

The Kula Ring podcast is co-hosted by Kula Partners principals, Carman Pirie and Jeff W. White, both of whom are frequently sought after for their digitally-focused B2B expertise. They regularly share their insights with audiences including conferences like B2B Online and HubSpot’s INBOUND, the Gardner Manufacturing Marketer blog, and other podcasts focused on B2B marketing and technology.

While other industries are overloaded with content, manufacturers operating in niche verticals have the unique opportunity to own the content space. In this episode of The Kula Ring, Trout River Industries Owner Darrin Mitchell talks about how the company’s 6-million-view YouTube channel and content marketing strategy have transformed the manufacturer from the “underdog” to industry authority.

Using Video to Optimize Your Customer Base and Supply Chain Transcript:

Announcer: You’re listening to The Kula Ring, a podcast made for manufacturing marketers. Here are Carman Pirie and Jeff White. 

Jeff White: Welcome to The Kula Ring, a podcast for manufacturing marketers brought to you by Kula Partners. My name is Jeff White and joining me today is Carman Pirie. Carman, how are you making out, sir? 

Carman Pirie: All is well. All is well. We’re recording this on a sunny summer Friday in Nova Scotia, Canada. It almost doesn’t get better than that. 

Jeff White: That’s true. That’s true. And 17th straight day, no cases. Not to brag or anything, but Nova Scotia’s doing all right. Not as well as the place where our guest is from, though. 

Carman Pirie: That’s true. It’s fairly uncommon, probably, to be bringing people together for a podcast and everybody’s region doing as well as they are with this pandemic. But let’s not make this a health update. Don’t you find it’s almost like the weather now? Everything has to start with your COVID-19 stats. Look, but we probably should spend a bit of time talking about the place our guest is from, so we hang out here up on the North Atlantic, on the East Coast of Canada, in a little province called Nova Scotia, and a much smaller province even than us, right next door, is the lovely, stunning Prince Edward Island. And I bring that up not just to try to get you all to go visit someday and spend some of your hard-earned money there, but I bring it up because of course, it’s relevant to our guest’s story, and the fact that he’s been able to build a manufacturing enterprise, and frankly a marketing machine-

Jeff White: Content empire, if you will. 

Carman Pirie: Yes, with 6 million YouTube views and counting, and he’s done it all from Prince Edward Island, so I think this is a fantastic story. Let’s introduce today’s guest. 

Jeff White: Absolutely. So, joining us today is Darrin Mitchell. Darrin is the CEO and owner of Trout River Industries. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Darrin. 

Darrin Mitchell: Awesome. Great to be here, Carman and Jeff. You know, anytime we get to talk to the outside world and see other humans these days, it’s truly a treat, so it’s good to see both of you. And you mentioned in the beginning, we are in the middle of nowhere. When you look at most maps, sometimes the place we live doesn’t even exist, so we’ve had to be very, very creative since day one. 

Carman Pirie: When I first heard you say that, Darrin, I’m kind of picturing, because there was a restaurant in my hometown growing up where people would come from all over the world, and they would put a pin on the world map of where they were from, right? And it was proudly displayed, and I can just picture you standing there, not being able to find a place to put this pin. This is just a recurring visual as you mention that it’s not even on a map, you know? 

Darrin Mitchell: Yeah. Well, as long as other people get to find us, that’s a good day. 

Carman Pirie: Exactly. 

Jeff White: Yeah, on a map of any scale, it can look more like an apostrophe or an ink smudge. It’s literally that small. 

Carman Pirie: But Darrin, why don’t you tell us a bit about Trout River and just what you guys do, and then we’ll dive into the marketing machine you’ve created. 

Darrin Mitchell: Yeah, perfect. So, Trout River is a little more than 20 years old right now. We make large highway trailers that compete in the heavy industrial space, so our products are out there, they’re building roads, they’re hauling agricultural products, they’re in the mining industry, they’re in the waste industry, so picture big products that are hauling bulk material all around the landscape. And the unique feature of these trailers is that instead of a dump trailer that goes up in the air and the material falls out of the back, these trailers have a conveyor belt in the bottom that unloads the material, so you don’t have to worry about something falling over. You can unload in buildings and you can unload in a variety of sites that you don’t have to worry about that safety issue. 

We promote ourselves a lot on innovation and the ability to do more work in more places in a safe way. That’s a bit of the trailer itself, and the company currently does business all over the world, selling to companies that are involved in those types of activities. 

Carman Pirie: How many countries would you be in now, Darrin? 

Darrin Mitchell: That’s a really good question. We’re on all continents except Antarctica. I’m gonna try and get a trailer there. If I could get one to the moon today, I would. But we’re in a few South American countries. We’re all across Europe. We’re in the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and of course all across North America. 

Carman Pirie: And of course, we’ve mentioned a bit about the content marketing empire that you’ve been busy creating. It reminds me, frankly, a bit of Seth Godin always talked about blogging and content as a kind of a 10-year overnight success story, and as I look back at your YouTube channel, and how long you’ve been doing this, well, that’s the story that it tells, is 10, 11 years ago, you started investing in video. And here we are, 6 million views later. I guess what kind of triggered that? Was it just a matter of your location and we need to find a way to tell our story in another way? Was there some other aha moment that drove this strategy? 

Darrin Mitchell: We knew since day one we were the underdog. In this industry that we live in, companies are usually comfortable with very low margins that they make up with high volume, and those competitors that we have are located next to their supply chains, they’re located next to the customers, and they’re on traditional logistical routes. We had none of those things going for us, and of course, capital, which is always interesting to business, so we had none of those things going for us. We looked at it this way. We didn’t have a lot to lose. 

We spent a lot of time working with our customers and understanding who they are and what they need, so what we did day one is we started a video strategy to let customers know who we were and just as important, who we weren’t, so that we were putting feelers out to the industry saying, “Listen, if you like who you’re seeing if you like the message that’s coming across and you think that we’re people that you can work with, give us a shot, because you probably know how we’re going to act behind the scenes, not after the big deal is done.” 

So, it proved a very valuable strategy for us, growing the business globally and finding new markets, because people were finding us and not finding our competitors, and what they were finding is these people we may want to do business with, so on the customer side, it created a very interesting situation where if people consumed enough of these small videos that we were putting out, some of them are educational, some of them are tongue in cheek, some of them are just flat out silly, what we found was is when people were contacting us, we had already almost got past that trust barrier of who are you and why should I believe you. They consumed enough of that content so that when we got to that space, it was almost a very safe space when we started dealing with those customers. 

That video strategy turned out to be very beneficial for us as a company, and we got to be who we were, and customers that didn’t want to do business with us obviously didn’t contact us. Customers that did want to do business with us, we made sure we were able to be found by them. And surprisingly enough, there’s still 7.8 billion people in the world today. Some of them may want to do business with you. 

Jeff White: I have to think, too, one of the things that you’ve done with your video strategy is it seems you’re really not afraid to just be goofy, and personable, and who you are, and you’re in an industry that generally eschews that sort of persona. It’s not really something typical that you would see in a construction and trucking and kind of marketplace. How much of that is your personality coming through into the business versus your overall team? Are you driving this? Was there any reluctance on behalf of your team to participate at first? 

Darrin Mitchell: I’ll give you a really good example. My sales manager, I finally convinced him to do a video recently, and I said, “Here’s what I want you to do. I just want you to be yourself.” I think it took him seven hours to produce a one minute video on, “Hey, here I am. I want to do business with you.” And he absolutely hated me for it, and he said, “Listen, this is the worst thing you’ve ever made me do in my entire career.” And he had a whopping 147 views. And he was trying to prove me this is an ineffective strategy, I didn’t like it, I don’t want to do it again, until we get a phone call from an Elon Musk company saying, “We’re all sitting around watching your video right now, you look like somebody we may want to do business with.” So, within 48 hours we’re in Los Angeles, California, and we do a deal with them that they’re saying, “We would like your help with an engineering project.” 

And obviously, that’s something for us to be proud of. But none of that would have happened unless we were leaving ourselves out there to be found in a way that felt comfortable for them to find us. The results I think speak for themselves, and the best part is in the marketing world, I think in the end you just get to be yourself. 

Carman Pirie: I can’t help, this is gonna be like the second reference to the old web 2.0 days. The first one was Seth Godin. And the second being Hugh MacLeod of GapingVoid.com, and Hugh was kind of the internet’s cartoonist for an awfully long while there, and he had this concept that he called the porous membrane. He said when you allow employees, this was back in the Scoble days of employee blogs and things of that sort. You talked about social media and content production as kicking holes in the barrier that separates a company from those they serve, and in some way kind of opens up who the company really is to the market, and in so doing, has the exact impact that you’re talking about. The people that it resonates with show up, and the people that don’t like it don’t. But over time, you just get to be yourself, because everyone else is already taken. And that’s pretty cool. 

Darrin Mitchell: You know, Carman, I suggested doing this to almost every other manufacturer that I’ve met with, and usually you get this kneejerk reaction of, “If I did it, I could look stupid.” And I’m going, “But I just asked you to be yourself. Let’s think about that for a second.” And when you get over your ego, if you can get over your ego, because I think that’s the thing that’s holding people back, and you actually get to be yourself, there’s a lot of really good business people out there who have really good solutions, but they tend to take this step away from their marketing. They should actually be their marketing. You can’t abdicate the role of marketing to someone else to come in and save you. There’s lots of good resources and organizations to help you do that, but if you can’t deliver that message to your customer, then what are you doing in private if you can’t do it in public? 

So, again, I would suggest to anybody out there in the manufacturing side, reach out to organizations that can help you deliver that message, but don’t abdicate that message to someone else. 

Carman Pirie: I think that’s great advice. I’d be curious, because some of this is a bit like religion when you started. You had to believe in it before you saw some results. How long did you have to believe in it before seeing some initial indications that let you know in those early days, led you to think, “Man, this dog will hunt.” 

Darrin Mitchell: The early days is I think when people started carrying cell phones, and I’ll share a story with you. I got a phone call from a company in Toronto, and they said, “We want to meet with you, and we want to discuss this project we’re working on. It’s a multimillion-dollar project.” I heard multimillion, I was on the next airplane. I’m gonna make the deal, so I’m there at five to 7:00 in the morning, and the meeting starts at 7:00. They bring me in at 7:00 and the purchasing manager is sitting there typing on his phone and can’t make eye contact with me. And I thought, “You know what? I woke up early. I got an airplane. I came and saw you. And you can’t even make eye contact with me. I’m getting a little frustrated with you right now because I want to help problem solve and talk about the project.” 

He said, “If I do business with you, are you gonna screw it up?” I said, “No. That’s why I got on an airplane today.” And I want to make this clear for any of the listeners that are out there. This guy still hasn’t made eye contact with me yet. And he said, “How will I know you don’t screw it up?” And I said, “If we screw it up, we’ll come and fix it the next day to make sure you keep it running.” And I said, “Is something wrong with this situation? Because I think I’m missing something.” And he looked up at me and he said, “No, I’m watching your video right now.” 

And the aha moment that I had was he trusts the little man on the screen more than he does the warm-blooded human standing in front of him. And what I couldn’t get across to him was I’m the guy who put the information that you’re currently looking at right now. I walked out the door with $2.6 million in purchase orders. And he only made eye contact with me on the way out the door. That was a huge aha moment, to say your digital content is almost… I would suggest for a lot of your listeners today, it’s almost to the point where it’s more real than human. And if you think about it, all the business that you’re doing, you have salespeople coming and going. They’re literally sitting at their keyboard or on their phone typing, using your digital content as a reference check after you leave the room. 

If they’re gonna do a reference check on you as a business, why don’t you be the one who puts the information there that they’re using to do the reference check itself? And I think so many people are missing that, that this has become more true, the digital content that is, the digital content has become more true than almost the human. And you can argue with it, you can disagree with it, you can say you want to live in a different world. You can do that all day long, but if you ignore it, you’re gonna become somebody else’s food. 

Carman Pirie: So, I understand we’re doing this interview in the time of COVID-19 when not a lot of people are getting on planes to do sales calls. However, before that, your sales organization, how many people do you have on your sales team? 

Darrin Mitchell: Directly on my sales team, I have three people, and globally we would have 126 salespeople through our dealer network. 

Carman Pirie: And how many of them are seeing customers in person versus remotely or digitally in a normal course of events? 

Darrin Mitchell: Previously, it would be 100% visit, but there’s probably as of at this moment during the pandemic, there’s only 10% that are actually getting out there. So, what we’re doing is we’re continuing as the OEM to produce original content that we’re either broadcasting out ourselves, or we’re sending directly to those salespeople to say, “While you’re at home, rebroadcast to your customer base.” So, we’re actually giving them a reason to get out of bed every day. 

Jeff White: Have you actually taken and even doubled down further on the amount of content you’re producing since the pandemic started? Or is it still the same pace? 

Darrin Mitchell: Yeah. We’re doing videos in other languages right now. And we’re probably doing two to three videos a week, and some of them are hits, and some of them are misses, but again, in terms of how many views we have, but again, I look at it this way, because some people say, “Well, if I spend all this money and we do this big video, what happens if nobody sees it?” Digital content lasts forever, and it’s global, so everything we see is an asset of leaving out breadcrumbs that can be found by our audience. So, we know that the more that we produce, the better it is, because we’re remaining relevant for people’s lives, especially when they’re stuck at home. 

Carman Pirie: Do you see any amount of this shift, this remote shift being more permanent post-COVID? You said yourself that in some way, that person on the screen is more real than the in-person interaction. And I just can’t help but wonder, man, what are the implications of that? 

Darrin Mitchell: I would only be repeating myself, but I would encourage any of your listeners, don’t stop. At this particular moment, you have this wonderful opportunity where some of your customer base may be working from home, so what a great opportunity. You know they’re there. It’s a great opportunity to reach them and go forward with a great opportunity to form a relationship with even their phone because you know their phone is glued at their hip. They can’t live without it. So, it’s a great way to sneak into someone’s brain space without being that pushy, knock on the door salesperson. 

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Carman Pirie: Now, Darrin, I mean look, this content marketing machine has been well oiled at this point, and I don’t want to take away from the technology and innovation of your trailers. They’re very good. But you’re not the only person in the live bottom trailer business. How did your competitors react to this, or how have they continued to react to your sales and marketing approach? Do you see any kind of me too happening out there? Or can they not just get their head around it? 

Darrin Mitchell: So, my pre-COVID-19 answer to that is that we usually find that customers use, they’re educating themselves with digital content, and if we’re the ones that are supplying it, I have had salespeople from my competitors say, “I really wish you would stop doing that because customers are asking me questions and they seem to know more than I do. And it seems like you’re the guy that’s putting those thoughts in their heads.” So, what a great way to educate and build relationships when people see you as the source of data. And that’s something that we have to be very, very careful of as an organization, that we’re putting out good, high-quality data because we recognize that’s how people are educating themselves. 

That would be a pre-COVID, and currently we even, I believe today that both my US competitors are closed until September. We’ve even converted three of our office staff to outbound sales calls, and we’re providing our competitors’ customers with service replacement parts, and God forbid if they need the product, we can sell them that, too. But we want to be the one source seen as always there for the customer, no matter what the situation. 

Jeff White: I think one of the other things that are really interesting that you’re doing, especially given, as we talked about earlier on in the show, where you’re located is such a remote place, and not necessarily where you would expect to find a manufacturer of large trailers and things like that. You’ve talked a bit about how important it is to use some of the same kinds of methodologies to sell to your suppliers that you use to sell to your customers. Can you talk to us a little bit about that? 

Darrin Mitchell: In the digital… Even in the sales, I love selling as well, so I don’t want to leave that apart from the marketing. But generally, we think on the marketing side as marketers that we’re producing information that will cause a sale, which is a very almost linear approach to looking at your sales process. It’s a good thing, by the way, but I think when you’re able to use those digital assets that you’re producing, we sometimes forget to look the other way in our supply chain that’s feeding the company. And what I mean by that is there’s lots of companies out there globally that you should be doing business with that can add value to your business, but sometimes you’re not allowing yourself to be found. And I’ll give a really good example of this, is that plastic fenders today on average, you would probably look at $160 retail. We’re now being found by other fender manufacturers globally because of the digital, the same digital assets that we’re producing. What’s happening now is we’re buying them for I believe it’s $32 a fender and sometimes we’re now even selling those to our competitors. 

And we’re getting them out of England, so places you wouldn’t even traditionally think of doing business with, that digital aspect of the marketing is now opening up multiple supply chains in non-traditional places. And again, it’s just producing good content that allows you to be found by the industry, whether it’s direct to customers, whether it’s through your dealer network, or whether it’s to your supply chain. And the other interesting thing that comes to mind, the other interesting thing about producing that digital asset if you do it well… we would have 110 employees at two separate factories. That’s just people directly on the payroll. What happens is, is we even involved employees in some of our, and we mentioned this before, in some of our digital assets. Those employees are now showing those digital assets to their families when they go home at night, and now the family is becoming part of the business in a way they want to become part of the business, as well. Saying, “You know, there’s my mom. She’s in charge of the plumbing division and we’re so proud of her.” And she’s actually now kind of a spokesperson for the company. 

And what a great way to get the company involved when you’re allowing the home to participate when they’re at home. 

Carman Pirie: I love the fact that this strategy has had some almost those kinds of unintended consequences on the supply chain side and elsewhere, that people don’t always think about. I wonder, you’ve been at this awfully long while now, Darrin. What do you know now, 10 years on or more, that you wish you knew when you started? 

Darrin Mitchell: I think we would have been a little more brave. I think we probably would have produced more and did it more often, and just two examples on the global side, what it’s done for us, because again, that digital asset just continues to produce globally and in places you never thought of, and it continues to produce for years at a time is one, we had a group come and see us from the Middle East. It was probably the biggest deal we ever did. They flew to Prince Edward Island. They said, “Listen, we want to do business with you and you’re the experts.” Really? And they went, “Yeah, we’ve seen all your content. You’re probably the only people in the world who do this.” 

And we, “Yes. Yes, we are. And we’re pretty darn good at it.” We had a great relationship, and again, probably the biggest deal we would have had in the history of the company. But you wouldn’t traditionally think of that, because in the marketing world, you kind of have a bubble and your parameters in which you operate in. But again, we’re just trying to be found by the rest of the world and we just recently signed up our newest partner because we’ve even started licensing in other countries, and our newest partner, so we have partners in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Middle East now, and our newest partner in Japan also found us digitally. They’re now producing Trout River trailers in Japan, which is awesome, and they are now paying us for our intellectual property. But again, it’s just you have an asset, which is your digital asset, creating all of these other benefits for your business that you wouldn’t think of if you were thinking of your business in those traditional lines. 

The world is open to any of us today, and I find that incredibly empowering, but I also find it some days almost a little threatening because if we’re not going to do it, someone else will who’s also in a remote location. 

Jeff White: I think what’s really, really cool about that is that many of the people listening to this podcast and the manufacturers that we’ve hosted on the show, and other entities like that, they have an opportunity to do what you’re doing, and perhaps be the only one in their niche, in their vertical, that is producing that kind of content. That’s not really an option necessarily; with marketing agencies, it’s a lot harder to do, because everybody’s producing content all the time. And standing out in that sea of content is a little bit harder. It’s almost like as a manufacturer, you have an exceptional opportunity to truly be unique in your space if you’re just willing to take that risk. 

Darrin Mitchell: I would love to be a Purple Cow globally. It’s a far better spot to be than a local commodity, and I think a lot of manufacturers today, what they’re finding is you get stuck in this weird treadmill effect of it’s about optimization, it’s about cost. Even sometimes I was thinking manufacturers get caught off guard by getting stuck in this mindset of best practice, and best practice teaches us if yesterday we did it in five seconds, today we do it three and a half. But the problem with that mindset in a leadership role within your business is you may be on this pathway to getting really, really good at something that nobody cares about. And I really think that’s a dangerous position for companies to put themselves in, versus why wouldn’t we want to be pretty good at what we do, but find partners around the world who see the value in having that relationship with us, versus dealing locally, where we keep getting the snot pounded out of us, and wondering why we come home tired and miserable every night, wondering why we keep doing what we’re doing but not getting the results at the end of the day. And half the time it’s our own thinking that drove us to that point. 

Carman Pirie: It seems to me, Darrin, that what you just articulated is that the thinking that it takes to run a successful and highly efficient manufacturing operation is exactly the opposite kind of thinking it takes to do the marketing and leadership of said organization in an effective way. I mean, you even earlier suggested in some way that it’s best not to think in the cause and effect linear approach with the content that you’re creating. Two questions: One, how did you convince yourself to think that way, because that might be something if people could just tap into, it would be helpful. And I guess if you don’t use a yardstick of anticipated results to decide what content you’re going to create, what yardstick do you use? How do you come up with the ideas of what you’re going to create videos for, and rank them, and decide yes, this is where we’re going to spend our time this week? Is there any secret sauce there you can let us in on? 

Darrin Mitchell: I gotta make sure I remember both questions, but on the first one, I had a much larger manufacturer come and visit me before COVID-19 broke, and they said, “We want to learn all about your lean manufacturing practices.” And I said, “I can show you that we’re good at it, I can show you that we’re very visual people. I can show you how the flow works. I can show you how we maintain our agility. But is that what you’re really asking me?” And they said, “Well, if we get better at it, we’re going to get more orders.” And I said, “I gotta cut the shit for five seconds. If I walked into your business today and I ordered 50% of what you build during the year, would you take the order?” Yeah. “Then why aren’t we talking more about that?”

Because sometimes in that leadership position, you almost fool yourself into thinking, “I need to get it perfect.” And getting it perfect is a complete disillusionment, is that a word, of the organization. You’re lying to everyone, because getting good at something means it’s very predictable, and that causes I think some people in leadership positions, it causes them comfort knowing, “I can predict the outcome.” What I’m asking companies to do today is put themselves out there in ways they never thought possible, and you’ll be found by people who like you, and emotionally want to do business with the people who are delivering that message. And if you can do that, the results are absolutely incredible, and it keeps you from getting stuck in that rotten treadmill effect, where you come home late at night, and tired, and you missed lunch, and you missed dinner, and you’re going, “I worked my ass off and I’m not quite sure there’s anything left at the end of the day.” And tomorrow doesn’t seem much more exciting. 

I don’t want that life. I don’t want my business to go through that process. I’m not saying we haven’t made mistakes. I’m not saying we haven’t done things wrong. But an attitude towards the business of, “We’re gonna measure what we’re going to measure and at the end of the day, that’s good enough,” I want to know about all the stuff that I don’t know about. I’m going to save the measuring for my management team, and they’re really, really good at it, and I’m glad I have them. But what they want me to do is be out there and leading the growth of the company, so they know they get a paycheck tomorrow, and I think that’s extremely important for all businesses to remember when they’re leading, or are they managing? And this, the whole digital connection in your marketing is a great way to open doors that, again, I’m repeating myself, you may not even have known existed yesterday. 

What was the second question, Carman?

Carman Pirie: Oh, man. You expect me to remember that? How do you prioritize a thing? If it’s not about, “Oh, we think that this video is gonna make the cash register ring tomorrow.” If that’s not the lens that you’re looking at it through, what lens are you looking at it through? How do you make those decisions? 

Darrin Mitchell: Internally. We always look internally at the things that we know we do well, and then we try to highlight those things through the videos. A really good example, I have one of my guys in my service team, and I know he’s really, really good at explaining things as if you were buying a used car. If you went to a used car lot and you were saying, “What works? What doesn’t work?” I know he’s really good at that because he’s really into vehicles. I asked him one day, “Would you if somebody was buying a used trailer that we produced, what kind of questions should they be asking themselves?” And he went, “Why don’t I just do it like I do with the used cars that I buy and sell?” And I went, “Perfect. Use the same analogy and be authentic but apply it now to the trailers.” And we got a huge response from that from people saying, “That’s really good information and you’re now even teaching me how to buy used equipment that you’ve sold. I now trust you.” 

And always going back to understanding what our strengths are, and being authentic at the end of the day is extremely important, because, in our industry, people can smell bullshit a mile away. You have to work very, very hard on making sure that you’re not so well scripted you forget to be a human being in the process. 

Jeff White: I think being authentic is such a huge thing. Do you have a plan and a content calendar of what you’re intending to do next? Or is it whatever just kind of strikes your fancy at that particular point? 

Darrin Mitchell: One of the biggest projects that I’m working on right now internally is not only digital content in terms of video assets that we’re producing, we’ve actually developed a black box for the trailer. And what that does is for the last 15, 20 years, they have had data mining devices on trucks that produce them to a satellite that allows trucking companies to run their businesses, but they’ve never had that technology on trailers. So, we’ve developed that device internally over the last two years, and we’re just to the point in time where we’ve gone through our testing and we’re going to launch that commercially. So, what the outcome is is if the trailer runs off 10 loads a day, owners get alerts to their phones about how many loads have gone off, and if the trailer gets up to 2,000 loads within so many months, they now get a phone call from my service team saying, “You may want to take a look at something. You may want to look at the following small replacement or wear parts as you go forward.” 

The digital space is absolutely incredible for forming meaningful relationships to allow you in an authentic way to become part of your customer’s business. That technology of still maintaining a digital connection, we’re not only doing it as just producing videos and video assets, we’re now digitally connected to the customer’s business. If he or she is sitting on a beach in Florida, we’re still gonna be in contact with that individual who’s running that business forever. That’s the next big thing we’re releasing. 

Carman Pirie: Well, look, I look forward to watching. I think if I had to bet, my money’s on Trout River. Darrin, thank you so much for sharing your experience and expertise with The Kula Ring today. I really appreciate it.

Darrin Mitchell: Awesome. You guys are doing a great job, by the way, and that’s not tongue in cheek kind of stuff. You really are, because we know a small step forward in the manufacturing space can make huge results to the bottom lines and futures of your customers, so what you’re doing is great, and keep getting that message out. Because you can make a huge impact on people’s lives with what you’re doing, so thank you. 

Jeff White: Thank you. 

Carman Pirie: Really appreciate that. Thanks so much. 

Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Kula Ring, with Carman Pirie and Jeff White. Don’t miss a single manufacturing marketing insight. Subscribe now at www.rccompplan.com/thekularing. That’s K-U-L-Apartners.com/thekularing

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