When people ask what I do for a living, my answer is normally followed by ‘so what is digital and why do people do it?’ Good question eh? So, what if you own a business that does not sell their product or service online – do you need to invest in a digital presence?
Let’s take a company where you would traditionally think that no digital presence was required. What about a company that makes specialist parts for aeroplanes and sells business to business on a face-to-face level. Why should they invest in digital and what should they do?
The conversation needs to be moved away from price: Many companies fall into the trap of leading conversations with price – I have worked with some culprits of this, and when you are the cheapest product, this works great. However, you are training the customer to shop by price, so when you are not the cheapest offering, the customer will buy elsewhere.
Building up the value proposition and moving away from price (a race to the bottom) is not easy, but discussing the value of your products and why you should be the first choice are sections that should be on your website. And these should be the messages that you take out to your audience.
Your reach will grow and (fairly) cheaply: If you think that your audience does not spend time online, there is a 95% chance of you being wrong. That’s not to say that they are easy to find. Maybe LinkedIn would be a good starting point for a specialist B2B product. A simple search for groups linked to the airplane industry shows hundreds of results – or try LinkedIn advertising for a very specific message to an audience that you can segment yourself. The cost of this sort of advertising is very low considering the audience. Or run some small scale advertising on an industry website where your audience spent their time learning about the market place. Or send a communication out to the industry website subscribers?
Differentiate: There are a number of ways in which digital allows you to differentiate your company from the competition. Your tone of voice on your website; running some interesting content of the website which is not just B2B facing, as B2B buyers are consumers too (e.g. videos of planes using your parts); writing about the issues that your customers are facing (e.g. our specialist parts are 20% lighter than they were two years ago, which drives fuel efficiency).
You can tell if it’s working: Traditional methods of reaching out to audiences like these has been a little hit and miss – a mail drop here, attending a conference there, etc. All of these are really hard to measure. But digital is on the whole very transparent – if you have spent money, you will be able to see how many people have viewed that communication, and even if this has resulted in enquiries.
Now, I must confess that I am bias…..I think that digital should play a role in whatever type of marketing your are planning – and don’t let the industry that you operate in be a limiting factor – you may just have to think a little further outside the box.Image via thesocialmediamonthly.com