Graymills, manufacturer of pumps and parts washers was a freelance account since 1987. My first project was a program to assist the sales force, with materials on individual products, both in depth and pocket-sized for a quick reference on a sales call. Projects kept cropping up — a catalog, a price list, ads, operation manuals. With the breadth of projects came a grasp of their products that allowed me to correct text and produce materials with a decreasing amount of supervision. Several Marketing Project Managers leaned on my knowledge to create campaigns.
In 2011 Graymills hired me as to fill the seat of in-house Marketing Project Manager, to handle advertising, promotions and product materials as well as work with the Government Service Administration (GSA) projects, proposals and bidding requirements.
Even back in the 90s, one of my understandings of Graymills marketing was that their buyers were industrial workers, but that they sat on the couch, viewing the Budweiser and MacDonalds advertising along with the rest of us. Duotone product sheets looked old and tired; I made the materials not only more attractive, but boiled the information down to easy to read charts and paragraphs that were user friendly. There were three separate markets for whom they make products. While each has its own identity, one challenge is to make sure that all materials look like they came from the same company.
I've never changed from that opinion of their buyers, only the media has changed. Trade show booths, webinars, Constant Contact blasts, and banner website ads now join the print media and sales sheets of days past.
And Graymills is still manufacturing products in Chicago that never seem to wear out.
Graymills is a family run business that has stood the test of time and economic downturns. After a rough patch in the 90s when many of our large distributors (Grainger being the most memorable) promoted products built in China, the benefits of USA made products that could be ordered and delivered in days or weeks versus months of shipping brought them back to a robust life. They have built a strong base of loyal customers with products that are well made. There is real joy in marketing in this environment, knowing that there is truth in advertising after all.
Quark XPress used for most page layouts. Logos, illustrations and images were rendered in Illustrator and Photoshop. After 2009, new projects begun in InDesign, maintaining Quark to update old materials. Some projects were moved from old to new software, with varying degrees of success.
I produced their first website in DreamWeaver. The site was later taken over by an outside firm, handled by the Vice President of Marketing. My only involvement was providing images and files.
The GSA project required obtaining ACES certification, a dedicated computer, and use of government CMS systems to upload information for their online catalog, bidding system and procurement documents.
More to come; check back soon.