What Is Industrial Advertising?

Supervisor and Manager Watching Plastic Bottles on Conveyor Belt

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Industrial advertising is advertising that promotes your products to companies who will use them in their own business. It is a form of business to business, or B2B, advertising.

Industrial advertising usually refers to advertising that is directed at manufacturers buying raw materials or equipment used in their manufacturing process. However, it can sometimes refer to any type of B2B advertising, even if it is not specific to the manufacturing industry.

The Role of Industrial Advertising

Individuals aren't the only ones who make purchases. Every business is a consumer as well as a seller.

For example, a business in an office needs to buy computers, purchase industry-specific software, and hire a cleaning company. A lawn-care company needs to purchase mowers, shovels, trimmers, a cargo trailer, and other tools. A construction company requires raw materials, such as pipes and lumber, for every project.

Like other consumers, businesses want their purchases to solve a specific problem. They want to see advertising that is about them, rather than about the business doing the selling.

Unlike individual consumers, who often shop around for one-time deals or irregular purchases, businesses usually need to buy the same products over and over. They look for a long-term relationship with a seller so that purchasing necessary materials becomes a predictable part of their business model.

Industrial advertising is intended to connect with consumers (in this case, other businesses) and encourage them to make a purchase. Industrial ads are intended to attract buyers, increase sales, expand distribution channels, and spread awareness of a company's brand.

If you are a B2B business, industrial advertising should be a strategic part of your marketing mix.

Common Types of Industrial Advertising

Like other forms of advertising, industrial advertising should be based on a marketing strategy that incorporates information about your target customers, competitors, market, and unique selling proposition. These elements allow you to identify the best places to reach the consumers who need your products.

Industrial advertising is usually placed in industry-specific channels, which allows businesses to narrowly target other businesses who need their goods and services. These channels include:

  • Trade shows or business fairs.
  • Industry publications, such as trade magazines or websites.
  • Direct mail advertisements, including brochures, postcards, or catalogs.
  • Cold calling or emailing.
  • Word-of-mouth or referral advertising.

As you design a marketing plan that includes industrial advertising, remember: the people who make logistical decisions for other businesses will not get their information the same places that individuals do. Manufacturing equipment and office supplies aren't advertised on TV or radio because most people watching and listening will not need those products. Instead, industrial advertising should be placed strategically to position your business as the leading solution within your industry.

No matter where you place your advertising, you should still use traditional marketing techniques to make your industrial ads as compelling as possible. Communicate a clear value proposition and speak to the needs of your customers by highlighting the benefits that you can provide. The most effective industrial advertising creates trust that leads to long-term relationships with other business in complementary industries.