As manufacturing marketing faces the challenges of the internet age, teams need to venture into the digital frontier. Age-old tactics, while effective, must be revised and updated to meet today’s buyer expectations. The expectation for manufacturing marketers becomes more rigorous to provide services more focused to every user’s background or preference.

Historically speaking, technological advancement has always gone hand-in-hand with manufacturing. From the production line to mass customization, manufacturing is an industries whose evolution is closely tied to new technology. As digitization offers a fast-track to revenue growth, it’s a wonder how some manufacturing organizations have yet to move beyond old-timey marketing and sales.

An Age of Informed Decision-Makers

Marketing 101 will tell you “know your buyers”. But, if you skipped Marketing 102, here’s a tip: Your buyers should be able to know you too. Perhaps one of the things holding manufacturing marketing back the most is the reluctance to venture into the digital frontier – be it through marketing automation, social media presence, demand generation or website personalization. A company’s lack of exposure in the digital world can translate into missed connections and untapped opportunities.
“We know from the research we’ve done that about 85% of people are doing most of their purchasing research prior to ever contacting a sales rep,” says Get Smart Content’s account manager, Taylor Crawford. “With a laggard approach, companies are not really able to connect with people during that experience – meaning they’re likely missing opportunities.”

Pioneer’s Guide to the Digital Frontier

Breaking tradition can be difficult in a decades-old industry where deep-rooted relationships with existing purchasers dominate sales. But, as the purchasing process gains more players, the ability to communicate direct tailored messages is becoming a differentiator. “Are you really connecting with engineers on the pain points that are specific to engineers? And, are you connecting with their industry, aware of what’s the primary challenge there?” Taylor asks. “Yes, age-old sales are effective, but as the buyers get younger and younger, and as they are using the internet for more and more research, there is the opportunity to engage with them at a better level.”
However, haste to jump on the digital bandwagon can be unwise. A lack of clear definition surrounding where manufacturing companies want to go to market and what organizations they want to focus on is among manufacturing marketing’s biggest mistakes. Additionally, not speaking to the end user or customer in a way that’s most applicable to them – be it to their industries or job functions.

Assembly Line to Success

What can marketers in the manufacturing industry do to blaze trails in the digital frontier, then? First step would be to clearly define sales objectives, and make sure sales and marketing are collaborating. “And, then, start looking at personalization, account-based marketing approaches, aligning email campaigns to website experiences, and making sure that all data sources that are being used in marketing are really aligned with all experiences.”
Carefully considering the right mix of marketing elements can help you drive ROI and market share. Taylor notes seeing great success when pairing personalization with a marketing automation platform, such as Oracle Eloqua. Equal success when pairing with first-party data warehouses, third-party data, and account-based marketing partners.

“If an organization is not able to provide the most applicable information, they face the challenge of not being able to connect with the consumer,” Taylor commented. “And, the connection the consumer makes to the company is what’s really going to drive that end purchase.”

Breaking into the Digital Frontier for Manufacturing Marketing

Want to learn more about leveraging digital marketing strategies to drive ROI in the manufacturing industry? Join our webinar The Digital Frontier for Manufacturing Marketers on Wednesday, July 27th at 1:00 p.m. EST, featuring leading marketing leaders from Rockwell Automation, Oracle Eloqua, and Atmel. Reserve your seat here.