Just like working through any problem, marketing has some rules to follow to get to the right solution. Marketing a manufacturing company is no different.
The fundamental truth is that there is one golden rule that applies whether you’re marketing orange juice, jet engines or accounting services. By following this golden rule you can market a manufacturing company - or any company, yet the vast majority of business-to-business (B2B) marketers ignore this simple rule.
It isn't about your product, your specifications, or your features. It isn't about customer service or your warranty. It certainly isn't about R&D.
The golden rule is that to market well, you need to get back to basics and embrace the reality that marketing is all about your customer, not your company, its products or services. This shouldn’t be a surprise.
Mezzanine Growth President, Lisa Shepherd wrote a book on this. Lesson #4 in Walking on the Moon, talks all about customers. Get to know your customers and always put them first. Learn about what they need and want, and deliver on that need. Embrace the helpful mindset. Everything you do needs to demonstrate how your company can help them. Nothing else matters.
How can you put this rule into practice?
One way to always put the customer first is to think like a journalist and make sure to cover the 5Ws in your marketing. Who, what, why, where and when are critical questions to ask. Getting to the heart of the 5Ws will help you articulate the benefits and advantages your products and services can provide.
Let’s go through the 5Ws.
In his book, Find Your Why, Simon Sinek says to start with ‘why’. We agree.
Begin your marketing process by finding answers to a few common questions like – why is your company here? Why does your company do what you do? Why should people choose your company over others?
When you find answers to these questions, it becomes easier to market your products and services.
Here’s an example: If you build packaging machines, why do you do it? Maybe you feel that there's too much wasteful packaging and you want to reduce waste in the consumer products industry.
Knowing your company’s why gives you a powerful edge and the ability to market your company. It brings clarity and helps align your marketing efforts accordingly.
To market a manufacturing company well, it's also absolutely vital to know WHO your customers are.
Ask yourself and your team:
- Who is our ideal customer? What is their role or responsibility? How do they make buying decisions? Is it only one person or a group of people involved in making a purchase?
- Do we know what our ideal persona wants? What motivates them to buy?
- How does our buyer research potential solutions to their problems?
Knowing WHO your buyer is and why they behave the way they do will help your team be far more efficient with your marketing dollars and time.
Need help understanding your buyers? Here are 5 tips to develop buyer personas.
Next – what is your strategy? Not your production strategy or your pricing strategy and not even your distribution strategy - we mean what is the strategy that you are going to use for building relationships with people?
One of the best ways to nurture a long-term relationship with your customers is by helping them. There are various ways this can be done – by providing them with information, educating them, and improving their current state.
This is because when you help your customers, they will respect and value you. And probably want to do business with you.
Focusing on content marketing, conducting trade shows, and hosting webinars is a good idea. The more you help your customer, the more value you will create.
Here are 6 easy content promotion tactics.
The next important question is Where? Where will you target your customers?
There are myriad channels you can use to get your message out.
It's important to choose the best channels for connecting with your prospects so that you can invest your marketing time and money accurately. Will you use trade shows, industry associations, mainstream media, online advertising, social media, direct mail, or other methods?
Many of these marketing tactics won’t blow your budget and are worth the effort.
The last piece of the puzzle is knowing the cycles in your industry, and when you should be doing more in marketing, and when you can ease up.
No industry is busy all year round. Strike while the iron is hot, and use down times to prep for when buying is happening.
This doesn't mean ever turning marketing 'off' - rather adjusting it up and down depending on the level of interest in the market.
Use the 5 Ws to Be Really Good at Marketing a Manufacturing Company. The basics are not only the best place to start, they can also be a great place to go back to when looking to reinvigorate a plan.
Looking for more? Here are 5 practical tips to find your competitive edge.
Get to know Mezzanine B2B Growth Agents and learn how our approach to customer intimacy can help your manufacturing company grow.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or setting up the very first marketing program for your manufacturing company download Marketing Matters for Your B2B Company: How To Get Started for more on how to effectively market your business.
Are you interested in learning more about how to effectively market your manufacturing business? We can help. Contact us today.
Mezzanine B2B Growth Agents specializes in B2B demand and lead generation for companies that have complex sales. It’s all we do, so we have the depth and breadth of experience to help your manufacturing company continue to grow. Get to know Mezzanine B2B Growth Agents and learn how our approach to customer intimacy can help your manufacturing company.
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive custom-crafted content and tools to help drive sustained sales growth and generate B2B leads.
Originally published in October 2018, this post has been updated to add new guidance and more information that was not included in the original post.