Marketing Management
Hilti - Delivering Strategy

As a Product Marketing Manager with a highly-regarded, multi-national company operating within the construction market, as well as the normal tasks involved in that role of planning and implementing strategy, working on marketing communications (brochures, leaflets and media), working with the salesforce to train, promote and launch new products and key initiatives, there were two significant projects that I took responsibility for: one involving energy generator National Power and the Drax Power Station; the other a key product campaign to be conducted over a full year – HIT Blitz.


Drax chimney contains three flues and has a height of 850 feetDrax Power Station, near Selby in Yorkshire, was one of then National Power's most important energy producers, at the time 'Acid Rain' was the environmental concern - a three-year project was envisaged to scrub the expelled combustants, and line the each chimney flue with titanium sheets. Hilti was approached to both provide technical expertise and specialist, high specification fixings to attach the sheets.

A three-year project put out to tender, not only demanded both value and quality, but also back-up support before, during and after the project. Each tender was worth £0.5 million. The project would mean shutting down the power station for a 23-day period, meaning a loss of base-load electricity for the grid - the importance of which, demanded the minimum time off-line and a trouble-free project execution.

Inside a flue of the Drax chimney - 8,300 titanium sheets; 220,000 Hilti fixings. With several contractors involved, as Project Manager and the main point of contact, my role was to make it happen, liaising with Hilti HQ in Liechtenstein, the manufacturing plant in West Bromwich, our technical team and the field sales team. I was also changed with producing the tender bids for this high value and prestigious, exceptional contract. Over several months, with high level communications between parties, I was able to lead the team for two successful tender bid for this bespoke titanium fixing, contributing a significant windfall to company turnover of £1m over two years.

Drax chimney titanium sheet installation - team at work. Hilti drills and fixingsPhase II was more onerous, and demonstrating our commitment to the project, I put together round the clock support with Hilti support team being on site 24/7 whilst the work was in progress. Our good work and support would also be rewarded with orders for Hilti drilling machines, drill bits and screw guns.

It was good that the company was able to work so well with a major client, and the contractors carrying out the work. We were not only able to adapt to a new challenge but show professionalism and competence working to strict specifications and tight deadlines.

HIT Blitz

HIT Blitz was a co-ordinated campaign driven through Hitli's direct sales forceOne of Hilti's more more innovative products was a resin fixing system that was a key growth product for the company. As Product Marketing Manager for Anchors (fixings), my role was to develop strategy and implement that strategy in line with organisational goals.

The targets were demanding and the focus was to be over a long period. It was to involve product improvement; salesforce training, motivation and incentivisation and a year-long marketing communications campaign to both raise awareness of the product, and to facilitate its selling by the direct saleforce employed by Hilti - a salesforce tasked with selling and supporting a wide range of products.

Running the Campaign

  • New product literature was produced in booklet form, focusing on applications, benefits as well as technical specificationsPreparing the Ground - feedback from the salesforce was that they liked the product but the dispenser needed improvement. It was prone to distorting, which meant salespeople had to deal with complaints from unhappy customers. Pressure was applied with Product Managers at Head Office to deal with this issue and come up with a solution - a key fix before any campaign could be launched. A modification was produced to strengthen the weak-point. A plus being the dispenser now looked like a new product.
  • New product literature was produced in booklet form, focusing on applications, benefits as well as technical specificationsSalesforce and Customer Marketing - a direct salesforce sells by being able to meet a customer's need and by demonstrating a product's effectiveness and value as a solution. A two-fold approach was needed: firstly, by meeting with sales people across the country the product could be advanced in their consciousness and any sales issues addressed. (The product would be part of their sales targets.) As well as the new dispenser, product refresher training was undertaken backed up with newly produced product literature, which as well as being a technical guide, focused on applications and real experience. For the sales team it meant talking about features and benefits; for the customer, reassurance of quality, performance and our confidence in the product.
  • The Phased Campaign | Drip and Pulse - with goals of doubling the customer base and significantly boosting sales, HIT BLITZ needed to be a long term campaign - note that the different product groups would have their own targets and demands. I devised bookending two and three month sales drives, with high profile prizes - extra commission and a holiday for best performers - throughout the year there were monthly prizes for hitting targets. The incentives needed to be broad enough to be inclusive and attainable across the salesforce. The campaign was supported by visits to area offices to meet with the sales teams, and days out in the field; the new literature, and also a monthly newsletter 'HIT BITZ', which kept the campaign in mind.
  • Profile Campaign - to raise awareness within the construction industry, a series of press releases were produced for targeted publications - again to promote the versatility and quality of the product, whilst confirming Hilti as an innovative market leader with trusted solutions.
  • Result - the nine month sales campaign, increased turnover on the product line by 50% and doubled the customer user base - this at a relatively difficult economic time. Expectations were exceeded and the salesforce fully bought into the product; raising awareness of the HIT Resin System for all kinds of fixing solutions. The HIT BLITZ campaign was put forward for that year's Hilt International Marketing Campaign competition.