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Digital Industrial Marketing Media Guide: Listen To Your Customers

Wed, Jul 22, 2015 @ 05:15 PM / by Chuck Lohre

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GlobalSpec White Paper review -- 'Taking a strategic approach to digital media: How to develop a strategy, create a budget and measure ROI.'

WP DigitalStrategyWe're big fans of GlobalSpec's regular educational white papers on industrial marketing strategy. And they're a terrific resource along with ThomasNet's similar white papers. Here at Lohre & Associates we are advocates for our clients' marketing situations. Often our thinking doesn't mesh with the commonly held beliefs for general industrial marketing. That's just the point: There really isn't such a thing as general industrial marketing rules of thumb. We think that GlobalSpec and ThomsNet's suggestions apply best to a company like Grainger or Motion. They are general in nature, industrial in focus, have a substantial web presence and sell lower-cost general industrial products to just about every sector. Our clients range from selling one-of-a-kind machine tools worth millions of dollars to inexpensive industrial products quickly found and sold on the internet. But those inexpensive industrial products are also unique that there's no general media that can help them improve their sales. They'd be better off hiring another salesperson to take calls and quickly turn quotes around. So here's our take on the top five trends in comparison to GlobalSpec's:
  1. Why multi-channel digital media is a myth. You can only afford to market to the channel your customers hangout at.
  2. The top four channels engineers use are associates, previous vendors, industrial directories and search engines
  3. For large industrial purchases, engineers still contact manufacturers before the end of the discovery stage
  4. The majority of marketing budget still goes to sales persons
  5. The biggest trend is to measure results

Industrial marketing trade showMulti-channel media attacks are like a shotgun blast. Wastefull and untargeted. No industrial marketer can do them all. Some of our clients don't go to trade shows many don't send out email newsletters to existing customers and some never advertise in trade journals. But they do go to their specific industry shows, have sites that are easy to find and fast, are world leaders in markets of 25 companies, and go to market with distribution rather than direct sales.

Say you are a mining engineer planning a $10 million underground mine project. There are no general marketing channels to evaluate the proper equipment and techniques to use. Search engines are a last resort just to check that you didn't miss something obvious. You will travel to another mine and inspect the equipment you're considering along with the parts and service support of the manufacturer before you crack open a trade pub.

People move markets, not the media when it comes to industrial products. And we're not talking about the movement of stock prices for industrial companies, that's a topic for an entirely different blog. Our clients manufacture and sell industrial products that are practically immune to TV, internet, magazines, trade shows and direct mail. Sometimes it's referred to as a market of one. When you are selling a product or service that will become and integral part of a customer's business for decades to come, all the engineers have to agree to the vendor and understand the advantages of working with the manufacturer. It comes down to experience. Sure you can get small chances to enter new markets and those are how a company grows its markets, sometimes at a loss, but the real bread and butter is a no-brainer decision made by management that has virtually no chance of failing. Image of our trade show display catalog.

Industrial marketing Google AnalyticsOne thing we absolutely agreed on is measurement! Never have there been so many ways to track your progress and all at no charge. Web sites can be tweaked and tweaked to come up in the search engines. Many times it's just the fact that you didn't use the keyword you wanted to be found for. The second most important measurement is surveying your customers as to their media use. It will become quite evident that you shouldn't spend your budget on a show, website or publication when none of your customers use it. Likewise, you'll be proud of the fact that you are supporting the industrial advertising that does drive traffic to your site with a good percentage of your budget. Image courtesy of Google Analytics.

The future for industrial media is driving folks to your site so you can capture their email. Then you provide them with such high-quality educational material that they don't consider it spam or advertising. You track their every move around your site, and when the time is right, offer to help them with their specific application. Your salesperson can take it from there.


If you liked this review, you may like the popular review we did of Deloitte's "Designing B2B Brands" for industrial marketing communications


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Written by Chuck Lohre

Owner of Lohre & Associates Marketing Communications. The company celebrated their 80th Anniversary in 2015, his 38th.