2022 has been a year of research, development and ongoing professional development for myself, moving from agency to client side, from diversified and varied sectoral brands to a century-old engineering powerhouse well-known in energy and infrastructure circles amongst others. 

Jonathan Ashton

Has the industry had what we can describe as a “normal” year recently? I am putting pen to paper in the hope I inspire a few responses, spur into action those inert marcommunicators amongst us and escape judgement by my peers if my “forecasts” appear inaccurate or mistaken, relying on the recent global chaos to add smoke and mirrors to my words. 

So what learnings might be useful for the year ahead? I wanted to provide my own twist on the 4 Ps Model of the marketing mix for the key focus areas to boost your industrial brand:

  • Purpose

More than a slogan, lifting us above our products and solutions, uniting everyone associated with the brand, you will find the purpose. If you don’t have one today you need one or risk being cast aside for another brand that is making the world better somehow. Yes, this is true even in industrial applications because, despite the key role price and procurement plays, in the B2B world we are also human beings who want to play a role in making the world a better place. At this point in time, somewhere between COP27 and COP28 in the MENA region, even the most stubborn industrialists will be consuming reports and statistics on the need for greener solutions to combat the climate crisis. These business leaders are the ones who will help shift the needle in the long run, top talent gravitating towards companies that share their values, generating intense loyalty without incentive.

  • People 

Operating amongst engineers, subject matter experts in their own domain, I have been on an ongoing crusade to leverage them and their networks in order to boost the brand in the region. Prior to my joining, KROHNE did not have a strong local brand presence so we launched on LinkedIn and launched a monthly prize to incentivize increased activity on the platform. Ultimately people buy from people, whether in B2B or B2C, so increasing the human element will only benefit your brand. This has seen many industrial brands looking to speak to existing and potential employees with wellbeing and CSR programs.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-organised event presence. Assuming you’ve done your homework and found the perfect alignment for your company and pulled together a solid space that the team can be proud of, you have built a platform that lets your team network with the industry and share their expertise face-to-face. Lead generation is the goal, but equally so is getting out from behind your laptop and bolstering your brand reputation. Make sure your giveaways are sustainable though!

  • Position

Carved into the Temple of Apollo at Delphi is the ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself”. Once us marketers have got a handle on the basics of stakeholder mapping, SWOT and messaging, we should intimately be able to position our brand in the right light. I have taken the time this year to remind my team, and the region, exactly what KROHNE is and a part of that is our heritage. Borne out of German excellence for engineering solutions, we have quality and reliability baked into everything we do. Germany is arguably a leader in sustainability as well. These two values have been our rallying cry and will continue to be in 2023 and will continue to differentiate us in a market increasingly flooded by inferior brands with higher overall lifetime value. Whoever sees downtime and spending on maintenance as a saving may need to reassess their metrics.

  • Product

My opening focus on people should not be to the detriment of your product as the ultimate goal is to increase consideration to purchase. 2023 will see new ways to get your product in front of new and bigger audiences. Have influencer partnerships peaked? Maybe in previously underutilised segments we will see more authentic ambassadors – why wouldn’t we place our technology in key locations with customers looking to invest billions over the next few years? There will be an increase in PPPs manifesting around the region in 2023, in the form of innovation centres and collaborative enterprises to solve tomorrow’s problems. Communicated correctly, your products will be intelligently exposed to decisionmakers, moving them up the consideration ladder.