Why companies must be flexible, and prepared to rethink, or abandon tried and tested marketing strategies
Product marketing needs a change in order to ensure competitiveness into the future
It all began with the cancellation of trade shows and events. Since then, it has also become difficult for salespeople to make in-person appointments with customers. Since then, not only about 1868 trade shows (www.expodatabase.de/en, as of 02 April 2020) have been affected worldwide, but it has also become impossible for a sales representative to make a personal appointment with an interested party.
Surely all this will relax in due course - but what will remain in people's minds is the fear of contagion and that this situation could repeat itself at any time in the future. Is the answer to bury your head in the sand? Of course not. The end of the world is still a long way off. What this situation does make clear; however, is that companies must now make intelligent use of the time and, above all, the budget that has been freed up as a result of trade show cancellations.
In mechanical and electrical engineering, technical components are still in great demand. This is particularly evident in the number of 3D CAD model downloads, which in turn leads into qualified sales for manufacturers.
Yes, there is still a strong demand for these products, but in a different way than when circumstances were less dramatic worldwide. Many companies have felt secure in their comfort zone. Business was running smoothly, and those companies never felt the need to leave their comfort zone. It was too inconvenient. The necessity to change was not there. In some cases, future-oriented projects were simply postponed indefinitely in favor of day-to-day business. True to the motto: "I don't have time to sharpen the axe. I have trees to fell."
Because this current, unforeseen situation has upended business as usual, now is the time to move out of our comfort zone. It is now more imperative than ever that we move into a learning and growth zones.
But how can the marketing budget and time resources that are now freed up, help us reach this learning and growth zone? We must look to digital lead generation. The idea of diversifying outside of trade shows for lead generations is not new. It has been suggested by some salespeople and marketers for a while.
Trade show contacts are not only expensive, but the number of qualified contacts is often meager as well. The fact that marketing budgets can also be invested more efficiently was already an open secret before. The future of marketing today lies in digitalization. Not only can more leads be generated online, but the costs per lead can also be reduced to a few dollars.
The reason why trade shows tend to have little lasting effect is simple: according to the adage "out of sight out of mind", expensive trade show appearances have a short life of perhaps only a few minutes. The marketing materials handed over, printed on the finest glossy paper, end up in the closest trash can, and the interest is directed towards the next exhibitor - after all, the visitor merely wants to get inspiration.
The right digitization strategy leads to long-term success
One way to increase sales without trade shows is to allow engineers to download accurate 3D models of the products you sell online. Parts that are spec’d into a design are far more likely to lead to a sale than a brochure handed out at a trade show.
In addition to the possibility of digital 3D CAD model downloads, it is imperative to offer extensive search and research functions for engineers to select the right product or product variant. Digital platforms such as www.3dfindit.com or www.PARTcommunity.com have millions of users - from the fields of mechanical engineering, plant engineering, electrical engineering and architecture. Online CAD model portals like these make the daily work of engineers easier through their technology.
Once the component has been downloaded as a digital twin and placed in the design by an engineer, everything follows its defined path. From the CAD or PLM system, the information is transferred to the bill of materials, which is then used by the buyer within the ERP system or the merchandise management system as the basis for his procurement.
As a rule, the buyer will not fundamentally question the engineer's decision to use a specific component. The buyer would have to accept the risk of product liability and might jeopardize the desired time-to-market as well. This change would first have to be checked and re-approved by the engineering department with regard to the entire design. The process to review design changes takes weeks, which no reasonable company would accept.
Such digital platforms are particularly strong because of their international orientation. They are a kind of door opener for new markets that can be served 24/7 without necessarily requiring local offices.
Every marketing and sales manager should ask himself the question, “How can I ensure that my engineers are supported in their everyday design work when it comes to digital twin CAD models that are easily accessible?”
If engineering managers give their engineers access to digital twin CAD models, they can feel confident that their engineers have what they need to do their job effectively. In this way, the components will easily find their way into the engineer’s design. The designer simply takes the path of least resistance. Or in other words - he falls back on the products, which saves him tiresome research work for all design-relevant information and makes time-consuming queries to the manufacturer unnecessary.
Offering CAD model download online gives component manufacturers an enormous competitive advantage. However, care must be taken when creating a digital product catalog. Some solution providers that offer digital component creation communicate through marketing that they can create digital twins of components. But on closer inspection, the promise does not hold up in practice.
Drawing on 25 years of digital product catalog creation experience, CADENAS can confidently show through a demo why low budget solutions do not lead to satisfied customers and sales. Component sales are won when customers can spec and digitally test components in their designs. Low cost solutions cannot hold up in the engineering process and are not worth the price of lost customers.
When choosing a solution partner, it is important to assess the ability of engineers to have easy access to the components. 3D CAD download platforms such as 3Dfindit.com or PARTcommunity, for example, are increasingly integrated directly into familiar CAD systems. In this way, the engineer can find the manufacturers with the product catalogs and their digital twins directly in his CAD system. With just a few clicks, the component is then directly transferred to the design department.
Do you also want to be in line with the latest trends? Then use your budget to provide intelligent engineering data!
Take this opportunity to modernize your marketing and sales strategy by getting out of your comfort zone and into the growth zone. Numerous manufacturers have blazed the trail and already benefit from the successful implementation of their digital product catalog.
The fact that these manufacturers have made a future-oriented decision is also shown by the increasing number of 3D CAD model downloads. In 2019 alone, the platforms 3Dfindit.com and PARTcommunity were able to generate a total of 405 million 3D CAD model downloads. These downloads have resulted in millions of component sales for the manufacturers that make their products available through CADENAS online portals.