What Is Industrial Marketing?
Industrial marketing is a type of B2B marketing that focuses on materials, products, and components used to manufacture end products. It also includes marketing products and services used in the manufacturing process.
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Industrial marketers usually focus on original equipment manufacturers or OEMs. OEMs manufacture final products like:
- Outdoor space products
- Aerospace equipment
- Industrial machinery
- Consumer products
- Medical equipment
- Electronic devices
What type of products do industrial marketers promote?
Industrial marketers represent a wide range of products, including:
- Industrial machiners
- Manufacturing equipment
- Industrial printers
- Mining equipment
- Industry 4.0 tech
- Building materials
- Park benches
- Fire prevention hardware
- Equipment maintenance
- Manufacturing SaaS
“Technical buyers spend more than half of the buying process online before engaging with sales, and those under 45 years of age spend even more time online than their older counterparts.”
What is the purpose of industrial marketing?
The purpose of industrial marketing is to build brand trust in the market and convince industrial buyers to purchase products and services. Sounds like typical marketing, right? Not so fast.
Yes, industrial marketing is a type of B2B marketing; it’s marketing to businesses instead of consumers. But marketing to industrial buyers is anything but typical B2B marketing. It involves various factors like:
- Complex products
- Expert buyers
- Niche marketing
- Industrial products range from off-the-shelf bearings to robust, custom machines.
- Selling industrial products requires a high level of technical knowledge.
- Industrial marketers often sell products into multiple industries.
Industrial marketers aren’t peddling sneakers, clothing, or simple commodities like paper; sorry, Michael Scott. Instead, many industrial products are complex and require a high level of knowledge to market and sell.
Even a seemingly simple component like a bearing has essential specifications that engineers need to make design decisions.
“Complex industrial products like aircraft or machinery are made up of millions of components. Each component is manufactured by a supplier who is carefully selected based on features, performance, and overall fit.”
- Industrial buyers are uniquely knowledgeable and analyze products closely.
- Engineers and procurement departments evaluate industrial products based on measurable specs, data, lead time, and ROI.
- Industrial sales teams don’t always speak directly with the final purchasing decision-makers.
“Today’s industrial buyers are in self-serve and self-select mode, preferring to remain anonymous for most of their buying journey. This makes it difficult for industrial sales teams to get in front of key decision-makers until the very end of the buying process, where they may face unexpected objections that could scuttle deals.”
Achinta Mitra – President, Tiecas, Inc.
- Industrial products niche market.
- Statistical market research methods don’t always find the right data.
- Finding the right title and seniority level can be tricky.
- The buyer’s journey can average months to years.
“One of the most important pieces of advice I can give is to consciously choose an audience segment. If you don’t, your content won’t resonate with anyone in particular and won’t gain the traction you need to make progress.”
What are the challenges of Industrial Marketing?
Lack of transparency from manufacturing companies
Theft of intellectual property is a big deal. Manufacturers are keenly aware of the threat of other domestic or foreign entities stealing their proprietary designs and creating the same products cheaper. Because of this fear, many manufacturing companies are afraid to share the very data engineers are coming to their company to find.
Some manufacturers require potential customers to reach out to them for data and ask them to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). The lack of transparency from manufacturing suppliers leads engineers to search out friendly waters with vendors willing to share vital design data with them.
Only 20 percent of engineers say they will contact the supplier for a model if they can’t download a 3D model online. The fear of losing intellectual property keeps many manufacturers from leveraging their most valuable content, the CAD models, and data for the products they sell.
Not reaching all purchasing decision-makers
Engineers frequent manufacturing websites looking for information about parts. They use that information to spec components into their designs. However, engineers don’t always purchase the part themselves, especially at larger organizations.
So what does this mean for industrial marketers? They have to figure out how to influence the engineer who specs the part into their design AND the purchasing team that actually purchases the part.
“Product specifications and features are essential in the early stages of the buyer’s journey, but as a supplier, you need to earn their trust with content that shows you understand the challenges that your customers face. Only then will they be willing to listen to what you have to say when you finally get in front of decision-makers. Win the mindshare of younger engineers who tend to be specifiers by providing online tools that save time and improve design accuracy.”
Other challenges of Industrial Marketing include:
- Location, availability, & delivery of products
- Product type & size
- Order cost and scale
- Number of decision-makers
- Industry-specific factors
Industrial Manufacturers historically focused on sales teams and trade shows. Today, manufacturers need to help customers research and learn about products BEFORE talking to a sales rep.
Industrial Marketing Starts with Design Engineers
Engineers are the primary specifiers of parts. If you don’t win them over early and continue winning their trust by providing what they need and delivering on promises, you will lose to your competitors.
Sure, procurement departments are a significant factor in the buying process, but 82% of engineers who download a part ultimately purchase the part. That means that even if they don’t physically hit purchase, the engineer that specs the part into their design has A LOT of influence over which components are ultimately purchased by their company.
During the course of the design process, engineers research to find the exact part they need that fulfills tight criteria for their specific application. Engineers use supplier websites as a critical research resource.
Industrial manufacturers must give engineers access to the data they need to spec products into their designs while they are in the research phase. If the engineers find the information they need to spec the part, they have a higher likelihood of spec’ing the part and ultimately purchasing it.
Give engineers product data
What can industrial marketers do to capture engineers during the research phase? Give them the critical data they need, when they need it, in the proper format for their consumption.
The challenges of Industrial Marketing are also the most significant opportunities. One of the biggest challenges of B2B marketing is how to create quality content that buyers are willing to give their information to receive. eBooks, webinars, and other lead magnets (content that facilitates a website visitor to turn into a lead) take a lot of effort to create.
Because engineers need product data to do their job, it provides endless opportunities for manufacturers to create content that drives qualified leads.
To capitalize on engineers’ need for product information, all manufacturers have to do is provide critical data about the products they sell on their websites. By providing product data in the right formats, manufacturers build lasting trust with engineers and make it harder to spec from alternative suppliers.
What type of data do engineers need?
The more information manufacturers make available on their websites, the better the customer experience is for engineers. But what are some examples of product information engineers need?
- Product specifications
- Industry Standards specifications
- Maintenance instructions
- Maintenance schedules
- Minimum order quantity
- Installation information
- Estimated end of life
- Level of support
- Lead time
Each type of information is another hook that adds value to the engineer outside of the product itself. If an engineer can choose between comparable products, purchasing the part with more data and information is more advantageous.
In some cases, the data is worth more to the engineer and their company than the product is itself, especially if the data informs downstream processes like predictive maintenance.
However, another critical factor is the ease at which engineers can access product information and CAD data. Engineers are busy. If they have to spend much time and effort to get information, chances are they will go the path of least resistance and find a vendor that makes obtaining CAD data and product information more accessible.
“If you aren’t taking customer experience seriously as an industrial manufacturer, you don’t deserve your customer’s business. Innovations in data sharing, delivery, accuracy, speed, and availability are just as important as other innovations and often become competitive advantages.”
Get products spec’d in by using product information and CAD data as marketing content
Most B2B marketers spend much time researching content ideas. It’s a real thorn in the side to do keyword research on audience-relevant topics, research trends and create relevant content.
Industrial manufacturers have a massive advantage. You have product information you can turn into marketing content. It doesn’t take hours of research to come up with each content idea. Instead, it takes a few conversations with your SMEs (subject matter experts) within your company to come up with hundreds of content ideas.
Industrial marketing content ideas:
Harness these content types to create product-specific content engineers are searching for:
To start, create a product page for a popular component. Make sure to do keyword research to determine what keywords engineers use to search for that type of part. If certain industries use different keywords, create separate product pages focused on specific industries.
Include ALL the information an engineer may need directly on the page. Don’t make engineers search through complex spec sheets to find part data. You may layout the dimensions, material options, RPMs, load capacity, and other relevant data directly on the page.
Place a product overview video on the page explaining the product, its use, and relevant features and benefits. Include links to articles that cover typical applications, product maintenance, unique features, etc.
At the top of each article, embed videos with your subject matter experts covering the article topics in-depth. These videos can be recordings of webinars on each topic or videos made specifically for each page.
Link to white papers with customer case studies, industry standards, use case examples, maintenances information, or other relevant topics that go deeper than the product page.
All this content can be repurposed for social media posts, YouTube videos, and lead captures.
3D CAD models as marketing content and lead capture
The most effective way to provide product-specific data is by embedding a product configurator with 3D previews. Engineers can easily navigate through a product family, see necessary metadata about the product, and instantly visualize the product in 3D.
3D previews give engineers the information and visualization they need and increase time on pages, which is a key factor in ranking for product-specific keywords.
Here are some stats for providing 3D CAD model downloads on your website:
- 80% of engineers will move on if they can’t download CAD models from a part supplier
- 37% redraw the part
- 43% go directly to an alternative supplier
- Just 20% contact the supplier for a model
Most importantly, providing 3D CAD model downloads and PDF datasheet downloads for each product lets you capture qualified engineering leads.
Once you’ve successfully captured the engineering lead, you can segment that lead based on the product they specified. This enables you to send them relevant marketing emails and gives your sales team a reason to reach out.
Learn how to embed a product configurator on your website:
Provide easy access to product information with eCATALOGsolutions. Get your products spec’d in by delivering 3D CAD models of the products you sell on your website. Today’s industrial buyers require on-demand product data, instant CAD & BIM downloads, and high-quality product images.
A primary reason engineers and architects return to your site time and again is to download 3D parts. With eCATALOGsolutions, you can deliver configurable 3D models and 3D PDFs to your prospects on-demand in the CAD and BIM formats they require.
Use an advanced analytics dashboard to make more informed marketing and business decisions. Give distributors the ability to embed your products on their website to increase sales. Let users access your 3D content through a custom CAD models app.
“We saw our downloads double overnight when we switched to the CADENAS PARTsolutions 3D CAD catalog. The wider variety of formats and configurable options are key to the increase. With more options, we’re able to meet the exact needs of a larger audience. Each download is a foot in the door for us.”