Inbound marketing techniques offer manufacturers an advantage

The role of manufacturing in the U.S. economy began a sustained decline in the 1970s, but there has been an uptick in the past few years. The National Association of Manufacturers reports this sector contributed $1.87 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2012, compared to $1.73 trillion in 2011. According to the most recent data, manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015. As competition continues to intensify, companies have great pressure to take aggressive actions to stay relevant.

Smart Business spoke with Chris Peer, owner and CEO of SyncShow, about global competition’s effect on manufacturing and how effective marketing is helping some companies get ahead.

How are manufacturers competing in a global economy?

Thinner profit margins have forced manufacturing companies to implement lean manufacturing methodologies to improve operations, design new products faster and scale production cost-efficiently. Many companies have directed capital resources into a wide variety of activities and projects they deem will help the company achieve its mission and goals, including:

  • Building a skilled, well-trained workforce.
  • Improving product design.
  • Designing the most efficient floor plan.
  • Making manufacturing processes more cost-efficient.
  • Implementing the latest technology and best practices.

While these investments have the potential to produce a reasonable ROI, any yield will be minimized by the ever-increasing costs of distribution and retail channels.

What are some examples of inbound marketing solutions for manufacturing?

Many manufacturers continue to rely on traditional sales channels — distributors, retailers, independent sales representatives and other methods. Many manufacturers overlook marketing and brand awareness entirely. It is for this reason that many manufacturers also have an under-performing website that generates few, if any, sales leads.

Inbound marketing can help build brand recognition and drive the sales process by attracting qualified buyers to their business. This paradigm shift is critical for manufacturers in today’s global, electronic economy.

Lead generation for manufacturing requires the integration of both sales and marketing departments for significant ROI. A holistic approach from point of contact to sale closing requires techniques including, but not limited to, marketing automation, search engine optimization, content marketing, email marketing, public relations, social media and integrated website solutions. These online marketing solutions for manufacturing help build brand recognition and position companies as disruptors or leaders in their manufacturing niche. They can also help pull qualified leads to their websites.

How can manufacturers generate leads?

To generate leads, companies must engage prospective customers online. Today, 67 percent of the buying process has already been completed before a buyer contacts a company. Manufacturers must engage these buyers before they are two-thirds of the way through their research. Brand awareness must be strong enough to pull in the buyers already looking for a company’s products or services to ensure that company will be considered as a viable option.

The right online content is the difference between potential customers finding a company or its competitors. Some examples of online content are:

  • Videos.
  • Case studies.
  • Application notes.
  • How-to articles.
  • White papers.

Once a lead is captured, there are various methods for lead nurturing, such as an email campaign that delivers special content to leads until they are sales ready. This technique enables potential customers to become familiar with a brand over time.

Manufacturers may have the expertise and products to establish themselves as an industry leader, but effective online sales and marketing solutions are needed to promote the brand and help grow the enterprise.

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