Instead, to its surprise, it found a powerful new method for generating highly qualified sales leads.
The East Hills, N.Y.-based manufacturer says these new Web leads could account for dozens of new clients and millions of dollars in revenue.
CONTENT FOR USERS
"We went after the Internet as an opportunity to create awareness, but we didn't expect it to become such a direct aid to sales," said Claire Zinnes, interactive marketing manager for Pall Corp., which has around 8,000 employees in 20 countries and logs roughly $1 billion in annual revenue.
To design the site, Pall turned to the Cincinnati-based marketing agency Hensley Segal Rentschler (HSR), which organized content around users' needs rather than by company divisions.
Mike Hensley, creative director at HSR, said because marketing in the filtration business is information-intensive, most customers are R&D personnel who are looking for a solution to a problem they have in their own manufacturing processes.
To address this, the site is fully searchable and includes a section on specific product information.
In just two months, leads coming from the Web site had grown from just a few a week to more than 25. Ms. Zinnes says she expects the pace to continue.
"I think we have yet to scratch the surface of this," she said.
More importantly, the leads are of exceptional quality. Ms. Zinnes said people are writing such comments as "Please respond ASAP," on the site's Request for Information form.
And almost all the leads are originating from companies or divisions of larger organizations that Pall has never dealt with. Typically, one sale for Pall represents tens of thousands of dollars in annual revenue. Once initiated, most sales last many years.
One highly promising request for information, for example, came from a major biotech company. Pall had worked with the company before, but the lead, worth up to $100,000 a year, originated from a division it had never contacted previously.
In another instance, a Canadian biotech concern contacted Pall with interest in a purchase representing $20,000 in annual revenue. Again, the company was brand-new to Pall, a particular bonus from the Web site since Pall has historically invested little promotional energy in Canada.
FINDING NEW LEADS
The kind of result Pall is seeing doesn't surprise Richard Buchanan, author of a recent study about manufacturers on the Web. He says manufacturing promises to be one of the fastest growing sales segments on the Internet.
That's particularly true in the area of global trade. "There is something fundamental about how the Internet is changing the export business," said Mr. Buchanan.
Certainly that seems to be the case for Pall. The Web's global structure is custom-tailored to the company's far-flung international business interests. Its customer base stretches across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Even with phones and fax, factors such as time zones and languages have proven formidable obstacles to marketing to Pall's global clientele. But now their customers are just a mouse-click away.
HEAVY ON INFORMATION
Pall designed its site so all e-mail comes into the company's headquarters, which allows Ms. Zinnes to monitor the nature and volume of the responses. From there, she can redirect the messages over Pall's Lotus Notes network to the appropriate sales reps and marketers.
Pall and its agency said they believed the site's high volume of detailed, easily searchable information is generating the surprising number of quality leads.
Pall is actively promoting its home page by including the Web address in all promotional materials such as business cards, direct mail and trade advertising. It also is aggressively building awareness for it at trade shows with a multimedia kiosk that replicates the site.