Predictions 2023: The year ahead for industrial communications – by Krohne’s Jonathan Ashton

The four Ps of marketing are just as relevant to B2B marketers as they ever were, writes Krohne's Jonathan Ashton

By Jonathan Ashton, head of marketing and communications, Krohne

Have we had what we can describe as a ‘normal’ year recently? I am putting pen to paper in the hope I inspire a few responses, spur into action those inert marcommunicators amongst us and escape judgment by my peers if my forecasts appear inaccurate or mistaken, relying on the recent global chaos to add smoke and mirrors to
my words. 

Do you want to learn how brands are interacting with their changing audience in the region this Ramadan? Watch business leaders from brands and agencies come together and discuss how they engage with audiences and the evolving advertising landscape during Ramadan. Click here to book your seat! 

2022 has been a year of research, development and ongoing professional development for myself, moving from agency to client side, from diversified and varied sectoral brands to a century-old engineering powerhouse well-known in energy and infrastructure circles among others. So what learnings can I share for the year ahead? I wanted to provide my own twist on the Four Ps model of the marketing mix for the key focus areas to boost your industrial brand.

1. People 

Operating amongst engineers, subject matter experts in their own domain, I have been on an ongoing crusade to leverage them and their networks in order to boost the brand in the region. Krohne did not previously have a strong local brand presence, so we launched on LinkedIn and launched a monthly prize to incentivise increased activity on the platform. Ultimately people by from people, whether in business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), so increasing the human element will only benefit your brand. This has seen many industrial brands looking to speak to existing and potential employees with wellbeing and CSR programs – more on that a little later.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a well organised event presence. Assuming you’ve done your homework and found the perfect alignment for your company and pulled together a solid space that the team can be proud of, you have built a platform that lets your team network with the industry and share their expertise face-to-face. Lead generation is the goal, but equally so is getting out from behind your laptop and bolstering your brand reputation. Make sure your giveaways are sustainable, though.

2. Product

My opening focus on people should not be to the detriment of your product, as the ultimate goal is to increase consideration to purchase. 2023 will see new ways to get your product in front of new and bigger audiences. Have influencer partnerships peaked? Maybe in previously underutilised segments we will see more authentic ambassadors – why wouldn’t we place our technology in key locations with customers looking to invest billions over the next few years? 

There will be an increase in public-private partnerships manifesting around the region in 2023, in the form of innovation centres and collaborative enterprises to solve tomorrow’s problems. Communicated correctly, your products will be intelligently exposed to decision makers.

3. Position

Carved into the Temple of Apollo at Delphi is the ancient Greek aphorism ‘know thyself’. Once we marketers have got a handle on the basics of stakeholder mapping, SWOT and messaging, we should intimately be able to position our brands in the right light. I have taken the time this year to remind my team, and the region, exactly what Krohne is, and a part of that is our heritage. Borne out of German excellence for engineering solutions, we have quality and reliability baked into everything we do. 

4. Purpose

More than a slogan, lifting us above products and solutions, uniting everyone associated with the brand, you will find purpose. If you don’t have one today you need one or risk being cast aside for another brand that is making the world better somehow. Yes, this is true even in industrial applications because, despite the key roles price and procurement play, in the B2B world we are also human beings who want to play a role in making the world a better place. At this point in time, somewhere between Cop27 and Cop28 in the MENA region, even the most stubborn industrialists will be consuming reports and statistics on the need for greener solutions to combat the climate crisis. These business leaders are the ones who will help shift the needle in the long run, with top talent gravitating towards companies that share their values, generating intense loyalty without incentive.