April 2012 marks a milestone for my industrial marketing company Tiecas, Inc. We are celebrating 25 years in business! It has been an incredible journey so far. Come along with me as I take a trip down memory lane…
I remember registering my DBA as “Tiecas Type & Graphics” on April 14, 1987 with the Harris County Clerk’s Office in Houston, Texas. I had read an article in Inc. Magazine about a coming revolution called “desktop publishing.” That was the impetus for me to quit my management job with an oil country tubular goods (OCTG) manufacturer and take the plunge into starting my own business.
I owe a big debt of gratitude to the late, great Steve Jobs and his innovative products. I could not have launched my company without the Apple Macintosh Plus, Apple LaserWriter Plus with a PostScript interpreter from Adobe and PageMaker from Aldus Corp.
If you think Apple charges a premium for its iPhones and iPads today, think again. I paid $2,499 for the Mac Plus with 1MB (not a typo!) of RAM with one floppy drive and no internal hard drive and more than $5K for the LaserWriter Plus with its built-in 35 core Type 1 fonts.
I remember yelling at my proofreader for finding a typo even though it was my fault to begin with, because it meant waiting 30 to 45 minutes to pull another laser proof. Wow, we have all come a long way since then!
Note the words Type and Graphics in the company name. I learned my business in the early years by doing production work for other ad agencies and printers around town. Back then, print media was the center of the universe for B2B marketing. That was the humble beginning and my legacy in this business.
By the mid-nineties, I was confident enough to pitch business directly to end-user clients. Given my engineering background, I naturally approached manufacturers and industrial companies in Houston, primarily in the Oil & Gas industry.
Over the years, Tiecas began to offer more media planning, design and production of marketing collateral, four-color and prepress services. We became a full-service integrated marketing communications firm. The company was incorporated in 1994 and was rebranded as just Tiecas, Inc.
By the late nineties, I saw the writing on the wall; print media was becoming increasingly more digital. My first clue was trade magazines had started charging an extra fee for submitting color separated negatives instead of electronic files. I began to explore Websites and the Internet with a 2400 bps Modem on a dial-up connection using AOL.
In 1998, I landed our first paying gig designing a Website for a process heater manufacturer. That marked the beginning of Tiecas moving into the world of digital marketing for industrial clients.
Over the years, our business has grown more towards a mix of strategic marketing consulting along with go-to-market implementation of a full range of digital marketing tactics instead of offering creative services only.
I launched this blog in 2008 and have written more than 160 posts about industrial and manufacturing marketing. This content marketing strategy has helped us achieve several top 10 rankings in Google for competitive keywords and phrases. As a result, people from all over the US, Canada and as far away as Spain and New Zealand have found our site, contacted us and some of them are now clients. In the past, it was virtually impossible for me to reach these people with traditional outbound marketing. Inbound marketing with content doesn’t get any better than this!
People cautioned me about my narrow niche by staying true to the industrial sector only. However, it is especially gratifying when several clients tell you, “Ah! It’s good to meet someone who understands our engineering and industrial customers and won’t be learning at our expense.” How could I ignore the “voice of the customer” (VOC)?
By the grace of God, things have worked out very well for us and we have successfully weathered the ups and downs of running a marketing company and the vagaries of the economy. No, I’m not pulling a Tim Tebow on you but I do have a strong faith in the Man Upstairs.
Along the way, I have worked with some great people, clients, employees and vendors. Learned a lot from all of them and have made many lasting relationships. So a big thank you to all of you. Even though this sounds trite, it is true that I couldn’t have done it without you.
Also a shout out to my many followers on various social networking channels. Even though we have never met, I count on some of you as true friends and your retweets, comments and support are appreciated very much.
These are exciting times in industrial marketing with so much going on – inbound marketing, creating compelling content that engages and converts prospects into customers, social, mobile and video marketing. I know I’m excited about the future and look forward to the years ahead working diligently to help my clients generate more leads and drive sales.
It is tempting to steer my clients towards every shiny, new marketing toy that comes out but I do my best to temper my enthusiasm with the reality of lessons learned over the past twenty-five years. As we like to say in Texas, “This ain’t my first rodeo.”
With warm and sincere regards,