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Industrial marketing for manufacturers

Overcoming the Challenges of Industrial Marketing for Manufacturers: Strategies for Lead Generation and Growing Sales

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Industrial marketing for manufacturers is complicated, with many moving parts that must mesh together to produce measurable and sustainable results, i.e., generate better quality leads that turn into sales opportunities.

Let’s look at this problem from the perspective of an owner of a small to mid-sized manufacturing company, the Sales Manager, or the VP of Business Development, and finally, from the point of view of the Marketing Manager to understand why s/he needs outsourced help to improve their industrial marketing ROI.

You may notice some overlap between the challenges for different roles. You may face other challenges but these seem most common in my conversations with manufacturers and industrial companies.

Industrial Marketing for Manufacturers: Perspective of a Founder/Owner of a Manufacturing Company

As the owner of a small to mid-sized manufacturing company, I face several significant challenges in growing our business. These challenges are common among companies of our size and often require strategic solutions to overcome. Here are some of the biggest hurdles we encounter and how industrial marketing can assist us in achieving our goals:

  • Limited Resources: One of the most significant challenges for small to mid-sized manufacturing companies is limited resources, including budget, manpower, and time. Industrial marketing for manufacturers offers solutions that allow us to maximize our resources. For example, industrial content marketing can be a cost-efficient way to engage with our target audience and showcase our expertise without requiring a significant financial investment.
  • Competition from Larger Players: Competing with larger manufacturing companies with more extensive resources and brand recognition can be daunting. Industrial marketing for manufacturers helps level the playing field by allowing us to target niche markets and communicate our unique value proposition effectively. By focusing on our strengths and differentiating ourselves from larger competitors, we can carve out a space for our brand in the marketplace.
  • Reaching Target Audience: Identifying and reaching our target audience of engineers, procurement managers, and other technical decision-makers within industries can be challenging. Industrial marketing strategies such as search engine optimization (SEO), targeted advertising, and content marketing enable us to connect with the right audience online. We can increase visibility and attract potential customers by optimizing our digital presence and delivering relevant content to our target audience.
  • Building Brand Awareness: Building brand awareness is crucial for small to mid-sized manufacturing companies looking to expand their customer base. Industrial marketing tactics such as social media, email, and thought leadership content help us increase brand visibility and establish ourselves as industry experts. We can raise brand awareness and attract new customers by consistently engaging with our target audience across various channels.
  • Demonstrating Value Proposition: Effectively communicating our value proposition is essential for persuading potential customers to choose our products or services over competitors. Industrial marketing helps us showcase our unique selling points through targeted messaging, case studies, and customer testimonials. By demonstrating our value to customers and addressing their pain points, we can convince them of the benefits of choosing our offerings. (See How Manufacturers Can Use Content for Differentiation and Create a Competitive Edge).
  • Generating Quality Leads: Generating high-quality leads is critical for driving business growth. Industrial marketing tactics such as content marketing, lead nurturing campaigns and targeted advertising help us attract leads that are more likely to convert into customers. By providing valuable content and solutions to our target audience’s challenges, we can effectively capture their interest and guide them through the sales funnel.
  • Measuring ROI: Like any business investment, we need to measure our marketing efforts’ return on investment (ROI). Industrial marketing provides us with tools and metrics to track the performance of our campaigns, allowing us to measure the impact of our marketing activities on business outcomes such as lead generation, sales, and revenue. By analyzing data and making data-driven decisions, we can optimize our marketing strategies for maximum effectiveness.

Industrial Marketing for Manufacturers: Point of View of a Sales Manager/Director of Marketing

As the Sales Manager or VP of Business Development of a small to mid-sized manufacturing company, I encounter several significant challenges in growing our business. These challenges often require strategic solutions to overcome and drive sustainable growth. Here are some of the biggest hurdles we face and how industrial marketing can assist us in achieving our goals:

  • Limited Market Visibility: One of the primary challenges is limited market visibility, especially when competing against larger players in the industry. Industrial marketing plays a crucial role in increasing our brand’s visibility and awareness among our target audience. By leveraging strategies such as content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing, we can enhance our online presence and reach a broader audience of potential customers.
  • Long Sales Cycles: Sales cycles in the manufacturing industry tend to be longer due to the complexity of products and decision-making processes. Industrial marketing helps facilitate these longer sales cycles by providing valuable educational content that nurtures leads throughout their journey. By delivering informative content such as whitepapers, case studies, and webinars, we can educate potential customers, build trust, and guide them through the sales funnel more effectively.
  • Technical Sales Process: Selling technical products or solutions requires a deep understanding of the customer’s needs and technical specifications. Industrial marketing assists in this process by providing relevant technical content that addresses our target audience’s specific challenges and requirements. By creating detailed product documentation, specification sheets, and technical articles, we can empower our sales team with the resources they need to communicate our value to potential customers effectively.
  • Competitive Landscape: The manufacturing industry is highly competitive, with numerous companies vying for market share. Industrial marketing helps us differentiate ourselves from competitors by highlighting our unique value proposition and strengths. By developing targeted messaging and positioning ourselves as industry experts through thought leadership content, we can stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract customers who value our expertise and offerings.
  • Lead Generation and Qualification: Generating high-quality leads and systematically qualifying them are essential for driving business growth. Industrial marketing tactics such as content marketing, email marketing, and targeted advertising help us attract leads that are more likely to convert into customers. By creating compelling content that addresses the pain points of our target audience and implementing lead scoring and nurturing processes, we can identify and prioritize leads with the highest potential for conversion.

Why Would a Marketing Manager of a Manufacturing Company Outsource Industrial Marketing Tasks?

As the Marketing Manager at a small to mid-sized manufacturing company, there are several reasons why seeking outside help can be beneficial in improving our marketing ROI:

“59% of respondents said their organization outsources at least one content marketing activity. Their top challenge is finding partners with adequate topical expertise (60%).” (Source: The Content Marketing Institute).

  • Expertise and Specialization: Outside agencies or consultants often bring specialized expertise in industrial marketing that may not be available in-house. They have experience working with manufacturing companies and understand the unique challenges and opportunities within the industry. Their specialized knowledge can help identify effective strategies and tactics to improve marketing ROI.
  • Resource Constraints: Small to mid-sized manufacturing companies may have limited resources, including budget, manpower, and time, to dedicate to marketing efforts. Outsourcing certain marketing tasks can help alleviate these resource constraints by leveraging external resources and expertise. This allows the internal marketing team to focus on core strategic initiatives while external partners handle specific tasks.
  • Access to Tools and Technology: Marketing agencies often have access to advanced tools, technology, and analytics platforms that may not be affordable or practical for small to mid-sized companies to invest in independently. These tools can provide valuable insights and data-driven recommendations to optimize marketing strategies and improve ROI.
  • Fresh Perspective: Outside agencies or consultants bring a fresh perspective to marketing initiatives. They can offer new ideas, creative solutions, and innovative approaches that may not have been considered internally. This fresh perspective can help break through existing barriers and drive more effective marketing campaigns.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Outsourcing marketing tasks provides scalability and flexibility to adapt to changing business needs and market conditions. External partners can quickly scale up or down based on demand, allowing the company to maintain agility and responsiveness in its marketing efforts.

Specific industrial marketing tasks that could be outsourced to improve marketing ROI include:

  • Content Creation: Outsourcing content creation tasks such as blog writing, whitepapers, case studies, and technical articles can help ensure a consistent flow of high-quality content that resonates with the target audience.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is crucial for improving online visibility and driving organic traffic to the company’s website. Outsourcing SEO tasks such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building can help improve search engine rankings and increase website traffic.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Managing PPC advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Outsourcing PPC advertising tasks to a qualified agency can help optimize campaigns, maximize ad spend, and improve ROI.
  • Social Media Management: Managing social media accounts and creating engaging content requires dedicated time and resources. Outsourcing social media management tasks such as content creation, scheduling, and community engagement can help maintain a consistent presence on social platforms and drive engagement with the target audience.
  • Email Marketing: Email marketing is a powerful tool for nurturing leads and driving conversions. Outsourcing email marketing tasks such as campaign management, list segmentation, and performance tracking can help improve email deliverability, engagement rates, and overall effectiveness.

By outsourcing these tasks to external partners with expertise in industrial marketing, I can focus on strategic planning, analysis, and optimization to improve overall marketing ROI and drive business growth.

You may have noticed that increasing brand awareness is a common challenge. Yet, when I talk to manufacturing prospects, our conversations inevitably start with, “We need more leads.”

85% of manufacturing marketers successfully use content marketing to create brand awareness. The fact is that manufacturing branding directly impacts the quality of the leads generated. Look at this chart from the 2023 Insights Manufacturing Content Marketing report published by the Content Marketing Institute.

Manufacturing content marketing increases brand awareness

To summarize, industrial marketing offers strategic solutions to help small to mid-sized manufacturing companies overcome challenges and achieve their business goals. By leveraging cost-effective tactics, targeting niche markets, building brand awareness, communicating our value proposition, generating quality leads, and measuring ROI, industrial marketing enables us to compete effectively in the marketplace and drive business growth.

Tiecas has extensive knowledge and over 35 years of hands-on experience in marketing to engineers and industrial buyers. If you want to improve your industrial marketing ROI, contact us today for strategic help tailored to your manufacturing business. Let’s Talk.

Achinta Mitra

Achinta Mitra calls himself a “marketing engineer” because he combines his engineering education and an MBA with 35+ years of practical manufacturing and industrial marketing experience. You want an expert with an insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s objectivity who can point you in the right direction immediately. That's Achinta. He is the Founder of Tiecas, Inc., a manufacturing marketing agency in Houston, Texas. Read Achinta's story here.
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