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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 33-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:
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 creativity, 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 its goals to build an annual strategic marketing plan. We then uncover the competitive differences/advantages and leverage them 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 IndustrialMarketingExperts.com and submit an inquiry.
Written by: Woody Stoudemire, President, Gotham Industrial Marketing
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