Is it Time to Give Up On Industrial “Marketing”?

frustrated industrial marketingIt is clear that marketing on the Web is moving the revenue needle for tons of businesses. Call it digital marketing, call it content marketing, call it inbound marketing, call it new media marketing.

Call it whatever…just don’t call it “marketing” to an industrial CEO, President or CFO. To these guys “marketing” is an expense and therefore has little relevance to top-line growth or sales.

In the early days of the web, when I founded Market Pipeline, we could get away with saying “SEO marketing” or “web marketing”. Both a web presence and SEO were seen as necessary.  After all, their competitors were all doing it….so, “What the heck, let’s launch a web site”.

Very little top line growth came from our search engine optimization and web development efforts. Oh yea…occasionally we would get a few “attaboys” because one of our industrial clients did a quote from a previously unknown customer that found them on the web.

Did our SEO or web development efforts really contribute to top-line growth?  Some, but not enough to get CEO’s excited.

Our “marketing” efforts reminded me of a large expense, like a new roof on your home. Lots of expense, but adds no value to the property. So, when an owner of an industrial company turns his nose up at any kind of marketing, especially online marketing, I certainly understand. That is why I started The Repp Group, to render better results.

So…is it time to give up on industrial “marketing” on the web?

Not by a long-shot.

The opportunities to improve top-line growth, industrial branding, top-of-mind awareness and sales for B2B industrial, using the web, have never been better.

Maybe we should simply not use the word “marketing”.  Instead, let’s say, “content deployment for branding”, or “content creation for lead generation”.  Or…instead of calling it “web marketing”, we should call it “sales improvement campaign”

Anything but “marketing” to the industrial crowd.

A quick example.

We created a whole branding campaign for a well-known Detroit industrial supplier. We renamed the company, created lots of high-quality sales materials and then deployed the content on a freshly branded web site & marketing automation platform.

The numbers were remarkable and trending “off the charts”.  As a “marketer”, I was ecstatic. I felt we were making a huge difference in the future of our industrial supplier.

Then I got the dreaded call after only six months.  The “check-writer” did not see enough quality leads and did not close any million dollar contracts.

No top-line growth…YET!

My point is this:

Because industrial CEOs, Presidents and CFOs are fixated on the expense of “marketing” they are missing the opportunities to turn expense into revenue for four primary reasons:

  • First, the industrial buyer now goes to the web for everything. Your industrial buyer is now in charge. If you are fixated on the marketing expenses (as the example above), your branded sale materials will not be there to greet your buyer with information they want, at the time of their choosing and in a format they prefer. You just lost an opportunity for branding, lead generation & sales.
  • Second, your industrial competitors are not using the web to market. There is very little content saturation for tons of industrial sectors. This leaves lots of opportunity for improved top-of-mind awareness and lead generation for almost every industrial niche. That is an opportunity to grab market share, improve sales and turn an expense into revenue.
  • Third, one of the reasons industrial owners did not want to spend more money on the web, it was difficult to measure success. As our old friend John Wanamaker, used to say, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half”. With many marketing automation platforms, it is now easy to figure out what is working and what is not working…and then make adjustments on the fly. That is another opportunity to turn a marketing expense into a revenue generator.
  • Fourth, as the example above, CEO’s will need patience. This is a long-term sales effort. There is no doubt the web can be a cost-effective channel to your customers, but it takes more time than the immediate rewards that often come when ramping up the sales group.

Forget about “marketing” and focus on:

  • Your buyer’s challenges. Deploy branded, quality content to solve those challenges
  • Creating your own branded sales assets and deploy them on a quality sales/marketing automation platform
  • Taking a long-view… at least one to two years to see results.
  • Turning “marketing” expense into revenue.

Let’s just call it “top-line growth enhancement” or “sales improvement”…OK?

For more info on what The Repp Group can do for your industrial marketing & lead generation…CLICK BELOW