Cliff Medling | Get to Know the “Born to Design” Podcast Host
Who is Cliff Medling?
Do you want to learn to develop and launch marketing campaigns for leading high technology organizations? If yes, we’ve got your back!
Cliff Medling hosts the Born to Design Podcast (for SOLIDWORKS). He is a skilled and experienced marketer who has developed and launched marketing campaigns for prominent high-tech companies with a global sales force. Cliff also oversees the strategy, content production, and demand generation initiatives for various industries, focusing on existing clients and new prospects. Cliff focused on meeting sales goals, driving engagement, and a positive customer/prospect experience, as well as managing campaigns from concept to execution, including segmentation, localization, analytics, and performance.
To sum up, listen to this episode with Cliff to learn all these!
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solidworks, marketing, podcast, people, career, customers, questions, design, floyd, engineers, stories, videos, commercials, engineering, mechanical engineering, enjoyed, fascinating, talked, coach, inspired
Presenter, Cliff Medling, Rafael Testai, Aaron Moncur
Hi, everyone. We’ve set up this being an engineer podcast as an industry knowledge repository, if you will, we hope it’ll be a tool where engineers can learn about and connect with other companies, technologies, people, resources and opportunities. So make some connections and enjoy the show. If you asked
Cliff Medling 00:19
high school students, you know 99.9% of them will have a mobile phone in their pocket, right. But if you asked any of them how it was made, I bet there’s less than 1% that understands how a mobile phone was made.
Rafael Testai 00:47
Hello, everyone, welcome to the being engineer podcast. We are co host Rafael Testai. Today we have another very special guest. His name is Cliff Medling, and he is the host of the Born to design a podcast for SolidWorks. Ladies, gentlemen, yes, we have the host of the Born to design SolidWorks podcast. He’s an experienced talented marketing professional with significant success in developing and launching marketing campaigns for for leading high technology organizations that support a worldwide sales force leads with this strategy, content creation and demand generation efforts, which target both customers and new prospects over several industries focuses on meeting sales goals, driving engagement, and a positive customer prospect experience. He manages campaigns from creation of content through delivery, including segmentation, localization, analytics and performance. If some of these words don’t make sense to some of the listeners, we’re going to talk about a lot of marketing in this podcast and the overlaps that it has with engineering. So Cliff, welcome to the show.
Cliff Medling 01:57
Thank you. Thank you, Rafael. It’s good to be here.
Rafael Testai 02:00
Of course. So i’ve been a fan of your podcast. They’re born to design podcasts, which all of our listeners can find in the show notes below. Tell us, what’s your career background? How did you get involved with SolidWorks? But you mentioned the come from a career at the green design. Is that correct?
Cliff Medling 02:17
Yeah, so I actually started off College in mechanical engineering. And I found out I didn’t have the great study habits as some of the other students know, but I actually worked in a lab actually teaching AutoCAD engineering students. And I found about out about product design or industrial design. And I switched majors over to design and, and I really, really enjoyed it and love that. So I, I started, actually worked for a large defense contractor doing more human factors engineering design work. And then later on my career just gradually took me over into oops, sorry, my screen just went dead. I figured I’d stay on. But sorry, my, my career took me in a different direction, into marketing. And, but the thing is, I always wanted to get back to, to the design world to the engineering world, because I really enjoyed that market. So I worked, I did a short stint at Autodesk actually. And then, and then I came over to SolidWorks. And I’ve been there for quite some time now. And I will say, Now, I actually have a really great position I manage, you know, worldwide, the customer referencing programmer, or customer, you know, for so for all the case studies you see online, on the SolidWorks website, that we promote heavily, because we got a lot of great customers, and I’m the one who gets to meet with them and talk with them and, and share their stories and promote their stories to the SolidWorks in the design community. So it’s great. It’s I think, I think we’re lucky in this industry to have such interesting people, people who are problem solvers, inventors, creating new new ideas. So it’s a very fascinating community. And so the podcast is came out of that I would go on site to visit a lot of customers and talk to them, you know, about what, what they do, how they using SolidWorks. But a lot of times, like 25% of the time, there was a very fascinating story behind the story. Right, how they were mentoring others in their community, how they were doing some cool innovations on the side, I got to work with a lot of the BattleBots teams. Most of them use SolidWorks. So just some fascinating people who are doing a lot in their community, mentoring other engineers, you know, teachers who were getting How would I say this teachers who are mentoring a lot of students in a different direction than your typical Students classroom or high school classroom so, so just fascinating people and for me, I love I love talking to people and sharing their stories. It’s, it’s, it’s fascinating to me so it’s kind of it’s kind of interesting being on the other end here. Because I’m I like asking the questions and learning and learning more about people. So I even I think, you know, we recently just Johnny Floyd, somebody introduced me to Johnny Floyd in our community and he’s a 91 year old SolidWorks user fascinating. Guy’s brilliant still inventing, still come up with new ideas, still problem solving i. So I was able to capture and share his story. So. So those are, those are really fun to me,
Rafael Testai 05:46
Johnny Floyd. Okay, I’m looking at right now. And I’ll leave a link in the description for our listeners. So you can look into Johnny Floyd. So 91 years old? That’s inspiring,
Cliff Medling 05:58
right. 65 years of experience engineering. So 65 years? Yeah, long. So yeah. So he was there’s a quote on there where he talks about, just you know, the first thing we got excited about it by using CAD right on the computer was colored lines. He said, Every line we drew before then was gray. Right? So so it’s a small things at the beginning, but yeah, he’s he’s been using SolidWorks. Since the beginning.
Rafael Testai 06:27
I see that I look up Johnny Floyd SolidWorks. And I see that the article on their blogs that solidworks.com, which link will be in the show notes, is written by Cliff Medling, which we have a guest. I’m also a writer here and the SolidWorks. Blog. So it’s pretty cool. Okay, I clicked on your name, and I’m seeing what other articles you writes on the blog.
Cliff Medling 06:48
Yeah, mainly just the blogs and maybe a few BattleBots. That that’s that’s the the main thing. Yeah, we I always write a blog for each podcast is to help promote, it’s easier to promote, and then you can add the blog to other social channels. So?
Rafael Testai 07:04
Absolutely. So tell me more about how you fell into marketing?
Cliff Medling 07:10
You know, that’s an interesting question. So yeah, I was working. So as much as working for a big defense contractor, and at the time, that’s when computer animation was really starting to make it big. And so I really wanted to get involved with that. I thought that was a fascinating business. So I started doing some of that myself. And then, you know, through some personal changes in life, not nothing bad, just getting married, settling down moving. You know, I ended up working for a small computer company. It wasn’t focused on engineering and stuff. But there, I started working with the marketing organization. And then, you know, actually went back and I was probably a little off topic, but I actually went back to career coach to decide where I should be, should be looking. And I decided I wanted to stick into the design and engineering field in the industry. And in software, which I was spent most of my career in. So marketing seemed to be well, I was more like technical sales, and then marketing as well. Even though I only took one marketing class in college, so but but I, yeah, just made that transition. And I felt like it was a good fit. I’ve enjoyed it ever since I really enjoy marketing, especially to this to this industry, to this community, of designers and engineers, inventors.
Rafael Testai 08:41
So when When was your conversation with this career coach? How many years ago?
Cliff Medling 08:44
Gosh, that was probably about 15 years ago? Yeah.
Rafael Testai 08:48
How does that work? Many of us, including myself, I’ve never spoken with a career coach. What does that like? What do you find them?
Cliff Medling 08:55
Well, yeah, so um, I think my wife actually recommended it recommended this woman to me, and it was, it was more you know, it, I’m glad you bring up this point. Because I think a lot of times, like I have a, I have a one son in college, and my second child is he’s looking at colleges. And he’s my oldest one knew exactly what he wanted to do. And the second one is, you know, he’s is he’s evolved in so many different things. And I feel like we need some type of a career coach, counselor for children when they’re leaving high school or even a junior or senior year, because there’s, there’s a great opportunity. You know, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the Myers Briggs test. Yeah, so, yeah, so yeah, it’s two women who basically looked at personality profiles and and broke it down into basically 16 different groups. And you can figure out your personality profile, which, you know, helps you decide what kind of career paths are right for you. And then I did a skills assessment as well. You know, what are your skills What are your personality traits?
Rafael Testai 10:02
And why did this when you did the Korea coach? Yeah,
Cliff Medling 10:06
she helped me out with the resume and this sort of thing and deciding where I wanted to go. But yeah, that was that was very fascinating. I’ve never done that before. And I was thinking, wow, that’d be great for a younger audiences, right, to try to determine, based on their personality profile and their skills, you know, what would be the best career path for them? Right? Instead of, you know, as most of us did, in my generation, growing up in the 80s, it was, you know, you just kind of, you know, I was actually, I was very artistic in high school, right, I enjoyed art and joy, doing artwork and stuff. And my dad, you know, really differed me from first another right word, but he, he really definitely pointed me in a different direction, cuz he’s like, there’s no money to be making art. He’ll be you’ll be poor your whole life. But that’s not true today, right? There’s so many graphics and social opportunities where art is, is you can build a great career in art these days. But, you know, he steered me towards engineering, just because that was seen as the place to be right. At the time, but you know, it’d been, you know, it would have been great to find to do some sort of skills and personality type assessment to find out what, you know, where you would fit better in, in professionally. I see. Okay, sorry, I didn’t know we’re gonna go this path. This is. But yeah, it’s Yeah. Good.
Rafael Testai 11:40
So when you said that you visit people or some SolidWorks customers have interesting stories? Do you actually go visit them in person?
Cliff Medling 11:50
Well, yeah. Pre COVID. Yes, yeah. And then, actually, when we would have it’s called 3d experience world now, but previously was called SolidWorks. World. And it was a big event with five to 6000 people. And we would go there is so many designers, inventors and people with interesting stories. And we’d have a lot of them on stage speaking. And then I would I would capture a lot of their, the podcast there. I’d have like a little podcast booth. I talked to them and listen to their fascinating stories. And I would do, I would probably do 10 or 12, within three days. Podcast, with a lot of the designers at SolidWorks world, but since the last two years since since COVID, I’ve done only a couple in person interviews, most of them have been over zoom meetings. Yeah.
Rafael Testai 12:47
Well think about, we’re only going to do one COVID coming here, but think about how tragic COVID could have been without all the electronic communication. Right. So at least we have video calls.
Cliff Medling 12:59
Exactly. Absolutely. Absolutely. 100% agree. Yeah.
Rafael Testai 13:03
I see. Well, given that you run the SolidWorks podcast, well, let me ask you, like, whose idea was that? Did you propose that to somebody?
Cliff Medling 13:12
Yeah, I propose the idea. Yeah. Because I thought there had to be you know, because video was great. But usually, you know, people only want want to watch about three to five minutes a video, especially on a topic. So when we were doing that customer stories, right, you can tell the story, what the company does, how they’re using SolidWorks how they’re solving problems, right? That’s the purpose of the videos, right? And, you know, that’s three to four minute videos, probably plenty time to do that. But if you’re telling, you know, a story, that backstory you know, it takes a lot longer than that. And that’s something that you can listen to, like an audio book, right, and, you know, in podcasts are really growing at that time.
Rafael Testai 13:56
What else do you do a SolidWorks.
Cliff Medling 13:59
So really, that’s my focus is customers. So, you know, working with marketing teams worldwide. Because, you know, they because, you know, the marketing the sales team has a connection with the customer. And, you know, I don’t know, I don’t know the name of the companies in Italy or in Japan, right? So I have to work with those local geo marketing leaders to you know, make sure that they have customers that that are have interesting stories that we could, you know, build a case study for build a video for write a blog about, etc, etc. And, and build those, build that content and promote it through marketing on the SolidWorks channels, right.
Rafael Testai 14:46
Okay, so given that you are the host of the selberg podcast, like you said earlier, you tend to ask the questions. So now the roles have reversed. What’s something that you wish some people would ask? ask you, do you think it would be interesting for you for people to know about you? Or about you hosting the show? Bro? open question.
Cliff Medling 15:08
Oh, you know, I? Honestly I, everybody asked me, you know, a lot of a lot of people I talked to the one list of questions ahead of time. And I tell him, I said, I really don’t like I don’t really don’t have questions. I don’t like to be prepared. I like to just take the conversation where it’s going, but but I do I do focus on if I do have questions. It’s this and I start with, you know, I want to know, what they’re doing now. Right? Where they started, right, where they got how they got from point A to point B. Right? And then what inspired them, you know, what drove them to solve this problem? Right. And, and then, and that’s really it. And other questions will come out of that. That’s really the only questions I focus on. Sometimes, I always like to ask them what the future of design is, right? Where where’s this going? You know, what, what do you think is the new innovations that we need to talk about? And it’s amazing, a lot of it is, I think I talked about early was collaboration. You know, we, I think I mentioned, this was when we were talking before we recorded or not that we talked about Tesla and an Einstein, how they, you know, they were very secretive. They worked in silence, right? They didn’t share any ideas. But designers and engineers, work in more of a collaborative environment these days, share ideas, try to get to market quicker, right, because there’s a lot of competition out there. So collaboration seems to be a common theme that I’m hearing these days.
Rafael Testai 16:39
I think that we’ve covered two out of the three questions that you asked you a guest on your podcast, this all works podcast. The third question would be What inspired you to choose more of the marketing avenue you mentioned the career coach, anything else that inspired you to take this route in your career?
Cliff Medling 17:00
You know, what, I? That’s a great question. But I don’t know if I have an answer. It just kind of
Rafael Testai 17:05
I stole this from someone.
Cliff Medling 17:07
I know, I think I just naturally, slowly migrated there. Yeah. So. Okay,
Rafael Testai 17:15
got it. Well, do you have any questions for me, since you’re such a good person asking questions, you could ask me a couple questions if you’d like to.
Cliff Medling 17:23
Yeah. So I mean, you’re a young engineer yourself. You’ve got a long career ahead of you, you know, what do you what are you interested in? Or what? What inspires you to keep moving forward?
Rafael Testai 17:37
Well, thanks for asking what? I’m not so young anymore. I just turned 31. Last night, you’re still young. So I started out in genetics, I did a mobile application. And now I’m doing mechanical engineering for the last four years. And what really interests me is using the mechanical engineering knowledge and the business knowledge, I have to develop one day products in the medical field and the rehabilitation field, I think that health is wealth, that if we don’t have health, we don’t have anything. And this also plays in with what your wife does, being healthy. It’s just so important. And I want to develop products that influence people’s health and have them have better life that would make me it’s like a extra paycheck. That makes me feel good. If I can impact people’s lives in that way.
Cliff Medling 18:28
Oh, that’s a great answer. Yeah. I love that. I love that. Yeah. Yeah, I think we need to I totally 100% agree we need to focus on on health. I think we at least here in America, we’re stuck on quick fixes to our health. And we need to go back to the basics, you know, cooking, cooking our own meals for ourselves, you know, putting healthy ingredients in our bodies and stuff. So yeah, it’s good.
Rafael Testai 18:51
My wife and I actually meal prep, we make like 30 meals in one day. And then we freeze them all. And then we have meals readily available, and I call them 30 Good decisions in the fridge.
Cliff Medling 19:05
That’s, that’s awesome. I mean, I think there’s very few people doing that. I think that’s great.
Rafael Testai 19:10
Well, you’re the perfect person to ask this question to like we’re jumping topics. I hope all listeners can, can keep up with this, but changing subjects here. I also do mechanical engineering and the marketing at the company that I work on right now. Pipeline. That’s why I’m co hosting the show. And I do write some other blogs and create the marketing content on YouTube. What’s What would you say? Maybe some career advice from you’re like the perfect blend. How can I use my skill sets? My imagine a Venn diagram, the marketing overlaps with the mechanical engineering, I’m in that sweet spot of that overlap with the two circles. What more can I do to bring more value to the company that I work at?
Cliff Medling 19:50
Um, well, I think you know, when we are interviewing candidates for jobs at SolidWorks for marketing positions. I think the very first question is are the First thing I want to see is writing ability. Really, you know, writing is so such an important part to marketing in and we’re not talking like you have to write a five page essay, right. You know, tag Good, good subject lines for emails is very important. You know, you have to learn how to engage people engage customers, so. So for Mark and yeah, I mean, and the thing is, is, there is a lot of overlap, you know, with engineering and marketing, actually, I wrote a blog years ago about, you know, something about how can marketing and engineering get along? Better, but there is a lot of overlap there, right, are both problem solving in a way?
Rafael Testai 20:45
Looking for a blog right now?
Cliff Medling 20:47
Oh, it’s old. I had to find it. Yeah, it’s probably from 2014 or something. Now?
Rafael Testai 20:52
What? What resource would you give to someone like myself that wants to improve their writing? Where would you point them to?
Cliff Medling 21:00
Gosh, a resource for writing? That’s a good question. That’s a good question. I don’t have the answer for that. Yeah. I think just researching and looking at other marketing ideas, I know, I used to have pages bookmarked of good subject lines. And, you know, I would always just look at, you know, oh, I have an answer for you. And I think this is, this is just me. I don’t know if other marketers would agree. But I actually actually really enjoy commercials. You know, you know, I enjoy the Superbowl. I like football. But I always pay attention to the commercials. And I’m one who’s very critical. That commercials no good. And that one’s very engaging. And, you know, what made this one work? Why was that? Why was I interested in this product? And not this one? So I think, you know, I’m always fascinated with commercials.
Rafael Testai 21:56
What’s a tool that has stood out to you lately?
Cliff Medling 22:00
Actually, the one from the Superbowl about even though it’s probably I don’t have a topic, but it was about a Bitcoin. And it was just the little thing bounce around the screen. I thought it was it made people engaged. I thought that was good. There’s a good card commercials recently that I’ve enjoyed as well. So I thought that would cut my mother’s?
Rafael Testai 22:25
Well, when you come across an interesting, have you ever participated in making making a commercial in the production of a commercial?
Cliff Medling 22:33
Well, you know, we do have videos, you know, we have so we have so many videos, types of videos at SolidWorks. Right? We have demo videos, it show off the product. And then we have we have some that are more advertising commercials, and definitely a couple of short commercials to draw interested about a new product or a new initiative that we’ve had in marketing, were inspired by commercials that I’ve seen. Absolutely.
Rafael Testai 23:01
Well, why right on? Well, Cliff, is there anything that I haven’t asked you that I should have asked you?
Cliff Medling 23:09
Um, I’m trying to think the only thing is, I will say that there’s one thing that inspires me outside of work in this community. And I’ve talked to a lot of educators about and that’s about education, I really think there’s, you know, seems like a lot of engineers are unaware that me, for example, let me start with this, maybe cut all that out. But there’s so many, if you asked high school students, you know, 99.9% of them will have a mobile phone in their pocket, right. But if you ask any of them how it was made, I bet there’s less than 1% that understands how a mobile phone was made. I don’t think we do a great job. There’s so much technology out there, there’s so there’s still such a need for younger people in manufacturing. And the manufacturing jobs today are not what they were, you know, you’re not an assembly line worker, right? You get to, you know, program robots and this sort of thing. So there’s so many cool jobs in manufacturing and design. And I think we need to find a way to do a better job reaching those children. Right, because I was definitely one who, luckily, I took a drafting class through tech ed in high school. And I was like, This is great. I love this. Mechanic, can I do this full time? So and, and, you know, it’s, you know, it’s, you know, we teach math in school, but we should also I think we should, you know, I am very lucky my kids have had a great high school where they’ve had, you know, they’ve had tech ed classes and computer classes. As a marketing class as a video production, and I think, you know, we need to expose more children to that. Because I think there’s we’re missing opportunity to reach them. at the, at the critical time when they’re, you know, when they when they’re looking into new areas and new territories and right, looking into their future.
Rafael Testai 25:22
Absolutely. Yeah, education is very important. But to wrap this up, I wanted to thank you and how can people find you?
Cliff Medling 25:31
Yeah, I just mainly the SolidWorks blog. You can look under podcast in the void. If you just look up the SolidWorks or board to design in any of your podcast platforms, you’ll be able to find the podcast and you know, I it’s not about me, though. It’s a there’s some really interesting people out there and I’ve tried to capture their story, and they have a lot of interesting things to tell. So.
Rafael Testai 25:55
Got it. Well, Cliff, thank you so much for being on the podcast. Thank you.
Aaron Moncur 26:03
I’m Aaron Moncure, founder of pipeline design, and engineering. If you liked what you heard today, please share the episode. To learn how your team can leverage our team’s expertise developing turnkey equipment, custom fixtures and automated machines and with product design, visit us at Team pipeline.us. Thanks for listening
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