Kayla Floyd |  Manufacturing Marketing  |  5 minute read

How to be Successful in Manufacturing Marketing

How to be Successful in Manufacturing Marketing

It used to be that manufacturing marketing was the job of sales. Sure, it might have been the marketing team who created eye-catching brochures and product sell sheets. But it was up to the sales team to market the products in one-on-one meetings and at trade shows.

Then websites and search engines came along. And with them came the ability for manufacturers to be found by potential customers they didn’t know existed. Sales and marketing became a whole new ballgame.

Digital marketing, and more specifically, inbound marketing, has turned the tables on manufacturers’ paradigm. Rather than reaching out to customers, inbound strategies, including blog writing and email marketing, help bring customers to them.

How to Nurture Qualified Leads to Increase Sales

Before you can put an effective marketing plan in place, you need to keep your customers’ buying process top of mind. Getting into their heads, so to speak, will help you set the tone for successful sales and marketing. Here are the primary differences:

1. The sales cycle is long. Much of the reason is due to what Gartner calls the six buying jobs. First, your customers discover they have a problem and then they do their research to solve the problem. Along with that, they are determining what they need from the solution, which leads them to look for the right suppliers. Next up, they validate what they believe is the right solution, and then they need to get all decision makers on board. To add to this complexity—the process isn’t a straight line. Customers likely revisit each of these steps throughout the process.

2. Your customers go through a complicated vetting process of multiple suppliers. They price shop, ask for RFQs, request demos, or ask to see your product in a real-world application. In short, they’ll ask for anything to give them peace of mind.

3. You’ll need to prove yourself to several decision-makers, from an engineer to procurement to, perhaps, the president/CEO. The larger the purchase, the more decision-makers there will be. And, they all have to come to a consensus. Just because one decision-maker is sold on you doesn’t mean others will follow suit. This wooing process isn’t difficult just for you. The grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side of the table. More than three-quarters of B2B customers describe the buying journey as difficult because it can involve up to 10 decision makers, all with their own information and opinions.

4. Buying your product is about more than buying your product. It’s about all the benefits that go with it, like your sales terms, warranties, installation services, and future maintenance. It’s also about the support you provide before, during, and after the sale.

Due to all of these complexities, manufacturing marketing has to focus on the target audience. By knowing your audience, defining their personas, and putting yourself in their buying shoes, you’ll beable to nurture them through that long sales cycle.

TIps When Marketing to Your Target Audience

In its B2B buying research, Gartner found companies that were successful in providing the right information during each of a customer’s buying jobs helped make the process2.8 times easier, and customers were three times more likely to make larger purchases with less regret. Let’s hear it for target audience marketing!

Whether you’re working with your marketing team, an inbound marketing firm, or your sales staff, there are a few things to keep in mind when talking and marketing to your target audience.

Know what your product offers. That may sound silly. Of course, you know what your product offers. But do you take it one step further when defining the needs your product fulfills? Let’s take an example we can all relate toa couch. What does a couch provide? A place to sit, for sure. But it’s actually providing comfort after a hard day at work or during that Sunday afternoon nap. It provides a sense of togetherness when the family gathers under a blanket to watch a movie. By taking that extra step to analyze your products in this way, you’ll better define how to talk to your ideal customers wherever they are in the buying journey.

Try multiple marketing channels. A plethora of digital marketing options is at your fingertipsliterally—from email marketing to content marketing to search engine marketing. And if you like more traditional outbound marketing options, like advertising, you can find a way to have them all work hand-in-hand. Just keep your target audience in mind by learning where they get their information. A young engineer, for example, may start research on search engines or YouTube. A seasoned operations manager may prefer to read a trade publication. It’s about the right message on the right channel.

Focus on what's working but don't dismiss other options. On one hand, if your manufacturing marketing isn’t broke, don’t fix it. But on the other hand, don’t rest on your laurels. In other words, don’t be afraid to try something new or return to a strategy that didn’t succeed as you had hoped the first time you tried it. Things change. The political and economic climates are just two macros that affect business, right down to when people purchase, why people purchase, and how people purchase. Your marketing likely has to change too.

Personalize your messages as much as possible. Admittedly, that’s difficult to do with customers who are at the top of the sales funnel. But as they stick with you thanks to digital marketing content and sales touches, you can start to personalize based on their questions and research habits. Personalization could be an email marketing campaign focused on customers in the product validation cycle. It could be blog content that answers questions they may be asking when choosing vendors. It also could be very specific as you woo them over the sales finish line, like an email or hand-written note from one of your company’s leaders.

Get below the surface of rejections, objections and hesitations. When customers say maybe, not yet, or no, it’s time to dig deep and learn what is really keeping them from moving forward. If they say they don’t have time to research options, don’t sell them on why to buy from you. Ask them about their workload and what keeps them from having time. Listen. Empathize. Then, help any way you can.

No matter who your customer is, the likelihood that he or she calls you as soon as a problem is identified is unlikely. It’s nothing personal. They’d just rather research on their own, talk with others in the industry, and read about possible solutions. In fact,57% of decision-making process is done before a manufacturing customer talks to a salesperson. 

That’s why a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is so important. Being found on search engines thanks to well-written web copy and blogs, attracting web searchers with keyword-targeted digital ads, and nurturing leads with an email marketing campaign is just the start. If you’d like to take your manufacturing marketing to the next level, contact an inbound marketing firm that specializes in strategic marketing assistance for manufacturersImaginasium.

Are you ready to get started? Let’s talk!

Kayla

Kayla Floyd

As an Account Strategist at Imaginasium, Kayla is always bringing positive energy to the team and keeps productivity high. Her soft skills and strong work ethic work together to make an immediate impact on any project with any client. Kayla's B2B & B2C understanding has only increased Imaginasiums grasp on these markets and will continue to do so in the future.


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