Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Manufacturing Company [2021] -
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Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Manufacturing Company

Frankly, most manufacturing companies see marketing as an afterthought. This is especially applicable when you talk about digital marketing.

Since these companies spend most of their money in production and R & D, there’s little left for

marketing. Thus, it’s no surprise that manufacturing companies spend only 2.7% of their revenue on marketing according to CMO Survey.

Think about it, what if you produce the best product in your manufacturing sector but nobody is aware of it? Of course, you’ll have a big problem selling those products.

Look through the years and it’s difficult to find a best-selling product witho

ut great marketing behind it. Therefore, great marketing is the catalyst you need to sell more of your products, boost customer retention, and increase profits. 

Beyond general marketing tactics, you need to invest in digital marketing. Why? Because it’s the best way to reach your ideal B2B customers.

According to Google research, 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process. Therefore, you have the opportunity to deliver the right message at the right time to convert them to your customers.

In this manufacturing marketing guide, we’ll show you how to create demand for your products, capture existing demand, and retain customers through digital marketing. Let’s go into the details.

The move from traditional to digital marketing

In the past, manufacturing companies have used trade shows, phone calls, and other traditional means to reach out to potential customers.

However, those methods are now less effective as manufacturing buyers can research many manufacturers online before making a purchase. To illustrate, 84% of content consumption by engineers is digital.

Considering that the manufacturing sales process is a long cycle, buyers need a lot of information to determine if your product is a great fit. Moreso, this information will help engineers convince decision-makers in their company that your product is worth the investment.

This is why you need to embrace digital marketing to provide the information your buyers need at different stages of the sales funnel. These stages include the awareness, interest and evaluation, desire, action, and re-engagement stages.

Some channels to provide information to your audience include blog posts, product specification pages, frequently answered questions (FAQs), SEO, PPC, landing pages, and more.

As a matter of fact, buyers now obtain these pieces of information before making their purchase decision. If you have a poor digital marketing strategy, you’re already losing buyers and a lot of revenue.

In a moment, we’ll explain the process you need to launch high-converting marketing campaigns.

The B2B Growth Blueprint

Create detailed buyer personas

Not everyone can buy your product. That’s why marketing to the general public is a waste of time and resources.

By producing messages for the masses, you can attract cold leads that are unlikely to become customers in the long run. To run effective marketing campaigns, you need to create detailed buyer personas.

What is a buyer persona? A buyer persona is a piece of document that contains as many details as possible about your ideal customers.

This include details such as:

  • Name
  • Location
  • Income
  • Age
  • Ambition
  • Pain points they want to eliminate
  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Marital status and number of kids 
  • Results their bosses expect

Buyer Persona Sample Template

There are even more details you can add based on the information you need about your ideal customer. Having a detailed buyer persona will help you understand your buyer’s thought process and present the right marketing messages. By presenting the messages they need, you can convince them to buy.

Since manufacturing products are usually B2B products, you’ll need a few buyer personas. After all, many people are involved in the purchase.

For instance, an engineer who will use the product may conduct product research to find the best product for their needs. Then, the engineer will present their recommendations to an executive who is their boss.

If the boss approves their recommendation, the procurement officer and engineer may complete the purchase. These people need different information. Therefore, you need different buyer personas for your target accounts to provide relevant information to each party.

To create a buyer persona, you’ll have to conduct market research and use details of your current customers. 

If you’ve never created a buyer persona, it might look like an arduous task. Luckily, you’ll find persona templates and examples online. Here’s a B2B persona example from the Buffer:

If you work with a marketing agency, they can create buyer personas that will be unique to your business needs.

By using buyer personas, you can target the right people with the right marketing messages. Consequently, it becomes easier to convince them to buy your manufacturing products.

Set marketing goals

Since businesses spend thousands of dollars on marketing, they expect results. But what results exactly?

Every marketing campaign should have a defined expected result. Without that, it’s easy to waste your time and resources running the campaign.

That’s why setting marketing goals is key to running a successful campaign. For starters, your goal determines your marketing strategy. 

Then, it’s easy to judge the failure or success of your marketing campaigns. For example, if your marketing campaign goal is to acquire 50 leads, you can easily determine if you’ve achieved your goal.

What are some common goals you can set for your marketing campaigns?

  • Increase brand awareness 
  • Increase reach 
  • Acquire web traffic
  • Create demand for your manufacturing products and services 
  • Acquire qualified leads
  • Boost sales

When you set any of these goals, or a goal outside the list, you need to set it properly. This means you need to use the SMART framework to set clear goals.

SMART Goals for Manufacturing Marketing

For example, a SMART goal could be: acquire 50 leads from a marketing campaign that will run for a month. This goal should be achievable and, of course, acquiring leads is a relevant goal.

By setting SMART goals, you’ll form the right strategies and give your marketing campaigns a sense of direction.

RELATED: Why Is Goal Setting Important to Inbound Marketing?

Use marketing automation tools

Many years ago, marketers had to engage in many manual tasks that wasted their time and energy. These tasks include organizing leads, sending emails to individuals, sending blast emails, and more.

It’s no surprise that apart from time wastage, marketers can’t perform those tasks efficiently. Besides, these manual tasks take time that marketers can spend connecting with leads to convert them.

But with marketing automation, the situation has vastly improved. Put simply, marketing automation has provided capabilities that enhance marketers’ results while spending less time working.

Most marketers who use marketing automation tools wonder how they survived without it long ago. Talking about marketing automation tools, the tool you use will influence your marketing results.

Therefore, an ideal marketing automation tool should be able to perform tasks and provide information such as:

  • Contact/lead management
  • Automated email sequences
  • Reminders
  • Lead scoring
  • Social media marketing
  • Analytics
  • User onboarding
  • Customer retention

Beyond these benefits, marketing automation strengthens collaboration between marketing and sales departments. The marketing department can send qualified leads to sales, and sales reps can see leads’ past interactions with your business.

As a result, sales reps will have more information to convert leads. That said, what are examples of robust marketing automation tools today?

Best Marketing Automation Tools for Manufacturing

Some of them are:

  • HubSpot
  • Salesforce
  • Zoho CRM
  • Pipedrive
  • Active Campaign
  • Marketo

At OneIMS, we use HubSpot. With HubSpot, you have access to CRM, sales, and marketing tools. Beyond that, there are CMS, service, and operations hubs to help you manage your business effectively.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Leverage HubSpot for B2B Lead Generation

Using the right marketing automation tool will save time and energy. But beyond that, it will improve your marketers’ effectiveness and results.

The B2B Growth Blueprint

Manufacturing marketing campaign breakdown by company revenue 

All manufacturing companies can’t approach marketing the same way. That’s because each company has unique needs.

A new company is usually more concerned about making profits and staying afloat. Therefore, they may be more frugal about spending on marketing.

On the other side of the scale, an established manufacturing company may be looking to improve its brand image and acquire more market share. In this case, they can spend much more on marketing.

Usually, you’ll find that the amount of your manufacturing company’s revenue tells a lot about your strength in your industry or product category. Especially when you compare with your competitors.

CHECK THIS: Digital Marketing for Manufacturers

Below, we’ll analyze possible marketing strategies that manufacturing companies can employ based on their revenues.

A. 0 – 5 million

Priorities

If your company is in this revenue range, you want to establish your brand online. This includes having a professional website and providing content for visitors. 

Furthermore, you want to stay afloat and become profitable. At this point, you want to create a sales and marketing playbook that will contain your processes.

Team Structure

You probably have a few employees. So, there are one or two people in the marketing and sales departments. 

Sometimes, a salesperson may take on the job of marketing. This can make the work too much for one person, and, consequently, has its disadvantages.

First, the marketer or salesperson can’t be an expert in all the tasks. Second, it will affect marketing results negatively.

Strategy

  • Website design and content: since buyers will visit your website, you need a professional and mobile-friendly website. Also, you need content on your pages to provide the information buyers need.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): while creating content, you want to target keywords that your buyers are likely to search on Google and other search engines. Although, it might be challenging to rank for some keywords due to heavy competition.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads: since SEO can take time, PPC provides the opportunity to get fast results. You can run ads for important keywords your prospects are searching for.
  • Social media marketing: social media is an opportunity for brands to connect with their audience. You can set up business accounts on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Due to the marketing budget and personnel constraints, you might be unable to exploit these platforms fully for the best results possible. Furthermore, you may settle for short-term strategies due to your budget. 

After all, you want to create campaigns that will contribute to the bottom line in the short term. As a result, you may prefer to capture already existing demand and nurture those leads rather than wait to create demand.

KPIs

The key performance indicators for these campaigns include:

  • Acquiring web traffic
  • Generating leads
  • Acquiring customers

This makes sense since you want to acquire customers to increase profits and stay afloat.

Critical Success Factors

Since you have a small in-house marketing team, you likely need external help. Otherwise, your campaigns might struggle to reach their targets. 

Getting external help could be in form of hiring freelancers to perform tasks such as writing, SEO, ad copy, design, and more. Alternatively, you can hire a marketing agency to run marketing campaigns for you. 

In some cases, the person in your team can be a point person to find the right marketing agency and relate your targets to them. Furthermore, your employee can relate your brand voice to the agency.

CHECK THIS: How to Find the Right Manufacturing Marketing Agency

The B2B Growth Blueprint

B. 5 – 10 million

Priorities

As you become bigger, you want to consolidate your gains to increase revenue and acquire more market share. For instance, you want to retain your customers. Moreso, you want to reach more potential buyers and acquire more leads.

Team Structure

At this point, you want to have marketing and sales departments with more employees. Of course, there will still be a few employees in charge of many tasks. 

Furthermore, you want to invest in more marketing tools to get better results from your campaigns.

Strategy

  • Website and content marketing: at this stage, you’ll invest more in content, especially on your blog. You may create a content calendar to organize your content creation efforts. Also, beyond product information pages, you’ll add landing pages to capture leads. Another way to improve your website is to add a chatbot. With a chatbot, you can answer the common questions visitors have about your products and services.
  • Search engine optimization: by creating more content, you have the opportunity to target more valuable keywords on search engines.
  • PPC ads: with a bigger marketing budget, you can now launch more ads to attract targeted traffic to your landing pages. PPC ads allow you to capture existing demand for your products. 
  • Social media marketing: you now have a better social media strategy. In addition, you can use social media scheduling tools to plan your social media posts and engage with your audience. Likewise, you can run ads on a B2B platform like LinkedIn. This way, you can educate them and create demand.
  • Influencer marketing: usually, you’ll focus more on micro-influencers than macro-influencers. Micro-influencers are industry experts who have more influence on industry buyers. In light of that, they can publish social media posts, guest posts, and more, to capture demand and boost your sales.
  • Video marketing: you can now afford to create videos at different stages of your sales funnel. Since B2B buyers watch videos before making their purchase, you can create educational videos, testimonials, case studies, and more. With videos, you can create and capture demand.

At this point, your marketing strategy may be more geared towards capturing existing demand and nurturing your leads to convert them. There may be a feeling that you’re yet to exploit the existing demand fully.

Therefore, you may slow down on launching campaigns to create demand.

KPIs

Key performance indicators include:

  • Website traffic
  • Organic traffic 
  • Landing page conversion rates
  • Cost per lead (CPL)
  • Number of acquired leads
  • Number of acquired customers

You can add more key performance indicators according to your marketing goals.

Critical Success Factors 

In this case, you have a marketing team but will still need external help. For example, you can still need freelancers for rare tasks such as website redesign, landing page design, and more.

If you want to run marketing campaigns regularly, you can employ a marketing agency with the capacity and experience to run your campaigns. You’ll find this is cheaper compared to hiring 2 or 3 more full-time employees. Again, a marketing agency already has a team of well-trained experts which can make your campaign execution faster and more effective.

The B2B Growth Blueprint

C. 10 – 20 million

Priorities

At this revenue level, you have enough money to run more marketing campaigns. Your business survival is less of a concern compared to growth.

So, you can set a marketing budget as a percentage of your revenue or based on your goals. Therefore, you may expand your marketing team to include experts such as a content writer, social media marketer, and more.

Team Structure

With this system, you’ll have a marketing manager who oversees your marketing team. The manager also makes decisions on your marketing strategy.

Another critical task for the marketing manager is to ensure collaboration between the marketing and sales team.

Strategy

  • Content marketing: since you have a bigger budget, you can create more content. Y. Likewise, you can write guest posts for industry blogs to reach your ideal audience.
  • Search engine optimization: you can target more competitive keywords as you have a more authoritative website and produce better content.
  • PPC ads: you can spend more on these ads to target more valuable keywords. Likewise, you can target keywords at different stages of the sales funnel.
  • Social media marketing: now, you have a more defined social media strategy. For instance, you can create demand by educating your audience. 
  • Influencer marketing: you can collaborate with more influencers. In addition, you can use tools to track the effectiveness of each influencer and your influencer marketing efforts.
  • Video marketing: in addition to videos on your website pages, you can add YouTube to your marketing mix. This helps you to attract more people in your industry who watch videos. You can provide more information to create demand for your products.
  • Conversion rate optimization: since you now have more landing pages for your campaign, you want to optimize those pages for maximum conversions. Apart from landing pages, you can also optimize lead capture forms on your blog pages.

At this stage, you run marketing campaigns to create demand, capture existing demand, and nurture your leads to convert them. Due to your range of products and services, some dynamic products require that you create demand while popular ones require that you capture demand.

KPIs

The key performance indicators include:

  • Traffic to lead conversion rates 
  • Landing page conversion rates
  • Number of acquired leads 
  • Number of acquired customers 

You can have more depending on your needs and marketing goals.

Critical Success Factors 

You have a marketing team with members that are experts in various aspects of marketing. You can still hire freelancers for tasks you’re unable to perform in-house.

Another option you have is consulting with a marketing agency to run some of your campaigns or provide other forms of expertise.

The B2B Growth Blueprint

D. 20 – 50 million

Priorities

You’re one of the leaders in your product category. Therefore, you want to improve brand awareness and acquire qualified leads to take the leadership position in your category. 

You also have a bigger marketing budget for different types of marketing campaigns. As a result, you can do more buyer research to focus on the best channels to reach your ideal buyers.

Team Structure

You have a marketing team with employees for different marketing tasks such as written content, social media, ads, videos, and more.

Alternatively, you can have a small marketing team that will collaborate with a marketing agency. This way, your in-house marketers can relate your unique needs and targets to the marketing agency that will execute your campaigns.

Strategy

  • Content marketing: since you have a team of writers or use a marketing agency, you can produce more content. You can also create topic clusters and pillar pages. This way, your blog can become an authority on some topics in your industry. Beyond blog posts, FAQs, landing pages, you can also create lead magnets such as ebooks, whitepapers, and more. 
  • Search engine optimization: you can create content with valuable keywords in mind. With SEO experts working for you, they can perform on-page and off-page SEO to give your website the best chance of ranking on Google.
  • PPC ads: with a bigger budget, you can pay to rank high for keywords where SEO is ultra-competitive. Furthermore, you can target keywords that buyers use when searching for your competitors. This will help you convert some of them to your customers.
  • Social media marketing: on social media, you can run campaigns for brand awareness, lead acquisition, customer acquisition, and more. You can also take it further with social listening to understand what people are saying about your industry, brand, and competitors.
  • Influencer marketing: since you run a big brand, you can even find influencers who are already your customers. This makes it easier to find influencers to promote your brand and products.
  • Video marketing: you can create more and better videos as you hire experts to create videos. Moreso, you can host webinars to educate your audience about your industry and create demand in the process.
  • Podcasts: considering that B2B buyers are busy people, many of them want easy-to-consume content formats. And this is what podcasts offer them. With 104 million Americans listening to podcasts at least once a month, you can reach many of your potential buyers.
  • Conversion rate optimization: you want to convert more of your visitors to leads and customers. Therefore, you can hire a CRO expert to optimize your landing pages and other web pages. You can also use CRO tools.

Since you commit to R & D to develop groundbreaking products in your industry, you’ll have great products that people don’t know. Therefore, you may need to create demand by educating your audience about the benefits they can derive from these products.

In addition, you continue to capture existing demand for your popular products. Then, you run campaigns to nurture your leads and retain customers.

KPIs 

The key performance indicators include:

  • Website conversion rates
  • Landing page conversion rates 
  • Visit to leads conversion rates
  • Lead to customer conversion rates
  • Social media leads

There are more key performance indicators you can add according to your marketing targets.

Critical Success Factors 

A lot of your success depends on your in-house marketing team. You have a chief marketing officer who is in charge of your marketing strategy.

Your CMO will determine the tasks to perform in-house, through a freelancer, or in collaboration with a marketing agency.

The B2B Growth Blueprint

E. 50+ million

Priorities 

You’re probably an industry leader and trendsetter. You want to create new products and market them to consolidate your lead in the manufacturing sector.

Likewise, you’ll want to satisfy your shareholders if your company is publicly traded. This is by making more profits.

Team Structure 

At this point, you have a bigger team of marketing experts. Your CMO is the head of the marketing department.

Therefore, the marketing experts in the team report to them. Furthermore, the CMO supervises the campaigns and tracks results from them.

Strategy

  • Content marketing: beyond all the content marketing strategies mentioned earlier, you can also engage in brand building. You can invest in PR content for product announcements and your other efforts in society.
  • Search engine optimization: you can segment your target keywords based on the searcher’s intent. Is the keyword informational, commercial, or transactional? You can optimize your pages to meet these intents.
  • PPC ads: beyond product promotion, you can run PPC ads for other reasons such as brand awareness, PR, and more.
  • Social media marketing: in addition to the social media marketing strategies mentioned earlier, you want to take feedback from your audience. Likewise, you want to acquire user-generated content. Another effective strategy is to use employee advocacy. 
  • Influencer marketing: you can run influencer marketing and track the results for your brand.
  • Video marketing: in your videos, you can feature more of your employees and explain how your company and products contribute to a better society.
  • Email marketing: to nurture your leads, it’s vital to create automated email sequences that send personalized messages to prospects. 
  • Marketing automation: by using marketing automation tools, you can save time and other resources by automating repetitive manual tasks.
  • Account-based marketing: since there are big B2B buyers that can contribute a lot to your bottom line, you can create personalized marketing strategies for these accounts. This will consider their unique needs from your products.

As an industry leader, many B2B buyers already know your brand. So, a part of your campaign is to capture demand for your popular products.

But to maintain and consolidate your lead in the industry, you need to manufacture new products. For these new products, you need to create demands as most of your buyers are unaware of these products and their benefits.

Furthermore, you have a big customer base that you want to retain. Therefore, some of your campaigns are towards onboarding and retaining your customers. 

KPIs

The key performance indicators include:

  • Revenue growth
  • Customer growth
  • Website conversion rates
  • Landing page conversion rates
  • Public sentiment
  • Market share

For your campaigns, there are other KPIs based on your marketing goals.

Critical Success Factors 

For the best results possible, the chief marketing officer determines the direction of your marketing efforts. Based on your buyer personas, they’ll settle on channels to use and effective strategies. 

Likewise, they’ll outsource some tasks to freelancers and a marketing agency when needed.

The B2B Growth Blueprint

Spend your marketing budget effectively

Even if you’re spending a low percentage of your revenue on marketing, it probably still amounts to thousands of dollars. How do you obtain the best results possible from your budget?

You have to consider how you’ll spend your budget while planning your marketing campaign. Essentially, you need to account for all the possible costs for your campaigns.

These include:

  • Cost of ads
  • Content costs
  • Cost of man-hours
  • Payment for tools
  • Website maintenance costs

In some cases, there might be marketing costs unique to your business. For instance, buying new computer systems for your marketing department is a rare and unique cost. You need to state these costs too.

READ THIS: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Reducing Customer Acquisition Cost for B2B Companies 

Once you do that, you can make adjustments to adapt your costs to your budget. Evidently, your budget will determine the marketing strategy and channels you’ll employ.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to obtain the maximum output from your marketing budget:

  • Determine your sales cycle: How long does it take to turn a lead into a customer? As a manufacturing company, this can take a long time as buyers do due diligence before purchase. You have to make your budget work throughout this period.
  • Spend budget according to marketing goals: since your goals determine your strategy and the platforms you’ll use, it also dictates the amount of money you’ll spend.
  • Research execution strategy: a common dilemma you can face is whether you carry out marketing tasks in-house, use freelancers, or hire a marketing agency. Another option is to combine them depending on tasks. For instance, it’s probably more cost-effective to hire a freelancer for your website redesign since it’s a one-time task. If you produce a lot of content, then you can have an in-house content writer. In another sense, if you need experts to perform different marketing tasks such as content, ads, and more, then a marketing agency may be more suitable.
  • Perform competitive research: sometimes, you need to consider what your high-performing competitors are doing. What channels do they focus on? How much do they spend to acquire customers? Where do they acquire customers? This can provide insights into your budget and campaigns.

Another question you might need to answer is: How do you allocate your marketing budget?

Frankly, there’s no fixed amount or percentage of your revenue to budget on marketing. Your business should decide how much you want to have in your budget.

For instance, Salesforce spent 46% of its revenue on marketing and sales in 2018 while Johnson and Johnson spent 28% of its revenue in 2017. 

Some businesses allocate their budget by a percentage of their revenues, while some allocate based on marketing objectives. We think budgeting based on your objectives will likely lead to better results.

For instance, you’ll likely spend more to acquire customers than to increase brand awareness. Therefore, allocating your marketing budget and spending it properly will ensure you run high-converting marketing campaigns.

The B2B Growth Blueprint

Track ROI for your manufacturing marketing campaigns

After all is said and done, B2B marketing is an investment. And you want maximum returns on investment (ROI).

But how do you track your marketing campaign results and measure ROI?

Ideally, you should measure your results against the goal you set before your marketing campaign. If your goal is specific, then you already have key performance indicators (KPIs) for your marketing campaign. Thus, you know the result you’re expecting.

Another vital concern is: how do you measure your results? What tools will you use?

The type of campaign you run will determine the tools you use to measure your results. For instance, if you run a Facebook ads campaign, you’ll find your results on Facebook.

Meanwhile, if your campaign is to acquire leads on one of your website’s landing pages, you might use your customer relationship management (CRM) platform or Google Analytics to track results. 

Google Analytics to Track Marketing Results

After tracking your campaign results, you’ll need to do a bit of calculation to measure ROI since most tools don’t measure it. First, you need to determine your costs.

Usually, your overall campaign costs will include manpower costs, cost of the marketing campaign, cost of tools, and more. Once you determine all your costs, you can use this simple formula:

ROI = (Income – costs)/(costs) × 100%

But what if your campaign is to acquire web traffic or leads? These metrics can be difficult to quantify in dollar terms.

This is where a bit of calculation comes in. How much is a lead worth to you?

What’s your website’s average conversion rate? For every 100 leads you acquire, how many become customers? What is your customer lifetime value (CLV)?

If your average lead to customer conversion rate is 5% and your customer lifetime value is $20,000, then a single lead is worth $1,000. Your lead to customer conversion rates is the percentage of the number of your leads that end up becoming customers. 

Likewise, the customer lifetime value is the average amount of money a customer will spend during their time as a customer. After arriving at this value, you can compare with your costs to measure your ROI.

Overall, tracking ROI for your marketing campaigns will help you determine the success or failure of your campaign. Likewise, you can use these insights to improve your strategy in the future. 

Conclusion 

Investing in digital marketing for your manufacturing company is vital to your success. Today, your potential customers will find it difficult to visit your company and your competitors’. 

Instead, they’ll visit your websites to see the information you provide about your industry and products. If you fail to impress a prospect at this stage, they won’t reach out to you.

However, with effective marketing, you can create demand for your products, capture existing demand, and retain your customers. You can follow the strategies in this manufacturing marketing guide to start creating your winning marketing campaigns.

Nevertheless, if all these sound complicated, you can reach out to us. With our experience, we can help you launch unique marketing campaigns to achieve your goals.
The B2B Growth Blueprint

Written By Samuel Thimothy

As the Chief Growth Officer, I provide leadership, direction and resource stewardship to the organization’s sales and marketing function. I also collaborate with our digital marketing strategy team in developing and executing growth marketing campaigns for our loyal clients.

Solomon Thimothy - OneIMS CEO

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