Resolving To Be Better In 2015

z5_NewYears resolutionsMany of us make resolutions this time of year. And while we may personally think about eating less or exercising more, the New Year isn’t a bad time to refocus your marketing efforts and lay down some new ground rules for the year. Here’s what a few members of the Zone 5 team resolve for in 2015 — for themselves and their clients.


Dave Homsey, Creative Director
Be simpler, shorter, more to the point.

Earth-shattering revelation: “The attention-span of my clients’ audience isn’t getting longer.” My creative must follow suit. That doesn’t mean I’m going to dumb it down. It’s smarter to be direct — simple is usually harder to do but easier to understand. Clever is dumb if it complicates the message, or worse, hinders its digestion. I resolve to aid in the digestion of my client’s message — to be a Legume of Marketing Communication!


Spencer Raggio, Web Strategist
Think like a user.

Too often we forget that our clients/customers/audiences don’t know our company or sector as well as we do. This is especially important on the web, where we need to ensure that new visitors can easily find what they need. But it also applies to all our marketing and communications efforts, where industry jargon and acronyms can easily obscure our intended message.


Victoria Barbeisch, Account Executive
Reinforce that positive action can result from less than positive perspectives.

Since joining Zone 5 this summer, I have conducted a variety of focus groups both in and outside of our facility, ranging from shopping preferences to health care initiatives. In these focus groups, client often have one perception of their organization and learn that their audience may have a much different one. That may be difficult to hear, but in many ways is a great thing.

Even negative feedback can provide better insight; drive needed change, and foster an environment that will result in something better. It’s important to understand that all feedback is important and can improve your organization.


Timothy Dunn, Vice President
Focus on strategy, not tactics.

“I NEED A BROCHURE!” That’s the frantic request I get regularly (or swap out brochure for website, bannerstand, press release, or Twitter handle). While the specific deliverable can vary, the request is the same — “I need ‘x’ tactic.” And while we believe the client is always right, a request for a specific tactic can often come without a strategic look at the core aspects of making an impact in marketing, specifically — what message am I trying to deliver to what audience… and what action do I want them to take?


Brittany Gilman, Account Executive
Bigger isn’t always better.

When it comes to your digital audience and performance, remember to weigh quality over quantity. Sure, having a ton of fans, followers or impressions is great, but what really matters is how much engagement is taking place. In other words, you can have an enormous audience to market your messages to, but it won’t make a difference if they’re not contributing any feedback.

On the other hand, having a smaller, more targeted audience that’s more engaged — and more likely to advocate for your brand — is much more beneficial. Likewise, when analyzing your digital performance, remember to look at the bigger picture. Of course a high number of impressions is great for visibility, but take it further. Of those who saw your message, how many actually took action?

All too often, marketers try to cast a wide net and reel in whatever they can. Instead, understand that bigger isn’t always better. Target your niche audience and benefit from a more passionate, engaging group of those who can help leverage your messaging and advocate your brand or services.


Ray Witkowski, Vice President
Be a partner, not a vendor.

I too often hear the term “vendor” when it comes to how prospective clients refer to agencies that they are seeking for a new website, branding campaign, etc. I don’t think they mean anything negative by using the word vendor but it’s still a pet peeve of mine. The work that we do as an agency is built on collaboration and is a partnership, not a “vendorship.” I often say when meeting with prospective new clients for the first time that “every great partnership begins with a conversation.”

So, this year, my goal is help prospective clients appreciate the value of what it means to be in a partnership focused more on interaction and less on transaction. Let’s make it personal.


Alyssa J. McClenning, Director of PR and Social Media Strategy
Put the bullhorn down and listen more.

Press releases, press conferences, tweets, Facebook messages, blog posts… These are all important pieces of a comprehensive public relations roll out. However, it’s easy to get so focused on getting your message out that you forget to listen and dialogue with your audiences! Real conversation and message osmosis happens when you build an engaged community. Sometimes you need to come down from the mountaintop from where you are shouting and put your ear on the ground.

You might be surprised at what your customers and followers say and how that will positively affect your future message development. Therefore, it is my resolution to encourage my clients to listen more.


All told, pretty solid resolutions to drive toward more impactful marketing in the year to come.  What’s your marketing New Year Resolution?

SIA Awards Dinner Wrap Up

Last week, as the temperatures began dropping in the 518, the intrepid technology team at Zone 5 headed west to California for a week of meetings, culminating with the annual Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) Awards Dinner.

We enjoyed great meetings with the Silicon Valley Strategic Advisors (SVSA), the leadership of the Fab Owners Association (FOA), and the new venture Silicon Catalyst. It was also a good opportunity to catch up with our friends and clients at Mohawk Valley EDGE and Marcy Nanocenter at SUNY Poly!

The event itself is always great; following a meeting of the SIA Board of Directors, the Awards Dinner provides an opportunity for the top leaders in the semiconductor industry to come together to hear forecasts for the year ahead and bestow the highest honor in the industry – the Noyce Award.

Named for Robert Noyce (inventor of the integrated circuit and co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor), this year’s Award was given to Altera CEO John Daane. I always have carried a great deal of affection for this event, as my former boss, Governor Pataki, was the only elected official to win the award, in 2003. As is normally the case, NY Loves Nanotech was out in full force for this event. Interestingly, they were not alone as state economic developers this year, with an aggressive showing from the State of Indiana led by the Hoosier State’s Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann.

In addition to the award and forecast, the crowd at the SIA Awards was thoroughly entertained by keynote speaker Austen Goolsbee. Goolsbee has served as chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and a member of the cabinet, as well as the chief economist for the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  It’s amazing, but this guy somehow has made economics entertaining! Here’s what our CEO Todd Mosher had to say:

 

Todd's SIA Annual Awards Dinner Tweet

Todd’s SIA Annual Awards Dinner Tweet

Todd’s thoughts seemed to be shared by many at the event, as his Tweet was picked up and quoted by Investor’s Business Daily.

So, we return to Albany, brimming with optimism on semiconductor industry sales for 2015, driven by the human race’s insatiable appetite for digital tools.  Or maybe, in the words of Goolsbee, “compared to what?”

SemiZone: Lita Shon-Roy and Karey Holland of Techcet

We sat down with industry experts at SEMICON West to cull their best business, trends and marketing insights. As we head to the SIA Annual Awards Dinner this week, we wanted to revisit some of our chats. Here’s what materials, market and technology experts Lita Shon-Roy and Karey Holland of Techcet had to say.

The semiconductor industry runs on silicon. What are some of the challenges there with supply and demand?

Lita Shon-Roy and Karey Holland of Techcet

Lita Shon-Roy and Karey Holland of Techcet

Silicon has had a tough time – over supply, over capacity. Prices have dropped and plants have closed; this leads us to believe the price will eventually go up again because the supply will be more constrained. Overall, the market has been learning, not overbuilding and not installing too much capacity like in the past.

The semiconductor industry is so cyclical in nature. How have companies gotten better at responding to the cycles?

The leading edge materials space is still squirrely. In regards to the commodity side, people are now much more disciplined at how to plan and forecast. It just depends on what material set you’re looking at.

We’re seeing an awful lot of consolidations and mergers. Where do you see further opportunities for consolidation or expansions?

What I’m hearing is the challenge is that large companies don’t want to invest more capital right now. I just had a conversation with someone about how large companies are also so fraught with bureaucracy they have a tough time doing development in an cost-effective manner. That being said, I think large companies will continue to look at small, entrepreneurial type companies to buy.

There’s not a lot more room for consolidation on the materials side right now.

The semiconductor industry sometimes struggles to tell their stories well. Do you see this problem and what’s the solution?

Telling stories is a struggle for most companies in our space. The small companies out there are at the disposal of the large companies, so the type of branding that Zone 5 can provide would be very helpful for them. Help with branding will help increase value to their potential buying parties.

SemiZone: Jeanne Beacham of Delphon

We sat down with industry experts at SEMICON West to cull their best business, trends and marketing insights. Here’s what Jeanne Beacham of Delphon had to say.

Tell us about yourself, Jeanne.Jeanne Beacham

I’m the President and CEO of Delphom. Delphon is a group of different types of materials and services that support both the semiconductor and medical industries.

One of my brands is Gel-Pak. People know this brand well since devices are shipped in them everyday. They protect semiconductor chips and medical devices.

I have another brand, Quik-Pak, that does prototyping for semiconductors so we see the bleeding edge devices – the very first wafers that come off the line – that we then have to get it in a package within 8 hours so someone can test it.

Also, UltraTape supplies all the adhesive tape used in clean rooms. Basically, we make the things that everyone forgets about it, but are critically important in the pipeline.

We touch just about every semiconductor fab… [and] universities. Overall, we have about 7,000 customers across the world.

You have a unique perspective on challenges companies are facing. How do you see them being nimble and drive efficiencies?

That’s important: how do we expand?

My mantra right now is “double.” How do we double, but not double our costs?

Anytime someone comes to me for something new I ask them, “How is that going to double what you’re doing?”  I think the growth is really here in the semiconductor industry. There are exciting trends that say there are going to be continue to be more units.

Where do you see growth opportunities?

Growth for our brands is about listening to our customers and helping them identify problems.

There’s a consolidation trend.

 What do you think the challenges will be in 2015?

I think there is an opportunity: how do we look outside of where we’ve been selling?

Is SEMICON the best show to be at? Are there smaller shows where we can do business? We, for example, love going to tabletop shows where you get a one-on-one with engineers and they can pick up and play with our products.

Looking to other industries to see what we can borrow and vice versa, where we can insert our technology, is what we should be thinking about.

Where, specifically, do you see opportunities to convergence and cross-over in industries?

I think medical will be huge. How do we monitor and place a bigger focus on preventative medicine vs. an emergency room situation? How do we simplify technology so people actually want to use it?

As you know, Zone 5 is a marketing firm, who do you feel markets well in the semiconductor industry?

That’s a tough one. When I walk around the trade show floors, I give everyone a second to – by their booth – to tell me exactly what they do.

I’d give the industry a C minus.

We did a change with our booth this year. We took off all the words and did one, simple image with chips. We feel very strongly in simple, succinct messaging.

FUN FACT: Jeanne is currently in Africa with the nonprofit, Asanti Africa, with a group of teachers and engineers to exchange ideas on how to best teach science. She is there with her two teenage sons. We can’t wait to hear stories upon her return!

 

 

Semicon West Wrap, NY / GE Investment, IBM / GlobalFoundries talk

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Tim discusses semiconductor industry news on TWCN’s Capital Tonight (Log in required)

Our intrepid Zone 5 team returned from a busy Semicon West week to be inundated with a major new technology investment in our own backyard, wild and rampant speculation on IBM and GlobalFoundries and even a brief TV appearance by your truly.

Semicon West Wrap

Much like the industry it features, this show has seen some consolidation. I’ve been attending since 2006, and the intensity and energy – though refocused – remains. And of course, there is always one constant at Semicon West – Zone 5 will host a killer reception (6 years running now!) with the best wine list of the week. We were thrilled to have our friends at Marcy NanoCenter co-hosting the event with us. As you can see below, a good turnout for this invitation-only event.

Attendees at Zone 5's 6th Annual Uncork Semicon Event

Zone 5’s 6th Annual Uncork Semicon Event

On the show floor, it was really cool to see multiple booths featuring 450 mm wafers. Of course, the transition to 450 was one of the ongoing debates of the week….is it a question or “if” or “when?” Have advances in EUV pressed pause on the transition? Where will the money come from to make the transition? It is wild times!

Of course, the big story of the week was the announcement of the new name of the Tokyo Electron (TEL) and Applied Materials (AMAT) merger – Eteris. Apparently, this new name is meant to be evocative of “eternal innovation for society.”  As a brand marketer, I have to give the joint team at TEL and AMAT credit. Far too often, the brands of the semiconductor are developed with much less thought. You know, like by jamming a few guys’ names together and hoping for the best. I’m not sure I’m totally on board with the name yet, but I give credit where due – it’s thoughtful, pragmatic and not too hard for a dummy like me to spell. Let’s see where it goes!

Major announcement in New York

I had barely finished doing laundry from the trip to San Francisco when a media advisory crossed the wire sharing that NYS Governor Cuomo would be making a major economic development announcement in Niskayuna. To those unfamiliar with the Albany, NY region, an announcement in Niskayuna can only mean one major technology leader: GE. Niskayuna is home to GE’s Global Research Center (GRC) and several thousand of the brightest minds in modern science and technology.

Tuesday’s announcement was another in a seemingly never-end string of R&D investments by New York State – this one, a 5 year, $500 million commitment to create the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium (NY-PEMC) to develop and produce low cost, high performance 6” silicon carbide wafers in partnership with the State University’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. For GE’s part, they’ll have access to new, leading edge facilities at the college to develop these wafers, which could have great promise in high power devices and may have a major synergy with the power electronics business acquired by GE just a few years ago, Converteam.

IBM/GlobalFoundries

Throughout Semicon West and this week, the continuing drumbeat on the IBM/GlobalFoundries deal (or battle, depending on your position) gained volume. It has been rumored for months that IBM was looking to unload its chip making business, including assets in East Fishkill, NY and Burlington, VT. In recent weeks, the conventional wisdom in the press seemed to speculate about GF buying the business, then having to decide what to do with the facilities and thousands of workers in a state of flux at those facilities. One of the major questions, of course, would be the future of the trusted foundry certifications of the business if purchased by GF.

That back and forth appeared to reach a crescendo over the weekend, when full page ads appeared in papers in the East Fishkill and Burlington area papers for jobs at GlobalFoundries in Malta, NY. What does this mean for the deal? Really tough to say….and my crystal ball has taken the summer off!

So that’s a wrap to wild week – one that was supposed to be quiet following Semicon West! Keep an eye on the SemiZone for continuing insights we gained at West and keep following us on Twitter for regular updates.