Is your organisation in the engineering industry where marketing and advertising are only referred to annually towards the end of August when the annual report is hastily being compiled for EXCO so that the greedy shareholder can catch a glimpse of who’s running the show and how the company share is performing – with a few images of the CEO wearing his best photoshoped enhanced smile?

Well, if this notion resonated with your company, say 15 years ago, I could forgive you as a marketing manager in the engineering industry. However, if you’re still there, well…

If this is still the case with your company in this day and age then my foe, you’ve got problems. Yes sure, the marketing manager’s salary, team and marketing budget ‘hurt’ the bottom line of the company as demonstrated in the latest annual report, but is this really the case or is it plain ignorance.

I’d say it is the latter. Gone are the days where only the end product sells. Gone are those days when this industry had a few established players who virtually knew that the following tender would reflect in their order book even before pen was put to paper. There are new players in the industry now. Tom Consultants, Dick Engineering and Harry Construction. Mind you, there are also new clients that have recently emerged in the industry as most of the growth seeking European companies are looking for profits through expanding into Africa, as we are seen to be the gateway to this opportunity poised continent.

Every company has to fight for every tender that is put out there, by every Tom, Dick and Harry. After the boom in 2010, it’s back to the grim reality that profit margins and share prices are under severe pressure with companies having to rely on a three percent profit margin when the keys are handed over to the client at the end of a project. Let’s not get into those tenders acquired fraudulently; this will end up being a ten-page article.

The time has come for companies to rely on the marketing skills of marketing managers. In the next few years, clients are going to consider doing business with companies that have their house in order in presentations, brand manuals and strategies. Companies such as Group 5 are top of mind in the hearts of clients because they went out and gained pole position through marketing their brand in a recession when most companies were retrenching the poor marketing manager. Their media placement included TV adverts, radio spots and an avalanche of print media in business-to-business publications.

Marketing is about grabbing the attention of your next potential client so that when they consider building the next office park, installing the longest pipeline or surveying a potential platinum mine, your brand pops into their mind first because you put your trust and money in supporting the marketing manager who paced up and down to come up with an impressive brand strategy in the corner office to bring home the multi-million rand deal to your company. Think about this!


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