Marketing for manufacturers and other B2B companies can be a challenge. Without a clear and dedicated plan for strategic marketing, a lot of manufacturing companies find themselves trapped into doing the same thing over and over, year in and year out, without embracing new marketing opportunities. Unfortunately, failing to adapt to new strategies can be a major hindrance to a company’s potential growth. But it’s not too late to turn it around. To help you out of this funk, we’ve compiled some of the most frequent mistakes or omissions we see from manufacturing companies’ marketing plans.
Depending Too Much On Trade Shows
A recent study revealed that trade shows are still regarded as the number one marketing tactic for manufacturing companies. The same study revealed that more than half of those polled saw a decline in leads generated from trade shows. What this tells us is that too many manufacturers are overly dependant on a platform that is not as fruitful as it once was in terms of generating leads. Trade shows are great and there’s still a valuable place in your marketing plans for them, but they are only part of what makes up a truly next-level marketing strategy.
Relying On Referrals
The problem with referrals is that you’re essentially relinquishing control of your marketing to a street team of foot soldiers. You wouldn’t do this with any other aspect of your business, and your marketing should be no different. In trusting previous clients to, “get your name out there” on your behalf, you’re making the bold assumption that they’re out there talking about your company–favorably, mind you–at every chance they get. And I hate to break it to you, but they’re probably not. Referral leads are great, but they’re the icing on the cake–not the cake itself. You’ll first need a concentrated and multifaceted marketing plan that you and your team can lead and control.
Ignoring the Benefits of Content Marketing
For some reason, this is a vastly underutilized strategy in the manufacturing industry. Content marketing is a great way to establish yourself as a leader within the market. Quite simply, let people know you know what you’re talking about. Take the time to produce informative, engaging and sharable blogs and other original content relating specifically to the manufacturing industry (you’ll be surprised who takes notice when you do). Leverage and manage your own brand by becoming a trusted voice on many subjects and sharing your knowledge and experience on social media. Which leads me to my next point…
Not Using Social Media Effectively (Or Worse, At All)
We’ll admit, social media marketing is more challenging for B2B than it is for B2C. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be using social media at all. It just means you should be using it more strategically. The goal for social media marketing is, of course, to grow your business. To do this, however, your first goal should be to grow your network. Take LinkedIn, for example. LinkedIn is a great platform to generate professional leads and connections in your industry and to keep up on the latest news and trends.
Neglecting Your Website
You’d be surprised how often we hear manufacturing reps say that their websites, “just aren’t that important,” (and it hurts our hearts every time). In most cases, your manufacturing site is the first introduction a client has to your business. And you want it to make a good first impression. If you haven’t given your website some TLC in a while, perhaps it’s time to consider revamping it. Try approaching it as if you were a client. Does it capture the essence of your business? Is it easy to follow? Does it effectively convey that the product is superior to that of the competition? It should! A dated, clunky and difficult to navigate site will turn away potential customers before you even know what hit you.
There’s a lot to cover when it comes to developing an effective marketing plan for a manufacturing business and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Creating a marketing plan from scratch takes a lot of hard work and requires collaboration from multiple stakeholders. But in the end, it’s all worth it. If you’re looking to revamp your manufacturing marketing plan, but don’t know exactly how to get started, give us a call. We’d love to partner with you.