Technical Marketing: The 5 Most Critical Succes Factors

Marketing is an umbrella term. Much of what you hear and read about it does not apply to technical companies. In fact, 80% of marketing advice is fruitless for companies providing complex products and services. Technical marketing is a field of its own that requires a different vision and approach.

If deployed for the right reasons, technical marketing can yield great results. But first, it is important to know what works and what does not. That is the knowledge we will share in this article about the five success factors of technical marketing.

 

Technical Marketing - Factor 1:
Choose an attainable goal

“We want to improve our brand awareness.” A common answer when we ask management or the sales department of a manufacturing company why they deploy marketing. Marketing for the technical industry is often perceived as just ‘promotion’.

Promotion to improve awareness of the company and the brand in the market.

Of course, marketing can be deployed to improve your brand awareness. In fact: that is what many manufacturing companies’ marketing managers and marketers are mostly occupied with these days. The question is: at what point can you say that you have enough brand awareness?

For a tech company to invest in marketing with the goal of ‘improving brand awareness’ is like throwing money into a bottomless pit; after all, this goal is immeasurable by definition. Without measuring, there is no way to know. More on this later.
 

Niche market

The general marketing principles for B2C and B2B do not apply to technical companies. These principles mostly focus on ‘visibility’ and aim to reach as many people as possible.

But as a industrial manufacturer, this is utterly useless to you.

Technical companies usually serve a niche market. Reaching as many people as possible should not be a priority at all. After all, the number of potential clients is limited for technical companies that produce specific products and services.

Technical marketing serves only one purpose: generating sales leads.

Technical marketing is explicitly not about reaching as many people as possible, but about purposefully reaching the right people, at the right time and with the right information. With the end goal of marketing your products / services in order to get your salespeople in touch with potential clients. So the goal of technical marketing? Generating leads for sales.

TIP: As a technical company, only invest in marketing when you have a concrete and achievable commercial goal in mind.

Technical Digital Marketing

Technical Marketing - Factor 2:
Engage in measurable actions

The average technical manufacturing company does not have an in-house marketing department or marketer. If a marketer is appointed, they will usually focus on marketing in the broadest sense of the word as laid out above. Full of enthusiasm, they will make sure you have a gorgeous website, a slick brochure or an eye-catching booth at a conference.

But what measurable results do these time-consuming activities deliver?

Technical marketing consists of a series of goal-oriented marketing activities, largely digital and preferably recorded in an action plan. These actions are linked together, each one leading to the other and resulting in leads. Various measuring points reveal the results as well as a wide range of data allowing for potential improvements to be identified. This is how analysis leads to optimization.

“Marketing is not a trick. That's why TEUN deliberately seeks the connection with sales.”

Joost van Aaken, Managing Director ARODO

The key to successful technical marketing is continuous alignment between technical sales and marketing. Marketing and sales go hand in hand when it comes to achieving the one and only goal.

TIP: Make results and potential improvements transparent with measurable (digital) marketing activities and record them in a clear action plan.
 

Technical Marketing - Factor 3:
Focus on the right person

Another characteristic of technical marketing and the B2B procurement process in the industrial market is the presence of the DMU, the Decision-Making Unit. This is the group of people who partake in decision-making regarding a specific purchase.

This 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 technical marketing. It takes more than the general information or technical specifications on your current website or brochure to affect this buying process.

Nobody will be persuaded by such generic information.
 

Proper lubricant

So, who is part of the DMU? Who takes the lead? What are their needs? Each DMU has a different composition and dynamics. This is why it's truly important to map out the DMU.

Each DMU has a different
composition and dynamics.

Ensuring that the right information is geared towards the right person in each buying phase will work as a lubricant. Without proper lubricant, the machine will surely grind to a halt. Something you are all too aware of.

TIP: Map the DMU and tailor your communication to provide the right person with the right information at the right time.

Technical Marketing Strategy

Technical Marketing - Factor 4:
Discuss problems first

In the B2C market, a purchase is often driven by emotion. In industry and technology, the reason to buy has a more rational character. For example, a new purchase should contribute to increased capacity or better quality. This need is always based on a specific problem, driven by developments in the market. Nevertheless, no purchase is 100% rational, even in the technical industry.

Doing business is about trust. Every salesperson will confirm this fact.

Of course, trust is especially important in the technical industry, because suppliers engage directly in the customer's operational process. Potential customers want to experience, and ultimately feel assured, that you understand their business and recognize and acknowledge their challenges. That's why ‘talking about problems’ is an important part of marketing for industrial companies.

New customers need to be able to trust that your truly understand them.

By talking through their problems together, your potential clients will feel confident that you truly understand them. This will allow you to explain to them later on how your product or service can eliminate these problems. So, you start by connecting stakeholders. Only then will you proceed to discuss any solutions.

TIP: Work to build a connection and trust by discussing your potential client's problems first to propose solutions later.
 

Technical Marketing - Factor 5:
Explain what you make possible

General marketing for products and services can easily capture the imagination. Beautiful TV commercials allow you to dream about that amazing car, sunny holiday or the latest technical gadget. And a discount, if you decide now, makes it very tempting to buy immediately. The buying process for a technical, complex, and innovative product is much slower.

The average website of an OEM, machine manufacturer, or industrial producer provides an extensive answer to the question ‘what the machine or system’ can do. It is all about features, specifications, production numbers, and so on. In short: the focus is on technology. Not surprisingly, ask an employee on the job, and they will tell you all about it. But ask them what the product makes possible, and they will fall silent.

A missed opportunity if there ever was one. 

But if ‘technology’ should not be the focal point, then what should?
 

Just one message

The simple answer is that potential clients listen to one message only: how does it help me? A clear answer to this question is a key success factor in technical marketing.

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

Jan-Frederik Kalee, CEO SEMECS

The perfect message is one that triggers potential clients in the right way. With the message: ‘lower your maintenance costs by over 80%’, you are guaranteed to grab their full attention.

TIP: Don’t only tell potential customers what you make, but more importantly, what you make possible. In the end, clients want an answer to the question: how does it help me?

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Conclusie

Now you know that technical marketing for companies active in the technical industry is a different beast. Thanks to research and applied knowledge, we now know in great detail how marketing for the manufacturing industry breeds success.

Here are the tips at a glance for you again:

  • As a technical company, only invest in marketing when you have a concrete and achievable commercial goal.

  • Make results and potential improvements transparent with measurable (digital) marketing activities and record them in a clear action plan.

  • Map the DMU and tailor your communication to provide the right person with the right information at the right time.

  • Work to build a connection and trust by discussing your potential client's problems first to propose solutions.

  • Don’t only tell potential clients what you make, but more importantly, what you make possible. In the end, clients want an answer to the question: how does it help me?

Wondering what technical marketing can do and how to choose the right approach? Contact us, and we will show you how it works and what results it leads to.