8 Years of Manufacturing and Marketing Lessons
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Goodbyes tend to be bittersweet for me and this is certainly no exception.  I  recently announced that I was leaving OMEP to pursue the next chapter in my career.  Your response and support have meant the world to me and my colleagues at OMEP. 

From day one Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership has made me feel welcome, valued my ideas, and most importantly encouraged me to continue pursuing growth. Being part of a company that invests in its employees is priceless; OMEP has supported me in my accredited MBA program through Quantic School of Business and Technology and provided me with learning opportunities with the MEP National Network which have helped me serve and support Oregon manufacturers.  I am grateful.

Eight years ago when I started at OMEP I knew this was a special group of people, and that has proven true time and time again.  Our consultants are world-class thinkers, problem solvers, and doers and I count myself lucky to have been a part of this team.  Thank you to OMEP for making the investment in me and a special thank you to Michelle Fusak and Mike Vanier for their mentorship over the years.

“If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.”

This quote from Adam Grant‘s book Think Again captures my journey at OMEP perfectly. This work has ignited a passion for manufacturing, which was an entirely new industry to me, and has taught me many valuable lessons. Here are a few:


Don’t Underestimate the power of Humility

I’m inspired by the courage, humility, and strength Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) clients take when they seek out our team out for support. It is not easy to take that first step, but it is worth it.
Likewise, our team shows humility when they show up to a new manufacturer with a humble attitude, ready to learn and understand a new company’s definitions of success. Instead of showing up as experts, they show up as partners. I will carry that attitude forward.

Oregon is a Manufacturing Powerhouse

I never used to check food labels, turn over dishes, or hunt for tiny tags to find out where a product came from.  Now, I check every day because I’ve learned that how things are made and who makes them, matters. Manufacturing produces high-quality jobs. ECONorthwest reports that Oregon’s manufacturing workers earn almost $8K more annually than non-manufacturing workers.  In healthcare, retail, construction, and wholesale 2 jobs are supported by 1 manufacturing job.

These jobs are one of Oregon’s best-kept secrets! We’re talking values-driven B-corps, flexible schedules, vacation time accruing on day one, tuition reimbursement paid family-leave, and much more. These are not your grandparent’s manufacturing jobs! Let’s continue to spread the word.


Many Manufacturers are Sitting on Hidden Marketing Gems

OMEP helps businesses identify hidden wastes as part of the continuous improvement process. Manufacturing leaders I’ve spoken to are often sitting on hidden gems – untapped talent and unmined data.

  • If your prospect voluntarily enters their phone number in your online lead form – give them a call.
  • If your team is dissatisfied with the speed of onboarding or training of a new hire, get curious about what’s slowing things down and collaborate to come up with solutions.
  • If your customer tells you that your product changed their life, tell that story to your team so they understand how THEY made that happen. Incorporate that story into your marketing messaging.
  • If an employee has an idea to improve your workplace, draw them out and tap into their creativity for the good of all.

The fuel for your marketing and sales funnels, and for employee happiness and growth, could be buried right in front of you.


Key Marketing Tools Can Cut Through the Noise for Industrial Marketers

Many manufacturing companies I talk to don’t think about the people side of marketing because they’re so focused on making a great product. A customer journey map, especially when paired with an empathy map, will greatly benefit industrial marketers. I often hear,
“We’re B2B, we don’t need one.”
“That’s a tool for fancy agencies – we don’t have time”
“Our sales process is too simple or our product is too unique.”
“We already created our personas so we understand our customers”
If that’s you, consider trying a map anyway. Customer Journey Maps are to marketing what current-state mapping is to continuous improvement. They are all part of the same continuum.

A key to journey mapping success is involvement from all levels. These can’t be created in a silo. You’ll uncover gems when you include everyone who influences customer touchpoints. Beyond marketing, bring in your customer service folks, salespeople, shipping and fulfillment, invoicing staff, etc. Even if those roles are only spread across 1 or 2 people, the discussion is still valuable.You can all walk away with actionable insights by identifying gaps. Making small improvements based on what you learn can dramatically improve your customer’s experience and by extension your sales and referrals. Here are some great mapping tools from XPlane.



Those are just a few of the key lessons I’ve learned and shared with the courageous business leaders I’ve had the privilege of meeting during my time at OMEP. Thank you for many years of learning! Feel free to connect on LinkedIn to stay in touch via linkedin.


If you need support for your marketing efforts, reach out. OMEP can connect you to resources who can help >

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  • Jasmine Agnor

    Jasmine Agnor, OMEP’s Senior Marketing and Events Manager, has more than ten years of experience supporting strategic marketing initiatives for both large and small businesses and organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her background includes strategic communications, corporate branding, event planning and execution, campaign management, and print and web design. Before joining the OMEP team, Jasmine helped facilitate marketing and internal communications efforts for a seismic engineering firm as well as a safety consulting company.

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