Industrial Marketing Success? You Need To Listen To The Right Voices
Too often industrial marketing professionals spend time in meetings brainstorming and discussing the features (bad) and benefits (better) of their products when they really ought to be spending time discussing the needs of their clients (best). These industrial marketing professionals are listening to the wrong voices and, as often as not, this leads them down the wrong roads.
To truly excel in industrial marketing you need to listen to (and act upon) the voices of your clients.
You need to ask the voices the right questions
Obvious, right? Well based on typical industrial marketing practices you might not think so.
How can you have any idea about what your clients want if you do not ask them? This is a very simple two-step process.
First you need to know who you want for your ideal clients. This is simply a matter of cloning your best current clients. First, go into your CRM, database, or accounting software and do a recency, frequency, and monetary value analysis (RFM Analysis). Then determine what types of clients are ideal for your manufacturing company.
Second, you need to ask your clients the right questions. Before you can do this you need to ask yourself some questions. The first question you need to ask yourself is one about what you are trying to find out as a result of surveying your clients. You need to have a clear industrial marketing-related purpose. For example, are you trying to find out more about their communications preferences? Perhaps you need to determine what product benefits are viewed by them as having the most value. For best results you need to have a tight focus in your survey and clear outcomes in mind. Keep your survey questions strictly on topic.
You need to actively listen to the voices and accept what they are telling you
This is a critical distinction that often eludes industrial marketing professionals and manufacturing executives. Asking your clients for input often results in you discovering key facts and information of which you were unaware. Often their input also reveals information you rather would not know.
One thing I like to caution my industrial marketing clients about is the danger in falling in love with their ideas. It is imperative to listen to what your clients tell you, even if doing so turns some of your most-cherished views upside down. They are the final arbiters of wrong and right in your marketplace.
You need to act on what the voices have revealed
You need to act on what the voices are telling you. Asking for input from your clients and not acting on this input is a complete waste of time. Provided you surveyed a sufficient number of clients to get a valid sample size you can move forward on your findings with confidence.
For best results wherever possible test your findings with a subset of your market before rolling out any marketing initiative to your entire marketplace. Keep increasing the size of your tests until you are confident about the validity of your results.