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The Marketing Retrofit Company For Manufacturers

Never Be Boring


A common assumption in B2B marketing—particularly so in the building products industry—is that because you’re reaching out to abusiness instead of a consumer, you don’t need to be “creative.” Or different. And certainly not fun.

Just inform the target audience that you’ve been in business for 50 years, you have what they need, your prices are fair—and the orders will come. Right?

Not in today’s competitive, cinch-this-belt-any-tighter-and-I’ll-stop-breathing market. The simple truth: Boring brands don’t spring to mind first when there’s a need. The ones that do have interesting things to say, and do so in a way that resonates. They’re perceived as dynamic, relevant and authoritative.

So how do you become the interesting brand? So interesting that customers and prospects are curious to see what you’ll say or do next?

For starters, say and do things regularly.

Introduce new products. Issue special offers or discounts (a different one each month?). Hold product demos in your trade show booth. And communicate with your target audience about what you’re doing at least once a month—via e-mail, snail mail, social media or blog. In other words, get on their radar and stay there.

Shift to customer-centered advertising.

Instead of talking about the company behind the product, focus on the benefit to the customer. And be thematic. We created an ad campaign for Würth USA, depicting product benefits—the sharpness of a blade, the speed of a degreaser and the accuracy of a fastener—in an unexpected way. (see the campaign.) The ads still honored Würth USA’s 40-year history in the maintenance and repair industry, but the primary focus was on the product and the user. The campaign increased brand awareness in the U.S. by 14% in the first year.

Leave a popcorn trail of information.

Be THE source for useful information about the building products you sell: Create lists of top sellers in specific product categories. Survey your customers about a hot topic and share the results. Produce a video or slide show demonstrating how to use a new product. Identify the greenest products in your line and show applications for them.

Dispense this information via your e-newsletter or blog or social media channels, then archive it on your website in an organized way that’s easy to navigate. Soon you’ll have a library of information your customers want and need—one they’ll return to again and again.

Give it a name.

Introducing a new product? Don’t just identify it: urethane resin flexible mouldings. Give it an identity: Valuflex™. (Incidentally, this moulding from EL & EL Wood Products was used by a contractor in my own home, and I love the results. Would I have remembered “urethane resin flexible moulding” and mentioned it here? Probably not.)

Products aren’t the only nameable aspects of your brand. Instead of “July’s Special Offer,” try something like “July’s Things-You-Can’t- Live-Without Sales Event.” Your blog, e-newsletter, and the online library mentioned above could also benefit from memorable, brand-centric names.

Use social media to leak the story.

Remember that new product you’re about to introduce? The one with the intriguing and memorable name? Pique curiosity before the launch with a teaserly Tweet such as: “Coming June 1st … the most innovative accessory yet for fine cabinetry and furniture manufacturers.” Closer to launch, post photos of the product on your Facebook page. Use LinkedIn to conduct a poll related to the product, then share the results.


Social media is an easy and effective tool for communicating with customers and prospects. If you’re not yet taking advantage of these tools—and you haven’t yet created a strategy to apply them to your business—we can help. Look for your copy of “Social Marketing 2.0 – Advanced Tips for Building Products Professionals” to arrive via regular mail later this month.

Remember, there are people like you and me behind those businesses you’re marketing to—people who respond to brand messages on an intellectual and emotional level. Keep them interested (read: curious) and they’ll keep you top of mind.

Here’s to creating a sensation! Let’s get started.

Allison DeFord, Trailblazer

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