Manufacturing companies have a lot of information to share. They tend to focus their marketing efforts on content about their products and services—as they should. Many leave one of their strongest assets on the table—marketing their people.
Insights and information shared by the people who manufacture products is a refreshing and often unexpected addition to corporate marketing. It not only recognizes the individuals and teams who develop, make and bring items to market, but it can also highlight their commitment and passion for creating exceptional products.
This strategy isn’t new. For years, vehicle manufacturers have highlighted their people alongside their products, effectively showing the human side of their business.
At Mezzanine B2B Growth Agents, we often find ourselves pointing out the lack of employees featured in campaigns, product launches and on company websites when advising manufacturing companies. Many understand that their workforce is their greatest strength—but don’t quite know how to position them front and centre. We have learned that employees can help tell a business or product story and build customer loyalty and trust.
Here are a few ways to effectively market your personnel:
Re-imagine Corporate Imagery
It’s true. A picture is worth a thousand words. Include people as part of your dynamic, vibrant design to capture your audience and set your business apart from competitors.
Humanize the digital sales and marketing process by putting faces to names and/or roles across your organization. A professional photographer can help create an appealing representation of your business by adding life and personality to your brand. Great imagery shows what your business makes and how it’s done. It invites customers into your business world and shows them around without needing to stop production or gear up.
Hire a photographer to get professional headshots of real people in your company. Headshots do not need to be formal dress office photos. They can be taken at their workstation or other location that shows a bit of what they actually do. Also capture images of the work being done in various areas around your organization including in the factory, in meeting spaces and in offices. Make sure locations are clean and clutter-free and that nothing confidential or proprietary is caught in the background.
We can’t emphasize the importance of using a professional photographer enough. Don’t leave such a critical piece of your branding to an amateur. Here are 4 reasons why you need to hire a photographer.
Create Connections using your Company’s Website
People want to work with and buy from people. Consider developing a dedicated team page on your website to feature some of the key players and roles in your business. Include a headshot and profile description or quote from each person.
Highlight individuals from across your organization, not just the C-Suite. Do you have staff who are exceptional in some way or long-term employees? Do you have people who vocalize their commitment to your products? Have they helped your business get ahead or inspired others to perform well? Make sure to add more photos of people working on your various product pages.
Related Reading: Marketing Matters for your B2B Company: How to Get Started
Brochures and Collateral
Where appropriate, use real people in product and promotional material. Include them in collateral and acknowledge their achievements.
Cultivate Thought Leadership
Develop content based on team insights gained from working on specific products or projects. Leverage your team’s knowledge and experience to develop case studies, whitepapers, blog posts, speaking engagements and more. These are highly content-driven tactics and can be repurposed across multiple marketing channels. Over time, these activities will establish your company as a subject-matter expert within your niche.
Get Social with Social Media
Social media is a great way to connect with people. They can be powerful tools to encourage and motivate internal and external audiences. Use them to create excitement with customers leading up to new product launches and important developments and comradery with your employees.
Much like an intranet, many social platforms allow users to create private groups, where you can let your people know about changes and progress on projects before everyone else. Much of the content can later be adapted for public consumption as products move closer to being available to current and future customers.
Outside of an organization, social media is great not only for sharing product information, but it can also connect potential customers and employees with internal audiences and be used for recruitment. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team and publicly sharing individual and team successes could help draw new staff to your organization.
Short videos are a great way to grow company awareness, show off current and pending products and make impactful statements about your team and business. They can also be effectively re-used on your website, at presentations and across your social media channels. Keep videos short and to the point- ideally, no longer than three minutes (under a minute is best) and share one main concept on each video. Learn more about why and when to use videos and 4 steps to create them.
Incorporate Staff in Company Announcements
Speak proudly and confidently about team achievements on your company’s website, blog posts, social media like LinkedIn, and traditional media material.
Market to Internal Audiences
Marketing to an organization’s own people is as important as marketing to external audiences. Keep the people who work hard to bring products to life informed with timely internal communications to engage and involve them every step along the journey from concept to production and sale. This then creates buzz and demand when current and potential customers see the enthusiasm and dedication of the people creating the products. Here are 5 more ways to engage staff in marketing.
Celebrating the solid and dependable people behind a manufacturing company, can build excitement about new and existing products, efficiencies and company news. By creating opportunities for real team members to share their pride in the part they play in bringing products to customers, manufacturers can bring their brand and business to life.
Are you looking for more information on how your manufacturing business can effectively market one of your most valuable assets? We can help. Contact us today.
Mezzanine B2B Growth Agents specializes in B2B demand and lead generation for companies that have a complex sale. It’s all we do, so we have the depth and breadth of experience to help your manufacturing company continue to grow.
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Originally published in April 2013, this post has been updated to add new guidance and more information that was not included in the original post.