Today’s special marketing podcast is on the road! We headed to Boston to talk with Jamie Schaefer from New England Building Supply (NEBS). 21 Handshake is working with NEBS on marketing content, and one interesting discussion that has come up how to market to local areas.

When your B2B sells on a regional or even a national level, it can be difficult to target marketing at one specific community. It’s usually a lot easier to simply create broad marketing efforts that speak to everyone the same way. However, this misses the very powerful effect of community involvement, which is often a decision-making factor when you get down to the individual buyers. What does this look like, and how can marketers overcome this problem? We’re going to talk about it!

The Supply Chain in the Build Materials Industry

Like many industries where material supplies are important, the supply chain for the LBM (lumber and building materials) industry is well developed and hierarchical – which presents both opportunities and challenges. If the person at the end of the chain, selling directly to buyers, is successful, then all the manufacturers and distributors behind them are successful as well. This gives larger manufacturers – who, again, are often national or at least looking at a group of states – a large incentive to support more localized marketing efforts.

This can happen in different ways, but a common method is through “coop bucks” or essentially contributions that larger distributors make to smaller sellers further down the chain for their marketing efforts (we know that sounds like a great idea for a lot of you, and it’s worth looking to see if your industry offers any similar programs). These investments can be sponsored events, donated raffle items, and even more straightforward contributions for taking out local ads.

Using Co-op Funds Wisely

So what are some of the best targets for co-op funds? It’s important for both region and local companies to understand where these investments are best spent, to maximize effectiveness all around. Trust, after all, is important when a distributor is providing their own funds to local sellers for marketing – it needs to work! Some of the most effective actions that we discussed include:

  • Food Truck Events: Everyone loves a good food truck. For this one, NEBS brings in a popular local food truck, invites all the customers over for a gathering, and have a great discussion along with the opportunity to meet with sales reps and other vendors. Co-op bucks sponsor the whole thing!
  • Gold Tournament: Golf tournaments can be a popular activity among B2B companies. Plus, you still get to invite vendors along with contractors to encourage healthy discussion.
  • After Hours Events: These are more informal hangouts and dinners that can also be used for strategizing.
  • Simple Mailers: Yes, mailers can still work! They remain effective in more traditional industries where B2B buyers still note and remember events because they received an interesting mailer for them.

Measuring the Success of Events

So, how do you measure the success of events like these? It can be interesting! Those who attend events like these may not even have applicable projects for the vendors at the event, so an immediate sale isn’t always likely. But

Here, we also find that social media channels work hand in hand with more traditional, sponsored events. Social media can often be more effective at bringing in brand new buyers, even on a local level, and when introducing new products or product improvements.

Ultimately, it’s important to acknowledge that many benefits of events, dinners, and so on will always be intangible – and that’s okay!

Learning More

We cover many other excellent topics with Jamie, including how to showcase a local builder in marketing efforts, how to engage more effectively with local builders on social media, our own video work with NEBS, and how broad strategies work with together with local strategy with marketing tactics that can feed into each other! Give the podcast a listen to hear the full story and get some great marketing tips for your next campaign.

We bet many of you have worked with local SEO and local outreach, too! We’d love to hear about some of the ideas and experiences you’ve had! Connect with us on social media @21handshake and let us know! If you enjoyed the episode, we’d love it if you took a moment to rate us 5 stars on iTunes. Thanks and until next time!