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Do Industrial Products and Capital Equipment Need Traditional Marketing Tactics?

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Some professionals in the industrial products and capital equipment industries believe that traditional marketing strategies should be left to the B2C marketplace. After all, selling products like sneakers and cars is inherently different than selling earth-moving equipment and centrifuges, right? Not so fast.

While the target market for everyday merchandise is far broader than for items in the industrial realm, marketing itself is just as essential in both cases.

It can be tempting for manufacturers to focus solely on closing sales, but it is nearly impossible to grow your market and attract new customers without engaging in certain activities that necessarily increase the visibility and trustworthiness of your brand. According to Mike Collins in Industrial Marketing is Not Consumer Marketing[1], “[m]anufacturers of industrial products, large and small, need help with industrial marketing…[T]he best way to develop a growth plan is to use industrial marketing techniques.” Collins outlines how marketing industrial equipment is highly specialized, and that the sales cycle is far longer than in traditional marketing. It could take years to go from inquiry to sale, but without proper marketing, it can be nearly impossible to track that trajectory. Also, marketing strategies for industrial equipment can be complex, since heavy machinery is often built to the buyer’s specifications. But no matter how complex marketing industrial equipment can become, it is essential to stick to some key measures to ensure eventual growth.

Brand Image

In the current climate, when anyone can find what they are looking for with a simple keyword search online, clean communication and consistent brand identity are a must. Both must “exude leadership and professionalism,”[2] especially when the product at hand is costly. So how does that translate for industrial marketers? The brand’s identity must be consistent and updated. That includes logos, fonts, and colors. The website must be inviting, functional, and informational with proper grammar, spelling, and captivating images. Anything less wreaks of unprofessionalism. If a potential customer is weighing two similar companies, the one that presents itself with a more professional brand image will win every time.

Brand Awareness

Once your brand’s image is polished and professional, it is important for potential clients to know who you are. While word of mouth and referrals are important, they will not help you keep up with competitors who are engaging in marketing activities that get their brands seen. When the time comes for customers to pull the trigger on large purchases, they will likely begin their search with companies that they have heard of and consider reputable. The easiest way to stay top of mind for situations like this is to consistently broadcast your message to the public. Here’s another way to put it:

“Good branding is like having a credit card that loans out client trust until you get the opportunity to prove yourself firsthand.”[3]

Some tried and true measures include advertising in “trade magazines or journals to reach specialized vertical markets. In addition, there are associations, trade shows, and industry websites for such verticals.”[4] Furthermore, attending publicized events, speaking on panels, and distributing press releases can cement your company as an expert in the field. Creating content, like articles on best practices within your industry, ways to use products to cut costs, or other helpful information, can create value. “82% of manufacturing marketers attribute more content creation for an increase in success over last year. Ultimately, consistently creating high-quality content driven by data is the best way to realize success from your content marketing program.”[5] Being a known presence in the marketplace is essential, because “[t]he goal of all good marketing is to stay relevant, add value and position the company for maximum exposure.”[6] Doing so will make a potential client’s decision to buy with you in the future more certain because they will associate what you do with who you are.