BY JAGDEEP KAPOOR
Trial by Buyer
Marketers get very excited to brand and market consumer products as well as services. However they forget to focus on industrial products. This is because there has been greater emphasis and focus given to other categories and industrial products have been neglected. The time has come where industrial marketing is taken up seriously and regularly to make sure that it is handled in a positive and proactive manner. I strongly recommend that industrial marketeers could also resort to strong brand strategy and follow my recommended INDUS'trial BRANDING so that there is "trial by buyer" rather than "trial by fire".
As you would have noticed that the strongest emphasis I would give in industrial marketing and branding is on "trials". Let me explain this in detail. In industrial marketing there is a decision making process which has to be understood and sensitively handled in order to succeed in increasing the sales, market share and profits. Whether it be heavy machinery or it be packaging machines or industrial consumables or industrial packaged units, it is important that the buyer decision making process is kept in mind. This is critical in succeeding in Industrial marketing.
In Industrial marketing there are six roles which are played by the buyers which ultimately lead to the final sale. These six roles could be played by six different individuals or one individual could play more than one role or one individual could play all the six roles. The marketer must make sure that he does his homework before trying to market his products.
The first role is of a 'Gatekeeper" which is an important and significant role because it allows entry into the company by a "Gatekeeper" whether he or she be a Secretary or a Receptionist or a Manager or a CEO himself. Gaining an entry through an appointment is the first step towards building an industrial brand. Even though advertising is limited mainly in industry journals - packaging , logo designs sales, personal selling, direct marketing are very important to build industrial brands. Thus gaining an appointment is a critical step in moving forward.
The second role played after the role of the gatekeeper is the role of an "Initiator". The initiator initiates the process to allow new products categories to enter the company. He initiates a desire within the company to purchase an industrial product by convincing the team about the efficiency, effectiveness as well as time and cost saving benefits.
The third role is played by the 'influencer' who basically focuses on recommending a specific brand rather than just a category. Infact the influencer could be the turning point in moving closer to a brand choice.
The fourth role is played by the "decision maker" who could either be the head of the department or could be the head of the company. He finally, decides after getting convinced by the 'initiator' and "influencer".
Even though a decision is made and approved in writing, the fifth role is that of a "Purchaser" who is important to the documentation and the processing of the purchase order. Without his processing, things could get stalled and come to a stand still.
The final role is played by the user who could be the production incharge or a machine operator. He is the one who would finally give his verdict whether the brand meets the need objective and whether he is satisfied.
Thus we see all six roles are critical and any break down in the chain could lead to sales loss or customer rejection.
I believe that INDUS'trial BRANDING is truly a "trial by buyer" because some of the elements of branding could create awareness, but there are some critical elements in branding which would make the sale.
WORD OF MOUTH
The other elements of marketing that I would strongly recommend in branding are word of mouth. There is nothing, which works better than a good testimonial in industrial products. This needs to be monitored regularly, so that there is positive word of mouth.
Unless, you demonstrate and show merits of your brand you would only have to wait and wait and wait. Every company has a desire to experiment and upgrade their products and services. For this they need a demonstration and if satisfied they would go for repeats. Demonstration is an important process in the Industrial buying process, because here, not only seeing, but actually experiencing the brand is crucial.
TRIAL, TRIAL, TRIAL
The most important element in the Industrial marketing is trial. If you look at the 'evolution' of this market and category, you would notice that credibility is the most significant factor in the brand building process. Unlike in other categories, trials will be the only way credibility can be determined.
Since machines have to deliver tangible, rational, physical and concrete results, trials are able to ensure that. Infact there is a great amount of success which is generated because instead of people the machines speak and the products works. Hence, trial is very important in building Industrial brands.
Thus, I would strongly recommend that if you want to build a strong industrial brand, it would be better to go through the process of 'trial, trial, trial … INDUS'trial !".
Copyright © 2005, All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor – Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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The author is Jagdeep Kapoor, Brand Guru and Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy.
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