Being an American manufacturing company is no easy feat. Manufacturers today are tasked with staying innovative, creating high-quality products, and keeping costs low to keep work from going overseas. The good news is: the US manufacturing industry is once again on the rise. In fact, many economists are predicting that there is a second Industrial Revolution on the horizon in America. Boston Consulting Group recently published a report that predicts that 30% of America’s imports from China could be produced domestically by 2020.
In today’s complex selling environment, few industries find themselves spared from the challenges of marketing to an increasingly powerful buyer. The manufacturing industry is no exception. While manufacturers face keeping up with an evolving technological landscape for production of their goods, many of these companies who’ve been in business for decades are finding themselves behind the curve of new-age sales and marketing.
While manufacturing marketers may face unique problems, their goals remain universal among marketers – build brand awareness and grow revenue. Here are three challenges that marketers in manufacturing face today, and three opportunities that marketing automation can offer to help alleviate that stress.
The Top 3 Issues in Manufacturing Marketing
1. The New, Powerful Buyer
The new-age buyer isn’t waiting for you to qualify them as a lead and take them through the sales cycle at your pace. They are skipping this step altogether, and have taken much of the sales cycle into their own hands. Buyers today are focused on consuming online research, reading peer reviews, and weighing their purchasing options long before they’re willing to speak to any sales people. Marketers in manufacturing (like many other industries) struggle to shift their sales and marketing efforts to accommodate this new buyer. The result? Too often their content misses the mark – they aren’t offering the right content to guide the buyer towards preferring their company as that buyer does the qualifying research.
2. Disconnect Between Buyers & Sellers
As buyers rely less and less on salespeople to deliver information about manufacturing organizations and more and more on the content marketers provide, oftentimes a disconnect between the two parties starts to grow. Sales and marketing teams within the organization may disagree on what constitutes a qualified lead. Sales may or may not see value in behavior that marketing believes indicates sales-worthiness. Both can lose touch with their target audience and messaging can go off target, not speaking directly to that empowered buyer outlined above. Ultimately, organizations who struggle with this disconnect often fail to deliver the information buyers need to make manufacturing purchasing decisions.
3. Keeping Up with New Digital Trends
Many manufacturing companies have been around for decades, flourishing with minimal marketing. What’s carried the success of many manufacturing companies in recent history has been a strong product supported by a knowledgeable sales team. While these two aspects are key to the success of any manufacturing organization, there also needs to be a savvy middle man (marketing) to help connect the great product with the right buyer. Many manufacturing organizations, such as R.M. Hoffman, are beginning to feel the pressure to adapt to these changes, and to shift their marketing resources towards a digital marketing landscape. More companies are discovering that their prospects are online, and they see the advantages of meeting those buyers there.
Watch this video case study to learn how R.M. Hoffman revitalized their marketing with Act-On:
The Top Opportunities using Marketing Automation:
1. Give Buyers the Content They Need via Email Marketing
If your buyers aren’t banging down your door to purchase your product, it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. They may not know about you. If they do know who you are, they may not have yet discovered a compelling reason to give you consideration. It’s your job to give them a good reason to take another look.
As we touched on above, new-age buyers are doing the research on their own. In fact, SiriusDecisions reports that 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. Set your sales team up for success by reaching out to your prospects via email to provide them with the information they need about your organization to make a purchasing decision. Let them know what you offer, and how and why you are different – and better.
Manufacturing knows automation. In fact, most manufacturers are already automation pros! From the shop floor to distribution, manufacturing has led the way for centuries in adopting automation techniques and technologies. Marketing is no different; much of it (especially email) is a process that can be automated, saving time and ensuring consistency. Automating your email marketing is the natural next step for continuing your business momentum and optimizing efficiency.
2. Use Segmentation to Speak Directly to Your Buyers
In order to bridge the gap between the buyer and the seller, marketers need to make a point to show the prospective buyer that they are understood. Don’t sent emails that don’t apply to them – DO send emails that are highly personalized and directly speak to that unique prospect’s needs and wants.
This is another big win for marketing automation. Using it to segment your emails is one of the most powerful tools of modern marketing. Segmenting your email list by products, buyer types, sales cycle stages, or previous online activity (web page visits, email clicks, etc.) allows you to deliver the most relevant messages to your audiences. When prospects come to expect solid, consistently meaningful messaging from a manufacturer, they begin to trust the sender, and that can lead to a sale. Personalized emails also translate into higher open rates and click-through rates, which are directly related to higher attributable revenue for your marketing programs.
3. Capture & Convert Leads with Customized Landing Pages
Customized landing pages help marketers in the manufacturing industry reach and engage more customers with a lot less effort. Using marketing automation to create landing pages to streamline your inbound and outbound marketing efforts is a huge win that requires less work on your part. In order to reach the highest percentages of your target audience, make sure that your landing pages are fully mobile responsive in order to ensure a positive experience across all devices – desktop, tablet, and mobile. Lots of people start and action on one device and finish it on another, so you need consistency across these channels.
When you send an email with a single focus or offer, make sure you have a landing page tailored to give your prospect a way to take the next step. Once your prospects land on your customized landing page and see more juicy details, give them the option to convert by filling out a form using ready-made form templates within your marketing automation system. Capturing these leads will help you to generate interest in your products, give you more data you can use to tailor more relevant offers or information, and will give you the capability to nurture these leads until they’re ready to purchase.
All in all, we know that marketers in the manufacturing industry are sweating for a lot of reasons – reaching your prospects reliably shouldn’t be one of them. Marketing automation provides an all-in-one way for marketers to easily attract, capture, and engage their prospects and customers. Leave the heavy lifting to those building your product – use marketing automation to generate your decision-making data, build brand awareness, convert more leads, and ultimately increase company revenue – and get the credit for it.
Interested in learning how marketing automation can help revitalize your marketing? Take a video tour of Act-On to learn how marketing automation can help you engage your audience across the entire buyer’s journey with automated email drips, custom landing pages and emails, and so much more!