Medias used in Industrial Advertising

While some industrial advertisers use traditional consumer media when  they serve their advertising objectives, their choices generally center on  whether to use print media (business magazines, trade publications, and  industrial directions), direct marketing (direct mail, telemarketing, catalogs, and  data sheets), or some combination thereof.

Industrial Advertising Medias

General Business and Trade Publications

General business and trade  publications are classified as either horizontal or vertical. Horizontal  publications deal with specific functions, tasks, or technologies and cut across  industry lines. Vertical publications are directed toward a specific industry and  may be read by almost anyone from the person on the assembly line to the  company president. The choice of one or the other, or both, is dictated by the  desire to penetrate a particular industry, reach common influencers across  industries, or optimize the goals of reach and frequency.  General business publications (e.g., Fortune, Business Week, and The Wall  Street Journal) tend to be read by business professionals across all industries  because of their general business editorials. Specialized business publications,  such as Advertising Age, Purchasing, and Chemical Week are targeted to  individuals across industries who have responsibility for a specific task or  function such as advertising or purchasing, or who are interested in a particular  technology such as chemicals. Industrial publications, such as Consulting  Engineer and Electronic News address the information needs of readers with  specialized knowledge in technical areas such as engineers and electricians and  also cut across industries. However, other specialized business publications – Iron  Age and Steel, for example – are targeted to individuals in a specific industry.

Directory Advertising

Every state has an industrial directory, and there  are also a number of private ones. One of the most popular industrial directories  is the New York-based Thomas Register, which generates “$400 million in  daily direct response sales or about $102 billion a year for its advertisers.” The  Thomas Register consists of nineteen volumes, containing 60,000 pages of  50,000 product headings and listings from 123,000 industrial companies selling  everything from copper tubing to orchestra pits. Although there are similar  publications, the Register has practically  no competition.  One of the Register’s biggest users is General Electric, which buys as many  as 300 sets a year, diverting some to its overseas divisions. In fact, the Register  estimates that as many as 30,000 sets are in use overseas, many of which have  been distributed by departments of commerce and state. Thus, many  inexperienced American manufacturers have been able to develop some  international business.  The main advantage of directory advertising is that is a highly credible  medium, and for many buyers, their basic purchasing tool. One disadvantage is  that unless buyers purchase directories for use, advertising in this medium is not  seen.

Consumer Media

Consumer media, in spite of wasted circulation, can  be very effective because it tends to experience a minimum of competition from  other industrial advertisers. Since the message exposure occurs away from the  office, it also experiences less competition form the receiver’s other business  needs. According to Sarah Lang, an account executive for Wight Collins Rutherford Scott (WCRS), a London-based advertising agency, “TV is the medium  for reaching small businessmen, who are a mass audience. It is also the most  effective for shifting attitudes, which is the job we have to do.” Where market  coverage is limited geographically, consumer media may also provide an  excellent way of reaching a market.

Direct Marketing Medias

In addition to trade magazines and general business  publication, industrial marketers also utilize various other vehicles, such as  direct mail, telephone, catalogs, and data sheets, to reach their markets. In fact,  with the increasing sophistication of computer technology, industrial marketers  are ‘turning to direct mail’ as never before. For example, Xerox has more than  tripled its sales for low-end products through the use of direct mail.  Additionally, numerous industrial marketers are also making more use of the  telephone as a means of enhancing the efficiency of their overall  communications program.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is an especially useful tool that is frequently  employed in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, business or trade  publication advertising. When carefully conceived, because of its potential to  gain the reader’s full attention, direct-mail advertising can provide a greater  impact than can an advertisement in trade or business publications.  Direct mail offers the advertiser numerous advantages over the use of  business or trade publications. Advertising messages can be developed and  targeted toward a precisely defined market to introduce a new product, promote the corporate image, support the sales force, or communicate with industrial distribution. It is relatively low in cost, highly selective, and flexible with regard to timing, and it offers considerable space for telling the “full story.” There are, however, definite disadvantages in using direct mail. Direct mail can be extremely wasteful if prospects are not clearly identified. It is also often thought of as “junk mail” and tends to be tossed aside without ever being read. It may also never get past the secretary to the intended recipient. To avoid these problems, direct-mail programs should be carefully conceived and directed toward a specific target audience whose names, job titles, or functions are known. It is relatively easy to develop mailing lists that contain the names, title, and functions of the audience to be reached. Mailing lists can be secured from trade publications, industrial directories, mailing list houses such as Dun & Bradstreet’s Marketing Services Division or National Business Lists, lists obtained through trade show leads, and the company’s own marketing  information system. When obtaining mailing lists from outside sources,  however, care should be taken to make certain that the lists are up to date.


According to recent studies, approximately 20 percent of  the industrial firms in the United States, including Xerox, IBM, and NCR, use  telemarketing to generate nearly $100 billion in yearly sales.  Telemarketing is a marketing communications toll that employs trained  specialists who utilize telecommunications and information technologies to  conduct marketing and sales activities. These activities may be through  incoming calls (calls originating with the customer) or outgoing calls (calls  originating with the company). Most organizations utilize both. It is interesting to  note, however that outgoing telemarketing offers the largest future growth  potential as the cost of face-to-face sales continues to increase.  The use of telemarketing, which is increasing at the rate of twenty-five  percent a year, is viewed as a means of complementing, rather than replacing,  face-to-face selling. According to one study of 249 industrial sales and  marketing managers, the major uses of telemarketing are (1) to qualify sales  leads, 73.6; (2) support field sales representatives, 73.2; (3) generate sales  leads, 73.1; and (4) to handle marginal accounts, 70.0. (The number above  indicates the percentage of firms studies that used telemarketing for the reasons  given.) When used  effectively, however, telemarketing also enhances the  effectiveness of publication and direct-mail advertising. When a toll-free  number is included in print and direct-mail advertising, prospects can easily  respond and get immediate information while the advertised message is still  fresh in their minds.  Successful telemarketing, however, requires specific goal setting, clearly  established target markets, and careful planning. The major reasons attributed to  failure in the use of telemarketing are (1) lack of  commitment, (2) improper facilities, (3) lack of formal scripts, and (4) poor  human resource planning.

Catalogs and Data Sheets

Catalogs and data sheets are an important part of a firm’s promotional effort because of their unique ability to support the selling function. Industrial customers use catalogs to compare product, product applications, and prices of potential suppliers. Rarely, however, are catalogs alone used to make a purchasing decision. They merely provide buyers with a basis of comparison with other companies’ products once a decision has been made to purchase a particular product. When properly prepared and effectively distributed, however catalogs can speed up the purchasing process by providing information, securing recognition for the company, and additional opportunities for business. Catalogs also support the efforts of distributors because it is not always possible for them to carry in inventory all the items a manufacturer supplies. Thus, most manufacturers provide their distributors with loose-leaf catalogs so that non inventories items can be located and ordered quickly from the catalog. Data sheets provide detailed technical information on such things as product dimensions, efficiencies, performance data, and cost savings and, thus, are an important complement to the personal selling effort. Sales people seldom have all the answers that technical buyers require. Further, buying decisions are often made when a salesperson is not present. When data sheets are prepared so that key selling points and technical information are presented in a clear, persuasive, credible manner they can be powerful sales tools. Data sheets should include enough technical and product performance information to assist customers in their decision making and should be left by sales people with the appropriate decision makers.

In designing an effective publicity program, the industrial marketer must  be aware of the fact that publicity is most effective when it is used to  complement the total industrial promotional program.

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