In this special industrial marketing episode of the #MarketingScience podcast, we welcome Kerry Elgie and Kirsty Waight from Asynt to share their thoughts on content creation, social selling, trade shows, and digital channel integration.
You can listen to or read the discussion by clicking one of the links below.
Listen to Not Your Typical Scientific Content
Read Not Your Typical Scientific Content
Where do you get the inspiration to come up with the out-of-the-box ideas I see you and your team doing on social media?
Kirsty: A lot of it comes from looking around at what other people are doing, the kind of things that we interact with and find interesting or entertaining.
Kerry: As a predominantly chemistry-oriented company, we concentrate on what is trending in the chemistry sector at a particular time. It could be photochemistry, flow chemistry, and so on, which gives us an idea of what to look for. We also like exciting things that make people click, whether with a question or through video or imagery.
Are you taking trends from people’s everyday social media use and adapting them for chemistry?
Kerry: Keeping posts relevant to everyone’s day-to-day life as much as possible is important. But, many things that happen in labs aren’t part of daily life and are still interesting content. Combining these two aspects keeps things exciting.
When you're thinking about an idea to create a new video or a new piece of content for social, how relevant is the human element to what it is that you're trying to achieve?
Kirsty: When creating scientific content, it’s important to remember that while the audience is frighteningly intelligent, they are people. Something might interest you on a technical basis for work, but the addition of humor, or eye-catching graphics, appeal to the human side of your audience.
Kerry: Standing out without being overfamiliar is key, especially on LinkedIn, where content should be more corporate. When scrolling through text-heavy information on a platform like LinkedIn, a video stands out and gives a personal element.
You mentioned keeping content corporate, and you're a serious company, was there any fear from you on that side when you started out doing this sort of content?
Kerry: Absolutely. Especially when we started using TikTok, a newer platform that is taken less seriously. The first TikTok-oriented video I posted on LinkedIn, I was so worried it would be perceived badly, yet the feedback was good. It was me as a spaceman doing a running dance saying, “I’ve just come back from holiday. I’m back behind the wheel. This is the latest newsletter from Asynt” it isn’t the type of content to post all the time. Still, it breaks up the sensible stuff and gives personality.
Kirsty: There's a balance to be found, something that between company channel posts and personal profile posts, you have to gauge the response of the people that interact with you. You can tell quite quickly which posts work with your audience by varying them; by doing A/B testing, it's easy to get an idea.
How do you decide what you would like people to post from their personal profiles in relation to Asynt?
Kerry: We have central running themes with Asynt, so newsletters, product launches, etc., will be from the Asynt platforms. Then that theme is carried through everything the sales and marketing team does. So, for example, our sales team will go and see customers, and if they’re happy with us doing so, we’ll take photos, video snippets, make TikToks, and these will be posted on our personal platforms.
It’s nice for other people to see what our customers are doing with their chemistry, then we relate that back to the central themes.
When creating TikToks, are they something you put together on the spot, or are they planned based on the content you need?
Kerry: It depends on what we’re visiting the customer for. We might ask in advance if we are taking video or audio set up for a webinar session. However, if we’re visiting for a hello and a coffee, and we see a DrySyn being used in the lab, we’ll ask if they mind us making the content of our equipment in action.
Kirsty: Our customers get quite excited about creating content. They'll come up with ideas for photos we can take and little video snippets that we can do, which gives us more flexibility and also enables us to repackage that material in lots of different ways.
Kerry: People like to talk about what they do, especially being more sustainable as a theme, our customers want to share how they are doing things in new ways with their chemistry, and we are offering them our platform to share that information.
What are the common challenges that your customers have? Please also give a brief overview of Asynt, who you are, and who you serve.
Kerry: Asynt is a chemistry-oriented company. We are predominantly in chemistry labs. We have products for all ranges, whether inorganic, organic, physical or process. We focus on new, novel, innovative ideas. We’ll go into a lab and ask what their real hurdles are, and our products will be designed for these hurdles.
One of the first products we brought out, DrySyn heating blocks, come from the issues of using oil baths, which can leak and cause fires. So by switching all of the oil baths to DrySyn heating blocks, you’re reducing risk.
Kirsty: Quite often in photochemistry, there may be something that you’re doing using a homemade kit in the lab that isn’t especially safe. So we work with customers to provide a bespoke solution, which, if it’s then got a lot of interest, becomes a product. Everything we offer can be tailored. We have scientific glassblowers, engineers, and chemists, so no matter the specificity, we can tailor it.
The insights you’re getting when developing products, do you also use these when formulating your sales and marketing plans?
Kerry: Absolutely! We’ll also utilize things like polls on social. We’ve got a great customer base; however, there are so many more people we don’t know, so social gives us a chance to reach those people, and online polls mean we can see what they think, giving us a full circle of insight.
Is it fair to say your main objective on social media about conversation starters and market research instead of directly generating leads?
Kerry: It’s brand awareness, getting people to click and see what we are about. Again, it depends on the platform, who we want to reach, and so on. If we put out a chemical reaction video, I would use that as a stealth sale or a new product information post.
Kirsty: Gauging what people are going to platforms for is important, they don’t necessarily want to be sold to, but they are interested in seeing the new technology and finding out how it can work for them.
In the last year or so, how have you found trade shows?
Kerry: Some people are still quite worried about the COVID side of things, so I don’t think exhibition numbers are up to what they used to be. However, the exhibitions I have attended have had good attendance, and the joy on people’s faces to physically see people in real life is lovely.
Kirsty: We’ve also changed how we display things at exhibitions, so there’s less literature for sustainability and less for people to touch. We try to keep the means of data transfer more digital, which seems to work for everybody. QR codes, digital forms, and information uploads have all been necessary.
Kerry: We’ve tried to make the stands brighter and more interactive. What we want with an exhibition stand and social media is to capture attention and give something that pops.
Kirsty: By being bold but keeping it relevant, people see something they want to see. We won’t do anything ridiculous; we’re still technical experts in our field, but we are showing our sense of humor, which works brilliantly.