Marketing to mining: your questions answered

From time to time I get emails or calls from people seeking insight or asking me to solve their marketing dilemmas. Here are a few that may relate to your job, your life, and (most important) your marketing thought process right now.

Dear Jamie, I supply and service pumps for the mining industry. Can you explain all this social media stuff? Mick

Mick, Here goes…
Twitter: I’m installing a #pump.
Facebook: I like your pump.
Linked In: my skills include pumps.
Youtube: here’s a video of me installing a pump.
Instagram: here’s a vintage photo of some pumps.
Pinterest: here are some interesting pumps.
Tumblr: here’s my collection of pump pics I found.
Wordpress: read my comments about pumps.
Foursquare: this is where I go for lunch 🙂

Dear Jamie, I look after the marketing for a small supplier of equipment to the mining and oil and gas sector. For some time, I’ve been trying to convince the managing director to advertise in print, but every time I raise the subject of advertising he says it’s a waste of time and money. What should I do? Mark

Mark, subscribe to the six key trade publications relevant to your target customer base. Cut out your competitor ads and keep them in a scrapbook or folder. Also, create a spreadsheet and enter all the key data about your competitors’ ads such as the publication they advertised in, the edition, the feature, the ad size, the ad size as a number i.e. 1 for a full page, 0.5 for a half page, 0.25 for a quarter page etc. At the end of each quarter analyse the results present the data to your MD, but DON’T ask for funds to advertise. After about 12 months of monitoring and analysis of print advertising one of two things will become apparent: a THREAT or an OPPORTUNITY to your company. If your competition is advertising, that is a threat to your company; they are taking market share away from you. But if your competition isn’t advertising then there is an opportunity for your company to TAKE MARKET SHARE. Either way you’ve built a tangible case to justify your argument to the boss to invest in an advertising campaign. If he still says ‘no’ without a valid reason find another employer. Don’t waste your time with people who don’t get it.

Dear Jamie, I run a small multi-disciplined engineering company and my business has been doing it tough. Late last year I had to make a number of redundancies including the person that managed the development, production and printing of our marketing collateral. I still need marketing collateral though. What should I do? Phil

Phil, things like graphic design can be easily outsourced and at very competitive rates. Same with copywriting, but ensure you get someone that understands your market and lingo. Stick with your printer if you’re giving them frequent work – you’ll get a better rate – but every now and then ask them to quote on a job to ensure they keep their pencils sharp 🙂

Dear Jamie, We’re a communications equipment company. We’re about to launch a new mobile communications unit that we believe will radically improve the way personnel on minesites will communicate. What’s the best way of launching this product? Peter

Peter, the first thing you’ll need to do is prepare a press release. What I mean by that is to write – or commission – a 400 word statement about the equipment with a focus on the technical specifications and the BENEFITS to the end user. When you’re press release is ready, send it to the editor of every mining trade publication in Australia with two three high-resolution images. You should also look at placing ads in at least two mining publications in editions where there are communications features. I also highly recommend some content marketing delivered through a lead generation channel to market.

Dear Jamie, We’re a supplier of bulk materials handling equipment to the mining industry and been running an ad campaign for the last 12 months with half page insertions in six editions in a nationwide mining publication. We haven’t received one phone call from our ads though. Have I just blown all that money? Dave

Dave, absolutely not! Rarely do end users in mining see an ad for big ticket mining equipment then call the advertiser to place an order. The sales cycle is long when it comes to mining equipment. Advertising is a process – not an event. What your advertising campaign has been doing is building share of voice in the readers’ minds so when they’re ready to buy the sort of equipment and services you supply your company will be front of mind or close to it. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to measure this so you’re right thinking ‘what the hell is going on?’. Advertising campaigns will only pay dividends providing you continue to advertise year-in year-out and in good times and bad. My advice is to continue advertising, but put some lead generation into your marketing mix. If you can’t afford to do both scale back a little on your advertising.

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