Lubrizol’s corporate mission is to help the world move cleaner, create smarter and live better. The mission of our technical marketing managers (TMMs) within Lubrizol Performance Coatings is to ensure our customers can create successful end-use products that also help fulfill this mission while meeting emerging needs and global challenges.
Lubrizol’s Performance Coating TMMs are technical experts who have years of experience with specialty chemicals. Their job is to connect multiple labs and technical facilities—and our team of scientists, innovators and creators—to each customer. Their focus is on helping customers explore, formulate and test new chemistries, from a broad portfolio of advanced resins, dispersants, wax additives and specialty additives, to continuously bring differentiated coatings and inks to market. They work closely with customers to understand unique technical needs and to help them develop coatings and inks that deliver performance that would be more difficult to achieve without such support.
Each TMM is involved with myriad activities throughout any given week, all focused on helping customers work through technical challenges and get the resources they need to accelerate success. One important job of the TMMs is to provide ongoing product and applications training and support to the entire sales channel, both direct customers and distributors (sales channel partners).
“Our focus isn’t on selling or marketing Lubrizol products, but on problem solving and enabling customer success using Lubrizol technology,” said Jeff Norris, a TMM in North America. “Once a product helps solve a customer problem or enables their success, it sells itself. If we sell or market anything, it is Lubrizol’s problem-solving capabilities. After all, when the customer wins, we win, and we use all available Lubrizol resources to make that happen.”
Deep Product Knowledge
Bill Ruth, also a TMM in North America with extensive industry experience, said deep product knowledge and the ability to understand customer goals are two of the most important requirements of the job.
“We have hundreds and hundreds of products. Finding the one or two that will meet a specific customer need takes knowledge. It also requires good general technical industry knowledge, understanding how coatings technology works and how our products work so the two can be matched together.”
He added that it’s critical to ask the customer a lot of questions to understand their goals and then ask a lot of questions of Lubrizol’s internal team to get the best answers for each customer.
“Lubrizol brings a broader range of products than many competitors, which enables solutions for many problems. We can combine our technologies together for the best possible solution,” said Ruth.
Before COVID, a normal schedule had TMMs constantly on the road visiting customers and attending tradeshows, conferences, and regional society meetings, while remaining in close contact with customers and Lubrizol labs. As most people had to do, the TMMs adapted to use technology to stay in touch with customers. Even as COVID restrictions began to lift, the use of new communication methods has continued, helping to stay more connected to customers and to fellow employees, even with fewer face-to-face meetings.
Chris Williams, a TMM in Europe, pointed to the advantages of this new way of working, in terms of staying connected and the environmental benefits.
“With so many ways to have video calls, customers have more connectivity in terms of reaching groups of people and getting faster responses. With organizations moving more toward using these ways of communicating, it’s easier to have more dynamic discussions while also reducing the amount of travel. That leaves more time to work and benefits the environment with fewer flights. Face-to-face interactions will still be valuable, but I think they will happen with more discretion,” said Williams.
Roberto Barrera, a TMM in Latin America, also had to seek out new ways to communicate during the pandemic, using video calls for direct customer interaction and video seminars when connecting with multiple customers at one time. “My job is to be the link with our Latin American customers and the Lubrizol team of technical experts. Thankfully, we never lost that connection or our ability to offer the best Lubrizol option and to ensure our customers could speak with an expert to help solve any challenge and be a partner to begin new projects,” said Barrera.
The TMMs also work to develop and maintain relationships with co-suppliers. This includes pigment manufacturers and suppliers of additives or polymers that Lubrizol does not make. “These relationships can benefit customers because we have an understanding of all the raw materials in a formula, not just what Lubrizol provides,” said Norris. “These relationships also help each TMM network within particular industries to stay up to date on trends and technology.”
Norris added that along with the Lubrizol customer service group and account managers, the TMMs are the primary customer advocates. “We are all-in on coordinating the use of Lubrizol products and technologies to achieve customer success, which means providing timely and expert technical assistance and constantly exploring new ideas and diverse perspectives to accelerate this success,” he said.