Your customers have access to many sources of information and a broad array of content to help them in their buying process. Search engines, websites, e-newsletters, catalogs and social media are just a few of the channels they use. For content, engineers rely on white papers, webinars, articles, infographics, spec sheets, videos, blog posts, research reports and much more.
As a marketer, how do you cut through the clutter and gain and keep the attention of your target audience? By understanding what added value your company and products deliver, and embedding that added value in your marketing messages.
Describing and pitching your solution isn’t enough. Lists of features and benefits are only a bare minimum. A sheet of specifications is simply table stakes that get you in the game. But demonstrating how you deliver added value can be a game changer, because that’s ultimately what your customers care about: the value that’s in it for them.
Here are five ways to increase your added value.
1. Place a value on your customer’s problem
Even if you can communicate the value of your solution, it may not be enough to get prospects to respond. You have to help them put a price on their problem. What are the costs and consequences of the issue they are facing? How long has the prospect been suffering from it? How have they tried to address it, and with what results? Why is it imperative that they fix it now, and what would happen if they don’t?
Unless you can provide motivation to get prospects to change, they are likely to maintain the status quo. That motivation comes from showing the value in making their problem go away, and the cost associated with doing nothing.
2. Fill the knowledge gap
The loss of institutional knowledge is a serious issue for industrial companies. In a recent survey, “Pulse of the Engineer,” 48 percent of engineers said that knowledge and/or information loss as employees left the company was a problem. Yet only 40 percent of companies have formal practices in place to identify senior-level and specialized experts to train, transfer, mentor, manage or retain their knowledge among others in the organization.
In an effort to grow their knowledge and expertise, engineers are turning to books, professional development courses, online training courses and other training provided by vendors. This is an opportunity for your organization to step in with added value by producing trusted, reliable technical content and training that help engineers do their jobs more effectively. You can build your reputation as an expert source and become an essential information resource to your customers.
3. Focus on themes that are important to your customers
Research conducted by McKinsey & Company shows there is a disconnect between the core messages companies communicate about their brands and the characteristics their customers value most.
Do your marketing messages truly address what your customers care about, or what you care about? By understanding your audience and aligning your marketing communications to address what really matters to them, you will get their attention… and they will greater understand the true value that you deliver.
As a side note, the McKinsey research found that having low prices did not contribute to a strong brand impression in the customers’ mind.
4. Align with industry trends
“Pulse of the Engineer” revealed a number of trends taking place in the industry. One megatrend that is having a significant influence on product design is the increasing speed of technological innovation. In addition, engineers report having to do more with fewer resources while having to meet aggressive launch dates for products that meet high standards for customer satisfaction.
You can add value by talking about what is innovative about your products or how you are keeping up with new technologies. Can your products help engineers reduce their time to market, improve productivity, or save time and resources? Be sure to add these themes into your marketing messages.
5. Listen to your sales team
In long or complex industrial sales, personal touch with the sales team is a critical factor in winning the deal. Your sales team is on the front lines selling value every day and they are getting direct feedback from customers. You should sit down with your sales team and get their feedback. If they tell you that some of your marketing messages aren’t working, they’re probably right. Ask them how you can add more value to your marketing.