Updated: May 4
For decades, industrial and manufacturing marketing has focused on the same three areas - drumming up leads at trade shows, cold calling for sales, and using the little black book and the offer of an enticing steak dinner to make sales. This strategy made sense up until this point, as most B2B orientated companies derive their revenue from existing customers.
But as manufacturers and engineering companies look to find ways to release products to market faster and cut out the middleman to control pricing and costs, these methods are rapidly dying a death - they simply don’t work with younger, tech-savvy buyers.
Especially, as manufacturing and engineering companies trying to launch new innovative products to market. It doesn’t make sense to try and launch innovative products using outdated and less- than - innovative marketing strategies. The two things don’t align - think about it, you spend all of that time (if you're doing things properly), brainstorming ideas, performing extensive research, designing, prototyping, and testing your innovative ideas, just to try and sell them to the same old people, with the same old stale, fixed mindsets. It doesn't work. They aren't ready for it.
Now, that’s not to say that some of your more traditional B2B buyers aren’t going to come along on the journey with you, but it does mean that if you’re ready to tap into new audiences and want to attract new buyers then you’ll very likely need to consider also adopting a different more business-to-consumer (B2C) type of approach.
So, here are 5 things that manufacturing and engineering companies can do to bring their outdated marketing tactics in line with their innovative product development plans, to reach new customers.
1 - Understand who it is that you want to target
I’ll hammer this point until I'm blue in the face. Before you can do anything else, you need to understand who it is that you’re trying to market to and what it is that they want. If you invest the time upfront in doing the research to understand who your B2C customers are, you can create highly focused, successful campaigns to target them - but only once you know who it is that you’re talking to.
2- Make sure that your front-end, customer-facing systems are suitable
You need to make sure that your customer-facing systems are up to scratch. This means that you have a website that is visually appealing and that showcases your products and services in a way that B2C customers are used to buying from. As opposed to the more traditional catalog-style approach that we tend to see from the manufacturing and engineering companies. You also need to consider the usability of your customer-facing systems and make sure that you are easy to buy from. B2C customers often want to make instant purchases through your website - are they able to do this?
3- Start building your email marketing list
Every B2C marketer knows that their email contacts list is the most valuable asset they own. An email list allows you to keep in contact with your audience and is much more powerful than simply using social media marketing to target clients. If you want to start selling directly to consumers, then you need to implement marketing strategies that will grow your marketing email list. - This is your new black book!
4 - Personalise your interactions
I’m a big fan of leveraging the small things that can make a really big difference. Personalisation is one of those things. As customers, we hate feeling like a number. We want to feel special. If you want to make a big impact, quickly - focus on ways in which you can personalise the interactions that you have with your customers.
5 - Come up with a strong marketing plan for your B2C audience, dedicate some effort and execute
Only 31% of manufacturers have a documented B2C marketing strategy, yet one of the top goals for manufacturers is brand awareness. - Here’s a quick insider (not so secret) secret - marketing creates brand awareness. Put a plan in place, dedicate some resources and reap the benefits.
Charlotte Fuller is an award-winning digital transformation consultant. She helps manufacturing SMEs get to the heart of what their customers want, so they can create competitive, customer-led digital strategies to grow their business. Take her FREE QUIZ to find out what digital technology is right for your manufacturing SME here.