Modern consumers have surely experienced manufacturing marketing. The fashion and lifestyle brands that design and make your favorite clothes and cars all utilize manufacturing marketing. When used productively, manufacturing marketing can elevate manufacturing companies from simple names of production to impressive cultural brands. We will address the unique characteristics of digital marketing for manufacturers and some digital marketing tactics for your target market when creating content and building your industrial manufacturing marketing strategy.
The Manufacturing Business in 2021
A manufacturing business involves any organization that uses raw materials, parts, and components to produce finished goods. Due to their nature, manufacturing companies often utilize a combination of machines, robots, and humans to assemble products. Born out of industrialism, manufacturers typically employ an assembly line system to organize and make efficient production. Some manufacturers sell their own products themselves, while others employ wholesalers. Wholesalers are middlemen between a manufacturer and an end-consumer.
There are three main categories of manufacturing businesses: make-to-stock (MTS), make-to-order (MTO), and make-to-assemble (MTA).
- Make-to-stock: The traditional strategy that relies on historical data to predict consumer demand. Therefore, production results from this specific prediction.
- Make-to-order: Customers of MTO manufacturers order customized products that are built to their specifications. The production process begins after an order is received.
- Make-to-assemble: Similar to MTS businesses, use past data to forecast the number of basic components needed to make a product. However, the manufacturer begins production after an order is received. MTA is a hybrid of MTS and MTO.
Marketing for Manufacturers
From pay per click, search engine optimization, social strategies for manufacturers, and other inbound marketing and digital marketing tactics, there are a variety of strategies to consider when you try to reach your target market.
A Brief History of Manufacturing Industry Marketing
While many manufacturers today are implementing strategic marketing, this has not always been the case. Manufacturing primarily concerns the physical production of goods by manufacturers. Subsequently, many manufacturing companies trained staff to go out and connect with potential customers to promote sales. However, in today’s consumer landscape, manufacturers are less likely to solely meet potential consumers in physical spaces like trade shows or company offices.
Therefore, manufacturing marketing is especially important to the manufacturers of today. Historically, manufacturing marketing was about who you knew, and who would refer you to someone else. This focus is still relevant today. With the use of digital marketing components such as social media and SEO, manufacturing companies can rise above the referral system and grow their business in new ways to reach B2B buyers.
Consumer vs Manufacturing Marketing
Before you begin creating a marketing plan, you need to be aware of its intended recipients – are you marketing to businesses or consumers? Both? However you answer this question will determine the specific channels involved in your strategy. Make sure to be aware of the differences between B2B and B2C audiences to help craft your overall marketing design.
Manufacturing marketing is B2B (business-to-business). This means that manufacturing marketing aims to sell products to other businesses or organizations. On the other hand, consumer marketing is B2C (business-to-consumer). B2C marketing focuses on attracting sales directly to the consumer or to the end-user.
Marketing for Manufacturing Companies
After defining manufacturing marketing as B2B, let’s go through the elements that you must be aware of when designing a B2B plan for your manufacturing company.
Components of Marketing for Manufacturing Companies:
- Target audience: Typically, this is other businesses such as downline supply chain manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, or business end-users.
- Customer needs: Businesses need quality products that will fit within the scope of their processes and budgets. They are looking to supply and serve their clients without conflict, while also making a profit.
- Drivers: Any business will want to consider the drivers that your manufacturing will provide to aid in a successful transaction. For example, they will likely pay attention to the price of the product, its credit (if consumers value your brand), and terms (the amount of support you provide via technical, marketing, and other resources). These are all important decision-making factors for any potential business customer.
- People involved with the purchase: Be aware of the different parties that might have a hand in the procurement process. They might be managers, purchasing agents, executive decision-makers, accounting or finance teams, or even outside experts with knowledge on the subject matter.
- Purchase process: Acquiring a business transaction can be complicated and take a long time. The process involves discovery, pricing comparisons, quotes, demos, and final decisions. This means that as the seller, you might need to prove the worthiness of your product in more than one instance throughout the process. Typically, the bigger the purchase, the more instances you must impress your customer.
Challenges With B2B Manufacturing Marketing
B2B manufacturers can face specific challenges when creating and implementing a marketing strategy that most B2C companies do not. Both the internal relationships of B2B organizations (sales for instance) and external (vendors, supply chains, etc.) are quite complex. Data by Hubspot shows that only around half of B2B marketers feel confident in collaborating with their sales teams. Take a look at some of the other challenges that B2B manufacturers might face in marketing.
Very Specific Needs
In comparison to general consumer marketers, manufacturing marketing customers have more particular needs. For example, one of the key performance indicators (KPIs) for consumer marketing is website traffic. The logic being that more website visitors will lead to higher conversions and increased sales numbers. Depending on the niche of the manufacturer, there might not be a large amount of traffic to drive to a website. Additionally, you might have to be extra careful with monitoring the information shared on the websites in order to best support your business partners.
Long Sales Cycles
Due to the nature of manufacturing as a business, it can often involve long sales cycles. For example, a PPC ad campaign probably will not bring in the same results in B2B marketing as it does in B2C marketing, where conversion results are almost immediate. Instead, marketing tactics might focus more on building brand awareness and lead generation, which are then handed over to a sales team in order to nurture before closing a deal.
Products are Complex
As we mentioned previously, manufacturing businesses are less likely to see direct online sales from marketing, especially when their products are complex. For example, if your product costs $5,000 and comes with a variety of features to customize, a customer might be less inclined to click on a “buy now” button. Think about how buyers will interact with your products and what they will need from your company throughout the buying journey.
There are More People to Convince
B2C marketing can reuse reliable marketing tactics at an optimal time to promote a purchase. For example, they can create a sense of urgency to spark an impulse buy by sending cart abandonment emails. These tactics, however, may fall in B2B marketing. When marketing to other businesses, there are simply more stakeholders that need convincing. Some of the business people involved in buying decisions may include initial investigators, middle management, or even high-up executives. Your manufacturing marketing plan must help convince a diverse range of stakeholders involved in the procurement process.
Questions to Consider
- Are you selling a commodity product or a customized product? – Simpler commodity products can be sold through e-commerce platforms. Marketers can use tactics like product descriptions, PPC ads, and blog posts to support their SEO. Customized products might require further customer education. Consider creating videos and ebooks to help customers make the most of their purchases.
- Do you have an individual buyer or are they a committee of buying influencers? – PPC ads, strong calls-to-action, and comprehensive product descriptions are helpful in connecting with a single person. When attracting a large, collective audience, you might need a more in-depth marketing strategy. This will help manage the nurturing process towards a purchase decision.
- How heavy is the competition in your industrial niche? – How hard you will have to work on SEO and other brand awareness pursuits will depend on how much similar brand activity is already occurring in the industry. If your company is one of the select manufacturers of a product, you have a higher chance of dominating search engine results with your company’s content. If the case is the opposite, paid ad efforts might be necessary in order to show up on top of competitors’ names in search result lists.
Advantages of Using Marketing for Manufacturers
A strong marketing strategy will enhance a B2B corporation’s chance of generating leads. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 B2B Content Marketing Benchmark report, 70% of successful B2B companies have a flushed marketing strategy. Conversely, 16% of B2B corporations do not use marketing and have seen dissatisfying results from it.
Additionally, digital marketing proves to increase brand awareness. This leads to customer loyalty and helps to persuade stakeholders into making a purchase. B2B marketers consistently say that this is one of their top priorities. Successful marketing helps bridge the gap between a company’s needs and a reliable solution.
Finally, refined B2B marketing can position your company as a resource to clients. Selling complicated or high-end products takes careful thought and consideration. If executed correctly through marketing, clients may turn to you as a confidant. This could be for expert advice, helpful information, or training and education. By demonstrating the self-awareness of your company through marketing, your position in the industry increases value. The more value you are assigned, the more optimal for your organization to transition from simply a manufacturing company to an appreciated cultural brand.
Marketing Services for Manufacturers
SEO Design Chicago offers manufacturing marketing and advertising services. Contact us today to learn more about our profession manufacturing marketing tactics and strategies.
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