What Van Damme Teaches Us About Manufacturing Marketing

Just a few weeks ago, Jean-Claude Van Damme probably wasn’t the first person who came to mind  if you were considering how to successfully market a manufacturing company.

All of that changed, though, when Volvo released a popular commercial that shows Van Damme doing the splits while balanced on the side view mirrors of two backwards-traveling trucks.  The video was meant to illustrate the stability of Volvo’s patented dynamic steering, and it has been viewed on YouTube tens of millions of times.

manufacturing marketing

In addition to demonstrating the stability of Volvo’s dynamic steering, the Van Damme video is also a great example of how to innovate when marketing for manufacturing companies.

One of the most common concerns that I hear from manufacturing clients is that their products just aren’t interesting or exciting enough to feature in digital marketing campaigns aimed at being shared virally.  The Volvo video, however, shows that you can make an otherwise bland product into something exciting if you’re willing to think outside of the box (after all, dynamic steering functions for trucks isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world).

But the Volvo video didn’t just work so well because they hired an action star to do the splits.  It worked because they created an opportunity to focus on a feature that differentiated their product from competitors.

Volvo’s dynamic steering, which makes their trucks so stable that they can drive backwards while a person does the splits on them, was the real star of the commercial.  Without that product differentiator, the video wouldn’t have been possible in the first place.

So the next time you’re trying to think of an exciting and innovative way to market your manufacturing product, ask yourself: What differentiates this product from similar products that our competitors offer?  Once you’ve identified that differentiator, you’ll find that there are endless entertaining and exciting ways that you can illustrate it.

And don’t be afraid to get unconventional in the way you illustrate your product’s differentiators; the more unexpected your illustrations are, the more likely they will be shared with others in your industry.

You might not have the budget to hire someone like Jean Claude Van Damme to do the splits on your product, but if you focus on what differentiates you from your competitors, you can create viral marketing for manufacturing companies, too.


Learn why the Internet is manufacturing’s best friend, including reliable ways to generate cost-effective leads:

Digital Marketing 101 for Manufacturers

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