Ask an industrial marketer how to increase brand awareness for an industrial product and they will ask you “how big is your budget”.
That’s because increasing or improving brand awareness is seen as the result of increasing advertising spending.
To put it into an equation: The problem is that the way people buy has changed. This has resulted in the erosion of the above equations and left industrial companies struggling with poor sales performance.
In this blog post, we will:
- Run through the traditional approach to increasing brand awareness for industrial products, (by way of introduction)
- List why throwing money at brand awareness is a problem
We then dive deeper into the main problem: The way people buy industrial products has changed. From here we move on to explain how to rethink marketing strategy to solve the need for increased brand awareness as a tool to improve sales performance in this new world we live in.
7 Steps to the traditional approach to increase brand awareness for industrial products:
- Identify your product’s value proposition
- Identify your target market – who buys your product
- Identify what they see, read and are exposed to.
- Identify what exhibitions they attend
- Engage an agency or your marketing department to book as much industry relevant magazine advert space as is possible. Aim to buy enough to totally dominate the space you’re buying into
- And/or exhibit with a massive stand at as many exhibitions as possible
- Leverage this space dominance in the best possible way by getting creative (or pay someone) to think up clever / entertaining / educating / interesting / controversial ways to stand out in the magazines or at the exhibitions.
This approach has become less effective over time. How would it change your perspective if there was a better way to increase performance? Before we continue though, let’s just review a few reasons why just throwing money at brand awareness is a problem:
- Your budget is constrained and/or
- You have saturated the available exhibition or magazine space in your industry.
- Your B2B industry publication is not well read by your target market
- Your industry magazines or exhibitions don’t have great distribution / attendance density within your market
- You have realised that industrial products are often niched beyond the broad scope of your nearest industry magazine
- The way people buy industrial products has changed
These constraints have been in place for many years… industrial marketers have had to just make do with their lot. Let’s dive deeper into point f) from above because its so pivotal:
The way the industrial product is bought has changed.
This shift in the way we buy (as a result of the internet), means we need a rethink of marketing strategy if we want to impact on sales performance.
RETHINK– What do you need to do to improve sales performance in an internet dominated world?
4 Steps to market industrial products:
- Remind yourself that: products exist to solve the problem which a need or want creates as stated in marketing 101
- Shift your focus from seeking brand awareness to identifying the wording used to describe the problems your product solves. (Pre-internet: the marketer strived for brand awareness to be in place so that when the buyer’s problem arose – at some point in the future – they would (hopefully) remember your brand as the solution to their problem. The difficulty with this method is that it relied on the customer remembering the brand at the point of having the problem. Thus the buyer’s memory of your brand has to constantly be refreshed and maintained… which is why it’s so expensive)
- Market online by attracting people with the types of problems your product solves. This content should all be produced to provide advice on how to solve your potential buyer’s problem at a theory level and not your specific product level. This helps the marketer avoid being seen by buyers as just pushing product on them. In fact, you’re starting to help your buyer solve their problem, which only your product can solve… when they’re ready to buy. This clever content is then published on:
- Your website
- E-books, Infographics
- Blog posts
- Automated email nurture campaigns
- Landing pages
- Understand how this works:
Marketing in this way provides the solutions (or even just a hint of a solution) to problems which people are experiencing. They value this information and start to trust you as you publish the content online. It’s published in a clever way to win with Google. Then as people search for solutions, Google connects the people with “your targeted problem” to you.
YOUR MARKETING IS NOW OPERATING ON THE BASIS OF HOW WE BUY NOW (in an Internet world)
The Google user reads your helpful, educational material online.
Based on the content they consume the buyer decides if you’re reliable/ an expert/ likeable/ professional -> and they decide to buy from your company. This is because your company helped them with their problem… and happens to also have the perfect product to solve their problem. While this mutually beneficial relationship is playing out you’re inadvertently ticking brand awareness boxes because:
- the content they consume has your branding on it
- the tweets/posts/articles they now want to receive from you are also branded
- the automated nurturing emails they receive are also branded.
This philosophy is called Inbound Marketing.
The magic with Inbound Marketing lies in realising that Google is now the “brain” remembering which “brands” solve which problems. People “arrive” at Google search when their problem arrives. (Not months or years later.) Google makes the connection between problem and answer.
In a way there is less need for brand awareness because the need to “be remembered” by the buyer has fallen away and been replaced by Google’s ability to remember you and rank you appropriately as a solution to a problem searched for using word phrases.
In the Internet dominated world of today, your need for OFFLINE increased brand awareness to drive increased sales is LESS valid. You rather need to rank top three in Google with your content than be on the front page of a magazine or the centre on an exhibition.
- the traditional approach to increasing brand awareness for industrial products – in essence just spending more on advertising, is no longer the way to market industrial products
- the way we buy has changed pre-internet compared to now
- we shared 4 steps to market industrial products for the Internet dominated world we now do business in
- this new approach relies on a different way of thinking and in understanding how to use Google and how people use Google
All this information is centred on the philosophy of Inbound Marketing. By applying the principals of Inbound Marketing, you can improve sales performance, and incidentally increase brand awareness, which Google is taking care of anyway.
To help you on your journey, we have produced this guide: “What you need to know about Marketing Strategy and Inbound Marketing”