Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, the industrial distribution industry ended on a positive note in 2020. According to a recent survey by Industrial Distribution, 53% of survey respondents said that the number of product categories they carry has expanded within the last year.
For a modern industry hardware supplier, the distribution channel is more than just a means of selling products. It is the lifeline of your business. That’s why it requires constant scrutiny and optimization.
Did you know that a strong marketing strategy can actually help strengthen your industrial distribution network?
Be advised: These are tricky waters. You need to be prepared to ensure success. Here are a few tips that will prove helpful as you go about strengthening your industrial distribution network via marketing.
1. Create Content That Syncs with Your Distribution Strategy
Content is truly the king, especially in this digital era. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 79% of B2B marketers reported their organization has a content marketing strategy in 2020. Chances are, then, that you already have a defined approach to content. In which case, you’ll need to sync it with your distribution channel.
Professional industrial hardware distributors should create content marketing guidelines across the distribution channel. It will help your company send a consistent message. Maintaining uniform content across the channel helps you:
- Build and promote a consistent brand value.
- Strengthen customer and distributor relationships.
- Increased social and online interactions with customers.
- Create branded evergreen content that you can curate and repurpose for other marketing verticals.
- Rope in distributors and resellers as your brand advocates.
Make sure your marketing team sends these guidelines to all distribution channel stakeholders well in advance. Keep in touch with your distributors and resellers to help them implement the changes in your marketing strategy at the same time.
2. Create Customer Personas Suited to Your Industrial Distribution Network
Usually, marketers create buyer personas based on the end-users or customers. But industrial hardware wholesalers have to create buyer personas based on the resellers in their distribution channel. These personas are going to be a lot different as resellers have different needs than your end-customers.
When making these personas, you need to keep the following in mind:
- Make sure to find out as much demographic information about your resellers as you can. Based on their locality, market size, and local regulations, you may need to change your marketing strategy.
- Documenting an incentive is going to be a critical element in defining these personas. Understand what incentives appeal to resellers in your distribution channel and create your marketing strategy accordingly.
- Keep your sales team in the loop to help them understand these buyer personas. It will help boost the sales.
- Craft unique content and marketing messages based on each persona. This deliberate messaging can help increase online conversions with your target audience.
3. Keep Track of Market Trends and Fluctuations
The success of your industrial distribution channel is closely tied to changing market conditions as market changes will impact both your distribution channel and your marketing strategy. In 2020, 40% of distributors said COVID-19 had a significant impact, and 56% said there was some impact. However, minor changes can also have sizable impact.
If you want to see your distribution channel truly succeed, you need to keep up with the changing market trends. Some of the easiest ways to keep track of market trends include the following:
- The industrial distribution industry, like many others, has a growing online presence. Simple online research can help you discover what’s trending in your industry.
- Competitive analysis is also a great way to understand the latest trends in your industry. Find out what your competitors are doing differently. You can use similar marketing tactics to strengthen your distribution network.
- Interacting directly with your end-customers or resellers can also help you identify an upcoming marketing trend.
- Although this may be slightly expensive option, talking to industry experts can also help you understand the changes happening in your market.
Most importantly, whatever the changes you identify, make sure to communicate them with all the stakeholders right away. If you don’t optimize your strategy in time, it’ll be a wasted effort.
4. Connect Your Marketing Team with Your Distribution Team
If you’re an industrial hardware distributor, you probably know the importance of collaboration. Connecting your marketing and distribution team will produce an overall better outcome for your business. Here’s what you can do:
- As these teams have well-defined roles of their own, creating a cross-departmental mission should be your priority. Besides providing context, it will help build a functional relationship between the two teams.
- Next, you will need to create a clear communication strategy. Every member of both teams needs to communicate on time, without which, maintaining productivity and efficiency is next to impossible.
- Encourage all team members to provide their feedback. This cross-departmental interaction can help you strengthen your industrial distribution network, especially when developing new marketing strategies.
Strengthen Your Industrial Distribution with Marketing
Although challenging, it is possible to strengthen your industrial distribution network through a well-designed marketing strategy. In fact, when in sync, the two can help improve your market reach, sales conversions, customer engagement, and brand image considerably. Following these four tried-and-tested tips will help you strengthen your distribution channel using a robust marketing strategy.