Ask any B2B marketer, and they will tell you that industrial marketing is nothing like consumer (or B2C) marketing. Unlike consumer marketing, industrial marketing deals with longer purchase cycles, complex decision hierarchies, and an emphasis on long-term relationships over short-term value. This means that industrial marketing needs the right approach and tools that cater specifically to the B2B buying process. With the rise of digitisation, B2B marketers now have a plethora of tech-driven options to help them with their industrial marketing efforts. This makes choosing the right tool trickier than it needs to be. And it gets increasingly tricky as more and more tools are released every day — reportedly, the number of martech solutions increased from a mere 150 in 2011 to almost ten thousand by 2022!
The number of marketing tools will only increase as digitisation continues to eclipse the world of industrial marketing. However, as problematic as it may sound, this rise in the number of industrial marketing tools is no mere coincidence. These tools fulfil specific needs of B2B marketing, making them crucial to the B2B landscape.
The Need for Industrial Marketing Tools in the B2B Landscape
Industrial marketing tools encompass a diverse set of strategies, techniques, and resources specifically designed to facilitate the promotion, sales, and relationship-building efforts within the B2B sector. Companies in industries such as manufacturing, technology, raw materials, and services employ these tools to market their products to other organisations.
These tools differ significantly from B2C tools due to the distinctive features of B2B transactions. Here are some of the key ways B2B marketing tools differ from B2C tools and the challenges they present for industrial marketers:
- Audience Complexity: In industrial marketing, reaching and engaging the right audience is more intricate than in B2C marketing. In B2C marketing, the focus is on individual customers. However, that’s not the case in B2B. Industrial purchasing decisions often involve various stakeholders within a company.
For instance, for purchasing manufacturing equipment, engineers assess the technical specifications, financial managers focus on cost-effectiveness, and senior executives consider strategic implications. Due to this, marketers must craft messages that address the concerns and needs of all the stakeholders.
- Longer Sales Cycles: As you know, B2B sales have various stakeholders. Moreover, B2B purchases often involve significant financial investment, making buyers more cautious. This leads to extended durations and intricate decision-making processes.
Unlike B2C transactions, industrial marketers are required to implement lead nurturing strategies to keep potential customers engaged over extended periods.
- Technical Information: Many B2C marketing tactics are characterised by their emotional appeal. However, that does not work with B2B customers. Industrial buyers often require comprehensive technical information, specifications, and documentation of the products to make informed decisions.
This requires industrial marketers to ensure that such information is easily accessible and well-structured to build trust and credibility with informed decision-makers.
- Relationship Building: Building strong and enduring relationships is essential in both B2B and B2C marketing, but the approaches are different due to the distinct nature of transactions and target audiences.
B2C marketing often ends at sales, whereas B2B marketing also includes post-sales services. The aim of industrial marketing is to establish long-term partnerships and contracts with other businesses.
As mentioned, industrial marketing heavily relied on offline tools. However, with the increasing digitisation of industries, the role of digital marketing has become paramount. Research suggests that 84% of industrial manufacturers are raising their digital marketing budgets. There are many digital marketing tools available in the market. One such innovative tool that enables industrial marketers to enhance customer engagement and boost conversions is Exhibit 360.
How Exhibit 360 Helps in Industrial Marketing
Exhibit 360 is an online solution provider offering a range of innovative services to enhance businesses' sales and marketing efforts through immersive and interactive experiences.
Exhibit 360’s virtual showroom is an innovative digital platform that allows businesses to showcase their products and services in a virtual and interactive environment. It has robust features such as hyper-realistic visuals, product animations, live chat interactions, and more. Here are some of the benefits of leveraging virtual showrooms for industrial marketing:
- Enhanced Product Visualisation: Virtual showrooms often provide 360-degree views, enabling industrial buyers to see the product from all sides. This mimics a real-world inspection, allowing buyers to evaluate the product's design, construction, and overall appearance.
- Engagement and Interactivity: Interactive elements within the virtual showroom, such as clickable hotspots and product information pop-ups, engage customers and keep them on the platform longer. This extended engagement can lead to higher conversion rates as industrial buyers will get more information, increasing confidence in their purchase decision.
- Personalisation: In complex industrial purchasing processes, multiple stakeholders may be involved, including engineers, procurement specialists, and managers. A virtual showroom facilitates remote collaboration, allowing team members to view and discuss products in detail, even if they are geographically dispersed. This enhances communication and consensus-building among stakeholders.
3D Product Demos
3D product demos allow businesses to create interactive and immersive demonstrations of their products or services to showcase their features and functionalities in detail. These demos provide hands-on experience to potential customers, even when they are not physically present. Here’s how 3D demos can help businesses increase sales:
- Improved Understanding: Industrial products can be highly complex and specialised, often with intricate features and components. 3D product demos provide a dynamic platform where industrial buyers can interact with the product, explore its different parts, and understand how it works in detail. This comprehensive understanding is vital for industrial buyers, who need to make precise and informed decisions about equipment or machinery.
- Overcoming Objections: During sales discussions, industrial buyers may raise objections or concerns about how a product will integrate into their existing systems or processes. 3D product demos enable sales representatives to address these concerns in real time by visually demonstrating how the product works within the buyer's environment. This hands-on approach can alleviate doubts and uncertainties.
- Increased Engagement: Many industrial products have complex features and configurations. Interactive demos break down these complexities into digestible and user-friendly components, allowing buyers to explore various aspects of the product at their own pace. This aids in a better understanding of the product's value proposition.
3D Product Configurators
A 3D product configurator is a tool that allows customers to customise and visualise products in real time. Users can select various options, such as colours, sizes, and features, to create a product that meets their specific requirements.
- Empowers Customer’s Decision-Making: Industrial products often come in various configurations with different specifications and features. A 3D product configurator visually represents these configurations, making it easier for industrial buyers to understand the product and its components. This visual clarity reduces ambiguity and ensures buyers can see exactly what they are getting.
- Reduces Returns: Industrial buyers often require specific configurations or customisations to meet their unique operational needs. When they can see and interact with a product before making a purchase, or when they have the option to customise it according to their requirements, there is a reduced risk of misunderstandings or mismatched expectations. They can ensure that the product aligns precisely with their needs and specifications.
- Upselling Opportunities: Industrial buyers often have complex and specific needs regarding the products they purchase. The configurator can suggest complementary options that are designed to work seamlessly with the chosen product configuration. Suggested premium options can enhance the performance, durability, or efficiency of the customised product. Industrial buyers are typically looking for ways to improve their processes, and these premium suggestions can offer valuable enhancements that align with their objectives.
B2B marketers can mix and match various other industrial marketing tools to promote their offerings. Let’s understand which ones are in demand in today’s market.
Best Industrial Marketing Tools to Consider in 2023
Here are some of the best marketing tools to consider in today’s B2B landscape:
Content Marketing Tools
Creating valuable and informative content plays a pivotal role in establishing a brand as an industry authority. Research by the Content Marketing Institute reveals that 73% of B2B marketers use content marketing as a part of their overall strategy.
When a brand consistently produces high-quality content that addresses the needs of its audience, it demonstrates expertise and thought leadership. Valuable content provides educational information and practical solutions, building trust and credibility. Moreover, as the brand becomes a trusted source for industry insights, it attracts a larger audience and fosters brand loyalty over time.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Tools
Optimising industrial websites for search engines is essential for connecting with the right audience in the highly specialised industrial sector. Research indicates that 80% of B2B sales interactions will take place on digital channels, making SEO a crucial part of marketing. Marketers can leverage keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs to help identify precise search terms. Similarly, they can use on-page SEO analysers to fine-tune web content for better search rankings.
In the industrial sector, where buyers often conduct extensive research, effective SEO aligns the content with the keywords and phrases that industrial professionals use when searching for products or services. This means that engineers, procurement specialists, and decision-makers can easily find the information they need, resulting in highly targeted traffic to the website.
Social Media Management Platforms
Social media platforms serve as invaluable connectors between industry experts and decision-makers in various sectors, including the industrial field. According to research by LinkedIn, 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchase decisions. These platforms provide a dynamic space where experts can share their insights, thought leadership, and industry knowledge.
Decision-makers, such as executives and procurement professionals, can follow these experts to stay updated on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in their respective industries.
Additionally, social media facilitates direct engagement through comments, messages, and discussions, allowing decision-makers to seek advice, ask questions, and network with experts. This interaction fosters a sense of community and knowledge sharing, making social media a powerful tool for staying informed and making well-informed decisions in the rapidly evolving industrial landscape.
Email Marketing Tools
Targeted email campaigns are a highly effective tool for nurturing leads and maintaining strong relationships with industrial buyers. These campaigns allow businesses to deliver relevant and personalised content directly to the inboxes of potential and existing customers. Email campaigns keep them engaged and informed over time by tailoring the content to the specific needs and interests of industrial buyers, such as product updates, industry insights, or educational resources.
Emails also allow the sender to personalise the communication, which helps build trust and strong bonds. Moreover, email campaigns can be automated to deliver timely messages, ensuring that buyers receive valuable information at the right stages of their decision-making process, ultimately leading to better conversion rates and long-term customer loyalty in the industrial sector.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are pivotal in managing customer interactions and data by centralising and organising information about customers, prospects, and leads. They serve as a centralised hub where businesses can store, access, and analyse a wealth of customer-related information, including contact details, purchase history, communication history, and preferences. This comprehensive view enables businesses to understand their customers better, anticipate their needs, and deliver personalised experiences.
Additionally, CRM integration with marketing automation tools streamlines lead nurturing and scoring, ensuring that leads are effectively moved through the sales funnel. This synergy between CRM and other marketing tools optimises marketing strategies, improves lead conversion rates, and enhances overall customer satisfaction, ultimately contributing to business growth and success.
Marketing Automation Tools
Automation enables businesses to automate repetitive tasks, such as sending personalised emails, scoring leads based on engagement, and tracking customer interactions. Through automation, leads can be nurtured with timely and relevant content at various stages of the sales funnel, ensuring they receive the right information to move them closer to conversion.
Additionally, automation facilitates lead segmentation by categorising leads based on criteria like behaviour, demographics, or engagement history. This allows for highly targeted and personalised marketing campaigns, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Overall, automation enhances marketing efficiency, reduces manual workload, and ensures a consistent and personalised customer experience, resulting in improved lead conversion rates and customer satisfaction.
Analytics and Reporting Tools
Measuring marketing performance is vital for industrial buyers as it provides critical insights into the effectiveness of marketing efforts in a data-driven industry. Tools like Google Analytics, which track website analytics, help assess website traffic, user behaviour, and conversion rates, allowing businesses to optimise their online presence.
Additionally, email marketing platforms like Mailchimp provide campaign metrics such as open rates and click-through rates, enabling businesses to gauge the engagement of their email campaigns. For industrial buyers, these metrics are invaluable in refining marketing strategies, ensuring that content and campaigns resonate with their specific needs and preferences, ultimately leading to more informed decision-making and improved customer relationships.
How to Choose the Appropriate Tools for Industrial Marketing Strategy?
Choosing the right industrial marketing strategy is necessary to increase your brand reach and differentiate from your competitors. Here’s a step-by-step process on how to choose the perfect industrial marketing tools for your marketing strategy:
Understand Your Goals
Start by clearly defining your marketing objectives. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or improve customer retention? Understanding your goals is essential in aligning tool selection with your specific needs.
Assess Your Budget
Determine your budget constraints and allocate resources accordingly. There are tools available for various budget sizes, so it's essential to strike a balance between cost and functionality. Consider both initial costs and ongoing subscription fees.
In today's digital landscape, integration is key. Look for tools that can seamlessly integrate with each other. For example, your CRM should integrate with your email marketing platform and analytics tools. This ensures that data flows smoothly across your marketing stack, providing a holistic view of your marketing efforts.
Think about the long-term growth of your business. Choose tools that can scale with your needs. This prevents the need for frequent tool migrations, which can be disruptive and costly. Ensure that the tools you select can accommodate increased user loads, data volumes, and feature requirements as your business expands.
Industrial marketing is a dynamic field where marketers are required to evolve according to the changing B2B customer needs constantly. As we’ve explored, the need for industrial marketing tools arises from the unique challenges and intricacies of B2B transactions, including audience complexity, longer sales cycles, and more.
In today’s digital era, B2B marketers have access to a plethora of powerful tools at their disposal. One such tool that stands out in the digital landscape is Exhibit 360. With the help of its unique offerings, like 3D demos, virtual showrooms, and 3D product configurators, Exhibit 360 empowers marketers to enhance customer engagement, boost conversions, and streamline the complex decision-making process.
To harness the benefits of industrial marketing tools, B2B marketers must assess their goals, budget, integration needs, and scalability requirements. A well-thought-out strategy that aligns with these factors with the right industrial marketing tools will propel your marketing efforts to new heights.