Marketing to mining: tap in to your experts

They say that a company’s greatest asset is its people and when it comes to marketing that’s especially true.

Nearly every mining supplier or service company that I’ve worked with has at least one smart, bright and clever technical person – usually someone with an engineering background.

What surprises me though is the number of companies that don’t tap into their technical people to enhance their marketing efforts.

Frankly, end users in mining don’t want to listen to someone in marketing or sales.

You’re far more likely to engage an end user in mining if you can reference or quote in marketing collateral someone from your company with a technical knowledge and background.

End users in mining want to make informed decisions about the purchase, procurement and specification of plant equipment and services. They’re not going to get that from sales spiel.

Therefore, harnessing the insights and knowledge of your in-house experts is great for marketing.

Sadly, some technical people i.e. engineers have a dim or cynical view of marketing, but it’s easy to understand why.

Engineers live in a world of facts, figures and the laws of physics.

However, marketing is not black and white and this is something that many engineers struggle with or simply don’t understand.

For this reason, there’s often resistance from engineers in many mining supply and service companies to collaborate with marketing.

An engineer I once spoke to at a mining equipment supplier blatantly told me that he viewed marketers as nothing more than ‘liars’, and their activities as ‘a waste of time and money!’.

These attitudes and situations are a shame because technical personnel  are great marketing assets. This is especially true when it comes to content marketing.

In my experience mining supply and service companies successful in marketing tap into their technical people and engage them in their marketing processes and activities.

Engineers and technicians are busy people, but if you have the marketing remit and your calls to them are consistently going unanswered I bet your bottom dollar it’s because senior management has failed to educate them on the importance of their role in the company’s marketing effort.

Given the resistance and negative attitudes towards marketing a process of educating technical personnel on why their contribution is required at some point.

All the mining supply and service companies successful in marketing I’ve observed have marketing teams with genuinely strong support from senior management down.

If you’re the boss and your technical people are fobbing off the marketing team start the process of educating them on the importance of marketing.

Be careful though to ensure these demands are not onerous or unreasonable. There should be genuine buy-in from your technical personnel to contribute.

If also else fails – you may need to put your foot down by introducing KPIs such as a quota of articles or contributions from your technical personnel or engineering departments.

An effective way to start winning the hearts of minds of technical people is through interpersonal communication such as internal company newsletters that highlight staff achievements in the context of the company’s vision, mission and core values. Not stories about engineer Rob’s fishing trip to Exmouth.

It’s great for boosting morale, gets staff in the discipline of answering the question ‘what are we delivering for our customers?’ and flushes out activities and developments that could lead to content for external marketing and communication purposes.

If you have the marketing remit at your company make friends with your technical colleagues.

Their contribution to the marketing effort costs you nothing, but is invaluable.

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