Sustain manufacturing growth through modern marketing practices with customer focus

The most successful businesses strive for growth, embrace digital and are constantly looking for ways to deliver and exceed customer expectations. Digital transformation and evolving customer expectations now combine to create a more transparent operating and trading environment than ever before.

Customer awareness is not enough in the modern world. Businesses are rapidly shifting towards customer-led models. High-growth organisations focus on their customers in every aspect of their business and allow them to provide insight that supports the future development of the company. Customer-obsession, and the business growth that follows, is not possible without first considering a customer’s expectations. Today, the modern customer expects a digital presence from the suppliers they use and expect prompt responses to their queries

Manufacturing is arguably the lifeblood of global business and in UK remains the largest, and one of the most vibrant market segments of the economy. In 2016, manufacturing accounted for 11% the UK’s national economic output, and 3 percent of global manufacturing. Manufacturing makes up 45 percent of UK exports and directly employs 2.7 million people. According to the latest 2017 study from the Hampshire Trust Bank, the British manufacturing sector has seen a six percent increase in SMEs since 2010.

The growth of manufacturing is vital to help sustain the British economy in its post-Brexit future. Critical to the ongoing success of manufacturing as we enter what is being coined the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, or ‘Industry 4.0’, is the need to make customer focus a top business priority in manufacturing companies.

In today’s market, it’s not just about having the “best quality” product or having that “98% on-time delivery” rate or the generic “product performance guarantee”. Customers are being influenced from many different touch points, including websites, social media, and mobile, and are becoming more educated in the process.

Buyers are more empowered than ever before: manufacturing buyers review an average of 10.4 sources on average for any buying situation. Costlier or more complex purchases require more research and content review. Customers are educated and informed, and are looking for vendors who understand their pain points and are knowledgeable in the industry. McKinsey research shows that as many as two-thirds of B2B deals are lost before a formal request for proposal process even begins.

Despite innovation in production, manufacturers have made few changes when it comes to the alignment of sales and marketing over recent years. In the past, many manufacturing companies have seen the role of marketing as a department that is just for brochure creation and website updates. As it gets harder than ever for manufacturers to convince their customers and prospects that they are the best option, leading companies are finding that investment in marketing is giving them the competitive advantage.

Why is marketing important for Manufacturers?

Great marketing is critical if you are to convince potential buyers that they should choose your company or products. Marketing will identify where customers are, what they want, new opportunities within the market, new or underserved markets, how information flows through the company and how the customer experience can be leveraged as a differentiator.

Traditional marketing is still prevalent among manufactures despite increasingly low effectiveness. A study by the Content Management Institute found that 85% of manufacturing marketers still utilise print and offline promotion to distribute content, and yet only 34% find it effective! All industries, manufacturing or otherwise, are making the switch from traditional marketing tactics to inbound marketing (i.e. blogging, social media, video etc.).

Becoming customer-obsessed in acquiring, serving and retaining customers is no longer a differentiator, but a necessity for modern manufacturers. To grow your business, manufacturers need to become customer-centric in the design of their systems, processes and practices, and instill a culture that supports a customer-focused operating model.

Great marketing tactics should reach your target audience through a variety of methods and be in every place that the audience is searching for a solution. Marketing becomes your catalyst for invention, improving customer insight and engagement.

With an effective marketing strategy and tactical plan, you can:

• Use business intelligence and customer behaviour to identify and drive new sales opportunities

• Expand the identity and presence of your company in the market, in an impactful, differentiated way

• Identify and create new opportunities to sell products, whether via new markets or new applications of your products or services

• Shape the customer experience through all touch points in your organisation, and leverage it as a competitive differentiator

• Identify unserved or underserved gaps in the market where your company can design and create new solutions to customer challenges

While some manufacturers continue to focus on simply expanding and pushing sales, they will quickly learn that they are not competing effectively. If you want to grow your market and revenue, go back to designing and developing a true marketing strategy. Manufacturing companies need their marketing departments to lead from the front, aligned with sales goals, and optimising all activity to improve ROI.

The role of the marketer in a manufacturing company now needs to focus on pulling in your customers by creating a personalised experience that resonates with them. The path to purchase is no longer linear – it is a collection of moments that influence a customer to purchase your product. A huge component of modern marketing involves producing content that moves prospects through the buyer’s journey, resulting in sales qualified leads and saving your company both time and money.

This is a change manufacturing has to make. Those unwilling to meet the demands of the new era and fail to adopt modern customer-focused marketing strategies, risk being left behind.

GetSet Midlands offer marketing services for Manufacturers

Many larger manufacturers have their own sizable marketing teams, however most small to medium sized manufacturers simple can’t justify this. As a result it may make sense to outsource your marketing function to GetSet Midlands who understand the requirements of 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 grow thanks to our finance and marketing experience within the manufacturing industry. We are ideally placed to consult on and create the right marketing strategy for you.

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