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Manufacturers, your marketing is holding you back

You may be investing millions of dollars into R&D, AI, robotics and everything under the Industry-4.0-sun, but if you’ve only made minor updates to your website since Industry 3.0 – and are still investing in the same marketing tactics – buyers won’t believe you’re an advanced manufacturing company.

While some manufacturing companies have elevated their marketing presence in the last decade to coincide with their use of robotics and automation, there are still huge manufacturing companies limping along. They’re relying on outdated tactics and tiny marketing departments and budgets.

What gives?

It comes down to a commitment to and understanding of modern marketing from the top. As a manufacturing leader, you need to embrace modern marketing or else you’ll be left behind. Here’s why:

  • Engineers with purchasing power consumer over 12 hours of content online per week.
  • 42 percent of senior level leadership in engineering are more likely to request a proposal based off of online educational content.
  • By 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship without speaking to humans.
  • B2B e-commerce will account for 27 percent of all B2B sales by 2020.

Feelin’ the pressure? Not to worry. There are three ways you can fast-track your marketing program into Industry 4.0.

Build a team – Start by hiring a marketing leader. Not an intern or your cousin’s friend’s son or someone from customer service. An experienced marketing leader. Preferably someone with a manufacturing background and expertise in inbound and digital marketing who isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves.

Yes, a marketing leader at a manager or director level will be more expensive than a part-time student, but you don’t have time to train someone, not to mention time to get a modern marketing program off the ground. An experienced marketing leader can come in and quickly put the proper systems, agency partners and freelancers in place to move the needle within budget, all while setting you up for success in the long-run.

Build your infrastructure – Once you have a marketing leader in place and they’ve set the foundation with initial content and results, it’s time to put the proper sales and marketing tools and systems in place. I’m not talking Excel spreadsheets and rolodexes. I mean customer relationship management (CRM) software to track the pipeline.

If you already have a CRM, then the next step is implementing marketing automation to optimize marketing strategy and lead attribution. Equally, if not more, important to having these tools is having someone to manage them with the standards and a workflow process to ensure consistent tracking and accurate data. If you don’t have the expertise to manage these systems and processes in-house, we recommend outsourcing the strategy and making a marketing operations professional your next marketing hire.

Update your website – Updating your website for Industry 4.0 takes a shift in mentality. Start to think of your website as the hub for all marketing activity instead of an online product brochure or catalog. Your website should be an interactive, self-publishing platform where you can share educational content and customer success stories to increase your search rankings, educate your target audience and generate leads. Also, an online marketplace for your leads to get a quote, chat with a sales rep or even place an order. It’s where your prospects are going to learn about you and interact with your brand before they make a purchase decision. Websites can work harder for you than any other marketing asset, so make yours a top priority.

After hiring a marketing leader, implementing the proper infrastructure and updating your website, you’ll naturally start to enhance your marketing tactics.  You’ll see results that show that expensive two-page print ad you’ve purchased for the last seven years isn’t producing anything for you anymore. You’ll boost website traffic and generate leads through it.

And most importantly, your marketing and brand will truly reflect the advanced manufacturing company you are! Subscribe to our newsletter for a monthly dose of manufacturing marketing advice.

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