What’s the biggest challenge when growing a manufacturing brand?
Some would say it’s the long sales cycles…
Others might blame the unbelievable levels of competition…
Still others will point to skeptical (dare we say, jaded?) customers…
Nope. It’s none of those things.
Not having an effective marketing strategy to make up for all those disadvantages — that’s the #1 challenge for manufacturing businesses everywhere.
So in today’s article, we’ll discuss 5 ways a strong marketing strategy can help your business survive and thrive in today’s manufacturing industry. And we’ll start with…
1. It helps you meet your customers where they are
Customer journeys aren’t linear. Buyers don’t make a beeline from an ad or a google search straight to a sales call, followed by the purchase (if only!).
Instead, they do their homework. According to this 2019 report by IEEE GlobalSpec, only 14% of buyers prefer to talk to a salesperson early. Most of them — namely, 65% — prefer to research their buying options first, poking around vendor and distributor websites.
That means many of your customers may reach their final buying decision without ever picking up the phone!
And if they can’t find anything online about your manufacturing brand or the products you offer…
…OR if they find information that’s unclear or incomplete…
Can you guess what will happen? That’s right: they’ll take their money elsewhere, and you’ll miss out on potential sales!
With a strong marketing strategy, you can meet your ideal customers where they are. Instead of pushing them into sales conversations they aren’t ready for, you can educate them with valuable content and help them decide whether to buy or not — at their own pace.
Look, we have no doubt that your salespeople are awesome… But save them for high-value outbound prospecting, and the 14% of inbound leads who actually want to talk to them!
2. It lets you outmaneuver the competition
If you look at the manufacturing industry, you’ll quickly see just how samey everyone sounds.
Words like “high-quality products,” “98% on-time delivery,” or “product performance guarantee” aren’t the mouth-watering, wallet-opening zingers you think they are. Not when every other manufacturing brand is throwing them around, too!
Your competitors (the best ones, anyway) are busy coming up with new products and value-added services, redefining their USP, and changing their message to resonate with their ideal customers. You want to do the same.
Effective marketing will help your manufacturing brand:
- Identify the highest-value customers — so you can focus on the proverbial 20% that drive 80% of your revenue.
- Position your company as a leader — without appealing to low prices, high-quality, or any other done-to-death selling points.
- Encourage customer retention — because if you can communicate the value you bring to the table, you’ll give them a dynamite reason to stick around!
- Uncover new revenue sources — by creating new product and service ideas your customers will actually want to buy.
These days, you can’t compete on product quality, low cost, or fast delivery alone… or even combined. Instead, you have to find new ways to differentiate your brand and add value to your customers. And it starts with knowing what they want and how to communicate with them, a.k.a. marketing!
3. It helps you persuade different stakeholders
Most buying decisions hinge on more than one person — just ask anyone who’s ever been married!
And in B2B industries like manufacturing, you could be dealing with any number of stakeholders. Engineers and engineering teams, project managers, CFO, CEO, outside consultants, third-party contractors… it’s enough to make your head spin!
Even if you’re interacting with one stakeholder most of the time, you shouldn’t discount the others. For starters, your “contact person” might not even be the decision-maker who authorizes the final sale. But also, if you don’t supply enough information to persuade all the stakeholders, any one of them can kill the deal.
Having a solid marketing strategy can make sure it doesn’t happen nearly as often. It will help you to:
- Know what each stakeholder, or group of stakeholders, cares about when choosing a product or service.
- Create content that speaks to everyone involved in the buying decision, even if you might never communicate with them directly.
- Help your “contact person” advocate for your manufacturing brand when they talk to the other stakeholders.
- Successfully jump through every hoop in the decision-making process and close the sale!
4. It lets you convert more leads, faster
A couple of weeks ago, we talked about conversion rate optimization for manufacturing businesses. If you haven’t read that article yet, check it out — it’s a good one.
But here’s the thing, though… Without a solid marketing strategy as your foundation, no amount of conversion-boosting tactics will ever make a difference!
You can design the world’s smoothest funnel, use the most powerful analytics software, and A/B test your landing pages until the cows come home. But unless you know exactly who you’re targeting, where to find them, and how to communicate with them, all this work will get you nowhere.
With a solid marketing strategy, you will be able to:
- Create detailed, actionable personas for your ideal customers, along with irresistible messaging that resonates with them.
- Prioritize the marketing channels where those ideal customers hang out, driving the highest-quality traffic you can to your manufacturing brand.
- Once they visit your site, you can effectively identify and convert your best leads with an awesome offer and call to action.
- Nurture them with emails and content that speaks to their stage of awareness and promotes your product or service authentically.
All this will massively increase the chances of you presenting the right offer, to the right customers, at the right time — which makes it much more likely to convert!
5. It allows you to recruit non-customers
We’ve said this before: marketing isn’t just for attracting customers. It’s for everyone who interacts with your manufacturing brand.
Among others, this includes…
- Employees. Even the most amazing companies can feel soul-sucking to work for if you can’t see the results of your labor, or don’t feel that your voice is heard. You can use “internal” marketing to keep morale high, make employee training more effective, boost workplace productivity, and onboard new hires faster… which will ultimately help to grow your business.
- Job candidates. With tight margins and even tighter deadlines, manufacturing brands can’t afford many hiring mistakes. If you approach your hiring process as a marketing challenge — creating an attractive message, making a high-converting job listing, nurturing potential candidates, making a great offer — you can radically improve your odds of success!
- Suppliers (and partners in general). Having great relationships with your suppliers, distributors, and other key partners can open up new opportunities for your manufacturing brand. Saving money, speeding up production, stabilizing cash flow, attracting referrals, expanding your market share — you name it. And the best way to give potential partners a reason to work with you is, you guessed it, marketing!
Marketing for non-customers isn’t just useful on its own — it’s something very few brands in the manufacturing industry are doing. Which means it’s another way for you to gain a competitive advantage!
Create a winning video marketing strategy for your manufacturing brand
If you want to grow your manufacturing brand the smart way, using video is your best bet. It’s like a multitool or a Swiss Army knife — but for marketing!
You can use it for paid advertising, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, hiring, employee training, sales, onboarding, customer support… in fact, it’d be easier to list what you can’t use it for!
If you’re already using video to promote your manufacturing brand, or even just thinking about it, we want to help you make the most of it.
Interested? Then we invite you to book a free video marketing strategy audit with our experts here at The Draw Shop: