Engineering companies are often unsure as to how digital marketing is relevant for them. Frequently, they rely on the sales-force alone to clinch contracts. This can be challenging without digital marketing support. Engineering companies that are in B2B markets need to think in B2B Buy Task format as they structure their Google AdWords campaigns.
[ Note: This post was originally published on May 20, 2016 and due to the great interest of our dear readers this post is updated on March 3, 2021. We have added an example from aerospace from high tech manufacturing. The earlier example food manufacturing remains. In 2021 though, modern food processing facilities tend to be comparable to aerospace in terms of automation, digitization. We hope that this post will inspire readers from manufacturing to redouble their marketing efforts as we come out of COVID 19. ]
B2B Buy task thinking starts with the fundamental question:
What task is our engineering product used for?
No matter what your engineering product , your B2B customer can be segmented into one of the following three categories.
New Task Buy –Aerospace: With recent problems of aircraft parts flying off in mid-air aircraft makers and airlines might want to improve their ability to get very early warning of where a crack is developing. There are a bunch of technologies that can help locate a crack from the sound it makes when it starts. There are high-tech manufacturers who are able to identify material fatigue very early through acoustics,sensors. Imagine the time,money and trouble that airlines globally could save if they did not have to open the entire plane and check every nut and bolt. If you have a better solution to this problem using any other technology you can be sure that this new task is top of mind for all aerospace maintenance folks.
New Task – Food Industry: Assume you are a food industry stainless steel valve maker and you are trying to find “New Task” buyers. The new-task buy involves a B2B purchase for the first time for the buying organization. They did not have a food manufacturing business and are building a new factory.The buying organization have hired some experienced food industry folks who may or may not know about some innovative solutions you have developed. As pointed out in earlier posts this is the biggest opportunity for innovative marketers because your competition is not in place- to keep you out. Here your mantra for the Google AdWords campaign is “Learn more.” Once the buying organization decides to engage with you, you need to educate them and help come up with specifications because they have never done this work before.
Modified-Rebuy Aerospace: Continuing with the unpredictable fan blade (based on early media reports) example. If you are able to provide fan blades that either do not crack or will tell the maintenance folks that they are about to crack -when the plane is on the ground, you fit into the “modified rebuy” category. Here if your marketing claims are credible, you can expect a hearing from expert aerospace maintenance folks.
Modified-Rebuy Food Industry :Here the customer already is in the food business and is pretty much tired of say “leaky valves”. You have done your research and know exactly how your innovative new valve overcomes the leaky valve problem for food businesses. Your campaign mantra will be “Compare.” You have keywords like “leaky valves” and your Ad takes the searcher to your web landing page that describes how your product overcomes the leaky valve problem. (Disclaimer: The “leaky valve” is merely an example and we do not imply that valves leak in all food factories).
Straight Rebuy Aerospace: Here the existing supplier is well entrenched and assume that this is not a part that breaks. Existing supplier relationships are very difficult to disrupt because everything is working. The price,quality,service are all working- the folks who do the work know each other at a friendly level. Here a new supplier needs to innovate and do something better to get their first shot. We believe that entrepreneurs and new entrants emerge because they are out to find a “better way”. And these new entrants take over all kinds of markets. So if you are an existing supplier with repeat business don’t be complacent on innovation– there is someone out there preparing to take your business!
Straight Rebuy Food Industry : The existing valve brand has no real “perceived” problem including no leaky valves. Also suppliers are well entrenched with long term relationships in place that are difficult to break. This is the hardest market to crack unless you have an innovative solution that has some major benefit and you can articulate that benefit as either a modified-rebuy or as a new task.Unless your value proposition for this B2B customer segment is crystal clear there is no benefit in trying to do online advertising, offline advertising or even sales calls. But let us suppose because of your innovations, you are able to provide longer lasting,non-leaking, lower cost, always in stock valves- then you have a value proposition. And that value proposition is more valuable than your competitors and you can re-position your engineering brand vs. other competitors.Your campaign mantra needs to be around “value and re-positioning.” When your salesperson makes a sales call and your customer has googled your category, you are seen and perceived as credible, going in.