There's a marketing revolution happening. Technology is disrupting our world of buying and selling. We'll never buy something in the same way we bought ten years ago, a scary thought for manufacturing owners and chief executives. I suspect CMOs and CFOs are just as scared about the future of their firms. The playing field is flat, and that's a scary proposition for manufacturers.
- Barriers to entry are falling like dominoes.
- Commoditization of products and services is accelerating.
- International shipping rates are normalizing.
- We can buy anything at anytime from anyplace in the world right from the smartphone.
- Technology is accelerating at an exponential rate.
We're all buyers, and we're all participating in the revolution. As manufacturers, we can embrace the revolution, or we can hope it goes away. Newsflash! The revolution will happen with us or without us. The rate of change won't slow down but will continue to accelerate. Control of the message and perceptions of our target audience is non-existent unless we adapt and adapt quickly.
What's a Manufacturer to do?
The good news, no, the great news is that there has never been a more exciting time to be in manufacturing! Opportunity is everywhere! We're on the cutting edge of the buying revolution. There has never been a time in the history of manufacturing when we had such a fantastic opportunity to listen to and communicate with our target audience.
If you're scared of the changes and not sure how to embrace the revolution, you're not alone. Here are five things you can start today to turn fear into excitement:
Learn, learn, learn and learn more. Set aside at least one hour every day dedicated to educating yourself about technology, business disruptions, new ideas, and more. There has also never been a time in the history of humanity where information is so accessible and abundant.
Participate in the discussion. Talk to thought leaders in the marketing space and your particular industry. Debate. Put your critical thinking hat on for the discussion. Use your social media tools (blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, et al.) to comment, share and be active.
Test, test, and test. Being a critical thinker is OK. Not only is there a ton of information out there, but there is a ton of wrong information out there (and a ton of great information). If something looks interesting, test it in your lab. Consider your business as a laboratory for testing marketing strategy and tactics. This mindset leads to innovation and creativity. Some things will work and some will not. What better way to participate in the conversation than sharing success and failure of your tests.
Get out of the office. Attend conferences, panel discussions, trade shows, seminars, etc. Talk to your colleagues within your industry and other circles.
Collaborate with your vendors and suppliers. Vendors and suppliers are an excellent source of information. Attend their webinars. Download their content. You could even (cringe) talk to their salespeople.
Bottom line advice, don't sit on the beach and watch the tidal wave come to you. Embrace the revolution. Set a goal to learn something new every day. Use your business as a modern marketing laboratory. It's not scary. It's exciting!
Good luck and please, feel free to call me or comment. There is no time like the present to begin!