Even old-school manufacturers can easily get a foothold in the online world. The Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center, funded by many of the state’s universities and housed at Bradley University in Peoria, is running a program called “Made in Illinois.”
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“This is really an effort to increase the opportunities for Illinois manufacturing companies to gain visibility for the products and services that they’re producing here in the state,” says IMEC vice president Tucker Kennedy. “Many small and mid-size manufacturers have difficulty getting themselves positioned externally, either on the Internet or with their customers through some of their traditional marketing channels.” Kennedy says manufacturers and sellers must give themselves a chance for potential customers to find them: “Ultimately, it’s about feeding the sales funnel, and if you’re a buyer in another state or another country, and if you’re looking for a particular component, most buyers these days are starting that process through a web search,” he says.
The program, launched in conjunction with a U.S. Department of Commerce initiative called “Make It in America,” allows companies to register for a free online profile and also get help with social media.