If you look at the marketing for manufacturing companies around the country, you’ll see that they’re all over the place.
That’s because the manufacturing industry is filled with companies that are extremely varied in size, revenue, service area, and much more. This makes it tough to nail down a “correct” marketing plan.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t best practices when it comes to developing a manufacturing marketing plan though. In fact, we have a simple system for getting started with a comprehensive, effective marketing campaign that just about any manufacturing company can use.
The 4 P’s For Developing A Manufacturing Marketing Plan
Because we specialize in online marketing, some parts of this article are specific to digital marketing. However, the 4 P’s can also be applied to other types of marketing, or your overall marketing plan. Just keep this in mind as you read through the guide below.
Personas: Establish Your Audience To Focus Your Efforts
One of the major faults of unsuccessful marketing plans is a lack of focus or a focus in the wrong direction. If you don’t know who your ideal customers are then how can you possibly create effective marketing plans to engage and convert them?
Developing personas is a great way to get specific with your marketing and ensure that your strategies are designed to attract the right people. Typically, persona development involves establishing specific characteristics about your customers. It can start with basics like age, gender, and job title and become very granular with details like favorite hobbies, college alma mater, and challenges at work.
If you’re strapped for time, Hubspot’s Make My Persona Tool is a great, quick way to get started with marketing personas. Once you’ve established the basics, you can slowly add to your persona details over time. Just be sure to check in every now and then to make sure your personas are still accurate, especially for markets that see a lot of change.
Properties: Determine Where Your Audience Spends Time
People don’t just turn on their computer and purchase the first product they see. There’s a much longer buying process than that, especially for manufacturing customers. In fact, because it’s business-to-business (typically involving multiple people), it can get pretty complex.
Your personas can help you understand buyer tendencies and habits up to a certain point but you can take that one step further by learning where your customers research, discover, and engage with your brand, products, and industry.
The most common property is, of course, your website. But properties also include social media sites, mobile apps, customer review sites, YouTube, and more. It’s normal for a customer to spend time in a number of these properties before ever making a “meaningful” engagement - like a phone call or form submission - with your company.
Path: Learn How Customers Reach You
When you understand where, meaning on which properties, your customers spend their time, you’ll be well equipped to design marketing strategies for them. You can take that a step further by discovering when your customers tend to be at each property.
This is what’s known as the buyer’s journey and it’s like putting together a timeline of customer actions during every stage of their buying process.
It starts from the very beginning, in the awareness stage, when the customer is just realizing that they need help with something. For B2B businesses, this includes potential customers realizing they have a problem with an existing distributor. Activities during this stage typically include things like non-branded internet searches and consuming educational or analytical information.
Learn more about the complete Buyer’s Journey here.
Purpose: Create & Identify The Purpose For Each Of Your Marketing Touch Points
It’s easy to get lost in flashy marketing tactics and strategies that everyone else is doing, that you’re comfortable with, or that aren’t all that trackable.
But, once you have gone through the previous three steps to create personas, learn customer property habits, and understand your customer’s path from potential buyer to customer, you’ll be better able to assign real purpose to the tactics within your marketing plan.
This is essential for completing your marketing plan because it ensures that every bit of effort you put into your marketing is purposeful and works to move your customers down the funnel.
As you flesh out your marketing plan, be mindful of how each part serves a purpose. If it doesn’t have a clear purpose, cut it out or update it. One great part of this is it makes your marketing efforts more trackable. If you establish a few tactics to move upper funnel prospects to the middle of the funnel, but you see that not many people are making it to the middle, then you know that’s where your marketing plan is missing something.
Develop Your Failsafe Marketing Plan
The steps above will help guide you to an effective marketing plan that’s easy to monitor and improve upon as your company grows. Each component is as important as the next, so it’s critical to use all 4 P’s to develop the most comprehensive marketing plan possible.
One missing piece to this puzzle is the budget that goes along with your efforts. For the same reason it’s difficult to assign a “perfect” marketing plan for manufacturers, it’s also tough to assign an appropriate budget. There are just so many variances.
But, you can get a ballpark idea of what your budget should be by using our marketing budget calculator. The results are based on data from what other successful business are doing and provides a suggestion based on budget, revenue, and company size. Click below to use the free marketing budget calculator for manufacturers:
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