• Overwhelmed by information on the web, industrial buyers are finding it more complex to make investment decisions
  • Successful B2B marketing is about informative, relevant content that shows how a vendor can solve the buyer’s problems
  • Complement your website and social media campaigns with ‘outbound’ techniques such as media relations to boost brand awareness

Generating sales has become increasingly challenging for industrial marketers. Thanks to the internet, so many suppliers are vying for the customer’s attention and information is easily accessible. The news cycle has accelerated to the extent today’s global headlines will be buried under a roll of newer stories by the morning. How do we build a brand and business relationships in such seemingly chaotic times? Let’s start by seeing the challenges from the buyer’s perspective.

It’s increasingly hard for industrial buyers to make informed investment decisions

The internet has radically changed the customer’s buying ‘journey’, as well as the way we communicate. Your potential customers spend much time painstakingly researching, looking for technology that makes them better, faster, cheaper, ‘greener’ than the competition. Much of that initial research is online – though printed trade journals still matter.

Making an informed decision is increasingly complex, not least because all the main print technologies deliver excellent quality – and there is so much information out there. How does the buyer make sense of the competing claims, in a dynamic market, constantly changing because of innovation, social trends and legislation? Does your company’s website help or hinder that decision-making?

Make buyers come to you through relevant, quality content

Web-based research means that buyers have probably visited your website and social media channels, and are on the point of making an investment decision before you’ve even heard from them.

To make decision-making faster and simpler, buyers seek credible, relevant information that shows how the vendor’s technology solves their problems and meets their business goals.

The quality of the content you provide, therefore, makes or breaks not just a sales lead – but your company’s or brand’s reputation, too. An easily navigable website with ‘quality’ content is the sign of a company you’d want to do business with.

Getting business leads does not mean peppering your website with salad of search-optimized buzzwords – it may result in visitors to your website, but fill it with jargon and unsupported hype, and that visitor will have pressed the back button before you can say commitment to #sustainability. An opportunity lost, credibility shot.

Educate and inform the buyer to stand out and build relationships

It’s about educating and enlightening the reader about the potential value of your offer to them, rather than hard selling. Regularly engage the reader on your website and social media channels, with sharable news, case studies, blog entries, and downloadable white papers. Anyone can set up a website – its substance sets you apart.

Stand out and build your brand by telling your story, presenting reasoned, logical arguments, and caring about the meaning of your words – this is what builds the reader’s knowledge and motivates buyers to listen to you, and make contact.

Content is more than words…

Content is more than written words, especially as we’re showing, not just telling. Photography, drawings and graphics make the article more interesting and understandable.

In packaging-print PR, we are often explaining complex concepts and discussing systems with many moving parts. An animation is perfect for helping the reader to build a model in their mind of, say, uniform, uncontaminated ink flow over a printing plate. Or what could be a better endorsement of your offering than a customer’s video testimonial?

These are possible too, thanks to affordable video recording devices, mobile phones, drones, production and editing software, fast upload and download speeds.

The trade media remain a trusted source of information

At the same time, the trade media remain a trusted source of news, insight and discussion, providing much-needed direction. Press releases announcing a new technology or deal creates brand impact, an opinion piece or feature contribution enhances credibility further, also encouraging potential buyers to seek more information.

Public relations campaigns today, therefore, are a mix of old and new. These are just a few insights – and in time this new blog series will explore more fully the techniques of good B2B PR in the digital age, drawing on our 20+ years’ experience in the business working with global machine, materials and software providers.

See our clients’ editorials in the latest Labels & Labeling

For examples of clear, informative editorial pieces from two of our clients, look in the August 2020 edition of Labels and Labeling International. Getting special colour shades consistently correct is a big challenge for label converters. Three fascinating features in this edition provide ideas for solving this problem, while significantly cutting waste and improving productivity too.

GSE’s Maarten Hummelen explains the value of ink dispensing systems for fast, accurate colour mixing (p.77). Flint Group’s Niklas Olsson introduces the VIVO Colour Solutions colour-matching search engine, with its immense customized ink formulation database (p.79). And there’s a short, inspiring case study from Flint customer Watershed Group (p.83) showing the gains they’ve made this with this ground-breaking service.