Industrial Marketing Plan: A 3-Phase Approach

Industrial marketing plan

As we go deeper into Q4 with the holidays right around the corner, most industrial companies start to think about their industrial marketing plan for the next year. As an industrial marketing consultant, I’m often asked by clients the best way to approach this important planning task.

My preferred way is what I call the 3-phase industrial marketing plan approach. I refer to them as phases instead of steps because each phase consists of several smaller steps.

Three phases of an industrial marketing plan

Phase I:

  • Kick-off discussion
  • Internal discovery
  • Buy-in and budget approval
  • Strategy development
  • Implementation road map

Read my article, “Digital Marketing for Manufacturers: Making a Business Case” and download the accompanying webinar recording for more in-depth information on Phase I of an industrial marketing plan. In the webinar, I also talk about why the traditional method of adding more sales people to increase sales that manufacturers and distributors have relied on in the past is no longer effective.

Phase II:

  • Website assessment
  • Review website content and calls to action
  • Think/rethink the purpose of the site
  • Keyword research
  • Competitive analysis
  • SEO, PPC and SEM strategy

Diving right into redesigning your industrial website probably won’t produce the results you want. A redesign that is nothing more than a cosmetic facelift is not going to be any more effective than your current site in getting found in search engines for keyword phrases that your target audience is using and converting those visitors into qualified sales leads. I suggest that you read some of my posts categorized under Industrial Websites and Website Design & Development.

Phase III:

  • Content marketing strategy
  • Content audit
  • Content creation and repurposing
  • Content distribution and promotion via social media and other channels
  • Measurement, tracking and refinement

Phase III is what I refer to as the “growth phase.” This is where all the hard work from Phase I and Phase II starts to bear fruit. It is easy to get excited about the initial successes from an increase in traffic and number of downloads but all that will mean nothing if your content marketing doesn’t lead to conversions. Industrial companies are no different from other B2B companies when it comes to conversions. They want more qualified RFQs that lead to sales. The sooner the better.

Trying to justify your efforts alone won’t get you too far; you have to show tangible results measured in dollars. You’ll find plenty of good information about content marketing for manufacturers and industrial companies right here.

There you have it, the short version of my 3-phase industrial marketing plan. What’s yours?

7 replies
  1. Jon Franko
    Jon Franko says:

    Nailed it. Very similar to our process. It’s never cookie cutter, as I’m sure you can relate to, but this gameplan seems to work well for us. Thanks for sharing Achinta!

    Reply
  2. Tom Repp
    Tom Repp says:

    Ditto. The only thing I would add in Phase I is an emphasis on the brand theme. In the age of search, mobile & social, a strong brand theme or identity can be a content-multiplier when you get to Phase III and start to deploy your content marketing strategy with great content.

    Reply
    • Achinta Mitra
      Achinta Mitra says:

      @Tom,
      Thanks for your comments.
      Branding is part of strategy development in Phase I. The problem I see is that most industrial companies tend to seriously undervalue branding and its impact on building trust which produces the multiplier effect as you’ve mentioned. Branding plays a key role in the quality of leads and building stronger relationships.

      Reply
  3. Jim Notorelli
    Jim Notorelli says:

    While this is great from a digital perspective, what about other elements of an industrial marketing plan? Are you saying monies should only go digital. Nothing for training, trade shows, other sales tools, etc?

    Reply
    • Achinta Mitra
      Achinta Mitra says:

      @Jim,
      Thanks for your comments and the questions.
      No I didn’t say go 100% digital. A blend of digital and traditional media is a good industrial marketing plan as I’ve said here before. However, I’m seeing my clients shifting more of their marketing dollars into digital channels and exhibiting at trade shows very selectively even though they consider it a very effective marketing tactic. It makes sense because engineers and industrial professionals are using more digital channels today for work related purposes.

      The data from a joint study done by ENGINEERING.com and TREW Marketing showed that engineers are almost twice as likely (93%) to find information online as they are to find it at a trade show (58%). Read this post by John Hayes for more interesting data that came out of that study.

      Reply
  4. Nick Goellner
    Nick Goellner says:

    As my company is preparing to exhibit three seperate booths at the IMTS 2016, I’m constantly reading content about how to use on-line content marketing tactics to drive offline traffic.

    I plan to implement a lot of the stuff I’m learning at the show.

    I think marketers need to think of their brand as a whole using the synergies between channels.

    Reply

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