Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Real Business #5 - ITM Soil

Real Business is a series of posts that analyses the marketing opportunities and challenges of real businesses in the South East. The articles are also appearing in The Courier.

The ITM-Soil Group specialises in the manufacture and installation of instrumentation to monitor ground and structural movement that occurs during major civil engineering projects worldwide.

The company manufactures a large range of instruments for monitoring earth, rock and concrete structures, including dams, tunnels, embankments, retaining walls, piles and steel work.

Since 2002, the Group has launched in Australia and it also has a presence in China and Germany.

The recession has bought significant challenges, but the group is confident that it can achieve its ambitious growth targets.

“The marketplace has become increasingly competitive,” says Jeremy Scott, General Manager. “There are fewer projects to go round and we now have to compete with suppliers offering cheaper products, particularly from India and the Far East.”

He continues: “We need to continue positioning ourselves as offering quality products and services – as we simply can’t compete on price alone. It’s a case of reminding customers that they need a really robust and reliable product – as it might have to work under the ground for many years – and for that peace of mind, you may need to pay a little more.”

In the future, the Group is looking to continue growing its presence in Australia – particularly focusing on the mining industry. In the meantime, countries in which ITM-Soil is particularly busy include Morocco, Spain, Brazil, Singapore and Germany.

The company is currently on the verge of launching a new wireless sensor system.

“Up until now, the majority of our products have been cabled – so to offer customers a wireless solution for our specialised sensors will be a major step forward,” says Jeremy.

For more information, visit:

The Marketing Eye says:

As the number of infrastructure projects in the UK falls and competition from abroad increases, ITM needs an international marketing strategy to support its expansion.

Marketing needs to be localised to the different target markets. This goes beyond simple translation of materials and should extend to cultural and regulatory differences as well: even colour choices can have different connotations in different regions. Mistakes can be damaging to the brand, so it is important to avoid them.

Localisation could start by translating the website into several languages. This will make the site more accessible to local decision makers and will improve its performance in search engines. Localised domain names could also be bought.

The choice of marketing method needs to be made with each market in mind.

European markets are mature and media consumption remains high. Impactful design is important to achieve cut through and give the brand its desired quality positioning.

Brazil on the other hand is young and social. Mobile and broadband penetration is very high making online marketing effective.

In Asia, getting a contract relies on connections and face-to-face contact. The good news is that half of the population is below the age of 30 and very open to new ideas.

Building the brand on quality rather than price will be achieved through the superiority of service, the ability to innovate and the effectiveness of the marketing. The introduction of the wireless sensors is an important step and needs a launch strategy in its own right, not just to ensure its success as a revenue generator, but also as a contributor to the brand.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Are you a digital native or a digital immigrant?

This post is written by Marketing Executive, Matthew White.

“It wasn’t like that in my day” is something often said by the older generation to the new one.

There is probably no greater example of 'it not being like that in my day' than the digital revolution that has taken place over the past 20 years - a revolution that has entwined digital technology such as the internet, mobile phones, video games and digital radio into our daily lives.

A growing number of scholars, academics and visionaries have started to believe this latest digital generation is not only different from the last one on a behavioural and social level, but that it thinks and learns differently too.

The new generation are widely known as ‘digital natives’ - a term coined by visionary Marc Prensky. Prensky claims that anybody born after the year 1980 has grown up so immersed in digital technology that it comes completely naturally to them.

Prensky defines anybody born before 1980 as a ‘digital immigrant’. These immigrants have known life before digital technology and, while adjusting well to their new surroundings, never lose their ‘past accent’.

But is it really that clear cut?

Many scholars challenge the claim on the grounds of gender, social demography and the scope of accessibility of digital technology.

They say that boys use digital technology more than girls; people from poorer backgrounds do not have the disposable income to use it; and arguably the most prominent catalyst for the digital revolution, the internet, is still not available in 10 million UK homes. Can the 10-year old socially disadvantaged girl without internet access still be defined as a ‘digital native’?

The debate is broadened by questioning the age-groups. A child born in 1980 was 12 when the internet was invented, a teenager when mobile phones took off and 21 before broadband became widely available. This compared with a child born in 2008 who plays with ‘toy’ laptops (that are actually real laptops), toddler i-phone apps and who can now interact with the cartoons on the internet.

Can both generations really have the same level of digital expertise?

I was born in 1985 and from my own recollection did not grow up immersed in digital technology. This technology, however, undoubtedly now plays a very important role in my daily life, in fact, I cannot imagine life without it. Does this make me a digital immigrant or a digital native?

Perhaps we should be questioning the very existence of the ‘digital natives’. Maybe we are all just immigrants constantly adjusting to the rapid pace of digital evolution.

Do you see yourself as a digital native or a digital immigrant? More importantly, what does it all mean for marketers?