Uses of Industrial Advertising

Rarely is advertising employed by itself in the industrial arena. The  complexity of most industrial products, coupled with buyers’ expectations and  unique information needs, requires personal contact. It is not possible, however, for  sales people to make contact with all the various individuals who may be  involved in a purchasing decision. In fact, studies have indicated that on the  average for every ten buying influencers, salesperson reaches only three to four.  Not only is industrial advertising an effective means of reaching inaccessible or  unknown buying influencers, it creates awareness, enhances the effectiveness of  the sales call, increases the overall efficiency of the selling effort, and is an  important ingredient in creating and maintaining demand at the distributor level.

  1. Reaching Buying Influences:  It is not uncommon for industrial sales people to  be unaware of individuals within a firm who may be in a position to exert  influence on a purchasing decision. This is particularly true when deploying a  new salesperson or when calling on a new customer for the first time. Also, for  various reasons including the inability to get past purchasing agents, buying  influencers are often inaccessible to sales people. Executive turnover is a  never-ending problem. Buying influencers are constantly moving out of their  areas of responsibility, moving up in the organization, or changing jobs. These  influencers, however, do read trade magazines and general business  publications and can be reached through advertising. Additionally, through  requests for further information called for in ads, unknown influencers often  identify themselves, making it possible for sales people to contact them.
  2. Creating Awareness:  Industrial advertising is an effective means of  creating awareness of the industrial supplier, as well as the supplier’s market  offering. Buyers normally select a supplier after  moving through several phases of the purchasing decision process. These phases  include (1) recognizing a need, (2) determining characteristics and quantities of  a needed item, (3) describing those characteristics and quantities, (4) searching  for and qualifying sources, (5) acquiring and analyzing proposals, and (6)  evaluating proposals and selecting suppliers. Effective industrial advertising  creates awareness or alerts potential purchasers to problems within their  operations (phase 1) and identifies the supplier’s company and its products as  offering possible solutions to those problems (phases 2 and 4), which helps to  assure that the advertiser is given favourable consideration when specifications  are written and suppliers selected (phases 3 and 6).
  3. Enhancing the Sales Call:  Effectively planned advertising enhances the sales  call by arousing interest in the supplier’s offering and by helping to create  supplier preference. When buyers are aware of a company, its reputation, its  products, and its record in the industry, sales people are more effectively. In fact,  according to one study, when buyers are exposed to a firm’s industrial ads, their  opinion of the firm improves, dollar sales per call are higher, and the firm’s  sales personnel are rated considerably higher on product knowledge, service, and  enthusiasm.
  4. Increasing Overall Sales Efficiency:  For some industrial producers,  particularly producers of industrial supplies, advertising maybe the only way of  efficiency reaching broad groups of buyers. Additionally, because little or no  product differentiation exists between many industrial supplies, marketers of such  products frequently need to remind users and potential users of their firms’ unique  capabilities or make them aware of new products and services. The cost of reaching  large numbers of buyers through personal contact cannot only be prohibitive, but  unjustifiable.
  5. Supporting Channel Members:  Manufacturers who use middlemen must support  those intermediaries’ efforts by ensuring that end markets are aware of their  products. While middlemen are interested in the producer’s support activities,  resellers, because they are positioned so closely to ultimate consumers, are even more  concerned with consumer acceptance. They will also want to know what profit  they can expect on a product, and what the producer is doing in the way of  consumer advertising and other promotional support activities.

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