As far as manufacturing has come with the digital transformation, it’s shocking how far behind fully-digitized shops can be when it comes to sales and marketing. Look, traditional marketing methods like in-person conferences, direct mail and good ol’ fashioned cold calling do have their place. But, if you’re not also jumping on board with manufacturing marketing trends like content marketing, video and marketing automation, you may get left behind.
Manufacturing Marketing Trends
As you know, the manufacturing industry is constantly changing. From supply chain to regulations, processes or products, the digital thread has to run through all of it, including in marketing and sales. And, there are five important trends helping manufacturing marketers break through the noise. From rapidly intensifying customer experience demands to content expectations and marketing automation, this is what you need to know now to succeed in the modern world of manufacturing marketing.
Trend #1: Customer Experience Demands Are Increasing for Manufacturers
Your customers now do a lot of the buying process without you. In fact, your sales team shouldn’t even see the prospect until they are invested in your company as an option, in most cases. That self-directed exploration is something that has to be so smooth, it eases your new customer right on into the contract. Because of this demand for a thorough, impactful customer experience, digital marketing, content, and marketing automation are more important than ever.
In order to meet the customer experience demands of the people looking to buy your products, you have to be proactive and follow manufacturing marketing best practices, like:
- Have a clear, informative website
- Offer educational materials that provide value to your prospects
- Once your lead has converted on a content offer, nurture them with automated email
- Give, give, give valuable, accurate information
- Let the customer signal sales-readiness
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Trend #2: Inbound Marketing is Table Stakes for Manufacturers
Inbound marketing is a customer-centric approach to marketing that focuses on generating leads through helpful, relevant content. At a very basic level, this is how you allow your customers to find you, rather than the other way around.
Inbound aligns with the way industrial and B2B buyers operate in today’s world, as 57% of the purchase decision process is complete before a customer even calls a supplier.
Some of the most effective inbound marketing tactics for the manufacturing industry include:
- Content marketing
- Organic social media posting and community-building
Content marketing is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies for the manufacturing industry. By creating helpful, relevant blog articles and other content, you can attract potential customers to your website and generate leads.
Social media marketing is another effective inbound marketing strategy for manufacturing businesses. By creating and sharing engaging content on social media, businesses can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to their website.
Trend #3: Expanding Attention to Content Strategy
As you can gather from our discussion of inbound marketing, you’re gonna need some content. The pandemic has underscored the need for companies to have a fresh content marketing strategy that is scalable and differentiates them from competitors. This has been shown to be particularly true in manufacturing, with 58% of manufacturing companies making moderate to extreme changes to their content marketing strategies.
Creating a content strategy that reaches buyers at each stage of the buyer’s journey is critical to success in today’s market. 78% of brands that were successful with their content in 2021 had a documented content marketing strategy in place.
When creating content, design pieces specifically for your target audience or buyer personas. Persona-based marketing helps you define your customer in detail, understanding their needs and what drives them to buy. And, as you plan out content, ask yourself how each piece provides value to the buyer at their particular stage in the journey.
Additionally, consider using a mix of content types to reach buyers at various stages in their journey. Some popular content formats include:
- Blog posts
- eBooks and guides
Trend #4: Using Way More Video for Marketing
In the U.S., adults spend an average of 3.5 hours per day watching videos, and many of us watch videos as part of the B2B discovery and buying process. Yes, even in manufacturing. Video marketing is more important than ever. It’s just how we like to see content now. And, manufacturing companies can use video to grow revenue faster than ever before.
There are a number of ways to use video for marketing, including:
- Product demonstration videos
- Customer testimonial videos
- Educational videos (such as how-tos that don’t relate specifically, or only, to your products)
- Company culture videos (like PR around social good initiatives)
Video is an effective way to reach buyers, because it’s a highly engaging format that can be consumed in a short amount of time. It is also versatile and can be used across multiple channels, such as social media, email marketing, and website content.
Most marketers feel that video is a brilliant investment for lead generation. 86% of video marketers say video has been effective for generating leads, up another 2% from 2021 and up 5% since 2019.
Video marketing is also a great way to show your company process and what makes you different from competitors. 94% of marketers agree that videos have helped increase user understanding of their product or service, which is great for manufacturers who historically needed in-person efforts to be successful.
Trend #5: Using Marketing Automation to Scale and Win
The pandemic has forced businesses to automate their marketing efforts at a faster rate than ever before. And, to be clear, marketing automation doesn’t just mean making marketing more “automatic.” It means scaling personalized, segmented marketing efforts in a way you just cannot do manually. Look into marketing automation for better:
- Automated Nurturing
- Lead Scoring
The benefits of marketing automation within the manufacturing industry encompass more than efficiency and sales productivity, it also includes increased lead generation—a goal for 61% of marketers.
Marketing automation is an important tool for manufacturers because it helps you scale marketing efforts without sacrificing quality. It also frees up time so that marketing teams can focus on other tasks, such as strategy and creating new content.
Invest in the Future of Manufacturing Marketing
Marketing in today’s manufacturing environment means finding unique ways to promote your business and generate new leads. It also means staying ahead of the competition by taking advantage of emerging manufacturing marketing trends.Even though each manufacturer is unique, knowing what works and what doesn’t in your sector is vital. If you’re not sure where to start, get our Ultimate Guide to Manufacturing Marketing for the A to Z on your best possible approach. If you’re already familiar with a lot of the techniques we’ve covered here, try the more advanced Manufacturer’s Guide to Data-Driven Marketing. Invest in your future by implementing some new ideas and following the most important trends in manufacturing marketing.
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