Industrial Growth

Industrial marketing : an insider point of view

May 07, 2020 Nile Episode 103
Industrial Growth
Industrial marketing : an insider point of view
Industrial Growth
Industrial marketing : an insider point of view
May 07, 2020 Episode 103

In this Episode, my guests are Matthew Scianella and MJ Peters, both industrial marketers who have just launched the Industrial Marketing podcast. 
We chatted about : 

  • The problem with industrial marketing and how to solve it
  • What are the biggest challenges for an industrial marketer
  • How to start as a marketer in an industrial company

Show Notes Transcript

In this Episode, my guests are Matthew Scianella and MJ Peters, both industrial marketers who have just launched the Industrial Marketing podcast. 
We chatted about : 

  • The problem with industrial marketing and how to solve it
  • What are the biggest challenges for an industrial marketer
  • How to start as a marketer in an industrial company

Karim Bouras:   0:03

MJ Peters:   1:24
Yeah, So my name is M. J. Peters. I am based out of Arizona, United States. I'm currently the VP of marketing for a company called Fire Trace International. So in my current role, we are my team, and I are in charge of strategic marketing, marketing, communications, demand, generation brand and also product management for the flagship product line. Prior to that, I have held multiple different marketing that product management and even manufacturing engineering. If you can believe it rolls around different companies. They're all owned by the home a group. So the home a group is, ah, international manufacturing Amrit based out of the UK they own close to 50 small to medium sized manufacturing businesses around the world. So I've held different marketing and product management roles with them in the US, the UK and China across a couple of different market sectors.

Karim Bouras:   2:21
Okay, Thank you. MAtthew?

Matthew Scianella:   2:25
Yeah, My name is Matthew Chanel on the marketing director for Albacore Benzel USA. Benzel is a welding equipment maker and supplier for manufacturing companies. Metal metal fabrication companies in particular our go to market strategy. We really target accounts, so really high volume high production manufacturers. We sell a variety of welding products within that space, focused mainly on welding torches, both for the manual and robotic side. We also did a dabble and laser optics laser welding, laser hardening, leisure kneeling seem tracking as well. A steam extraction technology tea, which is probably one of the most emerging technologies in the welding space right now, both on the arc welding side and laser side, Benzel is based out of geese in Germany, which is right outside of Frankfurt. It's part of the holding company called the I D G Corporation, and the G Corporation deals in the entire metal working space, Um, everything from welding and MiG tyg plasma processes to tungsten ceramics. We also do some things in waterproofing for building systems, a swell as a little bit on the robotic integration side, at least in Europe. So we control anything that anything it touches the metals are the production process. We dealing my primary role with pencil is the market restaurant said. For us in Canada, I'm responsible for inbound marketing, demand generation, social media, marketing, email marketing really helping to drive Brand aware for the company. I cover, cover and do and execute any and all parts content marketing for the company as well as driver overall digital marking strategy worldwide with my colleagues, American colleagues in other countries.

Karim Bouras:   4:14
This is a lot. This is a lot of love. The work to do Yes, my first Castillo question toe OMG I read you. Your link didn't be above you and your white I'll need your challenging industrial companies to think differently. Why do you think industrial companies shoulder thing differently about marketing?

MJ Peters:   4:38
Yeah, that's a good question. So I think there's two sides to it. So there's the strategic marketing and product side, and there's the marketing communications side. So on the strategic marketing and product side, I think there's a lot of opportunities for industrial companies to do more innovation. So I think a lot of the innovation that's happening right now, you see rapid development of new business models in software as a service for B two B as well as consumer products. In terms of really, I think going into niche branding is what's happening a lot of tumor side. I think that same piece of innovation happen on the industrial side of side of the market, but you really need to have a strong marketing core competency to drive that innovation. I think a lot of industrial companies haven't necessarily invested there, especially smaller and midsized industrial manufacturers, and then on the con side, the same kind of thing is happening. You've got all these digital tools. You've got the opportunity to reach your end users in a way that previously industrial companies didn't have the opportunity to do. They relied really heavily on distribution as kind of reach into the market, and a lot of companies aren't taking advantage of those digital tools as much as they could. So I think there's opportunities on both sides of the ball, too. Change the way marketing companies are. Industrial companies think about both strategic and

Karim Bouras:   6:04
typically they invest a lot on product innovation. They are good. Project manufacturer, go good about project the This is why we have those those catalogs sparked off catalogue that they need to take the opportunity to toe to make marketing on the did digital marketing, right?

MJ Peters:   6:29
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think fundamentally, if you're gonna be really good at marketing. I You gonna use marketing to drive product innovation, right? So not just developing great technologies and an incremental technology developments, But technologies that people really need and that can change business models and change the way people do things in a destructive way. You need that to be a marketing lead activity, not a technology led activity, but traditionally, companies haven't invested enough money to build marketing is a core competency and enable the marketing team to drive that. So it just continues to get driven on the technology side of the business.

Karim Bouras:   7:10
Thank you. OMG Matthew, how do you help industrial companies like like a bigger benzel toe to think differently? What do you do concretely every day?

Matthew Scianella:   7:23
I think the first thing you do to prove the value of digital marketing content marketing for industrial companies is you experimental lot and you try a lot of different mediums and you don't have a lot of fear of failing if you spread your distribution out among a bunch of different channels on, if your content is value driven towards educating and teaching your your prospects in your customers how to do their job better or make their plants safer or make their operations more efficient, as opposed to just clicking product. You'll see your engagements grow. You'll see enquiries grow. You'll see yourself as a company is more trusted in your space. That's really to me. The main value marketing should be driving for these industrial companies. MJ made the great point. So many industrial companies are predicated on product development or Indy, and outside sales now found sales. They invest a lot in, You know, a sales team that goes out visits a lot of customers. A lot of handshakes, lot of face to face interaction. But the buying experience for people has become increasingly digitized, right? I mean, there's no reason why a manufacturer in company of a buyer or influence during manufacturing company wouldn't research or do their due diligence on an industrial product the same way they wouldn't do it. For a consumer product, which is heavily online, checking product reviews, checking blobs or videos, or anything they can to feel very comfortable with product before they fired. So in industrial, just like in any other space. Most of that front of works being done on the buyer side anonymously online before they ever even contacted. So your job is a content marketer is to make sure that you are making that content available, distributing it aggressively and making sure that it is. It's reaching the right person at the right time in their buying process.

Karim Bouras:   9:15
I understand. What do you think this is the this evolution off the of the buyer? A journey? We see that in B two C. Sometimes I hear Markethill Industrial Market also said to me ourselves in its components and say he's a They say that this is not something that way. We can apply toe to industrial marketing. They say this is, ah, complex cells complex project. So people are not searching on Google. People are not searching on digital. What can you answer them when it won the That's when they say that

Matthew Scianella:   9:56
I would just simply point Teoh data, right? I mean, just go do some cure research on Google or Google trends, or even like a more base to like Uber suggests that just see, like, what does the know What's the Q and Cory look like? Or some of these things that yourself so robotic welding consistently you're seeing 6 to 7000 queries on a month in the U. S. Team extraction 65 to 8500 queries on a month in the U. S. So you know, whenever someone tells you that buyers aren't researching this and then if you want to really check that after you check that query data, go ahead and search that and Google and see what the results look like. Do the results look like products you sell? Then you can safely assume that people are actually researching these products online before they ever even look you up as a company. So I would say to someone to think that way to simply let the data drive your drive, your thought process on that. And then also, you know, what is the status quo for you currently marketing to these people? Are you standing, you know, 345 $6000 on print ads or $200,000 on your trade show year? Don't I mean, do you think your money would be would stretch out farther for you and doom or free American department? If you are using that mawr on Google ads for social media or investing on your own page s CEO to get your message out more consistently all the time to potential to potential customers.

Karim Bouras:   11:18
Thank you. Thank you, Matthew Mmgn When you you start a career in Ah, as a marketer in an industrial company I saw on your on your LinkedIn profile that you you have a several experience. Isn't it difficult to have this this legitimate e? Because we don't, We don't. We are not engineer a well, no technical people, some, sometimes other people in the company are seeing girls are like like marketing. This is this is a woman. What? She is making a catalog on the and she's, ah, managing the trade show. And sometimes they don't see the value on marketing. Who do you start? How do you do? What do you make to make people believe in marketing and changing my mindset? Oh, do you start?

MJ Peters:   12:11
Yeah, that's a really good question. Um, it's been really interesting for me being, as you point out, not only somebody with marketing in their job title, which people don't always understand and industrial companies, but also being a being a female in the manufacturing space in leadership you. You usually have to take the 1st 10 minutes of every hour long meeting with a new person convincing them that. Hey, I'm here to bring a lot of value to the table, and I can speak at the same level as anybody else sitting at this table. I have something valuable to contribute. So I think you can just by the way, you come across the way, carry yourself, convince people that Hey, this isn't gonna be a conversation about pretty colors and logos is gonna be a conversation about business strategy and how we reach our business objectives together. Eso So it's about a little bit about having that confidence. You have a piece of it is you need to educate people, right? You need to bring them along on that journey because not everybody has had the benefit of working in a company that is marketing lead. That does marketing really well. And not everyone has had the benefit of having training or education to show them what role marketplace business. So one of the first things I did in my new role at Fire Trace when I started is the director of Marketing. Um, I brought in an outside consultant who had previously worked with who gave a two day training on product marketing. What is the role that are being placed in the business? And we had not only the marketing team in that training, that we had the sales team, we had sailed leadership. We have the engineering team. We had engineering leadership, and we had the president of the company in that training. For two whole days, everybody went off site. And not only did that show that hey, leadership across multiple departments, including the leader of the entire company has bought into this. But it also allowed people at all levels of the organization to get exposed to this idea that marketing is something that could be fundamental to driving our business strategy.

Karim Bouras:   14:07
So so before even talking about the issue, our website or design or other marketing activity, you start by educating. You bring value with educating people about what is marketing. What is project marketing?

MJ Peters:   14:23
Absolutely. What is product marketing? Why is it important to your business? We talked about Rio case studies in real industrial companies, you know, this is what the company was thinking about. The product launch before they applied. Marketing me thinking to it. This is what the results of asking those foundational marketing questions was. And this was the outcome for the business after that. And once you connect the role of marketing to riel revenue and profit results, that's when people really start to listen and understand why it's important to invest in that activity.

Matthew Scianella:   14:56
Yeah, engine makes a really good point on that. A lot of the things you're doing on that initial buying this. You're breaking the old mold of thinking about marketing. A lot of these people have not been exposed to more modern techniques, and I think one of things about marketing that's, Ah, very true, and I think, still sometimes underestimated part of it. It's probably one of the most rapidly evolving and moving fields a professional fields out there, and it doesn't matter what industry you're in. Its zeal applies. So a lot of people who seem marketing techniques and a techniques applied in their business and industrial space have been doing the same thing for 2030 years, with really very little evolution of of techniques and new ways of doing things. So like M. J. said, taking that time to really educate people on that the business output, the business result they can provide and how it connects dots across all the different apartments is again. J said it z such a critical part of getting that initial by and

Karim Bouras:   15:54
and I understand. So it's not only a marketing culture problem, it sometimes it even don't have digital culture. They don't have a say. I am. They don't have ah, tools. Ah, is this is, um they don't they They are not digital little something most most of the time cos I'm talking with small business, small and medium business. Typically, they don't have this digital culture. So you need to read. You get about marketing and you need to get about digital ho. Do you Would you say that if people don't have this culture? Because this is something I heard they say? They say sometimes I want to send my services to women toe market or in manufacturing. They took me. My company don't have this culture. It would be too difficult. We are not ready to do it. Who do you create this digital culture or do you engage? Ah set spears people, the other teams in the company to follow you.

MJ Peters:   16:59
Yeah, that's that's a really great question. And I think the fact that you're rooting the question in culture is key because it's it's absolutely a culture change that needs to happen before you can start changing the activities that you do and therefore the results that you drive. I think a lot of what needs to happen in terms of starting to change the culture is the company needs to commit to hiring a true marketing leader, right? Like this is somebody who's gonna sit in a board room with the leader of finance, the leader of manufacturing, the leader of engineering. And they're gonna be treated as a peer because you need a leader to drive a culture change. So if you think you're gonna be able to hire a mid level or a junior level marketing employees and they're gonna change your culture your wrong, so the first thing you need to do is bring in that leader. What does

Karim Bouras:   17:51
it look? Sorry? Interview?

MJ Peters:   17:54
What does

Karim Bouras:   17:54
ah marketing leader look like?

MJ Peters:   17:58
Could questions. I think the fundamental, um, quality of a marketing meter that drive a culture change is somebody who is gonna be really deliberate about it, but also somebody who can bring people on journey. Right? So you have to be committed to take in the first couple of steps towards driving that culture change, which might be having that training in my feet building a crm right? Well, I think a lot of marketing effective marketing leaders, culture change their builders, right? They're not somebody who's coming into approve the marketing process in the company. There's someone who kind of wants to build a new marketing foundation from the ground up, and they're comfortable with that ambiguity.

Matthew Scianella:   18:43
Yeah, it's a Big Mac on NJ, I think defensive marking leader in an industrial company has toe have not just the vision of what it looks like and how it Inter connects all the dots between different departments. But also, you know, the know how and the skill set to be able to do it themselves in some ways, because you're not gonna usually get the kind of a budget or or manpower commitment that other departments will get to start off, and then the ability to hire their outside with consultants or in house no more people to round out the rest of your department. And I know we've talked even on our podcast MJ, about sort of what that ideal structure looks like within an apartment. But it definitely does take vision, and then skill set. You have to be able to get your hands dirty to chill results and show that, and so you know how to do it so the leadership can see how that works. I think that's cute. Um, it turns the yeah.

MJ Peters:   19:37
The other thing that that I will say about hiring a marketing leader is fundamentally you just have to reckon with the fact that a marketing leader, a really good marketing leader, is going to cups to almost a much, if not as much as a really good engineering later as a really good finance later is really good sales leader, And I think a lot of companies haven't been willing to pay for the type of marketing talent that they need on their team to drive real change, like fundamentally going from sales and product lead to marketing lead or, you know, at least for marketing, has a big impact on the company, both on the demand Gen side and the strategic side is an investment and you have to make to commit your

Karim Bouras:   20:22
interest and very interesting, because most of us just where companies start by recruiting, as you say, junior or 19 cheap to a to make you some peace, your website or design of this kind of stuff. But they don't have this mindset off going to to bring someone we can help them toe. So to evolve into change other that they demonstrated. I

MJ Peters:   20:45
think I heard a really compelling quote that I think sums up this situation pretty well. Which is, if you think it's expensive to hire an expert. Just wait until you hire an amateur.

Karim Bouras:   20:57
Good to have Clinton that this Matthew. What kind of when you have your marketing leader in house and you start to implement Ah, strategy. What are the first step for you? When you you began at ah week or a few years ago? I don't I don't know if they are right there. If they were already doing a digital marketing of this kind of inbound marketing What what? Well, your first steptoe deploy a strategy, ato be the strategy?

Matthew Scianella:   21:32
Yeah, So the first step was honored in You gotta audit what you have in house both internally with your sales team in your product team and then externally with the customers. So you have to see on the internal side what's the perception of marketing within the company? What did they think marketing does? Well or not? Well, what do they wish Mark me was doing? Moreover, less up. That doesn't mean you take all that Be back is gospel because you have to rely on your own knowledge, gotten intuition and and vision. But you sought to bring those intakes in. Meet them halfway in a couple of those things just to make sure you get those buying one of the big things about marketing with an industrial company. It's just like being in sales and industrial company or product, that industrial company. It's gonna rely on other departments to make it successful. So if you don't have those other departments bought in and working with you on content creation or on customer feedback or on customer access so you can go get feedback from customers you're not. You can work in a silo and it won't be successful. Um, and then externally, I wanted to make sure I was looking at how our customers perceived us as a brand and as a company. What they thought our core competencies were where they thought we were weak. If they noticed us on certain places like trade shows of certain trade magazines, I wanted to see if those things even mattered. It turned out to really not. I want to see what some of their activities were on social media like Were you active on this channel, this channel, and let them self report that that'll give you a nice base of knowledge for test your your content distribution on. And then you take all those and takes back. You accept some but all it takes, it takes time. And then from there, you kind of develop a direction for yourself. You also, you know, find a champion within your company, someone you're able to from a specific, better expert perspective, able to convince quickly that it's a work really well for our company that leased the content marketing side of it and then just start with them, like start with one person on making content and make that the best thing you can and then go start distributing that out. No bringing that inbound methodology and I didn't get a quick win. But try to always show that marketing is bringing in business opportunities.

Karim Bouras:   23:39
So it's about it's about any minute this this idol bring Bring it in The strategy your team on the starting by your champion is a good ah is a good idea.

Matthew Scianella:   23:50
Yeah, just like M. J said you'll spend. I wish I spent even more time doing this when I started. Had been still more time educating people on inbound marketing and digital marketing. And where, how all the touchpoints impact your day to day and what your expectations are in sales, our product two on on how to react to people making, you know, quote request, Emma, request downloading e books, attending webinars. Like you know which of these are important or not important enough things you should immediately follow up on and maybe wait on a little bit more. Um, you know, I when I got started doing this I mean, I'm sure I'm taking a test to you know, you make you make mistakes when you're kidding. Started up with it, and you learn you generate as you go along. But for anybody getting started is big. Listen to this podcast. Spend a lot of time figuring out and educating your team internally. On what? What the consequences or ramifications of going to? Ah, a digital marketing amount strategy. You're gonna because it's going to change how they work just as much as how you know your apartment works.

Karim Bouras:   24:51
Thank you. Thank you. I want you another question for, um, Jean marketing a d beginning that you say this is ah, job that is evolving a lot way have have seen a lot of evolution. Are these two? Two years ago Way didn't spoke. Maybe there's a lot of technology to How do you stay? And we'll do. You keeping it in a Then do you keep in touch with or those technologies? What? Um ho do you choose the right technology? Yeah. Do you educate yourself as the marketer because you are working every day with your team? You don't have maybe the time toe to toe check new technology. Do you Do you stay up to date?

MJ Peters:   25:40
Yeah, that's a good question. Um, I think part of it is just it really helps to be someone that enjoys learning. So I definitely don't have enough time. I didn't to, you know, leave my team and everything that I need to do done workouts functionally with other departments and learn. So, um, I usually learned at nights and on, so I'll browse around on Link Dannell. I'll follow people. So I think if learning gives you energy, you're at a real advantage, right? Because you have you. No, you hang up your, uh you know, you you finish your day as a marketer and you still have energy to go out and invest in learning. So that helps. And then I think just just having an open mind, right? Because a lot of the learning that I do as an industrial marketer is just borrowing ideas that are already working in other industries and then applying them in my specific situation. And in a lot of ways, it's great to be an industrial marketing because, frankly, a lot of the times, we're not on forefront marketing, technology and marketing techniques, which is a great advantage, right, because you can see what worked and what didn't work for the people who are at the forefront and just cherry pick the ideas that are gonna work for your business. And it makes the time from experimentation through to success a lot faster than I think. It would be a difficult company. So

Karim Bouras:   27:01
you need to learn on experimental haute on, see what? What happened? Great. Great. And what

MJ Peters:   27:08
do you

Karim Bouras:   27:09
see? The future off industrial marketing. Do

Matthew Scianella:   27:15
we? Yeah. Um, I think the future of industrial marking is going to be a lot mawr engagement heavy on the digital side, I'm looking at sort of what manufacturing companies are doing right now, and, like M. J. Said, she stole it right there. You know, 357 years behind. What? It's as companies of doing so for manufacturing companies is going to be making that online experience very natural and very customer friendly, making information very easily accessible. I think a lot of manufacturing companies struggle with that because there's different complexities with manufacturing companies and the are with sass, because when you're manufacturing company, you have a lot of part numbers. You have a lot of drawings. You have a lot of step files cads, cat bile, stuff like that, and a lot of, and the way you get that to cost much right now is extremely inefficient. There's no I mean, there's, I mean, there's a couple companies that I could name off time. I had to actually do a really good job of it. But for the most part, you know, that sort of information gap between buyer and company is best. So the future for me is gonna be companies that are more transparent, more accessible for their customers are a less afraid of what the competition is doing and more concerned about what's gonna make keep their customer more loyal and more and more of a fan of there. So to me, that's really where the future is for manufacturing companies and the first ones to solve that for the customer going to be the ones who are going to win the day. In my opinion, in terms of, um, for marking from a content side, I think a lot of manufacturing companies grossly underestimate the amount of content they need to make and how quickly they need to distribute it. So I think for most manufacturing companies, they need to figure out a way to get its scalable ineffective, constant strategy and also, um, not be so ready assent to aggressively distribute. And that's part of doing all that up front customer research and understanding what they value from information and then getting it out there. If you're aggressive in that and you know what your customer wants and you're able to make compelling content for him, you're gonna be the first person on their mind when they have a need on day. I think that's Ah, that's something that, um, marketers and industrial companies should be working at trying to figure out a way to dio

Karim Bouras:   29:28
Looking at your competitors. Stop. You're looking at B being the leader in your market because they speak about that. I want to be the leader in the market.

Matthew Scianella:   29:38
Yeah, everybody. Many past spring, especially on the markings. Ida is reactive, and more than the many companies that are being more proactive are the ones who are really standing out.

Karim Bouras:   29:51
You agree? Engine?

MJ Peters:   29:54
Yeah, but the only other angle that I would take on that is I think it's OK to look at what your competitors are doing right, because if they're doing something and it's smart and you can break down why they're doing it and it would make sense for you to do it to get do it. But don't just do it because they're doing it. But also don't just look at direct competitors, right? Look at other people who are marketing to the same customers as you and look at what they're doing. Whether that's effective, because they might be far ahead of anyone in your industry and just by copying them, you could be far ahead of your director

Karim Bouras:   30:28
like a quickly, and you don't need to reinvent everything every time you can. You can just see what the other are doing.

Matthew Scianella:   30:35
I totally resent in the welding space, you can go look at people who machining and find some really great best practices and retrofit that to your company. This is it's a great point.

Karim Bouras:   30:46
Thank you to concrete chat. I would like you to what? What is the bigger the one takeaways off former common session that you would you would like to concrete do it with and d

MJ Peters:   31:04
so for leadership at companies where marketing is not yet your core confidence, D. I think the biggest point I would make is if you want marketing to become a core confidence. See, that really drives business results for you. It's something you have to invest in in the first place. You should. Invest is a real marketing later, because the rial marketing leader will be able to drive that culture change and they'll be able to guide you in terms of what every investment after that needs to be in a smart way to get results as quickly as possible.

Karim Bouras:   31:39
Thank you for that.

Matthew Scianella:   31:39
Yeah, fully agree with that on MJ's MJ side. I'll take a more tactical approach than MJ MJ does, and I'll say you are currently marketing at an industrial company. Go out there, take the existing content you have. Start auditing, figuring out what your customers would value. Don't be product centric in your content. You go start testing. Go start doing some paid ad distribution. You'll probably one of the only people in your space doing it. Take all that feedback you get. You can go. Do you can go advertise for 5 to $10 a day on Facebook and do some really broad targeting to central people in your market, and you'll get more feedback that you'll be able to make. Is it to make repurposed or more content off? Then you'll, um then then any your pet committee is doing right now. And that goes back to making and scaling content. So I would tell anyone currently doing marking industrial company go out takes, find some budget, go do some paid ads with your contact, and then go start iterating off that

Karim Bouras:   32:37
great idea. Great tactic. Thank you. MJ. Thank you, Matthew.  have a good day. Thank you

Matthew Scianella:   32:45
so much. Appreciate it.