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By Laurel Burton, Colorado Business Advisors Marketing
Did you know that in 2013, the manufacturing industry accounted for 12 million jobs and another 17.1 million positions in indirect jobs?
It also represented the largest multiplier of any economic sector with each dollar of goods generating $1.40 in output from other economic sectors.
Increases in manufacturing mean more lucrative jobs for American workers, particularly when compared to other sectors such as healthcare and hospitality. Of course, increased growth in manufacturing means more competition.
How do you ensure that your organization maintains a competitive edge? By incorporating a strong manufacturing marketing component into your daily operations.
But where should you start when it comes to marketing for manufacturers? Here are the 15 top trends and stats that you need to know about.
1. Content Marketing Remains KingHow are you employing content as a part of your marketing strategy? If your answer is a shrug of the shoulders, then your competition is probably already getting the better of you.
You see, 86 percent of manufacturing marketers used content marketing for lead generation in 2018. Why? Because they understand its intrinsic importance to lead generation. And you should, too.
2. Setting Your Marketing PrioritiesWhen it comes to marketing, your most precious commodity remains time. As a result, a crucial aspect of successful marketing involves developing a list of priorities.
What should top your list? Take a hint from other manufacturing marketers.
67 percent blame the lack of a strong content marketing strategy for stagnating sales. Content marketing remains your most effective lead generation tool.
If you're not investing time and resources into this area of your marketing plan, then it's time to evaluate your priorities and make adjustments accordingly.
3. Developing a Content Marketing StrategyDid you know that only 31 percent of manufacturing marketers have an actual content marketing strategy? Diving into the waters of content marketing without a plan in mind comes with negative consequences.
It represents one of the biggest mistakes that manufacturing companies can make. Why? A haphazard and inconsistent approach to content will limit your marketing success.
What's more, even if you have a plan in mind, if the rest of your team doesn't know about it, it's useless.
4. Putting Your Strategy in WritingWhat's another important marketing trend manufacturing companies need to be aware of? Articulating your content marketing strategy in a way that team members can revisit continually.
Yet, 45 percent of manufacturing marketers fail to do so.
If you're struggling to find time for content marketing, contact a B2B marketing agency for assistance with creating a solid strategy and then implementing it.
5. Nixing the Campaign Mindset With B2B marketing, it's also easy to fall into a campaign mindset. This means focusing solely on one campaign at a time without a larger overall plan. But this approach means missing the marketing forest for the trees.
Instead, craft an ongoing business process rather than isolated marketing events. Content marketing should represent an integral part of your business strategy as it does for 71 percent of manufacturing marketers.
6. Recognizing a Successful StrategyOf course, it's important that you craft a marketing strategy that proves successful. Do you know how to recognize one? If the answer's "no," you're not alone.
33 percent of marketers admit that they wouldn't be able to identify a successful marketing strategy.
Fortunately, using buyer personas and developing SMART marketing goals can help. The acronym "SMART" stands for the characteristics inherent in excellent marketing goals:
7. Crafting Buyer PersonasBesides SMART marketing, you also need to have a firm handle on who your target audience is. That way, you can custom tailor content to their needs, interests, and voice.
The best way to do this? By crafting buyer personas. In 2018, 39 percent of manufacturing marketers used buyer personas to help structure their content marketing plans.
34 percent didn't use them at all although they said they would in 2019. Another 27 percent didn't have a marketing plan in place and weren't planning on getting buyer personas.
Gain an edge over your competitors now by getting those buyer personas ready. Then, start using them to better understand your customers so that you can speak to them through your content marketing efforts.
8. Getting Sophisticated with Your Marketing EffortsHere's a stat that'll stun you. Just one percent of manufacturing marketers rate their company's current content marketing efforts as sophisticated.
How do you buck this trend and develop a mature marketing approach? By taking the time to stop and analyze the effectiveness of your current strategies.
Questions you should ask include:
9. Ensuring Clarity in Your Marketing EffortsWhat's another marker of a mature marketing plan? A high level of clarity when it comes to your lead generation goals. Yet, only 33 percent of manufacturing marketers agree that their company has clearly communicated targets.
This is a serious problem. After all, how can your organization expect to measure success if it doesn't even know what success looks like?
Now's the time to develop solid, measurable goals whether it's increasing website conversions by 15 percent or ramping up re-conversions by 20 percent.
10. Avoiding Limiting Factors57 percent of organizations only have one person or a small team of people overseeing their marketing strategy. Depending upon the talents of that person or team, this could lead to severe limitations when it comes to marketing success.
What's more, by avoiding outsourcing, these companies fail to take full advantage of the resources and larger budgets that topnotch agencies can provide. Don't fall into this trap.
Remember that marketing is an investment rather than an expense. But what if you have no clue where to start when it comes to finding a great agency to work with? Keep these 10 considerations in mind when hiring a B2B marketing agency.
11. Outsourcing Your Content Marketing Did you know that 49 percent of manufacturing marketers outsource their content creation? Outsourcing helps companies see the results that they're yearning for.
After all, content creation requires both time and resources. When you add SEO to the gambit as well as generating images and videos, you've got a serious drain of resources on your hands. Outsourcing represents the best solution.
And when you go with the right agency, you can rest assured you'll be working directly with experienced marketing professionals who excel at creating masterful and memorable content.
12. Committing to the Process 52 percent of manufacturing companies remain highly dedicated to the concept of content marketing. Why? Because it works.
But here's the thing. Few areas of marketing are changing as quickly. To remain competitive, you've got to stay on the front edge of the latest trends. This represents yet another area where outsourcing can help.
13. Going to Great LengthsHere's another marketing trend that you need to know about. Long-form content is here to stay. What's more, 57 percent of manufacturing content marketers are already creating it.
Not only does it get more social shares but it also ranks higher in search engines than shorter articles.
What do we mean by long-form content? Articles with a word count of 2,000 or more. Of course, the trick remains making sure that long-form content contains lots of useful insights rather than extra words.
Yes, it requires a greater investment of time and money to create it, but the benefits prove well worth it.
14. Having Videos Is a MustBesides long-form blog posts, video represents the next most important content marketing tool.
When it comes to content effect, pre-produced videos rank 52 percent. (It's worth noting that long-form content wasn't included in this study.)
And more than 50 percent of consumers want to see brand videos before making purchases. Studies even show that videos on landing pages are responsible for conversion rates of more than 80 percent.
Now, how's that for a dramatic statistic?
15. Personalizing Remains a Key to SuccessFinally, don't forget the power of personalization. From using customer's first names on emails to having a series of messages that are sent to prospects during different parts of the buyer's journey, these touches will help you connect with customers.
Customization also involves digging deep into your buyer personas. That way you can ensure that the marketing messages you create speak to your audience on a personal level.
Gain an Edge with Effective Manufacturing MarketingThe 15 stats and trends above provide insight into how to make an effective B2B manufacturing marketing strategy for your organization. From crafting a solid plan to personalizing your message, capitalizing on these ideas will bring you success.
Of course, manufacturing marketing requires a serious investment in time, energy, money, and a variety of other resources. It necessitates a talented team of experienced marketers who remain on the cutting edge of their industry.
For most organizations, outsourcing represents the best way to gain a competitive edge for single market manufacturers. Read Laurel Bay Marketing's Blog for helpful tips on where and how to find fantastic freelancers.
Laurel Bay Marketing is a full service strategic marketing and staffing agency. Our team of talented marketing leaders provide executive consulting as well as marketing, sales and product strategy for businesses of all sizes. Contact us today for your strategic marketing needs.