Marketing innovation

Marketing innovation

Setting ourselves apart

Markets have become increasingly specialised as customers demand a growing range of products to meet their expanding wants and needs. Tailoring our products to meet customers' requirements around quality, quantity, delivery and price can strengthen customer relationships, differentiate us from our competitors and drive innovation.


Borax USA Borax USA

Anticipating demand

Our marketing strategy is to recognise – or even anticipate – our customers' requirements and provide products that address them. This approach fosters long-term relationships that help planning, improve efficiency and increase revenues and market share.

In 2017, we appointed our first chief commercial officer, to reinforce our focus on driving value across the business, from mine to market.

"Commercial excellence is key to driving value outside the mine gate and fully complements our drive to unlock additional value through productivity improvements at our operations," said Jean-Sébastien Jacques, Rio Tinto's chief executive.

Customer partnerships

Increasingly, we partner with our customers to develop innovative, bespoke products for specific applications. Some examples of customer partnerships that demonstrate this marketing-led approach:

  • As the world runs out of land to grow crops, agriculture must become more efficient. Fertilisers containing the micronutrient boron (an element found in the borate minerals we mine in California) can be applied by farmers to improve plant health and increase crop yields. We are working with the agricultural industry to use boron more efficiently – ensuring crops receive the right amount of boron, at the right time to maximise efficiency.
  • Three decades ago, we spotted the potential for a new market for affordable diamond jewellery. Rather than follow the industry norm and sell the small, brown diamonds from our Argyle Diamond Mine for industrial use, we repositioned them as "Champagne Diamonds" and created a new fashion jewellery market for the gems. Having established a relationship early on with India, when it was an emerging diamond and jewellery manufacturing hub, we knew that our diamonds could be competitively cut and polished to maximise their appeal.

Innovation drives demand

The customer partnership approach is smart business. The aluminium market is experiencing unprecedented growth from the automotive sector. We anticipate that regulatory issues around fuel efficiency and emissions – and continuous innovation – will increase demand for automotive aluminium. And as the market begins to understand the importance of micronutrients and their role in improving crop yields we are seeing strong demand for boron in agriculture.

We are committed to creating full value from mine to market. It's through working in partnership with our customers, anticipating market developments and thinking innovatively that we can position ourselves for sustainable success.