The New Age of Marketing in Manufacturing: How to get started on a modern marketing strategy
While lead generation has traditionally always fell on the shoulders of the sales team when it comes to the manufacturing industry, the winds of change have been blowing for several years now. Digital marketing, social media platforms, and remote workers have all made big impacts on how all B2B companies market their products and services and the manufacturing industry is no different.
From the 1960’s thru the early 2000’s, it was common practice for manufacturers to use advertising firms to do extensive copy layouts for print ads in industry journals to large projects of full-cover product brochures to be distributed to customers in massive mailings or at trade shows. While manufacturers still use those mediums, many have been developing digital marketing strategies that include search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, email marketing, and even geofencing to bring in more leads.
And so, many in the manufacturing industry sales and marketing teams are forging new ways of working together to gain new customers, keep their existing ones, and nurture the leads together to gain new business. It is new territory for many in the manufacturing industry, especially for those that have been in the industry for decades.
To reap the rewards of using digital marketing to acquire and nurture sales leads takes planning and preparation. Whether a company outsources the use of a marketing agency, keeps their marketing in house, or uses a mix of both, the first step is to establish a marketing strategy that includes a digital footprint.
While a company may have a well-established digital marketing presence, there are always new concepts and strategies developing to keep abreast of. It is often asked where a manufacturing company with a small digital footprint might start. While there are many different opinions on where to begin, one must remember to focus on what you can do, not what you cannot do.
Keeping in mind that making a start is often the most difficult part of a journey, the best beginning should be a good quality website. Once a basic website is made, it can continue to be built and improved upon. By continually improving your website and adding quality content, your SEO will improve as well.
With a small budget mindset, a very economical way of building a company’s digital marketing presence is using social media accounts. It is best to cautiously warn those beginning their social media profiles that they will need to commit to posting regularly.
While it may be different if the manufacturer is in a niche market, most companies do well on the LinkedIn platform. Instagram and TikTok platforms are now increasing in popularity for manufacturers as well. Keep in mind that each platform will likely have a different audience.
Twitter is another great platform for corporate businesses and marketers. If this platform is chosen, consider participating in an industry related Twitter chat. By regularly participating in a Twitter chat, if done correctly, your company will have many opportunities to increase their digital footprint. These opportunities would include a better online presence, networking, and possibly, exposure to new customers and leads.
An excellent choice for Twitter chats for US manufacturers would be the #USAMfgHour chat. The topics discussed in this chat are typically related to manufacturing businesses. Each week a different business hosts the chat on a predetermined topic.
If you are already on Twitter and interested in the chat, search #USAMfgHour to find the conversation on Thursdays from 1pm to 2pm, central standard time. After giving it a try, if you’d like to host, check out the #USAMfgHour FAQs and contact one of the co-chairs for more information.
Regardless of the platform chosen to start social media marketing, there is more work to do than just posting regularly to your account. The golden rule to remember of social media marketing is to plan to do plenty of social listening in addition to posting to any accounts you establish.
You will need to comment and interact with your customers, vendors, and community to gain followers. Social listening is imperative and may include what’s trending for your industry and what your customers are doing on social media as well as your competitors.
Perhaps the best advice for manufacturers new to digital marketing would be to bring your sales and marketing teams together when planning your strategy. Both teams need to be vetted in the process for it to be successful. The leads generated through digital marketing need to be optimal for sales opportunities.
Salespeople and marketers that are well established in their roles through decades of working in their industries may find it difficult to grasp some of the digital marketing concepts and strategies used today. While keeping open minds is a necessity, so is giving each person a voice to express their perspective so that compromising can be done in the best interests of the company.
Nurturing those leads together is possible if salespeople and marketers have the same mindset of progress and making the bottom line better. While more revenue does not always guarantee better profits, when everyone works for the common goal of servicing the company, surely the results for the company will be optimal.
Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc. is a Rockford, Ill. manufacturing company and is the OEM for Magna-Lock USA workholding, MagnaLift & Power-Grip lift magnets, and Arter Precision Grinding Machines as well providing surface grinding services. They are located at 5015 28th Ave. in Rockford, Ill. with a phone number of 815-962-8700. Check out more at obsidianmfg.com/brands.