Plant & Equipment

Marketing lessons for the extractive industry

The purpose of marketing is to establish relationships between a service and its customers. Are quarries still too reliant on traditional methods of marketing? Or are they quite proficient with digital media?

For an industry driving Australia’s economy and welfare, it’s fair to argue the quarrying industry is playing “catch up” when it comes to marketing strategies. In light of social media’s inception, it’s taken a while to incorporate relevant marketing strategies that involve digital media and online advertising.

Why is marketing more important than ever for a maturing industry such as quarrying?

The average age of the quarry employee is 50. The question must be asked: “Before we retire, who’s gonna take over?” Relevant and effective marketing to up and coming generations will cement the industry’s future.

Who are the quarries’ traditional customers?

Some of the biggest customers for quarries have always been local, state and federal government agencies, construction firms and fellow miners. However, through new marketing techniques enabled through social media, there’s a huge market out there that can be tapped into – for example, homeowners, small businesses, not-for-profit organisations and community groups.

Into the future, who are the quarries’ new customers likely to be?

Advancing marketing techniques have enabled quarries to market to the grassroots level customers, these being homeowners, small businesses, not-for-profit organisations, community groups, etc. In Australia, these customers are relatively untouched, but it’s exciting to see where the industry could potentially be heading.

What should quarries do to retain the loyalty of their traditional clientele?

In retaining loyal clientele, quarries need to keep guaranteeing quality products and services, as well as showing their customers that the products and services they offer are the best in the industry.

What are the most common mistakes that quarrying SMEs make in their marketing?

One of the biggest mistakes small to medium-sized quarries make is sticking to traditional methods of marketing. Emerging methods in marketing may seem bold and downright uncomfortable, but there is a lot to be gained from capitalising on the uncharted waters of social media in the quarrying industry, which allows for the potential to attain and maintain competitive advantage.

Do quarries ever consider that education about their activities can itself be a marketing and/or recruitment tool?

Though quarrying companies are starting to market and recruit towards younger generations, the IQA is leading the effort in marketing towards millennials. We’re conducting school visits as well as university visits that simply aim to educate young people about the industry. We also have video campaigns in the works, created by young people for young people to help teach them what quarrying has to offer in terms of employment and career opportunities.

Do smaller quarries need to hire dedicated marketing and sales professionals?

Traditional marketing methods are important, but utilising and focusing on newer marketing strategies (eg changing gender stereotypes in the industry) should be the major priority for improving the customer bases.

How can members improve their marketing and communications skills?

The IQA is definitely looking into developing programs that can help its members to improve their organisational marketing and communications skills.

Written by: Aaron Savage and Ben Yong

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