Industrial Marketing: Developing Business to Business Relationships

Industrial marketing refers to the marketing of goods and services from one business to another. These are goods that are not aimed directly at consumers. Rather, industrial goods are the raw materials or supplies which are sold and then used to produce a different end product. The main differences found in industrial marketing are the level of expertise needed to market such products, the time spent marketing, the amount of the transactions, and the decision making process that goes into purchasing such high volume orders.

The underlying foundation of industrial marketing is really just developing partnerships with companies

Industrial marketing requires technical knowledge and expertise on the equipment and process involved in the manufacturing of goods. An industrial marketer must be highly skilled in this area in order to speak intelligently about it, and be seen as a valuable resource for their clients.

The marketing cycle for industrial orders is quite extensive. Not only does the complexity of the transaction slow the marketing process, it is also hampered by the levels of involvement in the buying decisions. Typically, an order must be approved by more than one person, and also usually customized and modified to fit a particular company's needs. Hammering out the details of that modification, and getting input from several different departments involved, can be a lengthy process, and involve quite a bit of logistical maneuvering.

Due to the lengthy process involved in marketing and procuring industrial orders, marketers focus on fewer prospects and work hard at maintaining strong relationships with their existing customer base. Unlike most consumer purchases where the sales transaction often signals the end of the interaction, industrial marketing involves numerous points of contact, many of which happen after the initial sale. Marketers must be available to their clients during this phase, and it can be just as time intensive as the initial phase leading up to the sale.

Another difference between consumer marketing and industrial marketing is that the needs of the business usually dictate the buying decisions. This means that the ability to deliver on time, and the technical aspects of the product matter more than the personality of the marketer, or the marketing campaign.

One of the biggest requirements of companies is that the delivery is made in a timely manner. In fact, in most cases, this is the main criteria used to determine which vendor receives the order. Businesses come to a screeching halt if production is slowed or halted by a delay in delivery.

The quality of the product is another important consideration. The product, or goods, must be consistent with the specification required by the business to accomplish their desired end result. In other words, it must work the way the business needs it to, and consistently perform at the same high standard.

Once reliability and quality have been established, a company will usually base their decision between vendors on which can offer the lowest price. Price point is very important, but only if the product can deliver on its promises. It can be much more costly to go with the lowest priced vendor, only to find they can't really deliver when needed, or the product fails to produce the required output.

In many respects, industrial marketing is tied very closely with management, since you're cultivating and managing a strong relationship with a company. While it does involve a long process based on complex, technical expertise, it really boils down to offering businesses what they need. The underlying foundation of industrial marketing is really just developing partnerships with companies, and helping them achieve their ultimate objectives.