How to Reset Manufacturing Marketing for Growth

August 08, 2017 / By Bruce McDuffee

You’re under pressure from owners, the board of directors, shareholders, Wall Street and others to grow your manufacturing business. You’ve tried increasing spend on R&D, commissioning market research studies, customer satisfaction surveys, changed out business unit leadership, and any number of other schemes to push your products to increase revenue.

Nothing seems to work.

You target 5% to 8% growth year-on-year, but you only deliver 1% to 3% at best. Your sales team is in a reactive mode, and they’re missing deals in spite of the high dollar sales management system you brought in last year.

Times have changed.

At one time, long, long, ago, your products were unmatched in the marketplace. But now, due to massive globalization in all markets, your product has become commoditized readily available from any number of competitors around the globe.

Your customers have changed their buying habits, but you haven’t changed your go-to-market model.
 This post is about how to match your go-to-market model to your customer’s buying habits enabling growth and taking market share from your competitors. It's about a total reset of your marketing strategy.

Sound familiar? Ready for a reset? Ready to finally grow your business?

Here are the six essential components for a complete reset of your marketing function. I call it Manufacturing Marketing 2.0 (MM 2.0):

  1. A Proper, Complete Marketing PlanEvery company should have a formal Business Plan which contains a formal Marketing Plan. Sadly, most do not have either. For any marketing strategy to work, including MM 2.0, the fundamental questions must be addressed and will act as a basis for daily tactical and longer term strategic plans. A Formal Marketing Plan includes these pieces:
    1. Executive Summary
    2. Situation Analysis
    3. Objectives & Issues
    4. Target Market Analysis
    5. Marketing Strategy
    6. Marketing Programs
    7. Financial Plans
    8. Measurement & Controls
  2. A Tech Savvy, Content Savvy Marketing Leader - MM 2.0 relies on modern technology. The two primary pieces are Marketing Automation integrated with the CRM tool. There are many types of technology available to the modern marketer, and it is essential to have a leader who can assess the technology and make educated choices. Even more important is a leader able to fully utilize the technology. As discussed earlier, Manufacturing Marketing 2.0 relies on developing and distributing content that engages the target audience at the beginning of the buying cycle.

    It is essential that the leader understands the underlying strategy and tactics of using the expertise, experience, and knowledge to engage. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a bunch more brochures and spec sheets. It’s not enough for the leader to just know about the technology, he should also know how it contributes to revenue and growth.

  3. A Marketing Integrated Business Culture - It’s tough for the CEO to take his lead marketer seriously when, for years, all he’s heard about are clicks, likes, and open rates. Surely, he is silently thinking to himself, “who cares?” because marketing has never shown any real contribution to the revenue. Unfortunately, this CEO only sees Marketing as a line item on the income statement on the expense side of the ledger. It’s no wonder 80% of CEOs don’t trust marketers while 91% do trust CIOs and CFOs.

    If your head marketer isn’t able or willing to show a contribution to the growth of your business, get rid of her. You need a MM 2.0 leader. The only way for the reset to succeed is to include the marketing leader at the strategic table. The marketing leader should be capable of contributing to the business strategy, proving the value of his marketing strategy and providing innovative concepts to stay ahead of the competition.

  4. Modern Marketing Technology - Chances are you do have a CRM in place to help track opportunity pipeline and sales person performance. That’s a good thing. You may even be shelling out thousands of dollars a month on a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP). And, chances are also good that you have many other platforms, software, SaaS, etc. scattered about in their respective silos.

    Modern marketing technology is essential for MM 2.0 to achieve that double digit growth by taking market share from your competitor. Even more important is full implementation of the technology and even more important than full implementation is complete socialization within the global marketing team.

    Hint: A major mistake (among many when it comes to technology) some companies make regarding marketing automation is trying to centralize the use at an HQ location. Every marketer in every region should be a competent user of the MAP.

  5. Content Based Marketing Strategy - Developing a content marketing strategy and executing on that strategy is foundational to the success of MM 2.0. It 's hard to do it right, but the payoff is enormous. The term ‘content marketing’ is approaching the iconic stage these days. However, the term is poorly defined. If you got 10 marketers in a room and asked each one to define content marketing, you’d get nearly 10 definitions.

    As an essential component of MM 2.0, ‘content marketing’ means creating, distributing and measuring useful and helpful papers, videos, FAQs, seminars, webinars, podcasts, et al. It does not mean creating more product brochures. When thinking about ‘content’ in relation to growing a business, remember, it’s not about the product it’s about sharing expertise to help those in your target audience do better.

    Make no mistake, content, as described herein, is the foundational element of the MM 2.0 strategy, but it must be useful and helpful for the people in the target market, not a list of why your firm and its products are great. Content marketing on its own is effective, but not nearly as powerful as being integrated to a holistic MM 2.0 framework.

    Try to avoid we-weing all over yourself; ‘we do this’, ‘we are that’, ‘come and look at our stuff’, ‘we’re a global leader’, ‘we are great’, ‘we have this’, etc.

  6. Executive Team Sponsorship - There is a distinction between buy-in and sponsorship. It is essential for the executives in the C-suite to act as sponsors and for the CEO to be the champion for the MM 2.0 effort. Without high-level sponsorship, it will be difficult to succeed with this culture change.

    All stakeholders must understand the MM 2.0 concept and at least buy into a pilot program. Stakeholders may include:
    1. C-suite: CEO, COO, CFO, CIO
    2. Product development leaders
    3. Sales team leaders and members
    4. Marketing team members
    5. Business management leaders

It was Albert Einstein who said, "Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". If you really want to grow your manufacturing business, you need to reset your marketing team and function. Let's get to it!

Marketing Plan template for manufacturing
Manufacturing Marketing Group Louisville, CO US 303-953-4361