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Killer App Indeed: B2B Google Shopping for Industrial Marketing

Thu, Jan 23, 2014 @ 03:06 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Media Schedule, Internet Marketing, Industrial Marketing Advertising, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Advertising, Internet Development, Business to Business Advertising, Internet Advertising

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In what might be the greatest insult to industrial directories, Google is now going after the likes of ThomasNet and GlobalSpec, Grainger and eBay for the marketing and selling of industrial products.

Google Shopping takes on industrial marketing and advertisingThomasNet is well 100 years old and the granddaddy of industrial directories. Initially, ThomasNet didn't play well with Google and its pages weren't indexed. Now they have partnered with Google and are showing up too much on the first page. Is that the reason Google appears to be  out to eat their lunch? ThomasNet has never been a price-based industrial directory but that's exactly what Google wants, and eBay fears the same. GlobalSpec started out thinking manufacturing engineers wanted a single location where they could buy every nut, bolt and bracket for their wigit. But they could never please the vast differences regarding how things are made and purchased in the world.

Google Shopping debuted Jan. 21, 2013. It started with electronic components and then added test/measurement components -- mechanical componets recently followed, which include bearings, actuators and pumps.

Currently in Beta, all fees are waived for the first year. Two options later: pay or opt out. We'll sign up our clients for the first year free and see how it goes. After a year Google will show results. Currently Google is driving traffic to this industrial platform, which filters out consumer results. In the future this advertising platform will be similar to Adwords, look out Thomas Register Industrial Directory (ThomasNet). They may go to a Google Supplier Badge-type of verification. They will charge for that verification process. After that, pay per lead or click. Google partnered with Dun & Bradstreet to actually make a call and confirm that companies are legal in the US, etc. It's primarily focused on US, Germany and China now. Will open up later to global. Many top spot accounts are using this platform.

Currently not triggering on mobile yet, but will. You can type in the actual URL for now. They did this because they thought they were underserving the b2b. Fluke and Maxim semi-conductor are on board. They say this is especially good for first time, smaller businesses that are just getting started. This will be similar to TR product search, where you can input a part number and get relevant results. Will be building out filter for ISO, and other certifications like RoHAS.

Zappos Industrial Marketing AdvertisementSounds great but our clients don't sell on price. Just about everything in B2B Google Shopping has a price. Our clients products require at least a small amount of questions by the sales team. Do they need a bracket? Did you forget to tell us one of the required specifications. And shipping isn't something you can quote quickly for large bulky items. For example, you can buy a cheap home safe online with $50 shipping but what they don't tell you is that it's your responsibility to get it off of the truck and into your home. Now we all are going to have to get used to automating our sales process enough so it can be done online. Zappos, the online shoe company, founded in 2009, is now $1.2 billion in sales. If they can successfully sell women shoes (including pumps) online confidently, then we can figure out how to make manufacturing engineers happy that we asked the right questions so they get their motors or pumps delivered -- right to their plant with everything they need to install it. Even if that means partnering with local mechanical service companies.

It all comes down to the industrial marketing media schedule, how do you decide where to invest your marketing dollars? You must get your web site at least potty trained, and you must create a simple, elegant affordable adwords program, but that where it gets hard to justify. When you're sad because your company decided not to attend a trade show, what's wrong? Sure business is a big party but it's a sporting event as well.  Only a very few like MODERN MACHINE SHOP and POWDER BULK ENGINEERING have managed to survive. And that's because of great editorial. These are the trusted voice of the industry and it's an honor and a privilege to get published there.

Google Earth and Industrial MarketingIn the end our job is to provide the sales force with new and interesting companies to learn about and go visit on their regular sales treks. It's a lot easier said than done. We spent last night combing SalesGenie for leads and today using Google Earth to fly over industrial parks, inspecting what's on the trailers going to and from factories.

It just might work!


If you liked this post you may also like, The Nitty Gritty of Creating an 2014 Industrial Marketing Media Schedule

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The Nitty Gritty of Creating an 2014 Industrial Marketing Media Schedule

Fri, Jan 03, 2014 @ 12:05 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Media Schedule, Public Relations PR, Industrial Marketing Media, Industrial Public Relations PR, Marketing Media, Cincinnati public relations

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Seven steps to a relevant, customer-focused industrial marketing media schedule.

From the headline of this post you know a checklist is coming as you prepare to create a media schedule. Here it is:

  1. Survey your customers
  2. Check out where they hang out
  3. Place the frequency to match the use
  4. Use blogging best practices to create content
  5. Establish a metric to track
  6. Test new media
  7. Rinse and repeat

Industrial marketing survey formIt's easy to survey visitors who request information from your web site. Contrary to giving information away, many industrial sites request contact information for Material Specification Data Sheets and other proprietary information. Those request forms are a perfect place to ask where your customers "hang out." You'll quickly see that one third of your leads come from the dominate industry publication, another third from search engine, whlle the other major industry publications deliver the balance.

There are additional questions you'll want to ask yourself before planning your 2014 campaign.

  1. What are your goals?
  2. How do you compare with your competitor's sites?
  3. How does your PR compare?
  4. How does your advertising compare?

Normally the goal of an industrial marketing site is to increase traffic and thus gain new customers. The site that a plant manager finds and gets a quote from quickly has a very good chance of getting the order, but it takes a combination of efforts from sales reps, manufacturing and financial approvals. One site we did generates sales from around the world, letters of credit are essential for your protection.

Hubspot Marketing GraderHubspot's Marketing Grader is a good place to compare your site against others. Maybe you can't have as many indexed pages or links to your site as a multi-national, but you must have a site that loads quickly, has unique content and uses the keywords you want to be found on.

PR is a topic that is coming back. The new inbound marketing concepts are really a throwback to a strong PR program. Good writers can always find a new spin on an industrial product and that's what will get your reader engaged.  They'll remember you when they are looking for your product. Take a look at a good list of how to blog and it's practically the same as the PR manuals from a century ago. Also, PR is put in front of traditional advertising for a reason. You must prove your media with PR and only then will the media be worthwhile for paid display advertising.

Finally your display advertising budget needs to go to the publications your customers read, the directories they refer to and the ones that provide sales leads. The old-fashioned bingo card is back in digital from and just as relevant.

Now for dicing up your budget. The 80/20 rule works here as well. So, 80% of your budget should go to the top 20% of your markets. The 20% left can be used for PR. For a small manufacturing firm with say a $100,000 budget for round numbers use $10,000 for industrial directories that will provide about 50% of your web traffic. Your site should produce about 50% of your sales leads. Another $70,000 goes to display advertising that provides a similar 25% of your leads. And the final $20,000 split between adwords and PR which will generate the final 25% of your leads. Typically, your PR is a compelling visual and description appropriate for the media's editorial schedule. As you update your PR also update your site site content. In fact, the PR can be a blog post that's distributed to the media and linked to inside the site.

McGraw Hill ManThe process of industrial marketing media changes incrementally and slowly over time. You need to stay in front of you regular customers, but also need to continue to explore new markets. You never know where those will come from, but then again we invented the Internet to solve that problem! So your 70% traditional media marketing goes to your regular customers and 30% goes to keep your name out there in the best industrial directories, search engine ad words and potentially new media and businesses with PR. Thanks to Business2community.com for the McGraw-Hill magazine ad, "I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your company. I don’t know your company’s product. I don’t know what your company stands for. I don’t know your company’s customers. I don’t know your company’s record. I don’t know your company’s reputation. Now…What was it that you wanted to sell me?"


If you liked this post, you may also enjoy "10 Step: Process Equipment Website Marketing Communications Review."


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Industrial Marketing Media Schedule Planning for 2014

Tue, Dec 10, 2013 @ 10:11 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing Media Schedule, Public Relations PR, Industrial Marketing Media, Industrial Public Relations PR, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, Cincinnati public relations

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Now is the time to fine-tune your 2014 industrial marketing editorial schedule. The trend's toward digital newsletters produced by industrial publications versus strictly print ads.

This might seem a bit old fashion but industrial marketing is slow to adopt consumer trends. These days consumer email boxes are brimming with newsletters from their favorite stores and brands. Not so much with industrial marketing. Industrial marketers know, though, they can contribute expert-authored articles to technical trade journals. The best publications factcheck and vet the articles for their audiences and everyone wins, right? Well, you still must make some decisions about where you're going to place your space for the year.

Common wisdom tells you to pick the top two publication in your industry and schedule twelve time frequency in both. To do that effectively you need to place the largest ad you can three or six times and fill in with classifieds or calling card size ads. Now we need to include the publication's digital newsletters as well. For the best short summary of industrial marketing techniques, download Business Marketing Association Director Rick Kean's presentation, "Marketing Skills Assessment," delivered to the 2005 AdVenture Electrical Industry Marketing Conference.

This blog post will give you some tools to help evaluate digital media.

Alexa Industrial Marketing Media Schedule resized 600

Alexa.com is a great site to evaluate large internet sites like Thomasnet.com and Globalspec.com. We've included Google.com and Skf.com as control sites. They rarely change and are nearly linear in their internet industrial marketing media. For that matter Thomasnet.com and Globalspec.com are too. A modest Thomasnet program can increase traffic almost as much as a good ad words program. The ad words program will be more targeted and deliver about twice as many sales leads.

But here is where the comparison really points out what is happening in internet industrial marketing media mix - the number of indexed pages of a publication. The following charts illustrate the difference between Thomasnet.com and Globalspec.com.

Industrial marketing media thomasnet.com resized 600

Industrial Marketing media globalspec.com resized 600

Thomasnet.com has 2.8 million indexed pages and Globalspec.com has 5.8 million. Even though Globalspec is just a media baby compared to Thomasnet it has almost twice as many indexed pages. This is mainly because Thomasnet.com and Google didn't get along and Google couldn't index their huge number of pages. Thomasnet has since made aliances with Google and has started to recover in the industrial media wars. Thomasnet being almost hundred years older has a leg up on Globalspec. Globalspec was recently purchased by IHS, a global industrial intelligence service company. The jury is still out on how that will affect its industrial product sites.

If you're considering investing in digital newsletters for your industrial marketing media schedule for 2014, you need to be sure that they are indexed by Google and have a life of their own by continually being present on the interent. Here's an example of a Powder Bulk Engineering's newsletter and its proof that Google has indexed it.

Industrial marketing media Powder Bulk Engineering resized 600

Industrial marketing media Powder Bulk Engineering Google resized 600

You don't want to invest in any media that can't pass this sniff test. Pick out a unique sentence from the newsletter and search on it in Google by putting quotation marks on either side. If it doesn't come up, your customers won't be able to find it either. "Not allowing content to be indexed by Google" is the single biggest mistake media makes in trying to provide digital services.

Our recomendations for industrial marketing media schedules for 2014 include moving 15% of your media budget to digital newsletters. We don't recommend banner ads on publication home pages. The internet is only reached by searching on keywords and those searches shouldn't take you to home pages. They should take you to the page with the specific search keyword you searched on.

If you liked this blog post you may also like, "How To Realign Your Marketing Communications with Sales."


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