For a manufacturer, marketing may seem foreign, almost a four-letter word. It’s certainly a more difficult subject: Manufacturers deal in certainties. Factories craft the entire lifecycle of a product from raw materials to disposal. Factories build things of lasting value.
But even at this stage, the importance of marketing, for every part produced in a factory, becomes apparent. How does the customer know to buy the factory’s wares if they are unaware of the product’s existence? The answer to this question is marketing, and there are essential steps to marketing everything that is made. Marketing creates value for every part, at every point in its lifecycle.
Outside the walls of the factory, marketing remains essential for every part produced by a factory and everything else created by industry. Construction companies and custom fabrication plants can also benefit from smart marketing, both in creating a public profile for their products and for mitigating the public perception of risk inherent in their product. These essential industries create lasting value for their customers for every part produced by a factory, a construction company, or a custom fabrication plant.
Why Marketing Is Essential for Manufacturers
Industrial marketing is one of the most important things a business can do. Manufacturers can even be doing important marketing work themselves. For example, a chemical packaging company that is producing informative and useful packaging for a medication manufacturer doesn’t think of itself as a marketing firm, but it is. It’s providing useful information and interesting packaging for its primary customers, the pharmacists, and doctors who will be dispensing the medication for their patients.
Decades ago, and even as recently as the early 2010s, marketing hardly had a primary impact on industrial factories. Sales leads were generated by the sales organization, which sought out personalized relationships with customers. The manufacturer itself did very little interacting with either the general public or their industrial customers. For example, a CNC lubricant solutions firm would do business with a handful of outside companies doing CNC work. What changed this was the rise of social media in the late 2000s and early 2010s. With social media now an important force in the world of work, manufacturing companies needed to begin to engage public opinion for every part produced by a factory, on multiple levels.
With social media criticism also being an important factor in the 2010s and 2020s, companies producing parts and pieces for many forms of equipment found themselves learning an entirely new language, the language of response. Many did so in ways that were initially more difficult than rewarding, as customers and critics immediately saw through PR campaigns designed to protect the way companies performed their work.
B2B buyers have different marketing needs, as well. B2B selling focuses on trade shows, ad space in trade magazines, and building a decent website. Things have changed. Today’s B2B buyer is checking out your organization’s social media presence, first and foremost, to make sure that your marketing arm knows what it’s doing. Whether marketing computer equipment or lecithin manufacturing, marketing requires a strong social media presence.
Second, when you are selling in the B2B domain, end-user feedback, while important, is ultimately secondary. So, while social media marketing is important, it is neither the be-all-end-all B2B marketing nor even necessarily the most important part of it.
Market To Somebody
With that said, the best way to market your wares as an industrial marketing concern is to dedicate your marketing to areas where you have had success in the past. Do not try to perform wide-net B2C marketing like a company doing general manufacturing, this will only end in frustration for you and your customers. Your marketing efforts for every part produced by a factory should focus on companies that have purchased your products in the past – typically other companies producing for the end-user market themselves, and not the end users. By focusing on the customer profile your company has sold to in the past, you can keep widening your customer base, without diluting your focus on customers who may not have any use for your product.
Why Marketing Matters for Construction Companies
Construction companies are important parts of today’s marketing ecosystem. Building buildings is one of the major markets for new production. Make sure that you can articulate to the customers buying your construction products what your benefits are to them. While you may not be creating for every part produced by a factory, your company is going to be building the factories that they come in.
Construction company marketing begins with the signs you use to advertise the presence of your operations on a site. Construction sites are essentially productive billboards for the companies that do the building. When an office tower grows into the sky, it serves as the most visible possible billboard for its commercial construction companies until the landlord finally takes possession.
Like a factory, construction companies must also be targeted in their marketing. After all, you will never be marketing a directional drilling company to the general public, and in fact, companies related to the fossil fuel industry are gaining increasingly negative publicity due to global warming. It may be necessary to position your company, especially in situations like this, in terms of its benefit to the environment. Directional drilling has proven to be significantly environmentally cleaner and more sanitary than a vertical oil rig which must be constantly held on-station by fuel-burning engines against the action of the ocean currents. If you can present it in those terms, even these industries can look more acceptable to their most ardent critics.
The hydro excavation industry has benefited from marketing in the most recent years. Hydro excavation has significant benefits over traditional means of excavation by using jets of water to dig out material from a hole or to remove heavy debris, the hydro excavator can clear in weeks what a traditional excavator would clear in months. However, the dirty water generated by hydro-excavating can be a significant barrier to the uptake of this otherwise substantially environmentally clean process, creating unnecessary protest and pushback. With hydro excavation, there is a significant marketing challenge to get not just customers, but the public on board. It might seem like a hopeless battle at first. After all, dirty water looks horrible. This byproduct is no different, however than the byproducts for every part produced by a factory. Many processes consume a lot of water. But in principle, hydro excavation is a little different from sandblasting – just with water instead of with air and sand.
Marketing, fundamentally, is a process of convincing people that a product or service is something they need, from a new building to a need for every part produced by a factory. You can do marketing in any of several ways, including direct print marketing such as traditional advertising. Industrial marketing differs from public marketing: It requires you to identify your market far more specifically than a company doing traditional B2C marketing. In the B2B channel, you are marketing to peers who know your industry as well as you do. B2B customers are looking to make purchases from established vendors. Moreover, B2B customer relationships are often long-established, and it can be highly difficult to establish a new relationship with a customer without introduction by an existing vendor, or without another way to establish that the new relationship will be beneficial to the customer.
This is why sales organizations have traditionally focused on trade shows and other person-to-person sales relationship-building techniques. Industrial marketing was just coming into its own as a means to convince customers of the necessity of the industry when the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic happened. With widespread lockdowns including the temporary suspension of most forms of air travel a reality, sales, and trade shows went online for many reasons, not the least of which is the risk of transmitting a then-unknown virus with then-unknown lethality and long-term ill effects on patients. The worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has largely faded, but the virus is still here, and many organizations continue to perform marketing functions in the online space for a variety of reasons, especially for the health and safety of their marketing teams.
Why Marketing Matters for Fabrication Companies
Fabrication companies lie somewhere between the needs of a manufacturer and the needs of a construction company. Like a manufacturer, a custom fabrication shop is making parts and pieces that will go out to other organizations. Custom fabrication shops are also like construction companies in that they do not do work for every part produced by a factory. Many fabrication company jobs are small-scale builder jobs for pieces that once were produced by the million for equipment that is no longer being built at scale. Others are doing prototyping of pieces that will eventually be If your fabrication company is doing its job correctly, it will be able to churn out parts and pieces that accurately replicate historical pieces or the customer’s specifications, creating a situation where the best fabricators are working hand-in-hand with factories and other customers to create lasting value.
Marketing the products of industrial production is a simple matter of making sure that the customer and the producer are on the same page. At the same time, it’s one of the most complex marketing processes in the industry, because your customers know exactly what needs to be done to get what they want, and are not afraid of demanding that knowledge from their suppliers as well.
When you study brochure design, you are going to want to make sure that the best qualities for every part produced by a factory in your company’s inventory are highlighted, creating a demand for your company’s products. If you are a fabrication firm, you’re going to be highlighting the capabilities of your fabricators to duplicate old parts or prototype new ones.
Marketing for every part produced by a factory can be a tricky beast. It will take cooperation between your company’s statistics branch to make sure that the market for the product is present, and their marketing and sales teams to make sure that the market is aware of your product’s existence. The dangers of misaimed marketing are that the target market for your products is not aware of their existence, and maybe even more seriously than non-targeted markets for your product may be upset by its existence. Targeted marketing will make sure that your company’s products are not going to the wrong locations for their ideal distribution and sale.
Marketing for industrial companies is a fundamentally different process than consumer marketing. When your customers’ acquisition budgets are based on their bottom-line economic needs rather than emotional or practical needs and wants, your marketing will need to appeal to those needs. If you can’t put a practical benefit or a dollar value on your product, you will likely not sell it in the industrial sector. The markets exist for every part produced by a factory, but finding them and effectively marketing to them is a relatively new art, that has only been around for approximately the last twenty to thirty years and has only really taken over from traditional relationship sales since the early 2010s.
Construction marketing can go from the glamorous work of raising a banner advertising your company up the side of a skyscraper your builders are working on, to the necessary but dirty work of advertising the benefits of a process that’s publicly frowned upon.
The place for industrial marketers in the sales, marketing, and communication organization in your company has only been understood for a little while. But with a solid marketing strategy, you will be able to open up new markets for your company’s products, in different market niches than had been originally intended.