Mechatronics: 4 questions to discover who you are + 2 bonus to nurture customers

  • Gian Paolo Lodi
  • Gian Paolo Lodi

If you’re an entrepreneur or marketing manager, here are four questions for you out of the blue:

  1. To what extent are you involved in your company’s positioning operations?
  2. Do you have an annual budget?
  3. How much time do you spend on planning your company’s marketing strategies?
  4. How do you measure the results of the work you’ve done?

Exercise: take a piece of paper and answer these four questions honestly. Done? No cheating 🙂

In the last 10 years, I’ve had the chance to encounter so many operators in the mechanical, automation and components industry in general, key players who have made decisive choices for the prosperity of their company.

Here is a selection of the most common statements that I’ve received in response to these four questions:

  1. So, what do you mean by positioning? [confused face]
  2. We don’t have an exact budget. It depends on how the wind’s blowing and if the accounts are in the black at the end of the year. [smiley face]
  3. Our marketing strategy involves a monthly newsletter, an editorial in a trade magazine, two tradeshows a year (one in Italy and one abroad) and more recently, the company’s Facebook page. [seductive face!]
  4. Turnover is the best indicator. We also carry out regular surveys to assess customer satisfaction… [dreamy face]

Whenever I raise any matters that I find confusing and they want to deliver the knockout blow to me, they add: “that’s how we’ve always done things…”


At best, we’re talking about actions that are not joined up and don’t have a common thread, with the aggravation of not being scientifically measurable.

The problem is that in Italy companies are often designed on the basis of the product, with everything else coming after that. Marketing is regarded as a cost and not as a priority. Budgets are tight and there’s no system to check and verify the actions that have been taken.

What specific actions can you take, even with a budget amounting to a few thousand euros a year?

You should target your efforts at two key aspects to ensure your company’s survival:

  • Management of current and recurring customers
  • Designing a system that generates prospective customers for your products and services (lead generation)

STEP 1: Management of current and recurring customers

In an ideal world, once you have won customers, they will continue to make regular purchases, with turnover growing over time (if not, what kind of ideal world would it be?).

The stark truth is that, for loads of reasons, you will lose most of them along the way and will always invest so much effort in winning new ones or picking up again those that you’ve lost.

If you want to build a strong relationship with your customers:

  • Don’t drop by to see them at random to mooch a cup of coffee and give them your new brochure.
  • Don’t call them and start talking about soccer to break the ice and fob them off with a new super offer.
  • Don’t take them to dinner to show that you are customer-oriented…

P.S. Obviously, I’ve overexaggerated the actions described. I’m well aware how important human contact is in work relations, but precisely because we don’t have the power to be present everywhere, we manage our time in the most efficient and professional manner possible.

If you want to build a strong relationship with your customers, the key word is GIVING:

  • Valuable, relevant and professionally enriching content
  • Content that will provide a solution to their specific problem
  • Content that will enhance their prestige in the sector in which they operate
  • Content that makes you stand out from the competition

If you manufacture components for the mechatronics industry, whether it be bearings, springs, motors, reducers, joints, sensors, valves, cylinders, linear rails, etc., when your customers think about a technical requirement, it is YOUR company and YOUR solutions that they should think of first. There should be no thought about anyone else in their mind.

By constantly working on their content, you will reinforce the thought in their mind that their supplier (YOU) is the absolute number one choice.

This activity will also have another beneficial upshot: it will help you whittle down potential customers who are NOT targeted by your product or service, those that are “not worth the hassle”. This will help to educate them at the source (including on price).

How you distribute this content isn’t the most important thing as you can use a blog, email marketing platform, carrier pigeon or whatever… The important things are your customer list and the content that you’re going to provide them with; after all, it’s called “Content Marketing” for a reason!

Does it involve any effort? Does it require time and dedication? And what’s new about it? But just think:

  • who knows your industry and its critical points better than you?
  • who knows better than you what your customers need and the problems they are facing every day?
  • who knows better than you what makes your product or service stand out from the competition, and the reason why customers should buy it?

If you are interested in delving further into this subject and understanding how to devise a content marketing strategy, let me give you one name: Alessio Beltrami. In Italy, he is, without fear of contradiction, THE man to go to for content marketing. Just let me tell you about an excellent place to start: Content strategy: create a content marketing strategy from scratch (Practical guide).

When it comes to putting technical content on the table, you’ve got your products. If you want to provide a first-rate service, you need to be able to respond in real time to multiple requests from the market:

  • from various countries (multilingual requests)
  • from designers working on different software platforms (multiCAD requests)

Your products must be accessible and viewable in 3D, linked to datasheets that highlight the performance aspects and provide all the information to be able to choose them and eventually request a quotation.

P.S. I’ve expanded on this subject in this article: 3 opportunities that only a 3D cataloging system can give you.

This way of thinking is also geared toward offering a targeted service that meets multiple needs and establishes customer loyalty.

TraceParts helps you build a solution for your new and recurring customers. By creating an online catalog for your products, you’re enabling customers to get solutions when they need them by downloading your models, product datasheets and leaving you a trace of their behavior (vitally important to feed your content strategy).

STEP 2: Designing a system that generates prospective customers for your products and services (lead generation)

In order to ensure a steady flow of new and prospective customers interested in your products and services, you need to take a further step forward, following the path taken with digital content.

  • You need to position yourself at the point where there is the greatest traffic of potential users of products or services similar to yours.
  • You need to provide tools that they are familiar with and trust.
  • They need to find all the resources to communicate easily with you.

Once again, TraceParts can help you meet the requirements of engineers and designers all over the world. Every month, more than 25,000 new users register to leverage the largest collection of mechatronic components available ready to use, while you can reap the rewards of this global exposure.

An SME that builds nowadays its 3D catalog on TraceParts generates, on average, in the first year 1,500-2,000 new potential customers who download its products.

A more structured company, which has previously worked on its own marketing for the brand, will generate in the first year that it publishes its catalog on TraceParts an average of 7-8,000 new target contacts. These are numbers to grab your attention, don’t you think?

But how do I go about managing thousands of contacts without having a proper structure in place?

Here comes the great part!

If you’ve devised a well-structured content strategy from the outset, you will be able to manage these new users in your contact list, by nurturing and educating them with your marketing, and establishing a relationship with them thanks to the value of the content that you will offer them.

There will be no early cold contacts (unless there is a specific request for this), but a gradual process that will lead the contact up the value scale that you have prepared for them.

The gap between a contact and a customer will become increasingly narrower and you will be able to monitor this progression using scientific tools (blogs, email marketing platform, TraceParts Analytics), where you choose the best time to contact the customer directly.

This is what I call an efficient SYSTEM for managing contacts, new and recurring customers.

Process automation is one of the secrets of TraceParts.

If you want to take a closer look with figures and data available as to how your industry can benefit from a 3D cataloging platform, contact me [here], and I will be happy to clear up any doubts you have and help you find the best solution.

Gian Paolo Lodi

Gian Paolo Lodi
Sales Account Manager




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