How do you most effectively market capital equipment? Following is a checklist of the top 10 marketing best practices for capital equipment, followed best practices detail.
Related content in our capital equipment marketing best practices series includes a Guide to Capital Equipment Marketing, a Capital Equipment Marketing Infographic, 3 Capital Equipment Marketing Considerations, and 4 aspects of capital equipment purchasing.
Capital Equipment Marketing Checklist
- Analysis and Research
- Brand Image
- Brand Awareness
- Website Improvement and SEO
- Event marketing
- Thought Leadership Content
- Social Media
- Direct marketing
Captial Equipment Marketing Best Practices Detail
1. Analysis and Research – Because of the limited number of customers, market and competitor intelligence is more critical in capital equipment than any other category. Start with market segmentation to understand which verticals drive sales and profit. Use secondary or published research including the Internet, trade publications, and associations to identify and analyze customers and competitors. For some capital equipment categories, syndicated (or fee-based) research might be available. Search www.marketresearch.com. Another resource, Equipment Data Associates sells a database of equipment lease and loan information. If secondary or syndicated research is not available, consider primary research including surveys, customer interviews, or focus groups.
2. Planning – Strategic, tactical, and project planning are each important to managing an effective capital equipment marketing program. Strategic plans are long-term in nature and include research and financial projections. Tactical plans are required for managing media advertising, trade show or event calendars, and related marketing programs. Project plans are required for larger marketing initiatives like a new website. Budgeting is an important part of planning that ensures financial resources are approved and available for ongoing marketing. The time, effort and formality of planning and budgeting will vary with the scale of the program.
3. Brand Image – As mentioned, brand reputation is critical in capital equipment markets. Prospects generally focus on a short list or consideration set of 3-4 vendors, with the perceived leader having a distinct advantage. Brand image is each customer’s perception, and the sum total of all exposures to your brand. When investing large sums, risk aversion is the customer mindset. Therefore, brand image must exude leadership and professionalism. Messaging must resonate with customer needs and be clearly differentiated from competitors. Continuity of brand elements and messaging across all marketing channels and media is important. Without continuity, brand confusion can result.
4. Brand Awareness – Prospects must be aware of your brand to be considered. Sure Internet search results can overcome lack of awareness to some extent (the subject of the next best practice). But, having a high profile in a vertical market or industry supports brand reputation and making that short list. Advertising and publicity are two marketing initiatives that can build brand awareness. Advertising capital equipment most often uses trade magazines or journals to reach specialized vertical markets. In addition, there are associations, trade shows, and industry websites for such verticals.
Publicity can be even more effective than advertising, as customers perceive higher credibility from trusted news sources. Publicity tactics include news announcements, article writing and placements, speeches, and press events. Publicity often focuses on the same publications as advertising, along with added news outlets including wire distribution services like PRweb. Media relations is the ongoing publicity efforts to achieve placements and mentions.
5. Website Improvement and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The company or brand website is the foundation of your marketing program. It is likely one of the first impressions of your brand. Is your website brand image stellar? Does the website content
address customer needs, problems or requirements? Importantly, is lead generation maximized with offers and registration pages?
No question, prospects use search engines to identify capital equipment options. Does the site rank in the top 3 search results for keywords? Search authority is driven by multiple search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. Run search engine optimization diagnostics like SEOmoz to identify issues and problems. For more SEO tips, check out our whitepaper: Search Engine Optimization Best Practices.
What are your website traffic statistics? Check Google Analytics. Consider paid search (Pay-Per-Click) if organic search cannot achieve top positions in search engine results pages (SERPs)
6. Event Marketing – Many capital equipment vertical markets have industry trade shows that are important to participate in. Oftentimes, capital equipment is demonstrated and purchased at key industry events. If trade shows are a key tactic, be sure to leverage opportunities for pre-show communication, at-show promotions and meetings, press events or speaking opportunities, and post-show follow-up. Beside trade shows, other types of event marketing include webcasts on a variety of topics, training programs or demonstrations, and user groups.
7. Thought Leadership Content – Be the subject matter expert (SME) or thought leader for your niche. How? Develop case studies, white papers, surveys and industry studies, eBooks, videos, and more. Use and repurpose the content for your website, blogging, and social media. Use content for your credentials kit when submitting proposals. Search and curate (use with credit) content from other publishers, bloggers, and editors. Educational and technical content is needed for many marketing tactics.
Other content types include brochures and catalogs, Powerpoint decks, specification worksheets, installation and training manuals, performance specifications, and more.
8. Blogging – An effective tool for distributing content is a blog. Blogging has many benefits to a marketing program including excellent search engine optimization (SEO). Blogs integrate with your website and social media to build indexed pages, and distribute content through bookmarking and social sharing. Blog software like WordPress has powerful search optimization features, widgets, and plug-ins. Blogrolls are essentially link directories, that encourage reciprocal links and support link-building, a major determinant of search authority.
9. Social Media – Social media is the hottest topic in marketing. Why? Because it can build search authority and generate leads! How? Build-out profiles including LinkedIn personal profiles and company pages, a Facebook business page, Twitter profile, YouTube channel, and Google+. Be sure to add social profile icons and links to your website and blog. Add social share tools to both your website and blog (Facebook Like, Twitter Retweet, Google+, Bookmarks). YouTube has a few features for metacoding that deliver high search authority for keywords.
10. Direct Marketing – The purpose of all marketing is lead generation. So manage it with a customer database, contact manager, or marketing automation software. Code, track, and report leads. Integrate the database with website registration pages, and email campaigns. Conduct ongoing research into relevant prospects and contacts. Procure prospect lists from publishers or associations. Use telemarketing qualification to identify decision makers and contact information at each prospect location. With capital equipment’s extended sales cycle, email is an excellent medium to stay in front of prospects over time. Monthly email newsletters can be effective in keeping your brand top-of-mind. Micro-target email based on vertical and role (example: engineering vs. finance).
To read the complete guide and access a printable PDF, link to our quick and easy registration form: Guide to Marketing Capital Equipment. Please comment, bookmark, and share this post using the social tools below.