"You can't read the label of the jar you're in" wisdom according to Hugh McLeod / Gaping Void
Your world is irrelevant!
I write frequently about two challenges of B2B industrial marketing. First is companies' tendency to have a myopic, product centric, features view of what they do. Second is the tendency of career marketing folks to view every marketing challenge through the sterile prism of a checklist without having walked in industrial shoes.
Both are a form of lack of empathy for the only perspective that ultimately matters - that of the potential buyer.
If you're an industrial manufacturer
Forget what year you were founded, how many patents you have, how many square feet your building is, what awards you've won, and above all else, forget what features you boast of! Nobody will buy your stuff because of any of that. (Awards and patents as a proxy for other important business factors have value....later in the process.)
All that matters is your ability to intuit and solve the business challenges facing your prospects. Maybe they are having returns for quality problems; or being called in to 3rd shift too often; or losing orders to competitors who have shorter lead-time; or having to lease extra space because their WIP inventories are growing; or any of a myriad of other reasons which you can uncover through great questions (3 or 4 levels deep.)
If you know what those challenges are, and further what the implications are of either leaving them unchanged or fixing them - and can cogently demonstrate your understanding of them and suggest reasonable, implementable and justifiable solutions - then your marketing will kick ass.
But you can't read your customers label from inside your own jar!
If you're a marketer
B2B manufacturing business execs don't care about marketing automation, SEO, twitter, LinkedIn groups, CTAs or any of the details which you know make an industrial content marketing program click. They probably only care about their products and what makes them special.
But if you can't step beyond both perspectives (your marketing detail view and their myopic product view) you'll both fail. Your job is to make all the execution transparent and grow SQLs among the prospects....who only care about their own challenges and perspective.
You can't reach prospects trapped in your marketing jar, or in your clients' product jars!
If you're a business owner that simply wants consistent profitable growth
Then here are 6 simple gut check questions to determine if you'll pull it off:
- Are you willing to look at either or both of the key growth opportunities for SMB manufacturing companies today? Really effective digital marketing and global market expansion?
- Are you willing to at least consider investing up to 5% in your B2B marketing (vs. the paltry 1% that you may have up to this point)?
- Will you engage folks that have real industrial experience (who can empathize with you and your customers) and domain expertise (digital marketing, global expansion or both)?
- Then will you embrace their assistance even if it sounds / feels scarily different than what you've done for 30 years? (But maybe pretty close to how you buy now!)
- Will you insist your sales and marketing teams adjust accordingly - and even dismiss long-time employees who simply can't adapt?
- Can you quickly provide a list of 5 reasons why your customers buy your product, from their perspective, and what savings / revenue return they will realize as a result over the next 12 months? (Not just generic, but specific and mapped against their P&L accounts!)
If you answer "no" to two or more, here's the bad news. You're not going to succeed.
BTW - how's it look from inside that jar??
But if you answered yes to at least five, do you want some help? Give us a call today. 978.238.9898
Learn more about how we help here.