The “stay the course” industrial marketing strategy
The current COVID-19 outbreak is causing uncertainty in all areas of our lives. If you are currently under a stay at home order and you are a manufacturer that is critical essential you must safeguard your employees and their families, as well as your own. When you have these procedures in place, you need to turn your attention to your business’ health. Now is the time to stay the course with your industrial marketing strategy. You have to let customers and prospects that you are still operating. If you have shut down operations, you must assure current and potential customers that you will be back. At times like these, awareness and brand building counts more than ever. Let me tell you a story about a manufacturer I worked with early in my career.
Out of sight, out of mind in industrial marketing strategy
First, let me clarify that this story takes place during an economic slowdown roughly 30 years ago, not during a worldwide pandemic. However, the industrial marketing strategy still rings true. I don’t want to reference the client (let’s call it ABC MFG) directly, so bear with me as I might be somewhat vague in the details. The client I’m speaking about basically started an industry in the early 1900s. For 70 years, they were able to innovate their first product into an extensive line. In fact, the company was the undisputed industry leader, selling their product globally. I was working as an art director at the agency, creating all the advertising and sales material and everything was going well. That is until the economy hit a snag
Where did they go?
During this slowdown of the economy, many of our clients at the time saw sales drop. And ABC MFG was no exception. However, instead of following the established industrial marketing campaign, the client stopped all the campaigns to save costs. After all, they had pioneered the industry and everyone knew them. Making the case that it was a poor strategy to shut advertising down, the management of the agency reminded ABC MFG that a competitor from Canada was growing aggressively. Despite this advice, the marketing was shut down. Within months sales dropped even more and current and potential customers noticed they weren’t noticing ABC MFG anymore.
Too late to stem the tide
As ABC MFG was saving marketing dollars, they were also losing ground to the competitor from the north. A key point to remember is that this was before websites and social media. Then, direct marketing was the way you kept in touch with customers and found potential business. Without it, the ABC MFG brand awareness began to suffer. Consequently, the market started to look seriously at the competitor that had not slowed their marketing efforts. The market began to believe that ABC MFG was out of business. Within 18 months, it was too late to stop the expansion of the Canadian competition. In a little less than three years, ABC MFG was forced to sell its operations to the Canadian competitor.
Industrial marketing strategy in a crisis
Now, what we are facing with the COVID-19 crisis is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. However, the industrial strategy of keeping your brand in the market place and communicating with customers and prospects are relevant. Now is the time to increase your social media and Internet marketing to promote awareness. Reassuring your customer base is critical to maintaining and strengthening the relationship. While you may not want to take advantage of a terrible situation, there could be manufacturers that need to find another supplier because their normal one has shutdown. Though it is a time for caring, concern, and careful communication, it is also the time to continue your industrial marketing strategy.
About the Author
Paul Kowalski (or Pappy as he is called around the office) spent over two decades working at other agencies before opening Conach Marketing Group in 2008. The early part of his career was working with Fortune 500 clients at different agencies. However, working with smaller clients was his preference. This choice was because of the impact on a client’s business growth and forming closer, personal relationships.
When he was creating Conach, his goal was to bring those Fortune 500 strategies along with years of B2B marketing experience to small business marketing clients. As a result of focusing on business to business marketing, Conach specializes in construction marketing, financial marketing, and industrial marketing. Even though we are in Mid-Michigan, Conach provides marketing services to clients across the country.