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You have more opportunities to market your manufacturing business than ever before.
And you have more options to acquire customers than ever.
How do you do manufacturing marketing?
The most successful manufacturing marketers start by focusing on the customer through research, feedback and carefully reviewing buying behaviors. Then, marketers maintain the manufacturer’s marketing mix, known as the 4 P’s of marketing: product, promotion, price, place.
You see, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to effective manufacturing marketing. The reason? Because your marketing has to start with the customer. Not the widget.
When you start with the customer, you will immediately have a competitive advantage over your widget-focused competitors. This is because when you start by understanding the customer’s wants, needs and reasons for buying, you will be able to not only create a superior marketing plan, but your advertising and sales messaging will make your competitors look like newbie marketers (which most of them are).
You see, being a great marketer is another factor that will give you a competitive advantage.
Let’s dig deeper into this and help you build a superior manufacturer marketing and advertising plan.
Generally speaking, and in the lines of most academic textbooks, manufacturer advertising is a form of B2B sales and marketing.
What is manufacturer advertising?
Manufacturer advertising is the act of attracting a new potential buyer into your sales funnel. Manufacturing advertising often combines a variety of tactics including; trade shows, guerilla marketing, print advertising, digital advertising, direct mail, radio and tv.
Most textbooks are filled with manufacturing advertising theory and many say that the purpose of manufacturing advertising is to bolster the manufacturer’s connection with wholesalers and distributors.
But as an advertising and marketing pro, you know better.
The purpose of manufacturing marketing is to: 1) gain a customer, and 2) keep a customer. The purpose of manufacturing advertising is to attract a new customer into your sales funnel. The customer doesn’t really care if they are a B2B, B2C or DTC. They have personal wants, they have resources and they need to make a purchase. And here’s the most important ingredient: they buy benefits, not factoids.
And while it's true that the business model for many manufacturers has them selling to wholesalers and distributors, many manufacturers are also selling direct to consumer (DTC). Selling DTC is much easier now that there are so many wonderful online options to communicate with new and existing customers.
Let’s now get into some nitty gritty's of manufacturing marketing.
You have heard it a million times and it's worth repeating. The demographics of your prospective customer base depend on what you are selling. You should know your target market and the type and size of entities that need your product. If selling B2B, it will help if you are familiar with the people who are making purchase decisions for these businesses.
Buyer personas help you view your business through your prospective customer’s eyes. What kind of challenges do they face? How can your product help ease these challenges, and how do your solutions give you the edge over your competitors? If your marketing content doesn’t immediately answer the biggest pain point, your message will likely go straight to the trash.
Marketing systems take over repetitive and straightforward tasks such as email scheduling, customer list segmentation, and even content creation in some cases, freeing you up to focus on the Law of 80 / 20 tasks in your marketing. Tools such as CRM systems, to-do list software, email marketing software, landing page software, content management systems, and video conferencing platforms can all come in handy and be productivity builders as defined as: 1) gaining a customer, and 2) keeping a customer. If you find that a technology is forcing you into doing the 80% of tasks that produce 20% of the results, its time to re-evaluate the need for the technology.
Most website traffic is mobile. Although most buyers may be PC, especially in the B2B space. This requires a careful website build to ensure you are mobile friendly. In fact, Google will barely entertain a website that isn’t mobile first anymore. Literally, the ROI of your inbound marketing strategy is heavily dependent upon this. This may mean redesigning your website and landing pages to ensure they are responsive, secure, aesthetically appealing, and simple. For more information about increasing your conversion rates and building a better website through a marketer’s eyes, go here.
Educational content transforms any website or blog from a sales tool to a platform that gives your customers a reason to come back. This helps keep you in the minds of random readers who might one day become prospects.
Not sure where to start? The options are endless. You can create content that explains your product applications, installation procedures, FAQs, product benefits, company benefits, and be sure to put a call-to-action (CTAs) where you see fit so potential customers can buy from you. Note that CTAs don’t always have to go to the sales page. You can also use them as portals to more information about your product for prospects.
Niche blogs and social networking platforms can all be useful traffic sources. According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of social browsers research products on social media before making purchase decisions. That’s nothing to sneeze at, given the bulk of the world’s population uses social media. A solid social media presence provides a new way to engage your prospects and customers. It also creates a more level playing field for your business in the competitive manufacturing world.
Some of the common ways manufacturing marketers promote themselves include:
It’s virtually impossible to infiltrate all available channels. However, your buyer personas should help you identify the channels best aligned with your marketing needs. You should also consider budget limits and ROI to maximize value for money and avoid overstretching your finances with a properly developed budget as outlined here in our free template: Marketing Department Budget Sample and Template (PDF).
The notion that contemporary marketing is an online affair is wrong and misleading. Trade shows still work like magic. They increase your brand awareness and demonstrate that your business cares about others in the industry. They also connect you with high-quality leads, helping you improve your bottom line.
As a B2B company, it is best to track trade show calendars to know where and when you are most likely to meet prospective customers.
Marketing is the backbone of every business and your company can reap massively from it. This guide will help you streamline your marketing plan and expedite your growth. If you need help along the way, feel free to reach out to Your Strategic Marketing Partner.