Manufacturing companies aren’t generally known for being marketing powerhouses. More often than not, they focus on product development - coming up with innovative products - and not on the go-to-market strategy of promoting those new products to customers.
But that’s starting to change. As purchasers are getting more autonomous and relying less on sales people, manufacturers are having to get better at marketing. Marketing is becoming a strategic tool for growth, not just a sales support function for manufacturing companies.
Here are three guidelines to help manufacturers steer their marketing in a strategic direction.
It’s all about the customers – not the product
The most important thing for manufacturers to think about in marketing is the customer, not the product or service they’re promoting. That comes as a surprise to many manufacturers, whose first inclination is to focus on the tangible features and specifications of the solution they’re promoting.
According to research, only 44% of manufacturing marketers use buyer personas to define their target market. That’s a big opportunity for improvement. By creating personas of who will use and buy their products, marketers get much better at speaking the language of those decision makers, all the better to connect with them and ensure the right message is heard. Personas also outline how buyers make their decisions – which helps marketers deliver the right message, through the right channel, at the right time.
The best way for marketers to understand customers is to talk with them. That may sound blindingly obvious – but it’s rarely done. Other ways for marketers to understand customers in order to create a persona is to speak with customer service reps, sales people, and anyone who has direct contact with customers.
By focusing on the customer – not the product – manufacturers become more effective in conveying the benefits that their solution provides – and that leads to better communication and overall marketing.
Use a variety of marketing methods
Trade shows were the mainstay of manufacturer’s marketing for decades. But today customers have many more, and more immediate, ways to learn about new products. Manufacturers need to use more marketing methods in order to get on the radar of potential buyers, and to help them educate themselves about potential solutions. While trade shows are still important in manufacturer marketing, consider some of these marketing tools that manufacturers use:
- Email marketing
- Digital Advertising
- Social Media
- Customer Appreciation Events
The benefit of these marketing methods is that they are less costly than exhibiting at trade shows, they have a global reach, and they’re available all year-round, all day long.
Marketing isn’t only for attracting customers
As a generational shift takes place in manufacturers across North America, many companies are focused on attracting millennial workers. If a company’s public image (its website and social media presence, in particular) is outdated, that makes it much harder to appeal to the younger generation.
75% of people judge the credibility of a company based on the design of its website alone. Marketing, then, has the important role of not just attracting customers, but of attracting the next generation of talent that will ensure manufacturers succeed in the decades ahead.
Interested in which marketing tools are most effective for manufacturers and which social media platforms are most used? Download:
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