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Do You Make This Basic Marketing Mistake?

Mark Mehling, The Foundry Marketer

(Click here to see the story as it appears in July's Modern Casting.)

Unlike the formulaic processes that govern much of metalcasting, most companies are totally confounded by persuasion and influence, sometimes called “marketing.” From my work, I discovered most new quote efforts rely on luck instead of a system.  And it all comes down to a simple, but ignored, basic.

Consider this analogy. No one would melt just any metal, pour it at any temperature, into any mold. There are specific alloys, poured at specific temperatures, to meet a specific client’s requirements. Yet, in marketing, many metalcasters randomly pick any media as a first step, don’t have a target market, and the message is confusing or missing.  Then they wonder why the results are defective.

There are three essential steps to any effort when marketing. Done out of sequence, the effort will fail.

The three, equally important elements of any persuasion and influence are:

•    Choosing the Message to be conveyed.

•    Choosing the Target Market to be reached with the message.

•    Choosing the Media that best reaches the target market with the message.

In that order.

Step 1: The MESSAGE

Conceiving your message must be done first. No exceptions.

What is your message? What differentiates your metalcasting business? Is your message about YOU, or about buyers? Is it clear or subtle? Is it boring?

Your message must clearly answer: “Why, of all the choices available, should I, a buyer of castings, choose to do business with you?”  Foundries ignore this question—to their loss.

A review of websites showed few had compelling messages. Most could be summed up as “we sell castings” or an unsupported “we’re the best.” These generic statements could be made for every other metalcaster’s site, including overseas competitors.

Developing a message is not simple.  But ignoring the message, and starting at either of the other two steps, is financially disastrous for marketing ROI.

Step 2: The MARKET

Once you have the message, who do you want to understand it? Just as 2-, 22-, and 52-year-olds communicate differently, their varying backgrounds, education and job positions require styles and methods they comprehend. Recruiting ads for “technical buyers” show limited educational requirements for some positions and extremely technical degrees for others.  

Your market is not a nameless/faceless company, but an individual or group. Is the market a buyer? With a technical background? An engineer? A buying committee? Each one has different wants, needs and problems, past and present.

Who exactly are you trying to reach with the message you formed in Step 1? The message can be tweaked for each category, but the market is still the second step in the template.

Final Step: The MEDIA

Choosing the right medium is equally as important as the message and the market. But it always must be done last.

Media choices are overwhelming. From websites (yes, it’s only a medium) to brochures, Facebook (don’t look for ME there), books, videos, CDs, direct mail, email, trade journal ads, the list is long. All media are good. Some are just a poor choice to reach your intended market with your message.

Each has advantages and disadvantages. For example, online is quick and inexpensive. But it encourages shopping around because competitors are a click away. Brochures can look beautiful, but does anyone read them? Trade journals can be great—if you know your target is reading them and you can stand out from competitors in the same publication.

Many ad agencies cheerfully sell media first—a waste of a limited budget. Until you are assured your properly crafted message will reach your well researched target market using a specific medium, don’t waste the marketing budget.  

If you change any of the three elements, the others have to change. Want a different market? The message and media must be re-mastered. Change the message? Better re-determine your intended audience or market and media choice.

Leave this simple three-step roadway and your efforts will fail. Everyday this is proven when you stand over the trash can sorting your mail! The first decision you make is whether the message, initially conveyed by the envelope, is important enough to open. Then you decide if the message is worth reading. If not, the sender missed the mark on the market it is trying to reach.

Any effort to communicate must determine the message first, the target audience second, and, lastly, the medium which will best get the message to that audience. Implementing step 2 or 3 without step 1 first is suicidal to the budget.   

Contact the author at Mark@TheFoundryMarketer.com with your comments and questions.

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