Success Story – Ultra Heat
– Donna Temple, President, Ultra Heat, Inc.
Ultra Heat is located in Elkhart, Indiana and was founded in 1991. The company rose to prominence as a niche supplier to RV (Recreational Vehicle) OEMs and the aftermarket. Ultra Heat produces full-contact thick-film heaters to warm plumbing pipes and tanks to keep their contents from freezing. The company also developed other heating products based on the technology. In addition, they leverage their industry position by offering a portfolio with selected accessories of particular interest to avid RVers and boaters.
Sales peaked in 2007, but fell off rapidly due to direct competition from foreign goods (China) followed by a collapse in RV production. Ultra Heat’s sales had fallen 80% by 2009 – that’s when the company joined the TAAF program.
The Adjustment Plan, furnished by GLTAAC, recommended the firm spend about half of its $75,000 in co-funding on marketing and sales efforts. The balance was recommended for other initiatives in order to strengthen Ultra Heat’s core functions and address weaknesses. For example, the plan called for the use of Trade Assistance funds to implement a bar-coding system to improve efficiencies.
Phase 1 of the marketing and sales efforts focused on a major overhaul of the firm’s websites – Ultra Heat for heating products and Annod Industries for accessories. This phase added e-commerce capability, automatic lead distribution of inquiries to Ultra Heat’s distributors, and full CRM integration for easy follow-up. Phase 2 focused on SEO and creation of an inbound marketing program containing blog content and making use of social media. Ultra Heat chose different service providers for these two specialized phases.
Ultra Heat sales in 2015 were nearly 4 times what they were in 2009 and during this same period the company doubled its employment. The company grew its sales and became more efficient at the same time – pleasantly adding to their bottom line!
Most importantly, their move into e-commerce has been a very good strategy. In 2009 only a few leads – and no sales – resulted from the website. In 2015, half of the firm’s sales were e-commerce, handled by their upgraded websites.