ABB Robotics – Robotics on the Move
ChallengeABB Robotics (“ABB”) operates in the business-to-business product space as a leading global supplier of industrial robots and robot-based automation solutions. The corporation develops systems for Fortune 500 companies where it helps companies like Ford, BMW, Gillette and Apple improve their performance; and with global partners, where they co-develop and manage customized assembly line and plant subsystems across multiple industries. ABB has installed more than 160,000 robots worldwide to date.
The company sought to grow its customer base by implementing a B2B, face-to-face marketing campaign that would take product advantage awareness beyond the expo hall, as well as equip regional sales personnel with a means for engaging with customers, on an individual basis. To achieve these objectives, ABB enlisted award-winning experiential marketing firm EEI Global to employ a mobile solution to both increase dialogue with influencers within its existing customers and introduce its robotics technology to new clients in growing industries, like packaging and fulfillment, throughout North America. A secondary obective was to market the robotics industry as an exciting career destination for engineering students around the country, ultimately, for recruitment purposes.
Consider that, in terms of robotic marketing, even a relatively small robot weighs almost 1,700 pounds and has a working radius of more than seven-feet. Compare these dimensions to a working welding cell that weights more than 4,500 pounds, consumes 480 volts of 3-phase electrical service and needs a special exhaust system to vent harmful gasses, and the experiential marketing challenge is clear. Due to the size, weight, electrical and utility requirements of manufacturing robotics, ABB had confined prior event marketing efforts to the trade show floor.
EEI Global was also tasked with permeating a very diverse, yet related, audience, all under the auspices of a single campaign. The primary target audience focus was a dirfect business audience, including existing ABB customers, and prospects in the welding, metal fabrication, painting and fulfillment industries. The secondary audience was also B2B, but focused on "partner" industry companies that also traditionally hosted customer events. Finally, the solution needed to engage students at top engineering universities to introduce mechanical and electrical engineers to the fascinating world of robotics and begin ABB recruiting efforts for top grads. Different audiences with different needs, each which EEI Global sought to inspire with the power of ABB’s robotics technologies.
SolutionDrawing upon more than 25 years of effective B2B marketing solutions to a technology client base, EEI Global developed a mobile exhibit – the ABB Robotics on the Move (ROTM) campaign – that efficiently packaged and communicated ABB's advantages to its target customers. EEI Global designed and engineered a 48-foot, double-expandable mobile trailer to carry a custom interior and the robots that would be showcased within. Key features of the ROTM trailer included two fully operational robot cells, a cut away robot display, a flexible presentation space that served as an interactive theater for small audiences, a classroom setting for training of larger groups, eight large LCD monitors that supported both the cells and general ABB messaging, four robot 'family' kiosks that highlighted ABB product range and an ABB-branded awning that covered hospitality service and overflow for larger audience groups. EEI Mobile provided turn key tour management services.
Given the sheer logistics involved in mobilizing robotics, imagine the audience reaction when, upon entering the ROTM mobile trailer, guests were introduced to two working robot cells, a third cutaway cell and a small theater for presentation delivery. EEI Global’s mobile solution perfectly showcased ABB's technological edge, and achieved what no other robotic manufacturer had even attempted -- a completely mobile showroom that featured real, fully functional robot cells.
Results and BenefitsCompletely designed and engineered by EEI Global, the build out of the tractor and trailer units was completed in a sleepless 10 weeks. In less than nine months in 2007, the ROTM program traveled more than 25,000 miles to 25 events throughout North America. Hosting audiences that ranged from 50 visitors to crowds of more than 1,000 people per day. Most event stops consisted of two show days with total attendance averaging 500 guests.
The numbers by which all tours are measured, right or wrong, are sales, and in this respect, ROTM was most impressive. During the abbreviated 2007 schedule, ABB sold $1.2 million of product and booked another $15.1 million of future business. Due to the business’ long sales cycle (18 months), ABB does not consider the 15.1 million sold but does consider that figure sum as 'new,’ meaning that it credits the pending sale completely to the ROTM program. The 2008 program has been expanded, and its success evident in the requests for its appearance by both ABB representatives and customers, who have heard about the program and want the ROTM program to visit their facility.