If you feel like the manufacturing marketing landscape is evolving at a frantic pace, you are not alone. Audiences are increasingly segmented, the manufacturing buying journey is becoming even more complex, if that is even possible, and there are more channels than ever. Should we be on (fill in the blank) platform? The answer depends on what you want to accomplish.
It also can be challenging to balance digital marketing for manufacturers with long-standing sales processes. Navigating this complicated ecosystem to produce an effective manufacturing marketing campaign requires an effective integrated marketing strategy that unites inbound tactics, lead attribution, and a refined multichannel approach.
You will improve your chances of success for your campaign by keeping these five tips in mind.
It sounds so simple: build a campaign around a larger business goal. But you have probably lived in a world in which everyone left the company retreat with goals related to a new product launch or territory expansion, went back to their departmental silos and did their own thing. You met your goal of delivering qualified leads for that key initiative, but you eventually learned that few converted and sales fell flat.
A starting point for a successful campaign is to gather input from multiple departments. What’s in it for them? What do you need from them? What do they need for support from you? Or for support from other departments? Working across departments should help everyone orient around the prospects and customers. It will reinforce your brand strategy. It will also drive your sales enablement by clarifying how to equip your sales team with what they need to compete for that business.
You also should be able to articulate what success looks like throughout the campaign. It’s important to have benchmarks and measurements for key touch points as prospects engage with your messaging. Being able to connect as many data points as possible through analytics helps identify which marketing tactics are working and which aren’t.
As the strategy comes together, make sure you have the foundations for an integrated campaign, such as:
One of the biggest shifts in manufacturing marketing in recent years has been the emergence of buying committees. There are many stakeholders who will be doing research about your products and services. There likely will be an engineer, an executive, someone from finance or procurement, all looking at your messaging through a different lens. Dealing with buying committees should prompt you to ask: How will you gain traction? How will your message resonate?
That is why you should identify a clear target for every piece of content marketing and paid media. Most small manufacturers do not have the resources to target every persona at every stage of the buying journey. But you can choose wisely with a mix of technical content and blog posts focused on solutions or ROI.
Likewise, an integrated approach to your campaign will include distribution across multiple channels. Use a similar discipline in targeting your social distribution, as well as in your search, programmatic, trade pubs and directories. Your toolset should play a big role in tracking and measuring your activations.
The transition to digital research for industrial buying has become clear. Buyers are in self-service mode, often doing comparative shopping before they ever talk to a vendor. It’s difficult for your sales team to get in front of key decision makers until late in the buying process, if they can get in front of them at all.
That’s why it is imperative to build a strong industrial website that:
It’s also important to package information appropriately. Think of presenting information about your key products and services as you would for a trade show. Build landing pages with 3D renderings, spec sheets and use-case videos, or whatever materials you would have on hand for prospects at an event.
Suppliers and manufacturers are understandably concerned about the theft of intellectual property. This is why many are hesitant to put their CAD models and datasheets on public-facing websites. They also are hesitant to publish prices, citing competitive reasons. But customer expectations have changed.
If you are not supplying the information that prospects seek, they will look for it elsewhere. For example, according to the 2021 Industrial Sales and Marketing Report:
Online buyers are seeking estimated freight quotes, information on bulk discounts, MOQs and customization opportunities, preferably at any time of day or night, and via multiple channels.
Is your digital customer experience equipped to help answer prospects’ questions? If they are in self-service mode, how far can you take them?
Engaging prospects early in the process obviously can lead to a sale. Some 82% of engineers who download a CAD file for a part ultimately make a purchase. But engaging them early also helps you be a part of how they set the parameters for the rest of their search, which is especially impactful for big projects and consultative work. If your value proposition revolves around capabilities, uptime as a service and lower cost of total ownership, it can be difficult to compete if a prospect comes to you late in the process and is focused on price.
An effective integrated marketing strategy will provide data across audiences and touch points. Your analytics provide insights; the data tells a story. The more you can identify where your revenue or successful outcomes come from, the more intelligently you can adjust your marketing mix.
Don’t be afraid to do A/B variant testing from the start. Plan on assessing your tactics once you have reached a benchmark related to sample size or spend.
It’s also possible to play offense and defense at the same time. You play defense by adjusting your tactics and approaches when something is not working. You play offense by taking what is working and putting more resources behind it or applying it to similar opportunities.
The manufacturing marketing world has become more fragmented with digitization. Reaching this fragmented audience and tracking your touch points requires an investment in multiple channels and a cohesive strategy that unites all of them. An integrated approach will also help you get your message across to different members of a buying committee. Tracking tools will provide you insights into the increasingly complex ecosystem of digital technology and Industry 4.0. If you’re ready to learn what it takes to ensure success for your next campaign, visit our web page devoted to integrated manufacturing marketing.
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