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Trade shows are being canceled. Face-to-face sales calls are dwindling. Travel options are limited and getting more so by the day. To say we are in uncertain times during the novel coronavirus global pandemic is an understatement. Anxiety leaves businesses across all sectors wondering how to keep increasing sales despite these new and evolving challenges. The answer is simple: Stop waiting and start embracing other marketing strategies aimed at reaching your prospects.

More than Staying Afloat

Today’s businesses need to be resilient in order to weather the current storm. Thinking of just waiting for it to pass? Think again. We’re flying blind at the moment with no certainty regarding the length or extent of the outbreak. This means that businesses must continue to generate revenue now or risk extinction.

The good news? This too will pass.

While the competition is frozen with anxiety, take advantage with action.

Even with face-to-face contact with customers and prospects at a minimum, there are some steps you can take to stay top-of-mind and make your brand known. These include communicating of your products and services through a variety of digital marketing methods including the following:

Speaking of websites, yours becomes even more important when traditional sales meetings and trade shows are impossible. This is especially relevant for businesses in the industrial and manufacturing space. As global supply chains continue to be interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, building your business will depend on a current, user-friendly, and searchable website. Online order forms, easily accessible contact information, and FAQs all help build brand awareness, boost credibility and drive sales.

Creativity is Key

In addition to amping up your usual inbound marketing efforts, it’s also vital to create alternate prospecting strategies. Video marketing and video conference calls are two inexpensive yet effective ways for your sales team to reach customers digitally when they can’t be on the road.

One last thing to keep in mind if you’re hesitating about spending money in a precarious economic landscape? With trade shows costing in the neighborhood of $50K-$100K, you can put these recouped costs toward alternate sales and marketing tactics. Not to mention that you don’t have to go it alone. If you need help building a cohesive and results-oriented marketing plan, contact the industrial marketing experts at Gotham today.

Gotham, LLC , serving industrial B2B companies internationally with comprehensive marketing services, has released a new website: www.industrialmarketingexperts.com. For over 30 years, Gotham has helped many companies tell their stories in a wide array of industry sectors. Gotham’s unique process of strategic marketing planning and charting measurable results for greater ROI make the marketing company a leader in its space.

The new website features a three-minute overview video detailing how Gotham often operates as the external marketing department for manufacturing firms. Additionally, the company’s methodology is detailed along with the varied services Gotham provides, including responsive website design, SEO, social media marketing, email marketing management, video production management, trade show marketing, media, and much more. The repository of articles in the blog section explores subjects like achieving consistent sales growth, marketing techniques, branding, strategy building, and more. Gotham owner Woody Stoudemire said, “Our new website is just one more way Gotham continues to provide value to industrial companies.”

Gotham’s specialty is helping companies with annual marketing budgets manage creative, execution of marketing tactics, and expenditure.  Gotham’s industrial experience enables the team to offer best-performing marketing services to achieve critical return on investment. Gotham is composed of a core team of highly skilled strategic marketers and designers dedicated to the success of their clients. Stoudemire explains, “Our mission is to help our clients build stronger lead generation, customer acquisition/retention, and overall higher company profitability.”

About Gotham, LLC
Established in 1989, Gotham, LLC is a North Carolina-based industrial marketing firm that specializes in marketing for the B2B industry. During its 30 years, Gotham has served manufacturing clients nationwide and internationally. Services include strategic marketing plans, branding, website design, print design, signage, media, and more.  Information about Gotham is available at www.industrialmarketingexperts.com or 828.327.8099.

 

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For more information, contact:

Gotham, LLC

Woody Stoudemire, President

Phone: 828-327-8099 / Email: info@gothamstrategic.com

Early in the life cycle of a business, the owner may be responsible for all aspects of the business, including sales, marketing, production, and accounting. As the enterprise grows, this becomes unsustainable and limits cash flow.  Some responsibilities need to be outsourced to permit the enterprise to grow beyond the capabilities of a single person.

Having adequate cash flow enables investment to grow the business, meet payroll, and the hiring of ancillary services such as legal and accounting experts. To ensure a strong cash flow, a growing company’s goal should be to build a “marketing machine” that works day and night to generate the right prospects and increase sales. To maximize effectiveness, this should be a combined effort between marketing automation and sales outreach.

The process of building an effective marketing machine should include:

  • Goal setting
  • Developing an ideal customer persona
  • Messaging refinement
  • Strategy
  • Coordinated sales outreach
  • Measuring and refining strategy based on results

Another great way to build a marketing machine is to engage in online marketing for manufacturers, including ongoing content creation and distribution on both your website and social media channels. Support this effort with an ongoing pay-per-click program that helps your ads appear on page one of search engines. This will help communicate your offering to a focused demographic and a specific geographic location to attract the best prospects for your business.

For more information on building a sales and marketing machine for your company, visit www.IndustrialMarketingExperts.com.

Written by Woody Stoudemire

One of the surest ways to acquire a valuable long-term client is to be referred by an existing client. This can save 20–50 percent of typical new customer acquisition costs and eliminates the time-consuming and challenging three-way bid process most companies engage in because the prospect already trusts your ability to effectively handle their challenges.

Interestingly, only 30 percent of all industrial companies have a formalized referral program. To join their ranks and grow your business, here is an outline to help create a stream of regular referrals.

  1. Define goals for your referral program—what type of prospects are most desirable?
  2. Create a database of satisfied customers.
  3. Develop a communication strategy that encourages customers to provide referrals.
  4. Delineate what your expectations are for referrers/ambassadors.
  5. Provide them with simple messaging to communicate.
  6. Determine incentives for referrals—this could be a discount on future services, a cash reward, or a dinner coupon.
  7. Measure the impact of different incentives to determine what’s most effective.
  8. Reward referrers/ambassadors throughout the year with simple thank-yous, swag, and other helpful items.

Customer referrals are important to your company for many reasons and almost always have a positive effect on your bottom line. For more information regarding referral programs for manufacturers, visit www.IndustrialMarketingExperts.com.

Written by Woody Stoudemire

If one more person tells me they took a marketing class in college…I may spontaneously combust!

With seemingly everyone in the world claiming to be “the expert,” the purchasing market is confused. This confusion extends to business owners and sales teams that refuse to permit an expert’s vision and creativity to craft their brands for increased brand recognition and sales. Marketing is inherently fun, and everyone readily provides input, no matter their company role, typically leading to a confusing messaging strategy that sputters from the outset.

Malcolm Gladwell posits the 10,000-hour rule in his book Outliers, which states that individuals’ efforts applied to real-world situations in their chosen fields greater than 10,000 hours validates them as an “expert.” With thirty years of practical marketing experience (and a communications degree), I have helped grow brands and sales across the world. My forty-hour, eight-hour-per-day workweek translates to 2,080 hours per year. Over thirty years, the result is 62,400 hours. By Gladwell’s standard, that’s “expert times six.”

As a marketing expert, I have experienced tremendous successes and a few failures. The minority failure category is typically due to a company not investing properly in marketing (not enough budget), input from too many people (messaging is unfocused and confusing to the audience), or lack of chemistry between myself and client company stakeholders. To be effective, the experts need to be trusted with the larger marketing vision and execution. When people trust my guidance and expertise, the success odds swing heavily in their favor.

Marketing-forward companies that want tangible sales growth need to provide the expert as much information as possible about their company, ideal customer profile, competition, and differences from the competition. They then need to trust the industrial marketing expert to apply an objective vision to a comprehensive strategy to grow the company. This road map for company growth should then be approved by leadership and adopted by the sales staff.

Too often, I see impatient salespeople butt in and create their own version of sales collateral that distracts from the company’s branding goals. Somehow, a marketing class in college or time spent on Facebook qualifies them (in their minds) to initiate renegade campaigns.

Corporate lawyers and CPAs rarely experience this phenomenon because legal documents and corporate tax returns are rarely second-guessed. However, ad campaigns are routinely destroyed by overzealous owners and salespeople taking a clear message and muddling it. The role of corporate approval should be focused more on ensuring accurate and consistent messaging, not alternative directions.

The best policy is to provide ample information up front to your marketing expert, trust his or her expertise, and commit to a long-term marketing strategy to achieve measurable company growth.

For more information regarding business to business marketing for manufacturers, visit www.IndustrialMarketingExperts.com.

Written by Woody Stoudemire

The internet has forever altered the leverage of business-to-business (and retail) decision-making for the customer. This article primarily focuses on the industrial buyer, which has a more complex relationship than the one-to-one purchasing relationship with retail prospects.

Purchasing decisions at the industrial corporation level are often a consensus among C-level executives, managers, purchasing, and employees on the shop floor. To further complicate matters, an administrator often does the research involved in identifying vendors for review.

To attract right fit customers, you need to consider your ideal customer persona:

  • Where are they? (Geo)
  • What need do they have that you can capably solve? (Need)
  • What size company can you capably serve? (Right Fit)
  • Who is in charge of purchasing decisions? (Targeting Titles)
  • How would they benefit from your product or service? (Value)

Think in terms of long-term customers and recurring revenue as opposed to one-off projects. This provides the opportunity to learn about your clients and offer salient advice and products to help their business over time. All customers are not created equal. A single project isn’t nearly as valuable as recurring customers providing lifetime value (LTV).

Once this is done, use narrow messaging and content creation to focus on a specific customer. A simple way to do this is to create a brief, unique value proposition that is laser-focused on the ideal customer persona. No longer than three sentences, this statement should capture today’s short attention spans and compel the reader to action.

There is no shortage of prospects out there for any industry. The key is to attract them with a focus to serve, not simply to sell. By defining the best-fit companies for your unique service offering, you multiply your chance for success once you receive an inquiry. Furthermore, by the time they contact you, the prospect has already traveled along the purchasing curve, nudged closer to buying after reviewing your website and published content.

For more industrial marketing tips and tactics, visit www.IndustrialMarketingExperts.com.

Written by Woody Stoudemire

Remember the movie scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where he had to choose from the grails wisely to avoid death?

Like Indy choosing drinkware, decisions regarding marketing help can make or break you.

My 30-year career has been devoted to helping industrial companies strategically market their products and services, build revenue, and, in many cases, improve the valuation of these firms for a better “cash out.”

Industrial companies that depend on business-to-business (B2B) relationships have a few options for marketing:

1. Do it yourself

2. An “everyman” agency that will work for you . . . and the vet clinic down the street

3. A focused, industrial marketing agency

4. Thomasnet

The “do it yourself” option is the worst of these. It steals time from valuable internal staff, is typically disorganized, often suffers from poor and inconsistent creative, and is the least cost-effective.

The “everyman” agency most likely doesn’t have industrial experience and will require significant hand-holding time while training the agency. They may not understand current best practices for B2B industrial success, either.

Full disclosure: Of these choices, my company, Gotham, is a focused, industrial agency. For many industrial companies, we are their marketing department. We invest time to understand a company, the competition, and their goals to build an annual strategic marketing plan. We then uncover the competitive differences/advantages and leverage it in professional, branded communication. This results in attracting the right prospects, improving close rates, and building sales.

Thomasnet is a directory of 500,000+ industrial companies. Some are free listings with minimal descriptions, while others are paid listings that can be a literal web presence within the directory. I have marketed my own company, Gotham, on Thomasnet and engaged them for some of my clients. Thomasnet was formerly an aggregator of data regarding industrial companies. Each company was charged a fee to appear in the Thomas Register® or the “Big Blue Books.” Once the digital age took over, they created a huge digital database known as Thomasnet.com.

I have found Thomasnet effective for some companies and not for others. This information is based on personal experience and clients’ comments. For some customers, they deliver quality web visits and leads. Primarily, Thomasnet is used by corporate purchasing departments to quickly compare vendors and their offerings.

Thomasnet also offers marketing services as an additional revenue stream for their primary goal of directory building. The websites I have reviewed have a homogenous, “Thomasnet” look. If carving out a custom identity is what you desire, it makes sense to hire an agency for web and collateral design and then Thomasnet for the directory benefit.

Industrial marketing agencies will provide a more personalized approach to understanding your company and crafting a message that really sells. Agencies will be more experienced at both inbound and outbound marketing, whereas Thomasnet’s focus is primarily inbound.

Choosing the right industrial marketing company is a monumental investment of time and resources. Start with an organization that is immersed in B2B industrial marketing for the best path to success. If you feel we can be of benefit to your industrial marketing effort, don’t hesitate to visit our website at www.IndustrialMarketingExperts.com and submit an inquiry.

ThomasNet is a registered trademark of Thomas Publishing Company. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them. 

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is more accessible and affordable now more than ever. Popular services such as Salesforce, HubSpot and Dynamics365 offer immense leverage over big data for manufacturing businesses of all sizes. Most companies are adopting inbound marketing strategies that are yielding a higher volume of qualified leads. Purchasing and implementing a CRM system can greatly enhance the ability to capture and act on this higher volume of leads, automate follow-up and task reminders and ultimately lead to growth in sales and customer satisfaction. Let’s break down how you can get the most utility from a CRM system for your business.

Most popular CRM software vendors offer their products using a cloud-based platform. Outside or field sales personnel run these services as an app on their smartphone, tablet or PC. The software enables users to log customer information in real time such as size, category and industry type, create maps for customer visits and access order history. Imagine making a customer visit or receiving a call inquiring about your product. You can enter the details of your visit or inquiry and process quotations, check stock levels and add valuable follow-up information that seamlessly adds appointments to your integrated calendar.

For inside sales, customer service and sales management, a CRM system provides an efficient way to catalog and track leads and opportunities resulting from the company’s inbound marketing strategy. Users can enter and track the source of leads whether from a website visit (contact form), direct message on social media platforms, direct mail, repeat customer or email campaign. Having the ability to track the source of leads ultimately reveals the efficacy of marketing dollars spent. A CRM system also allows the ability to track and regain lost customers and identify emerging markets and industries.

Integrating CRM with your ERP and even your e-commerce platform can automate customer communications such as follow-up opportunities, customer satisfaction surveys and testimonial solicitation. Real customer feedback that you can use as website and social media content tells a more relatable story for your brand. It shows your customers you genuinely care about their feedback, loyalty and patronage. Using services like Microsoft’s free PowerBI, users can link data from Google Analytics, ERP, CRM and social media paid advertising services to track target audience buying behavior, geographic density of sales activity and product seasonality.

These are only a few examples of the utility of a proven CRM software. The automation and integration across your company’s platforms versus manually tracking these ubiquitous selling processes are where the real value lies. At Gotham, we advise our industrial clients on how to adopt CRM software to leverage data from their marketing campaigns. Are you ready to start taking advantage of the latest CRM products to grow your sales and increase customer satisfaction?

Do you know with certainty what your target audience truly thinks, feels, or believes regarding your brand, products, and/or services? Would the truth about these things change the way your products are promoted, or would you even modify the products you make and sell? Surveying your customers and prospects will yield specific data and critical insights that can be used to build and grow brand awareness, perception, and customer loyalty, thus positively impacting the bottom line.

First, let’s unpack what exactly a brand perception survey is. These surveys include polling your customers and prospects with open-ended questions regarding what they think about your products, how they explain your products to their friends or colleagues, or what emotions they feel when they use your products. Understanding these behaviors and actions can reveal a lot of information that may not be intuitive in product design and testing. Learning about your target audience’s actions and emotions toward your brand can help you respond with better, more tailored products.

Product quality and reputation are certainly important, but a large component of brand perception is how your message resonates with the target audience. A company should always strive to align the company values with the product experience. Surveying customers on how they feel about your brand and products will reveal whether your company is perceived positively, negatively, or neutrally. A neutral perception is almost as bad as a negative impression because a neutral impression generally means you haven’t done a good enough job educating your audience on who you are, what you stand for, or the purpose of your products.

Reliable subscription services like SurveyMonkey and SurveyAnyplace simplify and automate the survey process and quickly help you determine customer loyalty. These services allow subscription holders to benchmark their results against other companies in their respective industry. This will help your company identify and act on best practices to better serve your customers and set goals that align better with customer behavior and habits. Most capable survey management services offer CRM integration to further enable data collection for trend analysis and other stratification goals.

Don’t let your company’s brand perception be a mystery. Be proactive: poll your current and potential customers during all stages of the sales cycle. The knowledge and feedback you receive may change your company’s perception dramatically and ultimately yield more sales. Gotham’s industrial marketing strategists can help you plan, design, and execute surveys in a variety of channels to best understand what your customers think of your company. We’ve been helping B2B companies since 1989 do just this. Are you ready to enhance your brand’s perception and awareness across the board? Get started at  www.industrialmarketingexperts.com.

Many industrial companies outsource their marketing efforts. A primary reason to contract with an industrial marketing firm is the overhead to maintain an internal marketing team that can keep up with strategic planning and the demands of ever-changing best practices of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media marketing, paid digital advertising (AdWords, Pay-per-click), print ads, media reps, maintaining the company website and more. It is critical to select a team that understands your business goals and is agile, responsive and experienced enough to build your brand both online and off. Below are a few tips to help you make a wise choice.

1 – Make sure the marketing firm you are considering knows your business.

Evaluate their current and past customers. Have they worked with your industry in the past? There are many marketing agencies out there with broad appeal (serve everyone) and those that only focus on one or two verticals because the demand is high and it has allowed them to specialize in targeted markets. If you are in the industrial products business, you should seek industrial, B2B experience. These agencies will already be up to speed on the pain points your customers experience, the industry jargon and other nuances associated with your business. This will give you a tremendous head start in building a productive relationship with your marketing contractor and they can get right to work building on your brand.

2 – Consider the size of the agency you want to work with.

Typically, the bigger the agency, the higher their services cost because they have to pay for all those heads and the facility to house them. Larger agencies also require retainers and long-term contracts. Smaller marketing agencies are nimbler and more adaptive. Inherently, there is less turnover in a smaller agency because there are less people. This typically means the staff are generally more involved with you and your business. Properly building a strategic marketing plan and subsequently executing it requires constant communication between the client and the marketing agency. Having fewer points of contact that are devoted to your goals and mission is extremely important.

3 – Clearly define your goals.

It may sound simple but knowing what you want to achieve is the most crucial part of succeeding with your marketing agency. If it’s conversions you are after, make sure the agency you choose can provide you the metrics tracking campaign efficacy and the ROI of your marketing spend. If you are looking for a heightened awareness of your brand across social media channels, your agency should provide you with growth numbers of followers and engagement. You are looking for proof that your goals are aligning with the achieved results. An effective marketing agency provides a myriad of reports like those from Google Analytics, Facebook Ad Services and LinkedIn Sponsored Content.

Are you ready to outsource your B2B marketing? Contact Gotham, LLC, an industrial marketing company comprised of a tight-knit team of marketing experts that provide strategic, creative services to manufacturers worldwide. Learn more at www.GothamStrategic.com.

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