We had the pleasure of catching up with Dylan von Kleist, the Marketing Manager for RUPES USA, INC. As a 2018 All Star winner, it means Dylan and RUPES USA, INC. are in the top 10% of customers that meet a certain set of criteria. We were excited to get to know Dylan and the work he's been doing with RUPES and how email marketing has impacted their business.
Constant Contact: For our readers not in the know, tell us what RUPES is all about!
RUPES USA, INC:RUPES is a family owned Italian company founded in 1947 that specializes in pneumatic and electric tools and dust extraction systems for a variety of industries. The company, still headquartered globally in Milan, has been innovating for over 70 years and was actually the very first company ever (1961-62) to use plastic polymer housings for their power tools to improve weight and provide better insulation (safety) against electric shock. This is a very common thing today, but at the time no one had ever used a plastic housing for power tools. In more recent years RUPES has become known as the industry leader for polishing systems expanding our manufacturing capability to include polishing pads and even blending our own polishing compounds.
In 2015 RUPES acquired Colorado-based Cyclo Toolmakers and formed RUPES USA, which is the North American headquarters. In 2017 we completed construction of a state of the art 40,000 sq ft facility that now houses our US administrative offices, manufacturing, sales, support, and training center known as the BigFoot Detailing Academy. It is widely recognized as the premier training facility in North America and we conduct multiple classes a month where students travel from around the world to get technical training from our internationally recognized training staff.
At our core, RUPES is an education based company. We firmly believe that if we can teach our customers a better way to do things, either more efficiently or producing a superior result, then the sales will follow. Our polishing systems are easily the most popular for automotive detailers around the world and we continue to innovate and push new technology into the market, but even the best advances in tools are nothing if you don’t show the operators how to use them properly. That is why we place such a huge premium on education as ultimately it is tied to the success of our product and the people who use it.
CTCT: As their Marketing Manager, you’re responsible for bringing attention to the company. What do you feel are the most important principles to convey when marketing the business?
RUPES:I have a delicate balancing act to conduct – respect 70+ years of history in Europe, continue to introduce the brand into the US conscious, and keep the message cutting edge. Luckily we’ve been able to blend those various aspects and have a unique message out there. We have a legacy, but we’re never propping ourselves up on what we have done. We are innovating new products and processes, but we never forget to remember where we came from. Probably most challenging, is to reconcile that at our core we are an Italian company with a long, proud, legacy of family ownership while still presenting a uniquely American spin on our channels here in the USA. What many people may not realize is how differently technicians in our various industries approach and prioritize things in the US vs. Europe. European countries have a much larger priority on health and safety for their operators, so things like vibration and noise levels are key selling features. Here in the states, we tend to care less about the health and safety aspects, wanting things with more power that work faster. Balancing those mentalities and target customer expectations is challenging, but fun!
CTCT: What place do you see email in your marketing efforts?
RUPES: Our communication is 2 fold – we do not sell directly to the public so we maintain a network of over 500 independent distributors in the USA (and growing). We use email to communicate at least once a month to them in a newsletter we call the RUPES Distributor Update. In each edition, we feature product updates, upcoming events, important news, and even short features on some of our distribution partners. It has been wildly successful and we’re regularly told by our distributors that none of the other brands they do business with take that much time to communicate things to them
The second end of the communication is to end users, or the people who buy the products from our distributors. For them, we need to have interesting content about what we’re working on, new and upcoming products, technical tips and tricks, announcements of events, and other things. We even sub-segment those consumers into those seeking general info and those interested in traveling to our facility for training and send the latter regular updates on new training opportunities. Ultimately the goal of these emails is to educate our consumers and then drive them to the authorized distributors for purchasing the product or drive them to our website to sign up for training events.
Email is a very important part of our overall marketing effort and ties in with our social media and live events. We use the other channels to drive email list growth, either by opt-in forms on social media or sign up at live events. Each part of our marketing approach feeds another, but email certainly plays a huge role in that process.
CTCT: How has email communication benefitted your company?
RUPES: When I took over this position in 2015 there was really no structure, consistency, or plan to email communication. We had a constant contact account, but it wasn’t being effectively used. Since structuring the process and using it to a larger degree we have seen a huge improvement in our engagement both with distributors and end users. For communication with distributors, it ensures that they are up to speed on everything we’re doing, when they can start to order a new product, what trends we’re seeing from the consumers, and activities we have going to promote the brand. It really helps them feel connected to us and what we’re doing. For end users, it drives engagement with our classes here at the BigFoot Academy and it steers them to their local authorized distributor if they need to buy the product or get technical help.
CTCT: And of course, what does winning the Constant Contact All Star recognition mean for RUPES?
RUPES: It was a huge honor! We have worked really hard to refine our email campaigns to make them as effective as possible and the All Star recognition is great confirmation that our efforts are producing results. Sometimes you are too close to things to realize how far you’ve come. After receiving the notice we were being recognized I went back and sorted through our older campaigns and the contrast of how much things have changed (for the better) is amazing and we certainly wouldn’t have invested as much energy into it if it wasn’t producing results, so it is obvious Constant Contact has been a huge tool for us.