Meet Our Leaders: Karen Mann – Global Marketing Director
Karen Mann is Industrial Physics’ ambitious Global Marketing Director whose dedicated team has propelled the rapid international growth of our business in recent years.
This exemplary success story demonstrates with clarity what can be achieved through investment in marketing when a company’s leadership truly recognizes its value and has full confidence in the process.
Karen’s challenging remit has been to oversee the creation of a unique, all-encompassing Industrial Physics’ brand. One that protects and builds upon the legacy reputation of our 14 diverse test and inspection companies.
From brand anonymity to international recognition
Upon Karen’s appointment, she was tasked with hiring a high-performing team to achieve two primary objectives: to establish Industrial Physics as a go to market brand, encouraging the cross-sector customers we serve to recognize the holistic suite of solutions and services we offer, and to generate growth through marketing demand.
Karen said: “Three years ago you couldn’t really call Industrial Physics a brand – it was a holding company with a one page website that was linked to 23 other websites. It was my team’s job to bring all of our brilliant test and inspection companies into one brand.”
She had to develop a brand strategy that established our unique position and purpose, capturing the future vision and how we wanted to get there. This involved the consolidation of all our brand and product websites into one global URL. A huge part of this also involved linking them up with Salesforce, enabling us to be much more data-driven and utilize these insights to develop a powerful digital marketing strategy.
Our Marketing Director explained that all of this has necessitated a move away from thinking of our specialist testing brands as individual companies, instead it’s been vital to look at the bigger picture and create a vision for what we can offer our customers as one connected organization. She said: “It’s fair to say that we lacked joined-up processes, there wasn’t enough sharing internally and across geographies. We needed to implement tools that would encourage cross-business visibility, opportunity and accountability. The potential was clear – we are lucky to have a huge breadth of experts within our midst at Industrial Physics, and when you combine that specialist knowledge together, what we can offer is invaluable.”
Karen continued: “Our people were going out to market as 14 separate brands. Understandably, some were initially resistant to the change with their valued loyalty to the companies they joined us from. But we needed our customers to know how much more we can offer as Industrial Physics. And I’m pleased that across our organization, we all appreciate the value that we can bring when we work together.
“We wanted our people to live and breathe Industrial Physics internally. We knew it was important for our teams to understand the huge benefits it offers – both to our customers and to them as individuals – so that we would enjoy the most impact externally. We have achieved this through a great deal of investment in change management and internal communication strategies.”
So what are some of the results achieved over the three years of Karen’s tenure? Well, a survey of customers, distributors, and internal staff demonstrated that our brand recognition is high and our reputation positive. Through the use of digital marketing tools such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) and product optimization, we have been able to make it a lot easier for our customers to find the products that will support their needs across all our digital platforms.
Karen explained that the success of our digital marketing efforts has been optimized through the use of targeted campaigns, social media content, SEO and on-going website improvements. Additionally, press releases and the international events we have exhibited at, from PACK EXPO and Interpack through to Paint India or the Craft Brewers Conference have been getting the Industrial Physics name far and wide.
Another powerful method of enhancing our reputation for technical excellence has been through the use of targeted campaigns and thought leadership articles. Over recent years we’ve surveyed hundreds of manufacturing decision-makers from across the sectors we operate in to gain powerful insight into the issues of the day. We have enjoyed sharing these reflections through a variety of high profile campaigns, such as Unpacking Innovation in 2023: Obstacles and Opportunities in Packaging and our report on the Global Outlook of Sustainable Packaging 2022.
The runway to a high flying marketing career!
Karen has shaped a career around creating brands, building and directing successful marketing teams, and driving impressive growth. Although her career story took off with an unexpected start before she landed her first marketing job!
Born, bred, and schooled in Preston, England, after finishing a degree in marketing and languages she was desperate to see the world. So she took a job in Bahrain for Gulf Air and began to travel as a cabin crew member. These experiences taught her about international cultures and delivering impeccable customer service, but her career ambitions lay in marketing.
From here she continued her studies, gaining a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) qualification while working in a number of diverse marketing manager roles in the UK.
One of these roles led to a relocation to Amsterdam where she continued to hire and develop successful marketing teams, creating internationally recognized brands from the bottom up. She secured roles in technology and engineering focused firms, for example with a major IT hosting outfit that managed internet infrastructure and data storage centers. This work honed her ability to bridge the gap between the technical and commercial and how to market an organization’s unique brand, purpose, and vision. Her ability to translate a technical concept into a clear marketing proposition has been highly effective at Industrial Physics. She can also now talk about the benefits of a whole raft of inspection devices she had never even heard of a few years ago!
A bright, marketing-driven future
With untapped potential to move into new areas of business and geographies with existing customers, a plan to acquire more companies, and the opportunity to attract new customers the world over, Karen sees a bright future for Industrial Physics.
She explained that the brand campaign has brought many benefits to our existing customers. Many more of them are now aware of the cross-sector suite of test and inspection solutions we offer. This saves them time and money, both in the purchasing of the best equipment to suit their requirements and through our service and after-care offerings.
Karen adds: “Industrial Physics has so much exciting potential and I’m determined to see marketing front and center in our future growth. With the systems we have in place now we will focus with increasing clarity on our customers’ pain points and explore various methods to solve them. From a marketing perspective I can now better assess where the opportunities lie, what strategies to follow, and where to invest the marketing budget for optimal success.”
A call-out for more women in leadership positions
Working as director in what is historically a male-dominated test and inspection sector, Karen recognizes the glass ceiling to progression that sadly still exists across many industries.
She said: “I’d love to see more women applying for leadership roles so that any remaining barriers to progression can finally be smashed. As women we often don’t put ourselves forward for the top jobs and that needs to change. Men and women bring different skills and abilities to the table and both sets are valid. I want to see a more diverse mix at the top of organizations, instead of women feeling they need to change in order to succeed.”
Karen thrives on delivering results-driven marketing campaigns and working alongside her team of lean and agile experts whom she has much respect for. Outside of work she enjoys raising her three beloved children with her husband Stuart.