The US manufacturing index is at its lowest level since 2009. This is sobering news for the industry and for the economy. Within the industry, it is clear that the road ahead is not flat, straight, or even smooth. For companies to not just survive, but to also succeed, action needs to be taken.
In August 2015 Bruce McDuffee, Principal at Knowledge Marketing for Industry, released the second edition of the Manufacturer’s Growth Manifesto. If you haven’t read this, you need to do so – today. In the Manifesto, McDuffee spells out how manufacturers can achieve growth rates of 10%, 20%, and even 30%.
The key to attaining a double digit growth rate is changing your marketing strategy and adapting to new buyer’s habits. Specifically:
- Stop pitching products and start helping people.
- Start educating your audience utilizing your particular experts and expertise for FREE.
- Stop advertising product features and benefits of a product.
- Start promoting your useful, helpful papers, webinars, seminars, videos, etc. (not product information) to foster meaningful engagement.
- Admit to yourself and your team that your products are perceived as a commodity and it will take more than product revisions, releases and enhancements to gain the attention of your target audience.
McDuffee concedes that for those who have not previously embraced and engaged in this approach to marketing, “You may be thinking, WTF?”
It may seem counterintuitive, but the results are real. Your company will be able to achieve those double digit growth rates and realize these benefits:
- Reciprocity, credibility and trust in the minds of the people in your target audience.
- Top-of-Mind Awareness (T.O.M.A.) in the minds of your prospective customers so they remember your firm first when the day comes around and they need to buy.
- Higher prices, more sales, more market share, and higher growth rates.
Success; however, depends on believing in this approach and incorporating it into your overall business strategy.
Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that while 82% of manufacturers use content marketing, only 26% say that their efforts are successful. A lack of buy-in/vision from higher ups is one of the key challenges identified by CMI. Another challenge that was reported was creating and executing a strategy; only 20% of respondents reported that they had a documented strategy. Notable though, is that 58% of the most effective companies reported that they have a documented strategy.
This approach is not relevant only to manufacturing. Companies across industries and verticals should take notice. Cerasis, a top North American third party logistics company offering logistics solutions with a strong focus on LTL freight management, shifted their marketing strategy and realized positive results. Within 25 months Cerasis realized a 14% increase in revenue. This increase was directly attributable to inbound marketing. In addition to this stream of revenue, the company’s sales team was able to generate revenue totaling $20 million during this period – more than double the previous two years combined.
Those numbers are not small potatoes. If you haven’t checked out the Manufacturer’s Growth Manifesto, make the time.
Kate Lee is Director of Research and Strategy for Fronetics Strategic Advisors