If you’re looking to drive sales, increase revenue, and generate leads for your manufacturing company, you need a robust digital marketing strategy that takes into account the nuances and complexities of your industry. Many companies in the manufacturing industry are so busy building great solutions for their customers that they don’t prioritize digital marketing–which is why, if you can create and execute an effective marketing strategy, you’ll be leaps ahead of the competition.
There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” marketing strategy, and B2B manufacturing industry companies face their own unique set of challenges. ZAG FIRST is a digital marketing agency for manufacturing companies; we’ve spent years working with dozens of manufacturing clients and learning the best ways to reach audiences, add value, and achieve a positive ROI.
What is unique about marketing for manufacturing companies?
#1: Diverse distribution channels
Manufacturers sell their products in a wide variety of ways; sometimes they go through distributors or dealers, and sometimes they sell directly to their end consumer (which could be individuals or other businesses). Manufacturing companies may leverage an exclusive dealer network, or they may sell their products using a mix of channels. To add yet another wrinkle, some distributors and dealers may add other products or services to the manufacturer’s product to make it more desirable (for instance, some distributors or dealers may also handle installation).
When a manufacturer uses multiple distribution channels, they need to determine the pricing, terms, and service level for each channel. What discount should each distributor get? Should your largest distributors get better pricing? Are your discounts based on an MSRP? If you don’t proactively think through these distribution details, you risk alienating some partners and creating what is referred to as “channel conflict,” which will decrease your overall sales and success.
In order to create an effective marketing plan for your manufacturing company, you need to develop your distribution strategy and channels in order to optimize sales and profitability. Start by determining what tools you need to support the various stakeholders. Your distributors need different resources from you than your end users, and effective digital marketing will allow you to fulfill each of those needs at the right times to reduce or eliminate channel conflict.
#2: Buying process involving multiple stakeholders
For most manufacturing companies, there are many decision makers that contribute to an eventual sale. In many industries, engineers determine what product they need for their project, purchasers, buyers, or the purchasing department make the buy (but don’t necessarily understand the nuances of what they’re buying), and users receive the product after the sale but also can influence the sale or buying process.
Your digital marketing plan should take each of these stakeholders into account. The way you communicate your value proposition to engineers should be different than the way you communicate it to users and purchasers. Your strategy should incorporate specific and tailored messaging to each key player in the complex manufacturing industry buying process.
#3: Leads at all stages of the funnel need to be nurtured
Given the complex (and often lengthy) manufacturing sales cycle, it’s essential to meet prospects where they’re at and gradually nurture them through each stage. Develop different and targeted digital marketing strategies for leads at various stages in the cycle–the way you talk to a prospect who’s just now starting to identify their need and search for possible solutions should be different from the way you talk to a customer who knows exactly what they want and is deciding between two or three different companies to buy from. Trying to force a single digital marketing tactic to encompass the entirety of the extended manufacturing sales cycle is inefficient and ineffective.
The complexity of this sales process underscores the importance of digital marketing as the most targeted and specific way to reach select audiences. With the incredible power of data analytics, search engine optimization, and targeted promotion, digital marketing is the most effective way to reach exactly the people you need, at exactly the right time, with exactly the information to meet their interests.
How we can help
The team at ZAG FIRST truly understands marketing for manufacturers. We’ll help you define your goals, identify KPIs, set a budget, and create a holistic digital marketing strategy that will enable you to achieve real business results. Get in touch with us today to learn more!