Industrial marketing, at its core, is much harder than traditional B2C marketing. These marketers have to often learn and understand highly complex product technologies, navigate a myriad of online and offline sales channels, global markets, and layers of audiences within the purchasing process.
With ever shrinking marketing departments over the last decade, it's no wonder that industrial marketers are failing. But despite the lack of resources, industrial marketers should not be falling short when it comes to effectively supporting business growth. There are 5 core reasons (fails) why this is happening:
FAIL #1: Not having a strategy.
Do you have a real marketing strategy? Is each tactic within your strategy designed to enhance and capitalize on the other, solving core business problems? Or is it just a bunch of "stuff", which was built out of tactics your competitors were doing? Without a strategy, you only know the "what" - you don't know the "why".
FAIL #2: Lack of follow-through.
How many marketing 'programs' have started, only to die on the vine within 30 days? Marketing tactics require comprehensive preparation, implementation, testing, and ongoing refinement to bear fruit. If you are jumping from one tactic to another based on a whim, you are wasting time, money and resources.
FAIL #3: Tackling too many things at once.
Resource-strapped marketing departments are often overwhelmed, but don't take the time to stop and analyze what's working and what's not. The laundry list of "stuff" gets longer every year, but the impact and effectiveness of those activities does not. If marketing is doing a lot of "stuff" to show "value" to the organization, it's time to clean house.
FAIL #4: Not understanding the business.
Does marketing have a complete understanding of how the company makes a profit? We're not talking about simply widget sales, but where the bucket is leaking, and where there is opportunity for growth. If marketing is spending their time "promoting" without an underlying strategic business purpose, money is often invested at the wrong times, and in the wrong places.
FAIL #5: Hyper-focus on products and product features.
Are your marketing materials simply technical data sheets about the "features and benefits" of your products? If marketing isn't working to position the company in your market, educate your audience, or finding new ways to differentiate, they aren't marketing. People need facts, but they buy on trust and credibility. When marketing isn't going beyond communicating product features, they aren't building that essential bridge.
Andrea Olson, MSC, is a 4-time ADDY award-winner and founder/CEO of Prag’madik, a marketing and communications strategic consulting firm. With 20 years of direct, digital, social, technology and content marketing expertise, Ms. Olson helps industrial organizations exceed customer/client growth and cost-reduction expectations.