Creative Marketing Drives Sales at Little Rock's Laser Tools Inc.

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jun. 24, 2013 12:00 am  

Billy Goodnight is part of the crew of machinists working for Laser Tools in Little Rock. The company is one of several laser manufacturers in Arkansas and primarily serves industrial clients. (Photo by Jason Burt)

“It’s difficult to be sexy in the laser industry,” he said. “People just see a math formula and say, ‘What is he talking about?’ But we have to learn how.”

Lasers might be revered as the stuff of adventurous science-fantasy, but on Earth they tend to look like chunks of metal and glass or, at worst, a collection of mathematical equations.

So Wortsmith and Mayerhoeffer have endeavored to make Laser Tools stand out in the laser crowd. Tactics range from the orthodox to the unorthodox: When meeting with clients, Wortsmith always brings along a few bottles of his barbecue sauce.

“Joe came up with the barbecue sauce,” Mayerhoeffer said. “People remember, hey, that’s the guy with the barbecue sauce. It’s a recurring thing.”

But the job gets more difficult with international clients. Laser Tools has clients in several countries including, most recently, Russia. The barbecue approach is effective stateside, but not always with companies overseas.

That’s one reason why Mayerhoeffer launched the company’s new website,, and accompanying social media pages.

Filling a Niche

Meanwhile, the company must compete for clients with other laser companies. Fortunately, its market in Arkansas is mostly niche.

Laser Tools focuses its efforts on marketing and creating specialized devices on-demand for specialized needs. It carries its products all the way from the design stage to the retail stage. Its clients vary from individual customers to companies including Caterpillar, Ford, Entergy Corp., Lockheed Martin, NASA and the U.S. military.

“Everything here is about the perception of value,” Wortsmith said. “We don’t invent products until people ask for their application. Unlike many other people who do it the other way around — cost-up — we start from the perception of value-down. It’s an inverse relationship. That’s the driving reason of success for this company.”

To contrast, Power Technology Inc. of Alexander, which has multimillion-dollar revenue and was founded in 1969, serves the original equipment manufacturing market exclusively.

“We serve OEM customers,” said Walter Burgess, Power Technology’s operations manager, “basically factories that build and repeat the same product over and over again. That could be a range of two to three per year or up to hundreds or thousands a year. We don’t sell to individual people — that’s not the product we manufacture.”



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