Hit Your Audience Where It Helps

See How Response Helped PROTO Industrial Tools Find Their Best Audience.

Adele recently released a new single, “Hello”, and it got us thinking. No, not about heartbreak and love lost, but about how you can better bring your brand to your target audience. When was the last time you really evaluated your targeting? Are you using the right marketing or media tactics? Is the timing of those tactics strategically planned, or are you throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it sticks?

Reaching your audience begins by understanding the value the customer receives from using your product. Without this, how will you know what messaging, marketing and media tactics will work best?

A perfect example of understanding what an audience values lies in our PROTO Industrial Tools – SkyHook Tether & Transfer System campaign. As a leader in the world of industrial tools, PROTO has built their reputation on job sites that run the gamut from mineshafts to oil rigs. Owing to the inherent danger these job sites present, PROTO also prides themselves in being a safety obsessed company.

Designing a Compelling Marketing Message

The SkyHook Tether & Transfer System was yet another safety innovation that PROTO was anxious to bring to market. We decided early on that our true audience was the purchasing or safety managers of companies who work on-site. With this established, we were able to gain greater insight into what they value from products, and why it matters. This helped to inform everything from media to messaging. Here are the insights we gleaned:

  • Safety is essential
  • Safety can be cumbersome
  • Safety cannot impede productivity
  • And again, safety is essential

The campaign messaging was aimed at the core value that is being derived from using PROTO tools—safety. Why do safety managers provide the tools they feel are the safest on the market? To avoid potential employee injuries, damage to machinery, and lost time and money.

14-2113_PrintRefresh_NSC_MECH.inddAs seen in the examples below, we employed a simple headline, “Avoidable”, to communicate how there are no excuses for workplace accidents, and how avoiding them can be quite simple. The graphics bring the message home that the workforce is made of actual people; people who put their trust in the safety managers.

15-2104_Tether_OilGasPet_MECH.inddThe second example shows how something seemingly innocuous can become incredibly harmful. This highlights the problem all safety managers face, employing safety without hindering productivity.
Besides the creative itself, the target audience influences the media tactics that should be used. Taking a look at how your audience searches for products, and how they typically engage with content will affect what tactics to use, and when. For instance, safety managers and the employees they protect probably have two very different sets of interests, each demanding their own focus.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for Durable Goods

Online searches have become so prevalent that Google is now a verb. Taking advantage of this means understanding the landscape in which your product exists. SEM ads allow you to bid on keywords that are directly relevant to your product, and give you frontline exposure when someone searches using these keywords. For the PROTO SkyHook Tether & Transfer System campaign, we employed an SEM campaign that took advantage of keywords revolving around industrial safety. This gave us a direct line to customers who have expressed an interest in our product’s market, aka, our most likely customers.

Video Advertising For Tools

While SEM is great for products that people already know and understand (i.e. a hammer), video is a great awareness play for those products that need a bit more explaining. For example, the PROTO® SkyHook Tether & Transfer System is sometimes hard to explain with only copy and a static image; therefore, we developed a video that was promoted in social and on the custom landing page. This was able to give users a deeper understanding of how the product functions, as well as reinforce its value to the end user.

Digital Display Marketing

Digital display ads are a great way to capture users outside of their searching process. These are an effective media tactic since you’re able to reach a specific audience group by being placed on websites that your audience frequents.


Retargeting has become an increasingly essential component to any and all digital campaigns, and is one of the highest converting tactics in the digital arsenal. How it works is simple: when a user clicks a display ad or otherwise visits your site but does not convert, retargeting banners will then be served to them going forward. This gives you the ability to stay top of mind with those who have expressed an interest in your product. Again, these are your best, most likely customers. For our PROTO campaign, we understood that our audience is not likely to make an impulse purchase. They research heavily, and retargeting banners gave us a way to maintain contact throughout their researching process.
We also recommend incorporating retargeting ads from the beginning of your media plan. This allows you to build a larger retargeting pool.

Print Marketing for Durable Goods

The media industry has made a leap towards more digital advertising and less print; however, there are some industries where print is still effective. It is important to know how your audience prefers to view media. In the case of the PROTO campaign, we found that the purchasing audience is comprised of more traditional users who in-turn, engage with more traditional media—print. We did make a shift to add more digital for PROTO than they’ve done in previous years, but we knew that leaving print in this media plan would help us continue to reach our ideal audience.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to marketing a product. But when you understand your market, you realize you no longer have a bounty of options, you instead have a bounty of answers. Get to know your audience and you will have no trouble building plans that give your product or brand its best chance at success.