Manufacturing Marketing – Oxymoron?
In America, manufacturing is a critical sector of our economy. It is 12% of our GDP, 18.5 million jobs are supported by it, and $1.3 trillion of product is exported annually. So, for such an extensive industry, how is marketing still a myth to so many manufacturing companies? This question has been puzzling people for years. In fact, an article published in Harvard Business Review in 1977 titled, Can Marketing and Manufacturing Coexeist?, is proof that the two have long been at odds. As you are aware, both professions have evolved significantly. However, just in February of this year, an excellent article written by Elena Garuc titled, Four Marketing Action Items for Manufacturers, proves manufacturing is still lagging in modern marketing opportunities. The four action items are:
- Establish a marketing strategy
- Update your website
- Embrace social media
- Rework your email marketing campaign
Garuc makes great points for diving into each of these, but I want to elaborate a bit further. See below for additional reasons why I believe manufacturers need to stop pretending they are not direct to consumer.
- No matter what industry you are in, it is not what you’re selling, it’s who you’re selling to! Even if you only sell B2B, you are selling to people, and people use the web as the window to the soul of your business. It is the fastest way to grasp who you are and how you can be relevant to them. Many manufacturers had a site built as recently as 7 years ago. Unfortunately, the technology, usability, and design has changed so much, that the site looks like it was built in the ’70’s! Manufacturing today is using sophisticated technology and producing clean, sleek parts. Your website should reflect that image. It needs to be modern and explain who you are not just what you do. And most importantly, it needs to be mobile optimized so that people in the field can easily review your website on their phone or tablet.
- Humanize your work. Unless you are manufacturing artificial limbs, you may not think of what your doing as directly affecting lives. But, even if only to the sales partners and customers, you are people running an important business. Having a presence on social media may not necessarily drive new business, but for the people who are researching you, social media can be an outlet to humanize your business and share a lighter side of personalities.
- Communication is key. Establishing a monthly newsletter and email marketing may sound more cumbersome than it is. Again, this would not necessarily be for new sales, however. Just setting triggers for customers in process is a huge time saver for customers and your team that answers their calls. Also, newsletters are a great way to communicate house keeping items like, “we have a new payment system,” or “our latest machine purchase has increased our size capacity.” Not every customer reads these all the time, but just seeing your name in their inbox helps keep you top of mind. Staying top of mind to people in your history is the best way to make sure they’re in your future.
Establishing a clear marketing strategy is important, especially if you are going to spend money. But, many of the suggestions I just made are inexpensive or even free. The bottom line is that your customer and potential customers are looking online. A picture tells 1,000 words. Let them picture you as you really are today! Of course, if you don’t have an in-house marketer, let us help you #FindYourSpot in digital. We can improve your presence at any budget level.
Thank you for your time,