When you think of cutting-edge marketing companies—you know, brands like Coca-Cola that consistently dominate the advertising world—there’s a good chance your mind doesn’t immediately jump to Caterpillar.
Yes, Caterpillar, the 90-year-old company that makes heavy-duty construction and mining equipment—all those bulldozers, backhoes and excavators.
But believe it or not, Caterpillar’s marketing department is experiencing a bit of a renaissance thanks to one of its most recent campaigns, which includes a group of YouTube videos demonstrating the quality of their products in a series called “Built For It.” #Builtforit
Caterpillar’s recent content marketing has been so good that it’s worth taking a minute to figure out what you can “steal” from its campaigns. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four lessons you can learn from this construction equipment manufacturer:
1. People appreciate creativity in the familiar.
Chances are you’ve played Jenga at least a couple times in your lifetime. You know, the game where you stack wood blocks in a tower, try to remove them and then stack them back on top without knocking the whole thing over.
Being the marketing geniuses that they are, Caterpillar decided to take the beloved game to the next level. Believe it or not, the innovative manufacturer of construction equipment created a supersized version of the game, demonstrating the strength and precision of its machines. Caterpillar then filmed the contest, posting a video on its YouTube channel which documents how excellent their equipment is while also letting the world know that, darn it, the company is cool, too.
At the time of this writing, the Jenga-inspired video has been online for less than a year and has amassed more than 2.6 million views. Think about it: Who wouldn’t be interested in machines hauling and moving 600-pound slabs of wood
2. When something works, milk it.
Following the success of the Jenga video, Caterpillar didn’t step on the brakes. Instead, the construction equipment company followed up with more videos cut in a similar vein.
Up next, the brand wanted to show off the durability of the Cat smartphone, something that’s certainly important in today’s age of $600 mobile devices. After all, most of us have either shattered the screen of our own phones, or at the very least, know someone who’s done it to theirs.
So how would you show off the durability of a phone you made? The answer is obvious, right? Continuing its amazing advertising series, Caterpillar followed up with a video that certainly demonstrated its phones are nothing to scoff at:
First, the phones were dropped into a pool of water from a height of 35 feet. They worked.
Then, 600 phones are placed on the ground in a track-like formation. A 4-ton loader drives over the tracks, and the phones remain in working condition. How’s that for durability?
3. Marketing isn’t always about money (at least immediately).
Sometimes, it’s worth forking over marketing dollars without expecting to realize an immediate return on that investment.
Perfect example: It doesn’t matter what industry you are in—this Cat Christmas card is awesome. Does that mean the thousands of people who’ve seen the card are going to run to the nearest dealer and buy a full fleet of backhoes for their 10’x10’ yards? Of course not.
But what it does mean is that sometime in the future, when at least some of those viewers need heavy-duty construction equipment for a job in Arizona, there’s a good chance they’ll turn to Caterpillar. By investing in the content, Caterpillar is investing in its brand name and goodwill—two intangible assets the company hopes will appreciate over time.
On top of that, great content marketing helps the audience understand that Caterpillar, indeed, is a “cool” company. Most people don’t want to work at a dead-end 9-to-5 job for their entire lives; they want to work for “cool” companies that make a difference. It appears that the construction equipment manufacturer has done a good job of presenting itself in that light, which is particularly important since their Cat dealers are each privately owned.
4. No matter what, you’ve got to add value.
Today, transactions aren’t finalized the moment money is exchanged for goods and services. Instead, forward-thinking brands understand the importance of developing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships with customers that continue growing for the foreseeable future.
Understanding this concept perfectly, Caterpillar’s website is full of free resources customers can access in order to increase their understanding of the equipment and get more accomplished when they’re behind the wheel. For example, many Cat dealers boast resources on their website like an extensive video library that contains a wealth of information relating to everything from partnerships to training to how to crush rocks to long-form content explaining how to increase construction uptime.
Customers who need these resources will likely find them by searching for common questions online. And once they’re found, these customers won’t think twice about going anywhere else to find similar resources and purchase equipment in the future, knowing full well the caliber of what Caterpillar has to offer.
Don’t Be Comfortable With Your Status Quo
If nothing else, Caterpillar’s new marketing strategy teaches us that it’s okay to take risks and think outside the box. Taking that a step further, we can learn that in today’s fast-paced digital world, being boring is simply no longer an option.
Innovate or become irrelevant. It’s as simple as that.
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