Electricity is possibly one of the smartest things that humans have discovered, but 4,750 years ago we also had the dumb idea that gout and headaches could be cured by touching electric fish. It is indeed an old industry with records showing that some of the first power backup generators were used on naval ships during World War II.
They say that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks but when we got a chance to work on a heavy machinery advertising account we decided to look into the new bag of tricks rather than the old one. Purveyors of machinery and engineering products tend to take a traditional approach to marketing communications because their consumers are more nuts-and-bolts, matter-of-fact engineers, and not soft-and-fluffy, ‘looks good on the outside’ types.
A cursory glance at the industry proved to us that generators were sold on a need-to basis and pretty much at arms length with sterile presentations of the products rarely relating to people and there problems. We thought this was an opportunity to teach the industry a new trick or two.
Rift Valley Machinery’s management has a vision that has for over 30 years powered a small outfit in Nakuru into a national distribution network that serves government and the private sector alike. With solid engineering backgrounds they have built their expertise through sheer will and dedication to creating an extraordinary company that serves an important need in the market.
Having received a brief to support the sales of domestic and SME (small & medium sized enterprises) generators, we spent time sniffing out insights about the industry before we embarked on any major strategy work. The 2 most important things that we picked up were that when engineers want to fulfill a request for new generators, they first run an internet search to find out what there is in the market and to see if there is any new technology to consider. The second thing we found out was that the final decision to buy is made on the shop floor after seeing the product and talking to a qualified sales person. So our advertising obviously had to get into the search results of our effective audience and then drive them to visit the website and the showroom.
A digital advertising strategy was then developed to talk to the pain of living in a Third World nation where clean power is nothing but a dream that we can look yonder in 2030 or something. You’ll burn a lot of candles in this environment especially while brining up kids who have to do tonnes of homework. You’ll also pull out a lot of hair as millennials in your staff freeze when the power goes out because those brain extensions in computing devices power down.
Our campaign captured the attention of the target customers and got the phones ringing off the hook and greatly increased the footfall in their showrooms, driving up the number of enquiries and boosting the sales pipeline.
It also proved that the heavy machinery industry is changing and aligning to a world where new technology dominates marketing communications and advertising channels.