How to Avoid These Marketing Mistakes Made by Big Businesses
For the Manufacturing, Construction and Industrial Equipment Sector
When I first wrote this blog it was just after yet another leading construction company closed their doors.
I was incensed. For years I had seen the problem persisting and as can happen the article rapidly became a personal rant.
Which for me is maybe not entirely appropriate. After all I deal mainly with businesses.
No, sense in alienating the folks who pay the bills.
Worse yet it wasn't just scathing it was accusatory on something pretty serious. It pretty much said that big businesses were responsible for leading smaller businesses to their demise.
So I took it down. Then I re-wrote it with a bit of an “Shame, anyone can make that mistake sympathy line” put it back again and then realized I’d only succeeded in coming across as spineless and ingratiating.
So I left it off and hoped it would disappear. Alas I was wrong. Google had indexed it and was looking for it regularly.
For a new website ranking is crucial. No sense in wasting valuable content.
But I still had a dilemma.
I needed to rewrite the article.
Long story short here is the final outcome.
Lets start off by agreeing that not all businesses are the same.
Which means that as a business grows in a particular sector it will have different priorities than it’s counterpart in a different sector. This is particularly true of industrial types of businesses.
Unlike other sectors their marketing focus is not on the man in the street. They focus on other businesses. B2B
The larger the business gets the more it becomes like running a small country. The focus moves onto maintaining the money and control while the individual becomes replaceable.
Which makes sense, at industry level there's just too many people involved to accommodate personal needs.
So money and control comes first. And with that comes power.
The Perks of Dominating Your Market
While that may appear like a mammoth task to some the reality is that it also gets easier the more powerful you become.
With money and power comes better survival.
And as happens this opens the door to socializing with others in the same category.
Now business deals are being done on a yacht while cracking open the lobster tail as opposed to traffic jams and the golf course.
The levels of money and power go on and the ease increases the further up you go.
However this is not an article about the fabulously wealthy.
It’s about avoiding the mistakes of the past specifically for the manufacturing, construction and industrial equipment sectors.
For those ambitious driven men and women still hungry to achieve their own version of a better future.
In a world where the best education and experience is for hire.
One thing never changes though. Everyone big or small needs an ongoing demand for their product.
Whether it’s new or existing clients without this demand we all end up in the same position. Out of business.
The World of the Big Dogs
The larger you becomes the more finesse getting new business requires.
A common approach still used is the big dog scenario.
Being on the whose who list. Running in the same circles.
As great as this system appears to be there are long term risks involved.
Because it depends on the opinions and confidence of a small handful of people, the other big dogs.
Profitable though this marketing method may be.
It takes enormous resources of both time and money. Not the least of which is an depth knowledge of who’s who.
You wont find a Big Dog reading this shit.
Big dogs don’t bother with reading stuff like this. They don’t need any help getting to the top. They’re there already.
Rather those who would really find this article useful are those a bit further down the totem pole.
Those that haven’t yet received their key to the city. Those for whom knocking at doors with hat in hand are still a reality.
And here is where a glaring mistake gets made.
When one aspires to achieve greatness it is common to emulate those who have already achieved it.
Admiration is a Powerful Incentive
The respect and admiration of other men is a powerful incentive in any culture.
Big dogs or rather big business has long since ceased to walk into a room with their cap in hand.
They don’t operate the same as the rest of us. But dont be lured by it yourself.
Because those who do fall prey end up making a glaring mistake with their websites.
Their websites portray their big dog mentality.
What's the joke about this.
The joke is that big dogs don't look for suppliers online. Normal everyday people do!
In other words workers. Number crunchers. Salaried people. People who live in the real world.
Whats the next big joke.
Big dogs also have masters.
Everyone has a master. Even the big dogs.
Who is the master? Who controls the big dogs. The answer is surprisingly simple. The masses do! Popular opinion! Mass confidence!
In other words, the worker, the number cruncher the salaried person. Add them all up and they become The masses!
And no one, no matter how rich or powerful, survives without the confidence of others.
So if a big dog can grease his palms while staying on the right side of popular opinion its a win win for him.
Emulating a Flawed System
We know that big dogs thrive on a diet of respect. We understand why they advertise their size, their power, their strength.
We know too they can get away with it, as long as they maintain the confidence of the masses.
But we also know that in life, nothing stays the same.
There will be those that challenge that big dog status. Whittling away at our confidence.
Yet while this game goes on. There are those, just starting out. New to the game, who do not have access to the best and brightest minds money can buy.
Those who must fend for themselves. Learning as they go.
A large majority of them end up emulating the systems, procedures and wait for it…marketing tactics of the big dogs. More specifically their website content.
A fatal mistake.
The Customer Decides
At the lower levels the customer decides who his business goes to. Not the other way around.
I don’t know about you but when Im on the hunt for new business I don’t saunter into a client’s office bragging about how awesome I am.
And yet many an industrial company will do just this with their website.
Oblivious to the consequences. Why, because that’s what the big dogs do. If the big dogs do it I can too.
Big Business equals Bigger Responsibilities
Big business can advertise their strength but this needs to be done in a way that other big businesses consider socially acceptable.
For this, the skills and expertise of experienced Marketers and Public Relations experts are utilized.
Big business can also influence the masses. Creating and maintaining an ever increasing mass confidence. Also known as brand building.
The Growing Industrial Sector
The internet has made the world a smaller place. Now customers are no longer confined to one’s geographical borders.
Keeping up with the Jones may be profitable in the upper echelons but for day to day business it’s about connecting with your client.
Focus on that relationship as the priority.
In other words, you don't need to pretend to be like one of the big dogs. There's enough businesses out there that are perfectly ok dealing with a SME. Often preferring the SME as opposed to the Big Dog processes.
9 Tips for Avoiding the Website Mistakes of the Past
- Don’t have content that looks like its written by a lawyer
- Don’t have content that's all about you.
- Don’t have content that makes it sound like you're the only place to ever have had a good idea.
- Don’t come across as arrogant and pompous.
- Don’t completely ignore your actual sales process.
- Don’t give the impression that you don't believe the internet works for you. For example you have a brochure style website.
- Don’t let your website ignore your real life customers’ needs
- Don’t use your website to make cliché sales pitches.
- Don’t have content that says you’re unique.
Just because a business is big doesn’t mean it's impervious. Big business doesn’t have a separate set of rules from the rest of humanity.
We are all in the same boat. We all rely on our customers. Without them, we are nothing.
Marketing is about More than a Website
Lets backtrack, What is marketing?
In it's simplest historical form it was a space called a Market.
If you wanted to buy something you went to the market and if you wanted to sell something you went to the market.
On arriving at a historical market one was not confronted with neat orderly serenity, it was a noisy busy place.
People on the other side were shouting their wares so that people on this side could hear and visa versa.
Kids were employed to run through the aisles shouting about the wares their employers had to sell. Then leading interested people back to the stall in question.
Bargaining was a non stop occurrence.
We may be way more technologically advanced than a marketplace dating back 2000 years but actually nothings changed.
If you have a service or product (no matter how big or small you are) you still need to go to market and (figuratively and occasionally literally) shout your wares.
Advertising, emails, trade shows. These are all versions of shouting your wares.
If you don't it's the same as being a farmer 2000 years ago who sits on the porch watching his wheat crop grow mildew, because he cant be bothered to go to the market.
Its About Your Client, Not You
Excerpt from a leading construction companies website. "Our experience and successful track record gives us unique insight into the business challenges faced in the etc etc.... industries. Our preferred methodology of working in close partnership with our clients, means that we are able to develop innovative solutions that address their requirements."
Comment Really? Definition of unique - 1. being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. Errm.. It's common knowledge that you never use the word unique guys, unless it really is unique. So, Id have to say that I'd be a bit incredulous about that and in the process, that companies credibility sank a bit in my mind.
Now lets look at "working in close partnership with our clients means that we are able to develop innovative solutions that address their requirements."
Comment Mmmm To me that says that you guys have had to deal with some unexpected problems in the middle of a job and came up with some good ideas to solve them.
I'm a website designer and I come up with good ideas with every website, it's expected of me as part of the job. But I don't tell people I'm innovative.
Also is this something they can always assure the client of. Overall I'd go with being be kind and say something like, "well done" for your innovative solutions. But...
What's Missing? The connection with the Client, the human to human interaction.
Surely if sales reps from this company came knocking on your door, they would not start off by telling you how unique or innovative they are.
They'd probably first listen to your requirements and then mention that they have so and so or some other so and so in the team who is amazing at coming up with solutions for problems like yours.
Marketing is about connecting with people. And one of the ways of doing that is by using a shared reality.
For the sake of these examples I am using the construction industry. But these marketing mistakes can be found across the board in all big industrial types of businesses.
Lets look at another South African favourite "working together to bring change".
Comment This statement creates questions in my mind. For starters it's a phrase we have heard many times. The novelty of it has worn off a bit.
Plus bearing in mind that these days, I am encountering fantastic levels of service and professionalism from transformed companies. Like seriously, totally mind blowing use of technology and professionalism.
You just need to look around you (or go on social media) WOW. It's inspiring to say the least.
Yes we should never become complacent, but consider that every country has unemployment.
Right now though it would not be untrue to say, that we have transformed ourselves. Into a fully functioning inclusive society. With maybe a few pockets of dissent here and there which the media shoves in our faces daily.
Getting back to "working together to create change" I suspect this business is geared towards Government contracts, but in so doing they are not talking to the private sector.
Marketing is about connecting with people. Every step of the way.
Intelligent Men and Woman Made These Mistakes
Mocking anyone is not an activity I condone. In the two cases above the reality is most likely that these companies used what "they thought" were workable marketing approaches.
Further I do not for a moment believe that any of their directors or owners intended to market themselves in an arrogant way. We are after all talking about men and woman who although they deal with large amounts are none the less, fighting to survive not only for themselves but for their many employees as well.
If this was not the case, they would have long since, ceased to serve in their capacities as owners or directors.
I do believe instead, that these are men and woman who stepped up to the plate and assumed greater responsibilities in a world crying out for leadership.
No, the real problem lies in having watched their competitors instead of keeping abreast of marketing shifts. It's an honest mistake.
Where is Marketing today? Marketing has and always will be about getting in front of as many faces as possible with the intention of making money. Fortunately, with todays technology it is easier than ever to reach a larger market at less cost than ever before using social media.
Another trend which we can take advantage of is that the characteristics of sincerity, honesty and integrity are once again becoming a key factor. Social media gives our prospective clients the opportunity to see us personally and make decisions they would normally only make after having met us in person.
So, How Do You Market Big Business Online?
Easy, all online marketing relies on achieving the KNOW, LIKE, TRUST and WANT objectives. When those qualities exist you'll find that people come to you, instead of you going to them.
So how do we translate that into big business, also easy in principal. Start with what we can safety presume to know about our unidentified potential client?
We know they uses processes. Unlike a small business where one or two people decide.
Big business has departments and divisions. In big business the guy at the top is not involved in every buying decision unless its a really big purchase.
Just Figure out how your industry works. Who are the guys making the decisions and is there anyone else that influences that buying process.
For example is there a buying department. What qualifications do your industries buyers normally have. Is that true of the local and the international market? Where are they likely to hang out online? Are they married? do they have kids?
Remember that there are different prerogatives with each level.
So if we had an industry where there was a three step process of
1) Buying Department
2) Legal Department
3) Decision Maker.
Then each division has a different prerogative. The buyer has a job to do. He assesses your advertising claims and sees if they fit with the requirements he was asked to find.
The legal guy combs through your terms and conditions to make sure advertising promises are backed up.
The decision maker would want to be assured that doing business with you will help him achieve his goals.
You market to all three based on their individual prerogatives.
It's called intention based marketing.
Key to Intention Based Marketing is the initial objective.(Sales and the sales process) Then comes the budget. How much are you going to spend? Then comes the targets. How much of your objective should you achieve with that budget.
Then go with 1) Research, (find out as much as you can) 2) Ideas (come up with good ideas to catch their attention (that achieve the KNOW LIKE TRUST and WANT)). Then come up with 3) Strategies on where and when to implement your ideas so that they are easy and quick to assess. 4) Implement test etc.
You're now marketing to all three levels using what you found out. As time goes by you get a better understanding of your potential client and you adjust your strategy accordingly.
Just because a business is big doesnt mean it's impervious. Big business doesnt have a seperate set of rules from the rest of humanity.
We are all in the same boat. We all rely on our customers. Without them, we are nothing.