How well do manufacturing companies know their customers?

Customer and experience are two words that you don’t often encounter in the manufacturing industry. On the whole, manufacturing is an industry focused on the product – rather than how it is presented to the customer – and to some extent, rightly so. Much of the insight usually found within the boardroom walls of a manufacturing giant are typically applied to product design or R&D.

In our previous blog, we have already identified that a key stage in putting together your marketing strategy is to define the key markets in which your business will operate. This includes the markets, locations and types of customers you will target.

71% of B2B companies are at risk of losing customers by not being fully engaged with the companies they do business with. (Recent research by Gallup)

Companies that are not profiling their customers will find it hard to remain competitive, as the retention of existing clients becomes as important as the acquisition of new ones. This means relying on the strength of product design and a competitive pricing strategy is no longer enough. You now need to view the world through the lens of your customers and the priorities they experience.

Profiling your prospects is critical, particularly in how they are likely to find information about new suppliers. In simple terms, a customer profile is a description of your typical customer. The profiling process involves understanding your customers’ traits, behaviours and characteristics, and then using this data to inform your marketing efforts.

In simple terms, the key to targeting your customers effectively, is knowing the following:

• Who they are
• Where they are
• How they act
• When they act
• Why they act.

The concept of profiling is not a new one, but emerging technologies and the rise of the digital age have changed the way we collect information about our customers. With more data than ever at our fingertips, it is vital that you take note and think about how your business can best use the intelligence available to you.

5 easy steps to profile your customers

With more competition than ever, markets are becoming saturated, so you need to be able to keep hold of your customer’s attention for all the right reasons. Building profiles of your customers ultimately helps you to improve their experience of interacting with your company, which should lead to increased conversions to sales and increased loyalty.

Follow these 5 simple steps to learn more about your existing customers, in order to find more customers like them:

1. Describe Your Customers
Understand who your ideal customers are and what similarities they have.

Define your customers with the following criteria:

Demographics – their age, gender, income, etc.
Psychographics – their personality type, preferences, etc.
Behaviour – their similar likes and dislikes, etc.

Manufacturing companies should also note characteristics of your ideal businesses to work with, including:

• # of employees
• Revenue
• Geographic scope
• Type of business
• Decision-making
• Budget

2. Locate Your Customers
Find the places your customers are attracted to, whether a physical location or a cyber space where they gather.

• Where do they hang out?
• What do they read? Both online and offline?
• What do they search for online?

3. Understand Their Purchasing Process
Review the needs and benefits that make your customers purchase your product or service.

• Where do they begin their research?
• What is their problem or need?
• What are the benefits to finding a solution?

B2B companies should also think about:
• Do they make purchases by impulse?
• Do they seek out referrals?
• Will they need approval by a committee before making a purchase?

4. Connect with Current Customers
Reach out to your current ideal customers to gain additional insight into what made them select your business over others. Conduct interviews, formally or informally, and ask them:

• How did you originally find our company before contacting us?
• Why did you originally buy from our company?
• Why do you continue to buy from our company?
• What do we do that others don’t?

5. Create Client Profiles (Personas)
Create profiles that describe specific segments of your current clients. Ensure that the profiles are tangible, so that you can envision this person and what would motivate them to find your business.

• Describe your clients in written profiles, called personas
• Create a specific persona for each identifiable client group and name them
• Include images of ideal clients, either real or a hypothetical individual

Once you have completed these five simple steps you will have a clear picture of the type of customers your business should be targeting, and by further sorting them into segments this will allow you to target them even more effectively.

You will then create marketing campaigns that are tailored to suit their specific requirements. Creating a strategy with these ideal customers in mind will help you avoid wasting time and resources on unsuccessful marketing efforts. Through focused and more consistent marketing communications, you’ll be able to better reach the new customers you need to take your business to the next level.

GetSet Midlands can help you create your marketing strategy

Many larger manufacturers have their own sizable marketing teams, however most small to medium sized manufacturers simply can’t justify this. As a result it may make sense to outsource your marketing function to GetSet Midlands who understand the requirements of the manufacturing industry.

With many years’ experience, our team of marketing experts will take you on a straightforward, cost effective and practical route to growing sales, increasing profit and reaching more customers. We are actively helping manufacturers develop winning marketing strategies.

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