Is industrial marketing necessary? It is a fact that marketing is an indispensable element in any manufacturer’s business strategy. However, many people don’t understand the relevance of marketing in a manufacturing context.
In this article, we will answer the question ‘Is industrial marketing necessary?’, and then look at some ideas for an effective industrial marketing strategy.
What is industrial marketing?
As the name suggests, industrial marketing is simply the marketing of industrial products or services. It’s a form of business-to-business (B2B) marketing where companies sell products or services to other organizations or businesses.
Unlike business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing that targets the challenges, interests and needs of individual consumers, B2B marketing targets the challenges, interests and needs of individuals making purchases on behalf of their companies.
Industrial marketing is a very unique and distinct field, characterized by long buying cycles and a very specialized audience of B2B buyers
Is industrial marketing necessary?
Consider the following B2B statistics:
- 70% of buyers do their own research before talking to a sales representative
- 90% of buyers say online content has a significant effect on their purchasing decisions
- 67% of the buyer’s journey is now conducted digitally
- 70% of B2B buyers say company reputation is a major consideration when selecting a company to do business with
- 84% of VPs and CEOs use social media to make buying decisions
All these statistics point to the fact that there has been a significant shift from traditional marketing strategies to digital marketing strategies. Manufacturing companies cannot solely rely on traditional marketing techniques like radio/TV ads, face-to-face meetings, phone calls, direct mail or print ads. To connect with customers and prospects more effectively, you need to embrace new strategies like social media, paid online advertising, webinars, content marketing, SEO and video marketing.
Whether you hire an internal team or outsource to a professional agency, you must have a solid digital marketing strategy in order to remain competitive.
There has been a shift from traditional marketing strategies to digital marketing strategies
Steps for effective industrial marketing
Here are the steps to an effective industrial marketing campaign:
1. Understand the buyer’s journey
Industrial buyers don’t just wake up and make a purchasing decision. The buyer’s journey describes the process which buyer’s go through before making a purchase. Your prospective customers could fall anywhere in the journey and it’s your responsibility to meet them where they are and provide the necessary information.
The buyer’s journey is broken down in three main stages or steps; awareness, consideration and decision.
- Awareness: The buyer recognizes that they have a problem. They then start looking for information that will help them understand and name their problem
- Consideration: The buyer understands their problem and begins researching different solutions
- Decision: The buyer has decided on their approach, method or strategy. Their aim now is to evaluate potential suppliers, make a shortlist and eventually make a purchasing decision
The buyer’s journey is broken down in three main stages or steps; awareness, consideration and decision
2. Create your buyer personas
Who exactly are your potential buyers? What are their challenges, goals and habits? What is their role in the organization? To understand your buyers and their motivations, you need to build a buyer persona.
According to HubSpot, a persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
Some of the personas manufacturers are trying to reach include the following:
- Procurement managers
- Maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) managers
- Research and development (R&D) teams
- Design engineers
A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers
Buyer persona example:
3. Set goals
To succeed with industrial marketing, you need to set SMART goals:
- Specific: Outline your desired outcome in specific, clear terms. Your goals should answer five W questions; When, what, who, why and where?
- Measurable: Your goal must be easily quantifiable
- Attainable: Consider the resources and time you have, and set ambitious but realistic goals
- Relevant: Your goal should be aligned with other big-picture goals
- Time-bound: Having a clear date of completion for each goal will keep you accountable on a daily basis
4. Create educational content
Content is an indispensable element of any successful marketing strategy. Here are some of the benefits of creating educational content:
- Brand awareness: Content will make your company and products more visible to other businesses. When an individual realizes that their company or organization has a need, you will be the first manufacturer who comes to mind. As purchasing decisions are being discussed, decision-makers will recognize your company name. Brand awareness will therefore make you stand out from the competition.
- Positions your company as a thought leader: Your potential customers are always looking for someone they can turn to for training, education, helpful information and expert advice. Educational content will position your company as a thought leader in your industry.
- Increases lead conversions: Most B2B customers conduct extensive research before making a buying decision. Providing great educational content will make it easier for potential customers to choose your company over the competition.
When creating educational content, keep in mind the buyer’s journey. For an effective marketing campaign, you need to provide relevant content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Here are some content ideas to consider:
- Awareness stage: 101 eBooks, educational blog posts and social media posts. A good example is Cisco that publishes informative blog posts on a regular basis
- Consideration stage: Case studies, webinars, comparison guides and buyer guides. Tulip holds regular manufacturing webinars featuring subject matter experts and industry leaders.
- Decision stage: Product videos, pricing calculators, brochures and spec sheets. In this video, RT engineering explain how they built the custom automation labeling machine
90% of buyers say online content has a significant effect on their purchasing decisions
5. Use marketing technology and automation
Market automation is about using software and tools to automate marketing activities. There are numerous tools in the market that you can use to organize contact lists, schedule email campaigns, create content and publish to your website. This includes HubSpot market automation, Moosend, SendinBlue, Omnisend, Autopilot, Marketo and InfusionSoft.
When evaluating different automation tools, here are some things to consider:
- Ease of use: Choose software that is easy to understand and navigate
- Analytics and reporting: You should be able to track the success of any campaigns you are running. Select automation software that can keep track of metrics that are important to you
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
- Support: Automation can be very complex. Look for providers that offer robust tutorials, knowledge bases and other customer support options
- Integrations: Your marketing automation software should easily integrate with your already existing tools
- Pricing and scalability: Select a provider that is not only reasonably priced, but one that can also expand with you as your needs change
6. Update or redesign your website
When it comes to industrial marketing, your website is very important. It is often the first place where a potential buyer will make contact with your business. If they have a bad experience, they might leave and never come back. Therefore, to capture leads, you must ensure that your website is always well-designed and up-to-date.
Here are some things you might need to look at:
- Homepage design: Your homepage is what gives visitors the first impression of your company. Therefore, having an intuitive homepage design and navigation is a must for your site. Use a clear and organized structure that shows users where to go. Since visitors might scroll to the bottom of your page, ensure your footer is up-to-date as well.
- Mobile- friendliness: Nowadays, more people are using smartphones, tablets and other mobile gadgets to look for products, compare pricing, gather specs and make purchases. If you cannot view your site properly on a mobile device, you will need to change to a mobile responsive design. This will adjust your site’s layout to any screen size automatically
- HTTPS encryption: With the increasingly common data breaches, your customers and prospects are very concerned about their privacy and security. Moving your website from HTTP to HTTPS will safeguard against fraud and cyber attacks. This will give your visitors greater peace of mind and a pleasant user experience
- Quality fonts and images: Use classic, easy-to-read and modern fonts for your web content. In addition, use quality images that project the professionalism and personality of your company
- Online product catalog: Your website must include an easy-to-use and up-to-date product catalog. The catalog will show your buyers what your company has to offer and product specs. Customers should be able to submit RFQs using forms and buy products directly from your catalog.
RELATED: How a Website Redesign Affects SEO
Is industrial marketing necessary? The answer is a resounding yes. If you don’t have the resources or time to build a marketing strategy, partnering with an industrial marketing agency would be a great idea. An established agency has years or even decades of experience in marketing. They are also up-to-date on the latest technologies, tools and digital trends. With their team of specialists, you will get quality results much faster.