We are on the cusp of a new industrial age, where cutting-edge technology, the Internet of things and big data open up huge possibilities. The products produced by industrial and engineering businesses are some of the most innovative, forward-thinking, creative and inventive technologies on the planet. Yet, the way they’re marketed is often dry, dull and product-focused. Since when did B2B have to stand for Boring to Boring?
Traditionally, industrial and engineering companies depend on sales teams to deliver a healthy pipeline of leads. The role of the marketing team focused on producing the merchandise and promotional brochures for them to use in meetings. Golf balls and mouse mats may still play a role in sales conversations, but for how much longer?
Think about the buyer for a minute. They are increasingly time-poor and private and don’t have time to read irrelevant sales content from people they don’t know. They are under pressure to deliver cost efficiencies, develop leaner operating models and increase productivity. It’s time for a new approach to selling. For marketing and sales teams, this means offering a conversation with a brand, based on the expertise of your company and people, rather than pushing hard sales to an unreceptive crowd.
It is widely acknowledged that the B2B customer does not engage with a seller until they are at least two thirds of the way through the buying process, so demonstrating expertise through learning is essential.
The challenge for today’s marketers is to see the product in the frame that the customer does. Customers don’t want to be sold to. They demand convenience, they need suppliers to understand them and to anticipate their current and future needs. With customers typically switching supplier only at the moment of having an issue, content has a crucial role to play to helping create a consistent and recognisable brand experience.
For a great example of this, check out the Mined, Made, Moved content platform we created on behalf of Castrol to promote industrial lubricants to senior decision-makers.
It can take years to monetise a customer, so the focus should be on creating an always-on content strategy that can acts as a magnet, pulling prospects towards your brand. It means a shift to targeting individuals and creating content to drive ideas-led, rather than product-focused, conversations.
We’re entering a new era. An exciting era. An era where B2B marketers need to be brave and build campaigns that customers demand.