Industries 4.0 with marketing 1.0
Despite its proven potential to enhance results, many industrial SMEs have not included the Internet in their business strategy yet
We all know how advertising is. It constantly reinvents itself, but it is as old as retail. Like the voices with which sellers have always attracted clients in markets, forums, or bazaars. Nowadays, the marketplace is on the Internet so, in this umpteenth life, advertising achieves its best results through digital marketing, whose tools enhance the scope of campaigns while making them much more controllable. These are unquestionable advantages. However, many SMEs are still turning their backs on them. This is particularly striking in the industrial sector, an industry that is so keenly aware of technical innovations that digitalisation brings about. Their companies are fully involved in the 4.0 revolution, but, commercially speaking, many of them seem to have stayed back in web 1.0.
‘Industrial companies are becoming increasingly aware that their success or failure depends on their capacity to develop a digital culture within the organisation, but many of them believe that digital marketing is only for those who target the end consumer, the so-called B2C. However, this is not true. The Internet also offers a number of possibilities for industrial companies. The first thing that must be explained is that anyone can integrate the Internet into traditional sales processes, that there are tools for everyone, and that the challenge is to activate those that really help them to meet sales goals,’ says Urko de la Torre, Operations Manager at Weroi, a Biscayan firm that specialises in industrial digital marketing and whose clients include important groups such as Velatia, Ingeteam, and Mondragon. ‘In three years, a company can achieve 10% of its annual turnover from the digital channel’, he emphasises.
More than just a nice website
The second thing SMEs should understand is that digital marketing implies much more than just having a nice website. It goes beyond the visits that it may receive. Even more than providing a website with updated and high-quality content. And more than just managing social networks because industrial products seldom fit in them.
‘Any good digital strategy should start with a good potential market research, analysing each business unit of the company and identifying the tools that best fit established sales goals. It is essential to know in detail the target audience profiles on which we want to focus’URKO DE LA TORRE
OPERATIONS MANAGER AT WEROI
In fact, since we strive to have a good blog about the news of the company or the industry, it is their job to ensure that we reach our target audience. This is one of the keys to digital marketing; on the Internet, the target audience is clearly identified (‘you have to know how to look for it and find it, that’s for sure’) and the actions can go especially directed to it more than ever in advertising. Almost remote-controlled.
And to reach it, it is not enough to be well-positioned in search engines. SEM and SEO are not everything. Digital marketing, ‘if well-focused’, should be proactive when finding potential clients: ‘Every good digital strategy should start with good potential market research, analysing each business unit of the company and identifying the tools that best fit established sales goals. It is essential to know in detail the target audience profiles we want to focus on,’ explains De la Torre, allowing us to better define the mix of digital tools used in the project and, therefore, optimise the budget.
This digital approach to business strategy could be an update of the classic ‘cold-calling’. That is, to introduce yourself to someone who does not know you to offer that person something that he or she has not (yet) asked for. But this time, shooting the target. There are tools that, for example, allow for knowing if an email is opened more than once. Therefore, it is possible to know which recipients show curiosity about its content to insist on them either with a new message, a call, or even a visit. You can also throw small baits. If the download of any interesting manual or guide is offered upon request of an e-mail, a handful of addresses can be added to the database for sending future e-mails with sales information.
‘Almost all (if not all) industrial companies can develop digital projects aimed at attracting new business opportunities. However, to achieve good results, the participation and collaboration between in-house profiles, such as the sales manager, the marketing director, and the management department, is essential. The sales department will still be a key player in this new sales process because these professionals will be the ones who turn opportunities into sales,’ explains De la Torre.
Search for qualified contacts
Identifying opportunities, those decision-makers (‘qualified leads’ in the jargon), requires accuracy in the choice of contact channels and tools as well as in the messages that are transmitted, resulting in a clear return on investment. Just think of the costs of attending a trade fair and returning without a single interesting new contact.
To clear up any doubt about its efficiency, the only obstacle might be spending money or time. Digital marketing can do a lot for a company, but it requires commitment. ‘It is true that any action must be tracked and that new tools or updates always appear. You can’t rest on your laurels, but these are things you learn. You can hire an external consultant to work with the sales team, but you can also train your own staff to make the most of these opportunities,’ says Weroi’s operations manager.