Manufacturers have unique marketing challenges that other businesses don’t face. As a result, they must develop innovative manufacturing marketing strategies to reach their target audience to succeed. Engineers and technical professionals are two key audiences that manufacturers need to focus on. This blog post will discuss six innovative marketing strategies that manufacturing companies can use in their own marketing efforts.
Understanding marketing strategies is vital if you’re a manufacturer looking to stay ahead of the competition and grow your sales. As technology advances and your customer base evolves, remaining relevant in today’s competitive global markets requires creative problem-solving and up-to-date marketing approaches.
“58 percent of engineers said that the competitive landscape is global and competes 24/7.” (Source: 2021 Pulse of Engineering Survey published by GlobalSpec)
That’s why I have gathered six innovative ways manufacturers can beef up their current manufacturing marketing strategy to remain competitive in their rapidly and ever-changing industries. Here’s my recommended list:
In this post, I will discuss each manufacturing marketing strategy and share my thoughts on implementing them to help you improve your industrial marketing.
Create content that educates potential customers about your products, manufacturing processes, and how your products can help them solve their problems. Sometimes raising awareness of the problem is necessary before you can sell your solution. (See Problem-centric Industrial Marketing).
Providing educational content about your complex engineering solutions is an invaluable step in the marketing process. It creates awareness for potential customers and educates them on the problem they are trying to solve.
With educational material breaking down the more technical aspects of what you offer, customers can better understand how you may help them, allowing them to make informed buying decisions before investing in your products and services.
Use social media platforms to share news and updates about your company and its products and promote new content. Engage with customers and potential customers when and where they hang out.
Leveraging social media for manufacturing marketing is essential for businesses to reach engineers and industrial professionals. However, engineers tend to be passive participants on social media platforms, resulting in lower engagements from them compared to other industries.
As such, manufacturers should have realistic expectations regarding engineers’ interactions on their social media channels since this audience likes to read and watch but rarely comment or share. With a well-assembled suite of content and valuable resources, engineers can become long-time brand followers since you allow them to access the helpful information they need and can use it in their daily work.
(Source: 2023 State of Marketing to Engineers published by TREW Marketing & GlobalSpec)
When it comes to emphasizing the value of your product or service, case studies provide engineers with much-needed assurance to get over any skepticism they may have.
Case studies are real-life stories from actual users and serve as proof of concept. Keep it simple—stick with a proven formula of a problem statement, the solution provided, and the results delivered. Try to be as specific as possible by adding statistics and quantifying results. Case studies are powerful tools that help you build credibility and trust with specifiers and key decision-makers.
Testimonials have lost some of their value over time because people have lost faith in them since some of them are simply unbelievable. You can make yours more authentic and impactful by using video testimonials.
Testimonials and case studies are both hard to come by because of restrictions from NDAs and customers unwilling to be seen as endorsing a vendor. However, there are ways to overcome some of the hurdles if you cannot name names.
Use both judiciously to demonstrate the value of your product or service and show that you can deliver on your promises.
Investing in video marketing can be highly beneficial for manufacturers. How-to videos are a great way to showcase the unique features of your products or services and how customers can use them.
Adding how-to videos provide easy-to-follow steps on using your product and help to make complex concepts much easier to understand. As a result, they will increase visitor engagement.
Additionally, this type of content is particularly effective for MRO professionals and field personnel, who can access these how-to videos anytime and gain the information they need 24/7. It is an easy way to provide after-sales support and increase brand loyalty.
“Videos were the top content type produced as well as the top predicted area of content marketing investment for 2022. 86% of respondents [manufacturing content marketers] used videos for content marketing purposes in the last 12 months.”
(Source: Manufacturing Content Marketing – Insights for 2022 published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI)).
When advertising online, be sure to target specific audiences interested in what you offer rather than just casting a wide net without considering who will find it most useful/valuable. These advertisements will not only help you reach a more specific and receptive audience that is interested in what you are offering, it will also help to avoid wasting resources on users who are unlikely to convert.
This is another area where you need to have realistic expectations. Online ads will raise brand awareness and drive traffic to your site from what I refer to as “curious clicks,” but don’t expect a high conversion rate.
Many of my manufacturing clients complain about PPC ads being a waste of good money. They work well for selling industrial consumables like desiccants and spare parts but are ineffective if you manufacture custom-engineered systems. Therefore, these factors should all be considered when deciding whether paid advertising would benefit your company.
Email marketing and newsletters do work even in this day and age of social media. These two tactics are very effective in maintaining top-of-mind awareness. But, of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. I’ll let the findings from CMI’s survey convince you.
“The top four owned-media platforms that manufacturing marketers used in the last 12 months were their organization’s website, email newsletters, email, and blogs.”
Still not convinced? Here’s one more chart. This one is from the 2023 State of Marketing to Engineers study I cited earlier.
“Eighty-nine percent of engineers subscribe to at least one newsletter, while 54 percent subscribe to at least three newsletters.”
Okay, that’s my short list of 6 manufacturing marketing strategies you can deploy. Your industry is constantly evolving, so focusing on putting your company in front of the right audience via digital marketing tools is essential.
Ultimately, focus on the target audience’s needs when deciding how your message should be conveyed and create a solid and well-rounded online presence. Remember, if potential customers aren’t regularly exposed to what you do, they will forget you even exist.
If the thought of putting in all this time and effort in strategy and implementation seems overwhelming, or if you need help developing an effective marketing strategy for the manufacturers, don’t hesitate to reach out to industrial marketing professionals who can guide you. Contact me and let me know how I can help.
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Industrial Marketing Today is an integral part of Tiecas, Inc., a Houston-based industrial marketing agency. We’ve been in business since 1987, serving the marketing needs of manufacturers, distributors, and engineering companies from various industries.