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My start at the European office and how our marketing tactics evolved (Part 2)


In my last Blog+ article, I explained my first experience of traveling to Japan in 2001, to visit our former office in Shinagawa. As mentioned, it was an exciting adventure to a new world.


Blog: Nisshinbo Micro Devices Inc. is Born.


Travelling in Tokyo

My manager and I stayed at the Shinagawa Prince hotel, next to the Shinagawa train station. The hotel was as large as a small sized village, with several towers, restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Actually, a quite convenient location, as you can travel to almost anywhere in Tokyo from this station. However, be prepared during the rush hours as it is very crowded and easy to get lost or confused due to many platforms, train operators and various kinds of services. During the first week I travelled together with my Japanese manager to get used to the complicated train and subway systems and to get familiar with using the various vending machines to buy a ticket at the station. The other week I had to travel on my own and of course I took the wrong train service, I already noticed that this train was not so crowded compared to the week before. It was a super express to Haneda airport and it only stops at major stations. So, I looked stunned when the train passed Aomono Yokocho station where I had to get off, it took a while until it finally stopped and my first thought was to take the train in the opposite direction, again I was wrong. Hmm, now I was getting worried, I should prepare my trips in a better way and make a checklist or buy a guidebook which train to take and which stations to pass through. Finally, but a bit late, I arrived at the office, and they all laughed about my story.



Figure 1. Tokyo Subway Map

Akihabara “Electric Town”

During the weekend, we had free time and I really wanted to see the famous Akihabara electronics district, an area especially for enthusiastic electronics lovers and hobbyists. So, I prepared my trip with my brand-new train guidebook and travelled without any issues, checking and counting all stations during my trip, so it is possible to travel on my own in Tokyo after all. In my home country, we do have plenty of electronics shops of course, but they are all scattered throughout the city. Akihabara is a sort of electronics village, and you can spend all day looking for your tools, equipment or components, most convenient. It is amazing what you can find over there, it is almost endless, and time seems too short to see it all. Strolling through all the narrow alleys, watching the tiny shops and huge Yodobashi Camera department stores you will never find in your own country. Especially the tiny shops, some are famous among tourists from all over the world and can even be found on social media or YouTube these days.



Figure 2. Akihabara “Electric town”


Social Media Development

In 2001, social media channels and YouTube did not even exist or were just in a very early stage. Our marketing mainly consisted of advertising in printed trade magazines, in those days our European office used an external agency to create such kind of content. It was a complicated and long workflow, explaining our technical products to non-technical people and hoping that our explanations were sufficient and clear enough, and it was always exciting to see the first draft materials. Nowadays we make use of a wide variety of tools to promote our products and services. Like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, but especially for the last option we had to invest into learning the skill and using the right tools to make a video. The process of making a video is a complicated task and you have to use even more complicated software tools. But today’s world also makes it easier to learn new skills, in the past you had to follow a course for several days or read thick manuals. In order to use YouTube, the same medium also provides countless videos on how to use it and how to make videos. After some efforts, the first videos were a bit like filmed PowerPoint videos, but this is not a step forward, we had to add narration, animations, subtitles, music and effects to make it more attractive or even entertaining. We were now able to show experiments with our products and explain specific features of interest not only interesting for design engineers but also for our internal staff for education. Videos are a very good option to help engineers to learn more about a product in a very relaxed way and they can watch it as often as needed or even share it with other colleagues. We may not even have discovered the full power of creating and using videos for different purposes yet, but the content on our YouTube channel is getting better over time.



Figure 3. Nisshinbo Micro Devices' YouTube Channel


Online Distribution Channel Development

Since I joined the company, the way we sell our products has changed significantly. In 2001 it was very common to sell our products only through local distributors. We still have this option available for our customers, and the merger of the two companies has given us even more local sales channels. It has a number of advantages for our customers because the local distributors speak the local language and they offer personal contact and support to the customer, it is still a popular sales method. They also offer us the service of finding potential new customers and getting in contact with them as they know their markets well. However, gradually there was also a need for so called online distributors as well, I am sure that the Covid-19 pandemic also stimulated this option even more. This form of distribution has certainly additional advantages over local distribution. The products are displayed in a webshop and can be ordered 24 hours a day, some even offer the option to purchase in small quantities as well. Shipment is usually done within one day, provided that there is stock available, but most importantly an online distributor offers a one stop shop option, meaning that all parts on the bill of material can be ordered in one time. In this way designers or purchasers do not have to deal with all kinds of suppliers and their typical ordering methods, it saves valuable time and effort. These online distributors also provide a lot of additional services likes technical courses, seminars, tutorials, circuit board design tools, product promotion and even advertising. Nisshinbo Micro Devices is actively doing online buiness with market leaders Mouser, DigiKey, RS Components, EBV (Avnet), Chip One Stop and so on. It is just amazing to visit such a warehouse and see how the components are selected and shipped. Check out our list of local and online distributors on our website. Next time I will make another story about my experiences and our current marketing methods.



Figure 4. Nisshinbo Micro Devices' Purchase Web Page



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About Author

Hans Adams
Hans Adams

As a young kid he was already interested in electronics and played with old radios, tape recorders and TVs. Studied electronics and avionics and moved on to the security system business to finish the practical part of the study. However, he continued for another 20 years in this business in different positions and finally became a field application engineer traveling throughout the country visiting numerous customers to do maintenance and solving technical problems etc. In March 2001 he joined Ricoh Europe (Netherlands) B.V. as an application engineer and is currently Nisshinbo's MarCom manager for Europe and assisting the Japanese digital marketing team. Currently he is living in the Amsterdam area together with his wife and son, always busy with something in the house or garden but also enjoying with friends.

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My start at the European office and how our marketing tactics evolved
My start at the European office and how our marketing tactics evolved

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