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.
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:
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.
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
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.