Industrial Marketing: The 5 Most Common Mistakes

Much is said and written about marketing in general. However, eight out of ten marketing recommendations do not apply to tech companies that provide complex products and services. This makes industrial marketing a very special field. So special, in fact, that it truly demands a different vision and approach.

When industrial marketing is used for the right purposes, incredible results can be achieved. To make that happen, you first have to know what works and what absolutely doesn't work. This is why we have created a list of the five most common mistakes and how you can avoid them.


Industrial marketing mistake #1:
The wrong goal

For some entrepreneurs, everything revolves around marketing, including how new products and services are developed. Some entrepreneurs even often use the word marketing as a synonym for ‘promotion’.

As an industrial marketing company, If we ask the management or the sales department of the average industrial company why they use marketing, we often get the answer: 'to increase our brand awareness'.

But mere growth in brand awareness is, unfortunately, not enough.

Targeted visibility

A common mistake made by tech companies is getting started with marketing with the wrong goal in mind. They know the general marketing principles for B2C and B2B and use them as a starting point. This approach is taken in order to create as much ‘visibility’ as possible and to reach as many people as possible.

Tech companies tend to operate in niche markets, and reaching as many people as possible just doesn’t make any sense at all. After all, industrial companies provide specific products and services, meaning that the number of potential customers is also limited.

General marketing principles for B2C and
B2B do not apply to tech companies.


Long-term vision

In industrial marketing, it is not about reaching as many people as possible, but about reaching the right people, at the right time and with the right information.

All this with a long-term view in mind, as the average duration of the B2B customer journey is approximately 192 days. However, within the industry, it is not uncommon for this period to even take 1 to 2 years.

Industrial marketing is about achieving sustainable success, not quick wins.

TIP: As an industrial company, invest in marketing only when you have a relevant and realistic goal in mind.

Industrial marketing

Industrial marketing mistake #2:
Lack of insights

The average manufacturing company does not have an in-house marketing department or marketer. And if an employee is tasked with marketing for a manufacturing company, they will undoubtedly provide a shiny brochure or a slick trade show booth.

Actually, this involves sales support, not marketing.

Moreover, the question is what these activities will concretely benefit your company. Because without a clear goal, no noticeable result.


Successful industrial marketing involves a high degree of alignment between marketing and sales. Marketing generates targeted visibility, helps to gain a preferred positioning, and creates new sales opportunities.

Opportunities that sales need to capitalize on. Ideally, actions are linked, with one leading to the other. So marketing and sales work together to achieve one common goal.

“Verry serious leads as a direct result.”

Henk van den Beuken, RVS NON FERRO


Digital route

Potential customers follow an outlined digital route with various measuring points, with all actions recorded in advance. This not only makes the results transparent: the resulting valuable data exposes possible areas for improvement.

From analysis to optimization!

TIP: Align targeted marketing actions in advance, document them, and make both results and areas for improvement transparent.


Industrial marketing mistake #3:
Communication not aligned

Another typical characteristic of industrial companies is that the decision-making process concerning a specific purchase involves a group of people.

This so-called Decision-Making Unit (DMU) makes the buying process longer and more complex, but at the same time, also offers several opportunities to influence and direct the buying process with industrial marketing.

This is not achieved with technical specifications or superficial company information.

It won't inspire anyone to action.


Working with a DMU requires 'customized communication'. For each stage of the purchasing process, the right person must always have the right information. Again, industrial marketing plays an important role here.

Well-timed and coordinated information
acts as a lubricant for any sales process.

That means it is essential for you to map out the DMU or have it mapped out. Who is involved in the DMU? Who is leading the process? What is his/her role, influence, and needs? Each DMU has a different composition and dynamic, and everyone involved ultimately has a say in purchasing.


Providing the right information tailored to the right person and to the stage of the purchasing process acts as a lubricant. Without this well-timed lubricant, the machine will surely grind to a halt.

TIP: Map your potential customer's DMU and ensure the right person has the right information at the right time.

Industrial Marketing

Industrial marketing mistake #4:
Connection is missing

In the manufacturing industry, a purchasing process seems to be mostly rationally driven. For example, the purchase must contribute to increased capacity or better quality. Underlying that need is always a specific problem, driven by market developments.

But even in the industry, no purchase is 100% rational.

In fact, the buying process is more emotionally driven than you probably think.

Choosing for a 'wrong' supplier may harm the reputation of your company, not to mention possible financial consequences. And what of your own position?


In the manufacturing industry, trust is especially important, because suppliers engage directly in the customer's operational process. That means the stakes are high, as are the costs involved.

Potential customers want to experience, and ultimately feel assured, that you understand their business and that you recognize and acknowledge their challenges.

That's why ‘talking about problems’ is such an important part of marketing for the industry. Take from us as a technical marketing agency; you can't start early enough.

“At TEUN, they know exactly how to
reach our potential customers.”

Jan-Frederik Kalee, SERO EMS Group


Gain trust

By telling about your potential customers' problems, they get the feeling that you really understand them. This gives you a chance to later tell them how your product or service will put an end to these problems.

So you first make the connection between people involved, only then do you start talking about your company and your offerings. You can do this with the use of industrial marketing, but it actually starts with your company brand. For companies that want to be successful in the long run, building connection is crucial.

Tip: Establish a true connection and gain trust by talking about your potential customer's problems.


Industrial marketing mistake #5:
No answer to the key question

Ask your employees on the floor about ‘what’ the machine or system ‘can do’ and you will hear hundreds of stories.

Not surprisingly, the average website of an OEM, machine builder, or industrial manufacturer addresses this in detail. It is all about features, specifications, production numbers, and so on. In short: the focus is on technology.

Then ask these same employees about ‘what the product makes possible’, and things go silent. This is definitely a missed opportunity.

Technology focused

Marketing for B2C products and services easily captures the imagination. Beautiful commercials make you dream about that great car, sunny vacation or the latest gadget.

And there are more examples where you can immediately imagine all kinds of things.

However, marketing for a technical, complex product is an entirely different story. Because what are you talking about if it can't just be about technology?

Don’t only talk about what you make,
but more importantly what you make possible.


Defining factor

The answer to this question is simple, because potential customers only listen to one message: what's in it for me? In industrial marketing, the answer to this question is a determining factor for success.

That means, ideally, that you will want to deliver a message that ‘hits potential customers where it hurts,’ such as their wallets. With the message, 'reduce your maintenance costs by over 30%', you are guaranteed to get attention.

Tip: Always give potential customers a clear answer to the question: what's in it for me?

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As you now know, marketing for the industry is a profession in itself.

The general marketing principles for B2C and B2B, mostly fail to deliver for industrial companies. There are several reasons:

  1. The goal is unclear or unattainable;
  2. Actions do not hit target and results are not insightful;
  3. Communication is not aligned with the right person;
  4. Customer's problem is not the focus;
  5. No answer to the key question.

Thanks to research and applied knowledge, we now know how marketing for the manufacturing industry breeds success.

Here are the tips at a glance for you again:

  • Only invest in marketing if you have a clear, and, most importantly, achievable goal.
  • Align targeted marketing actions in advance, document them, and make both results and areas for improvement transparent.
  • Make sure that the right person in the DMU has the right information at the right time.
  • Establish a true connection and gain trust by talking about your customer's problems.
  • Always give potential customers a clear answer to the question: what's in it for me?

Wondering what industrial marketing can do and how to choose the right approach? Make an appointment. We will show you how it works and what results it leads to.