November 02 2023


Digital Marketing for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) 

Acronym Run Down: ODM, OEM, and OBM 

In manufacturing, there are three big acronyms to remember corresponding to the types of business models in the industry. They are ODM, OEM, and OBM.  

  • Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) create products based on other companies’ specifications.  
  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) create products based on their own specifications and then sell them to other companies for distribution.  
  • Original Brand Manufacturers (OBMs) create products and distribute them under their brand name. 

Where OEMs and ODMs sell to other companies to distribute, only the OBM sells products under their own brand name. Additionally, OEMs and ODMs are more associated with making parts and components later integrated into the final assembly of another company’s end product. This handoff to other brands requires a unique way of thinking when it comes to marketing, especially for OEMs who must think about their piece of the product puzzle and where it can fit. 

OEMs have an operational advantage with the ability to focus on core competencies and have the opportunity to work with multiple brands and industries. The hurdle here is creating those opportunities by marketing their products and capabilities to the right companies, not to mention differentiating these offerings from the competition. 

A strong B2B digital marketing strategy is the foundation for achieving these goals, but how do small-to-medium-size OEMs market their unique products to other companies? This blog looks at how to market your OEM component products to customers who have the end result in mind.  

Why Should OEMs Use Digital Marketing?

Tech research firm Gartner says 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025, heightening the importance of digital marketing. Traditional offline tactics like tradeshows are important to relationship building, but OEMs can go beyond the tradeshow floor and their professional circles to garner quality leads and larger tradeshow booth attendance with strategic digital marketing. 

Outside of attracting potential customers, another advantage to having a strong digital marketing presence is to support a long lead cycle. The average B2B purchase involves six to ten decision makers‚ all with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and can take months to complete.

The more people involved and the more research needed, the more time it takes to decide on the right solution. This research predominately happens online. OEMs need to create an online presence where online discovery by these teams is easier and offer customers a hub of information to support them through the lengthy process. 

The B-SMART® Method provides businesses with a structure that targets their specific customer audience.

Online Marketing Starts with B-SMART 

Before any search efforts are made, the companies you want to work with have evaluated their own needs in order to research available options. While no one is a mind reader, a way to see where your OEM business stands in the eyes of customers is to B-SMART, which is an acronym for:  

  • Brands  
  • Shapes and sizes  
  • Materials  
  • Areas of industry   
  • Requirements  
  • Types  

The B-SMART® Method considers a potential customer’s search and the modifiers they may type into a search engine, then evaluates what these search terms can tell us about a user’s needs and where they are in the decision-making process.   

The B-SMART Method considers that your potential customers are smart and search savvy, but most of all, know the specifics of the end product and what components they need. The research at this stage is about finding the right fit.  

Without these details, the customer will end up with search landscapes not relevant to their needs, such as results featuring mega-retailers. An example is Amazon or Home Depot, which sells all types of wire but not the specific industrial application the customer requires. 

How does B-SMART work? Say you are a metal fabricator:  

  • Brands: A customer may use a specific brand of tube bender, laser cutting machine, or end former to create the desired part.  
  • Shapes and sizes: They may need a specific diameter, width, height, or length for a component.  
  • Materials: They may be looking for a specialized type or grade of material.  
  • Areas of industry: The end product could be used in industries like automotive, technology, or aerospace.  
  • Requirements: They may need a shop that meets the standards required to fabricate for the industry they represent.  
  • Types: They may be looking for a large or precision project or a specific application type.  

Now flip the script—how does your OEM offering fit into each category, and what potential customers match up? While not every aspect of the B-SMART® Method may apply to your business, it can help you drill down your offering, differentiators, and potential customers to inform keywords quality leads may use. This is how TopSpot tackles digital strategy for not only OEMs but for many types of businesses.   

Creating an Integrated Strategy 

With your customers’ intent identified and matched to your business’ capabilities via B-SMART, keywords and content strategies can be put together using this knowledge. An integrated strategy starts with your website and the on-page SEO (content on that site) it can house to boost your success on search.  

Then apply this to your off-page SEO (backlinks and search landscape) and your paid search program. When used together, SEO and PPC provide credibility, allowing your business to show in multiple areas of result pages when your customers search.  

How it works for that metal fabricator:  

  • Brands: Note specific brand equipment and elaborate on processes  
  • Shapes and sizes: Use scannable spec charts  
  • Materials: Note the specialized type or grade of materials used  
  • Areas of industry: Add sections per industry and detail how your offerings could fit into those end-result products 
  • Requirements: Present your certifications clearly in the text and via logos 
  • Types: Offer case studies illustrating prior project types 
This homepage has designated areas and content representing the B-SMART method, aiding their ability to rank well in the searches of quality leads.

What’s Your Takeaway? 

OEMs can relate to the idea that each component or piece of the product puzzle is important, and the same goes for digital marketing—it is only as good as the sum of its parts. Using customer intent and B-SMART, those pieces work together and form a marketing program that drives quality traffic from those brand umbrellas that need your offerings. It also results in quality leads that keep your OEM operation profitable.  

If you are not a TopSpot customer, contact us to learn how we can help attract B2B buyers to your OEM business. 

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