As the marketing & communications coordinator for Shibuya Hoppmann, Loren Starr performs an array of duties in the feeding and filling equipment manufacturer’s marketing department. Because Starr has to also manage the company’s social media marketing efforts, which are always evolving, she is constantly learning new marketing strategies and programs to help the OEM stay on the leading edge. In her seven years working at Shibuya Hoppmann, she’s had two promotions, but she’s not stopping there.
How did you make your way into this industry?
I never set out to get into the packaging field. I graduated from Longwood University in 2012 and did what a majority of recent college graduates do; apply to jobs and hope a company will take a chance on an inexperienced, yet ambitious, twenty-something ready to prove themselves in the working world. Shibuya Hoppmann took that chance on me.
How do you think the manufacturing industry can do a better job at accommodating millennials or supporting the growth of emerging leaders?
A lot of negativity is projected on millennials. Instead of the unconstructive feedback and generalization of millennials, why not capitalize on our innovative generation? Support millennials and encourage them to speak up about their ideas they have for products or even how to streamline manufacturing processes. The caveat is that you have to listen to them. It’s a whole different generational perspective that not a lot of people get afforded to them.
How does Shibuya Hoppmann support you as an emerging leader?
They understand in the ever-evolving marketing and communication fields that it’s important to stay current and refrain from being stagnant. They encourage me to take online classes, webinars, and in person classes in the marketing, tradeshow, and graphic design fields. They support me to do research and make sure I have the latest technology and newest programs for design and video editing. It’s not all about marketing either, they inspire me to have a full grasp and understanding of what our company is and does. I can’t market us if I don’t understand what we do or who we can help.
How do you feel manufacturers can better support women in this industry?
I feel including more women in leadership roles would be very beneficial. With this kind of female representation, young girls aspiring to get into the packaging industry would have someone to look up to. Women are capable of business success as well, and more representation in corporate positions leads to positive change in decision-making and outcomes in companies.
As a marketing professional, how do you help your company innovate?
Bringing the company into the digital advertising era and sharing the importance of social media is a big part of innovation. From a millennial’s perspective, I don’t want to have to call someone if I don’t have to, which is why we have implemented a live chat on our new website. If I have a question and there is a live chat on a website, the chances are higher of me interacting with a company rather than having to call them.
What are some marketing tactics you’ve employed that have helped your company stand out?
Geotargeting is a very smart approach when marketing a manufacturing company. Geotargeting reaches potential customers who are at the show on their phones and allows you to share your relevant content with them. It’s brilliant. When people are not checking out booths, they’re on their phones.
What were some obstacles you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?
Once I received my latest promotion, I was given the majority of control of the marketing department. Some of my new duties included a new boss to report to and handling the entire marketing and tradeshow budgets. That may not seem like too big of a deal, but I am in no way a math whizz. To me, it’s a big responsibility to be in charge of a large amount of money. It’s been a long and slow process to get a grasp on, but organization has been the key.
What advice do you have for other young leaders looking to make their mark?
The manufacturing industry is constantly evolving; meaning it also needs new and innovative employees. You may think that our industry just needs technicians and engineers, but food scientists, marketing professionals, and graphic designers are needed just as much. Be sure to have an open mind and don’t be afraid to ask questions.