There are various important aspects to product marketing, but here I want to discuss what is the key aspect: information. At least, it is so in the area of business to business. The marketing to end users may sometimes need to focus on emotions, e.g. trying to create and strengthen a certain desire to have a trendy product. Certainly, business people also have emotions, and these can play some role in their decisions. After all, they are human beings who don't fundamentally differ from consumers. However, their needs are not driven by emotions, but essentially by business purposes, and their decisions are made under substantially different circumstances.
It is essential for the success of product marketing to understand in which situation members of the target audience typically are, and what is needed to be effective. In the following, I explain a typical situation for buyers of photonics products:
Let us assume that somebody in the photonics industry (or perhaps in scientific research) needs some laser diodes for a specific purpose. Usually, it will not be sufficient just to find one product which seems to be suitable; in professional life, the requirements are a little more complex:
- First, one requires a reasonable overview on suppliers of suitable laser diodes – not necessarily a complete list, but a list of suppliers which can reasonably be expected to contain most of those who fit best.
- Then one needs to decide for one of those based on the impression that this is the best choice in terms of suitability, quality, price etc.
- Often, the decision process needs to be documented, e.g. in order to utilize that information for the next similar purchase or in order to defend the decision later on, for example in case that a problem arises. Particularly in such cases, the purchaser will be in a much better position if he or she can demonstrate that a rational decision resulted from a sufficiently careful search.
Let us look at the first step. It will generally not be a good idea just to google for laser diodes, picking the entries with actual commercial offers from many pages with search results, many of which present other things such as scientific papers, and processing the list for duplicates. Instead, professionals will usually want to use a high-quality buyer's guide, which very conveniently presents a list of suppliers for laser diodes.
The challenge is just that such a list of suppliers is often rather long – in the case of laser diodes, our buyer's guide presents well over 100 suppliers. Nobody has the patience and time to visit all their websites, starting with the homepage, searching for their laser diodes just to find out whether some suitable laser diodes are available there. In some way, the potential buyer needs to make a short list of suppliers – but based on what criteria?
- Just taking the first ten from the list can hardly be justifiable.
- Picking a couple of those where the name has been seen before is not much better.
- Taking those which have larger (paid) entries with logo and a larger font is also not appropriate.
All that doesn't work because the mentioned criteria have no relevance for suitability, quality, etc. So what is really needed to make a justifiable shortlist? It is product information, of course – something which indicates whether the required type of laser diodes is offered.
Exactly at this point, RP Photonics can help everybody involved. Suppliers with our advertising package have the opportunity to publish their product descriptions in the list of suppliers for those products, apart from their company profile page and related encyclopedia articles. Users will then use those product descriptions for conveniently checking which suppliers have laser diodes of the type which is suitable for them. So those suppliers get to their short list and then get a closer inspection, starting with a visit to their website.
By the way, that website visit is usually done through a HTML link in a product description, leading the user exactly to the relevant page. That is highly convenient for the user, and the supplier avoids the risk that the user would not find that page.
This makes clear that effective product marketing in that domain (business to business) is not about shouting louder than anybody else that you are the best, or that you have the very best products. It is also not struggling for some attention where people are looking for something else and therefore do their best not to get distracted. Instead, the essential point is to provide needed information, and that exactly at the right location – namely, the one where potential buyers are in the process of making their short list of suppliers.
Of course, information also plays a more comprehensive role on our website. Most information is contained in my RP Photonics Encyclopedia: scientific and technical information which is highly useful for many thousands of photonics professionals, be it in industry or in research. Exactly for that reason, our site is so popular, and that of course also explains why so many professionals use that buyer's guide. The result – proven with statistical data for many suppliers – is that with the ad package in the RP Photonics Buyer's Guide you can generate many more sales leads than with any other digital resource in photonics. It is based essentially on the combination of two factors – a highly popular resource and a well thought through concept of serving users with helpful information.
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