B2B Spotlight Q&A:
In this first Q&A, we caught up with Peter Smart, Channel Director at IPH Brammer, Europe’s leading specialist distributor quality industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul products.
We got his take on selling industrial components, the interesting way. So read on as we explore the narrative around customer-centric content and the human element of B2B marketing.
Q: What does #Bye2Boring mean to you?
"To me, Bye2Boring means that you don’t have to be boring with your marketing tactics just because you’re selling dry and non-sexy products. In reality every product has a really interesting application. There’s many ways to excite and engage with your customers, no matter what you sell. At Brammer we sell millions of industrial components per year and in fact we keep the industry going."
"You don't have to be boring with your marketing just because you're selling dry, un-sexy products."
Q: What would your advice be for B2B marketers?
"My advice to anyone in B2B trying to sell or promote products to businesses is to remember that the person at the other end is a consumer like yourself. Try and take away all the reasons why they can’t buy that product. Give them all the information they need. Give them great content. Make it really easy for them to buy, make it really easy for them to contact you if they do have a question. Just take away all the barriers to purchase. "
'My advice to anyone in B2B trying to sell or promote products to businesses is to remember that the person at the other end is a consumer like yourself.'
Q: What are the biggest marketing challenges you face?
"I think the biggest challenge we face is content. We have over 2 million product records in our database and we’re adding thousands of new products every week. Getting new, customer-ready content from our suppliers into our system and into our webshops is a real challenge for us."
Q: How do you bring boring products to life?
"To try and bring dry and relatively unsexy products to life, over the years we’ve tried lots of different techniques. Actually, things like 360o photography works really good for static products on a website. Something like a hard hat where you can spin it round, you can look inside and outside, that can work really well. And then very short product videos. Even 30 seconds to a 2 minute on a how to guide for a product can bring something again - quite dull - to life. "
Q: Why is B2B Marketing perceived as less creative than B2C?
"I think marketing in industrial sectors has perhaps lagged behind B2C sectors for a couple of reasons. In B2B there’s a slightly more complex purchase, there’s more people involved in the purchase and people tend to be a bit more involved in the features of the product. In B2C that tends to be a bit more benefit-led. I think Industry spends more of its investment into making processes easier and quicker to supply customers rather than creating great content."
Q: What’s been the biggest change factor in your industry in the last five years?
I think the biggest change factor in our industry in the last few years is the realisation that data and content is absolutely critical. I think a lot of businesses like ourselves have only woken up to that in the last few years. So without great customer data you can’t you can’t sell to a customer, you can’t market to a customer and without great product data you can’t sell a product online. So, the realisation that data is absolutely critical.
"Data is critical. Without great customer data you can’t sell or market to a customer and without great product data you can’t successfully sell a product online. "
Q: ‘Customer-centricity’- what does it mean to you?
"I think the companies that will be ultimately the most successful will be those who put the customer experience at the heart of their business. I think a lot of companies will say they’re customer-centric, but truly customer-centric companies reward their employees, target they’re employees and motivate their employees around customer experience. So I think it really should be at the heart of every business."
Q: What brands do you look to for inspiration?
"I’ve looked at a variety of brands for inspiration. For example, an American company called Ergodyne make PPE and protective clothing extremely exciting through their branding and the way they connect with their customers and their fantastic positioning. They are like the Harley Davidson of PPE. Or a totally different company Euro Car Parts who really disrupted the automotive after-market with fantastic content and great digital presence. They’ve really transformed the automotive space."
Q: Why did you choose to work with Freestyle?
"I chose to work with Freestyle following a recommendation from a good friend and ex-colleague who has worked with Freestyle for many years. In the 2 years I’ve worked with Freestyle we’ve started on some small projects in digital and actually, Freestyle is now supporting all 16 countries that Brammer operates in. I really like their creative and innovative approach to problem-solving and generally they’re a really nice bunch of people to work with. "
Thanks to Peter for his time and valuable insights into the fascinating World of Brammer. Until the next industry Q&A, thanks for reading.