Solutions to 5 Common Manufacturing Marketing Challenges in 2020

Marketing and selling to b2b buyers continue to become an ever more complex landscape. For manufacturers, the complexities of product and channel only compound the challenges. So should manufacturers looking to build a modern sales and marketing machine just give up? Definitely not. In talking with manufacturers I hear commonality in their challenges. Read on to see how I address these common manufacturing marketing challenges and solutions.

manufacturing marketing challenges

Complex Products

Products in manufacturing are often technical and complex. While the buyer is often sophisticated and technical themselves – often an engineer, they’re still looking for educational materials. A survey conducted by engineering.com found that overwhelmingly – engineers turn to search or website blogs to find answers to their most technical questions. 

Solution: Build a content marketing strategy for your manufacturing firm. If your technical buyers have questions about your complex products, the best solution is to answer them in the forms of media they are consuming, which is online via written word and video. 

Long Sales Cycles 

One of the outcomes of complex products is a resulting long sales cycle. Gartner’s B2B buyer’s journey framework explains why this happens. 

In a perfect world, the journey would be linear from identification to supplier selection, but as you can see there are a lot of places along the path for a prospect to take a detour. How do you keep your firm front and center?

Solution: Marketing automation. On average, most leads (at least half) that come through your CRM aren’t ready to buy. (See the Gartner illustration again to see why). A marketing automation plan for your manufacturing firm can fill the gap. With marketing automation, you can build out personalized follow-up campaigns based on the actions your prospects are taking and customized by the next steps you want to help them along to.  

Is marketing technology the right solution for you? Take the assessment.

Buying by Committee

From 2016 to 2018 the number of stakeholders involved in a purchase decision jumped from 6.8 to 8.2 contacts at a company. As if manufacturers didn’t have it hard enough with a complex product and long sales cycle – the number of people involved in making a purchase decision continues to grow. Add in the complexity of channel relationships many manufacturers face, traditional outbound and inbound marketing can struggle to provide value on their own, in this growing complex sales environment. 

Solution: Account based marketing. Account based marketing inverts the marketing and sales qualifications funnel. You start your strategy by selecting the accounts you want to build relationships with. Sales and marketing collaborate to create highly personalized buying experiences with a goal of expanding the contacts within those accounts and driving higher quality opportunities and speeding up sales cycles. 

Image Source: NeilPatel.com

Complex Business Processes 

Products and the buying experience aren’t the only sources of manufacturing marketing challenges. Often the operations around supporting these systems are riddled with inefficiencies. Requests for samples, quotes, spec sheets, etc. all require an endless amount of human interaction that drags down your team’s ability to do the work that has them focused on their highest and best use. It also allows for errors. But, that’s how we’ve always done it, you might think. 

Solution: Marketing automation can help here as well. While its primary selling feature often is scale and efficiency in marketing processes. The automation features can also help simplify and drive efficiency in common internal processes. Routing requests, updating contact data and making sure the right people in your organization get notified.

Visibility Across Channel

At the end of the day, one of the biggest manufacturing marketing challenges to overcome is visibility across a manufacturer’s channel. With complex relationships across vendors, distributors, reps, and end-users it can often be hard to tell where an opportunity is coming from. Online analytics start to paint a bit of a picture, but are you really able to draw a line connecting the dots between a marketing program and revenue growth? Did ABM actually achieve an objective? 

Related reading: The Surprising Ways B2B Website Design Affects Sales

Solution: Integrated CRM. Having a modern CRM that integrates across your marketing automation platform and ERP, you can begin to close the loop. You may not be able to tell if an ABM program drove X dollars in end-user purchases if you don’t get to track that data – but you can track the volume of RFPs or Specs that come from the accounts you targeted. It’ll take thinking about your channel and getting as far in the funnel as you can. But none of it will matter if your systems don’t take to each other. 

Key Takeaways

Manufacturing marketing challenges continue to grow. However, technology and marketing strategies are emerging to empower manufacturers to overcome those challenges. 

  • Content marketing to educate around complex products
  • Marketing automation to reduce long sales cycles and drive efficiency in business processes
  • Account based marketing to combat buying committees
  • Integrated marketing and sales systems to view across your channels

MarTech Assessment

7 B2B Manufacturing Marketing Trends Driving Growth in 2020

B2B buying is growing ever more complex. From 2016 to 2018 the number of stakeholders involved in a purchase decision jumped from 6.8 to 8.2 contacts at a company. Today, consumer experiences continue to overlap and influence our expectations and behaviors more and more each year in our business buying experiences. For B2B manufacturers already navigating a complex marketing and sales environment, this can be challenging. As 2020 unfolds personalization and online expectations will increase. These are seven key b2b manufacturing marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2020. 

Manufacturing Marketing Trends

Account-Based Marketing

B2B manufacturers face some of the most complex buying environments. 

  • Long sales cycles
  • Growing numbers of buying roles involved
  • High-value transactions
  • Channel and distributor relationships

Traditional outbound and inbound marketing strategies can struggle to prove value and support manufacturers’ sales channels in this environment. 

Enter account-based marketing or ABM for short. HubSpot defines ABM as a focused growth strategy in which Marketing and Sales collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts.

Account based marketing

At its core, it turns the funnel upside down and aligns sales and marketing to hunt with spears instead of nets. Manufacturers benefit from building an account-based marketing framework by

  • Creating higher quality opportunities
  • Tightly aligning sales and marketing
  • Streamlining and often speeding up the sales cycle
  • Expanding business relationships in key accounts
  • Better measure ROI

Because ABM starts by targeting and seeking to reach only your most qualified ideal customers first, it can be resource-intensive to get a pilot going but provides long term returns. DemandBase found companies that have been using ABM for at least 1 year saw an increase in revenue of 10%, 19% of those surveyed saw revenue growth in excess of 30%. 

Account-based marketing isn’t necessarily one of the new manufacturing marketing trends, but tools and platforms are now making it easier to orchestrate and evaluate and as a result, savvy B2B manufacturers are looking at it as a potential addition to their sales and marketing programs. 

Consumer-Like Buying Experiences

More and more B2B buyers are behaving as they do in their consumer lives. Forester 2020 predictions point to 2020 as a year of change as B2B buyers continue to evolve more of their experiences to online channels. In Gartner’s B2B Buying Journey we see that sellers actually have little opportunity to influence the decisions of their potential buyers. Enter B2B e-commerce’s time in the spotlight. 

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – now there is an even faster escalation in demand for investments by manufacturers to make sure they meet changing buying preferences. Insite Software, a provider of B2B e-commerce solutions for Manufacturers notes in its parent company Episerver’s annual B2B Digital experience report that 93% of manufacturers and 95% of distributors expect more than 20% of their revenue will come from e-commerce websites they own and operate by 2025. 

Chat Bots

With a push online, creating more opportunities for real-time response to customers, and end-users will be critical. Queue the chatbots. Chatbot technology continues to advance every year enabling advanced logic capabilities that manufacturers can use to field all sorts of questions to drive sales and marketing forward. BotCore points out a handful of ways chatbots can help with fulfillment in addition to questions around inventory and delivery, chatbots can be an effective way to answer product questions or point website visitors to the product documentation to help them in their buying process. 

Marketing Automation & Personalization

Marketing automation for b2b manufacturers will continue to grow in importance as the buying journey becomes more digital. Marketing automation helps manufacturers simplify complex b2b processes while personalizing and scaling their digital marketing and sales efforts. 

Here are a few personalization examples b2b manufacturers are taking advantage of:

  • Addressing your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Referencing their company name when giving an example of how their company could benefit from your product
  • Referencing their role or job title when discussing pain points or solutions pertinent to their role
  • Referencing the last piece of content they downloaded by name and asking if they are finding it helpful
  • Customizing the sender information per contact by contact owner
  • Referencing product or product category of interest
  • Referencing examples and case studies

The complex business processes facing many B2B manufacturers are also a challenge marketing automation platforms or MAPs are ready to tackle head-on. 

Marketing automation can drive efficiencies and allow for real-time routing, task creation, and follow-up across functions and channels. The automation we’re seeing B2B manufacturers take advantage of include:

  • Routing leads by sales rep territory
  • Sending custom ‘Thank You’ emails by country
  • Routing internal requests like samples, RFQs or catalogs
  • Creating custom tasks by a sales rep for lead review
  • Automatically setting subscription types
  • Setting product interest categories or other data governance within the CRM

MarTech Assessment

Video Video Video

This is one of the manufacturing marketing trends that industrial buyers love: Video. Engineers, for example, nearly 87% report getting at least some of their work content from the video. B2B manufacturers have a ton of options when it comes to video. Brand videos, testimonials and case studies, use cases or field solutions, culture videos, demos, and more. 

An area you can expect to see video grow significantly is through 1:1 personalized video. Short videos created for a specific user. It could be a sales follow up, a quick how-to, or just a thank you. With the influx of more personalized sales and marketing experiences across the B2B manufacturing marketing ecosystem – video enables face-to-face connections that can otherwise be lost in a completely online sales experience.  

Virtual Events

This year many B2B organizations had to adjust their event strategy due to COVID-19. While not anticipated and certainly sudden, many marketing and sales professionals leaned into the pivot and are embracing the benefits afforded to virtual events. A lack of travel and time constrictions. The ability to meet with much larger audiences in discussion settings. Virtual events are here to stay and for B2B manufacturers this spells opportunity. While trade shows will inevitably return in some fashion, planning a virtual strategy for everything from recurring lunch and learns or product demos to featuring unique use cases and customer stories will only enhance the growing online buying process many B2B manufacturers see their customers adopting. 

Manufacturing Marketing Trends

Content Isn’t Optional

Creating content that answers your potential buyer’s questions early in their research process and throughout their buying journey is non-negotiable.

A survey by engineering.com found an overwhelming preference for an online search or a website blog as a primary source for finding answers to questions they have in their work. This begs the question: if your technical buyers have questions, whose content will they find, yours or your competitors?

When it comes to steady consistent lead generation for b2b manufacturers, content is front and center across all of the 2020 b2b manufacturing marketing trends.

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing: How to make it Your Firm’s Unfair Advantage

Manufacturing is an industry that can often rely heavily on trade shows, in-person meetings, and product catalogs. However, like many industries, there’s a pressure and need to survive and thrive in the digital marketplace we’ve all become accustomed to. One tool manufacturing companies can have in their toolbox, is marketing automation. Marketing automation helps manufacturers simplify complex b2b processes while personalizing and scaling their digital marketing and sales efforts. 

With 48% of Marketers using marketing automation, it is one of the 4 most popular methods to create personalized customer experiences. – House of Marketing “Yearly Marketing Survey 2019” (2019)

By definition according to HubSpot, marketing automation is a tactic that allows companies to nurture leads through the buyer’s journey using personalized and valuable content. It also supports scale and growth within organizations. In this post we will talk about five key areas marketing automation can fuel your modern marketing strategy.

marketing automation for manufacturing

But First, Strategy.

Marketing automation is all about using software to automate manual processes and activities. These activities can include email, lead routing, social media, managing contact data properties, lead scoring, contact follow up, and more. But those are all features and functions. Technology is a solution. Not a strategy. 

Marketing automation is most effective when it’s driven by a persona-centric, buyer-focused, process founded strategy. 

Looking for help with strategy? Book a free consult.

Marketing Automation for Email Marketing

Marketing automation is so much more than email, but it’s likely what comes to mind first when you think about marketing automation. When done correctly, it allows for personalized emails to be sent to a segmented list from your contact database.

Why is this important? Manufacturers can have massive contact databases that house leads, vendors, reps, distributors, and customers alike. Personalizing communication and tailoring your message to your personas is key for engagement and effectiveness.

List Segmentation

List segmentation is pulling contacts that meet a certain set of criteria at a given time based on the information you have in your database. When potentially crawling through tens of thousands of contacts, automating list pulling is a must. 

For example, if you want to send an email to all of your customers who are engineers, who have an interest in product XYZ and reside in the U.S., list segmentation is the way to go. With a few clicks, you’ll have the list you need to provide relevant, timely, and helpful information in your communication.

Personalization

Automated marketing emails don’t have to ‘feel’ automated. Marketing automation allows for email personalization at scale. Here are a few examples for manufacturers.

  • Addressing your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Referencing their company name when giving an example of how their company could benefit from your product
  • Referencing their role or job title when discussing pain points or solutions pertinent to their role
  • Referencing the last piece of content they downloaded by name and asking if they are finding it helpful
  • Customizing the sender information per contact by contact owner
  • Referencing product or product category of interest
  • Referencing examples and case studies

When using platforms like HubSpot, you can pull in nearly every property as a personalization token within your email. 

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to test your email internally, prior to sending your full list to confirm the personalization tokens rendered in the copy as intended. 

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing
Found on  HubSpot, Research by Jupiter Research.

Marketing Automation for Lead Generation

Marketing Automation facilitates lead capture and lead generation most commonly through forms and landing pages. Leads can take all sorts of forms for manufacturers. New distribution partners, new suppliers, all the way to end users and customers. But they all start their journey at contact with your firm. 

Landing Pages

Landing pages are web pages that are optimized for conversion and focus on a clear call-to-action for your personas such as downloading an ebook, requesting a catalog, signing up for a newsletter or requesting a quote.

Manufacturing websites can be robust because they house many product pages so providing dedicated landing pages that cut out the noise and drive one action becomes really important. 

Forms

One key part of landing pages that is so fundamental it deserves a call-out of its own, is forms. Forms provide the chance for your personas to share information with you in exchange for something (an ebook, a purchasing quote, etc.) Selecting which form fields appear in your forms is a part of a sales and marketing aligned strategy. Here are some form fields for consideration for manufacturing:

  • Job function
  • Location
  • Company name
  • Product interest
  • Readiness to buy

Although I’m sure there is a lot of information you’d like to know about our contacts, be selective and make sure the number and type of questions you ask is equivalent to the value the user gets in turn for completing the form. 

Pro Tip: Platforms like HubSpot allow you to leverage progressive fields which means you aren’t showing repeat questions for the same lead. This allows for you to continue to collect valuable information for repeat form fills.

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing

Marketing Automation for Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is the process of cultivating relationships with potential buyers at every stage of the sales process and through the buyer’s journey. It puts a focus on meeting buyers where they are at, listening, and providing helpful relevant information. 

On average, 50% of the leads in any system are not yet ready to buy (Marketo)

Marketing automation allows you to create lead nurturing campaigns, also known as email drip campaigns which are a series of emails spread out over time that help buyers move from awareness to consideration to decision. Here are a few examples of actions that can initiate a lead nurturing campaign for manufacturers. 

  • A lead downloads a piece of premium content like an ebook
  • A lead attends a webinar
  • A lead requests more information on a specific product 
  • A lead downloads a case study or a buyers guide

When it comes to what emails to include and how many and what frequency, it really depends on your personas needs and your buying cycle. Nurturing campaigns are definitely not ‘set it and forget it’. Email open rates and engagement all the way through to marketing attribution reporting, will be your workflow gut check and point you towards areas for optimization.

Marketing Automation for Sales Collaboration & Internal Processes

Marketing automation is a major element of sales collaboration and simplifying internal processes. 

Marketing Automation

Sales Collaboration

At  Lake One, we bleed sales and marketing alignment. Marketing automation facilitates collaboration between sales and marketing in real-time. It’s the conduit between the two teams. Manufacturers can use marketing automation for the following sales collaboration oriented workflows:

  • Lead scoring
  • Assigning lifecycle stages and lead statuses
  • Handing off Marketing Qualified Leads to sales
  • Closing the lead quality feedback loop

Related Reading: How to Marketing Qualify Your Manufacturing Leads

Internal Processes

Manufacturing companies often have complex business processes. Marketing automation can drive efficiencies and allow for real-time routing, task creation, and follow-up across functions and channels. It’s made possible again through workflows. Here are some examples of workflows leveraged by manufacturing companies to drive efficiencies.

  • Routing leads by sales rep territory
  • Sending custom ‘Thank You’ emails by country
  • Routing internal requests like samples, RFQs or catalogs
  • Creating custom tasks by sales rep for lead review
  • Automatically setting subscription types
  • Setting product interest categories

The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to creating custom workflows to support your internal processes. 

Marketing Automation for Reporting & Attribution

At the end of the day, it’s about numbers. Marketing automation platforms give you the ability to create dashboards for your organization to view the reporting that matters most. Typical reports manufacturers can leverage include:

  • Contact lifecycle funnel (from a lead all the way to a customer)
  • Lead source
  • Traffic sessions
  • Email performance
  • Landing page performance
  • Sales pipeline

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Manufacturing Company?

We realize marketing for manufacturing can be complex, especially when you add marketing tech. Building a revenue operations machine with the technology to automate and support the complexities of your customer channels can come with plenty of questions.

Interested in exploring if marketing automation is right for you? Book a free 1-hour consultation with Ryan, our lead strategist.

 Book Your Consultation Now

How to Marketing Qualify Your Manufacturing Leads

Whether your manufacturing digital leads are feast or famine, how do you know which leads are a good fit? How is the sales team determining which leads they should talk to and which ones are in need of nurturing by marketing because they are aren’t quite sales-ready? In other terms, how are they being qualified? If you find yourself asking these questions, you might need some help determining a marketing qualified lead. 

Often referred to as an MQL, a marketing qualified lead is a lead that is considered more likely to become a customer compared to other leads. These leads have shown an interest in buying. They are open to the idea of a sale and have engaged with you and your business by taking some sort of action. Marketing efforts are typically what bring the leads in, but it’s what the lead does next that prompts them to become an MQL. 

qualify manufacturing leads

Define Your MQL Criteria  

Before you can begin to qualify your manufacturing leads, sales and marketing need to come together and not only define what an MQL is but agree on that definition. What are the characteristics and engagements that make up a good lead for you and your sales team? At Lake One, we lovingly refer to this as your lead fit to win criteria. It includes both lead requirements and lead engagements.

Related Reading: Lead Generation for Manufacturers: 9 Strategies to Crush 2020

But okay, where do you start? Here are the top areas for consideration when it comes to defining your MQL criteria.

qualify manufacturing leads

Review existing opportunities and customers: Who is your team talking to right now? Which leads have turned into customers and what actions did they take prior to inking a deal? You’ll likely uncover similarities in demographic data, such as industry, geo, company size, or job title, along with similarities in engagement. 

Engagement can be the content offers downloaded, the frequency of web visits or maybe even specific page views. 

Examples of MQL Actions

  • Requests a quote
  • Requests a product catalog
  • Attends a webinar
  • Downloads an ebook
  • Engages with your social
  • Opens a marketing email (or two)
  • Subscribes to your newsletter
  • Visits your website and/or visits key pages
  • Requests more information or asks to be contacted 

Talk to Sales: Find out what a qualified lead means to sales. They are not only key drivers in moving leads from marketing qualified to sales qualified and beyond, they know what they need and are a great resource. For example, is a lead worthless without a phone number? Or does sales need to be connected to a certain role within a company to increase the likelihood of closing a deal? All of these can be factored in as MQL criteria. 

Marketing MQL

Nice to know vs Need to know: Defining MQL criteria is really finding a balance of what is ‘nice to know’ vs what is ‘need to know’. Especially when starting out, we recommend creating opportunities to collect information (like updating form fields and leveraging progressive fields if you have that accessible) while still making the MQL status obtainable by leads. You can always tighten up the fire hose. 

Review. Revise. Repeat: Like with most things in sales and marketing, you can’t just set it and forget it. We recommend revisiting your MQL definition at least on a quarterly basis as a team. If you aren’t seeing the number of MQLs that you anticipated, is it because your criteria is too narrow? Or is it a lead quality issue? MQL criteria is a great place to start.

Once you’ve defined your MQL criteria, you need a way to collect it, track it and communicate it with your sales teams. 

Cue marketing automation.

qualify manufacturing leads

Leveraging Marketing Automation Software

Determining marketing qualified leads for your manufacturing company doesn’t have to be a manual process and in fact, we recommend it’s not. Marketing automation helps with:

  • Data capture at the time of form fill
  • Contact data storage
  • Housing the MQL criteria infrastructure
  • Notifying sales when a lead becomes an MQL
  • Closing the feedback loop

Here are some of our favorite marketing automation tools to get you started.

Out of all that is listed above, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t discuss the importance of notifying sales and closing the feedback loop. When a lead is hot, it’s hot and sales needs to be notified in real-time and on the contrary, if a lead isn’t so hot, marketing needs to know that too. Marketing automation software helps facilitate communication through notifications and custom properties.

It’s All About Alignment

Marketing qualified leads are really just a piece of the big picture of sales and marketing alignment. If you know anything about Lake One, you know we’re major proponents of alignment and defining what a marketing qualified lead is for your manufacturing company is a critical step to getting both teams on the same page and funneling quality leads to sales.

MarTech Assessment

Lead Generation for Manufacturers: 9 Strategies to Crush 2020

Over the last decade, lead generation for manufacturers and industrial organizations has transformed. While the industry is still heavily relationship-driven, like every other vertical it’s been affected by digital disruption. Marketing for manufacturers is changing rapidly. B2B buyers are empowered with more data then ever and shopping experiences in our consumer lives are informing our expectations in our business lives.

As the modern economy evolves – manufacturers and industrial firms may find themselves wondering how to get more sales opportunities in a quickly changing sales and marketing environment.

If you’re ready to move past the basics of lead generation, these are the manufacturing and industrial lead gen trends we’re seeing drive success as we head into a new decade.

Industrial Lead Generation with Account Based Marketing

Account-based marketing can provide manufacturing and industrial firms a strategic way to market only to the prospects your organization’s value most. It flips the thinking of a funnel. Instead of casting a wide net and working to qualify down to the best opportunity, you identify the accounts you want to work with and target outreach and promotion to reach and influence buyers. Generally, it works as an additive strategy to a diverse sales and marketing program and can run parallel to an inbound effort. It’s also a great way to repurpose and leverage your inbound content in a complementary strategy making sure you maximize your content investment.

industrial lead generation with account based marketing

Centralize Marketing if you Sell Through Distributors

For manufacturers who sell indirectly through distributors, consider centralizing marketing efforts. By creating a coordinated marketing effort, you can provide a digital co-op marketing initiative to your distribution partners. It serves two purposes. First, it provides a central place for potential buyers to go to as they research products. As the manufacturer, you retain brand control. Second, it’s a value add to your distribution channel as you can provide a steady stream of leads. It can also serve as a channel to recruit new distribution partners. Finnleo, a sauna manufacturer with a dealer network distribution channel, is a great example.

manufacturing lead generation with centralized marketing

Leverage Inbound for Manufacturing Lead Generation

Inbound marketing is a great way to drive a steady source of new leads for your manufacturing or industrial firm. Inbound marketing at its core is about creating content that answers your potential buyer’s questions early in their research process. The content is designed to convert prospects along with conversion funnels, maybe you provide a webinar or request a quote. Inbound also serves as a great way to develop your organization’s thought leadership and is extra powerful when combined with industry outreach and PR. Further, inbound aligns well with how engineers want to consume content based on research from Engineering.com When asked about preferred ways to acquire engineering information, a search is the top channel for finding answers to questions. This begs the question: if your engineering buyers have questions, whose content will they find, yours or your competitors?

manufacturing Content

Leverage marketing automation and CRM

A key part of successful lead generation for manufacturers is implementing right sales and marketing tools. Essential to that tech stack is a CRM that your sales team will actually use, with data governance that is meaningful to your business and marketing automation that helps nurture and identify opportunities. Marketing automation in manufacturing is also a powerful tool to help drive efficiency into often manual processes from lead routing and quote management to data governance and lead nurturing.

MarTech Assessment

Activate retargeting

Outside of paid media for account-based marketing and promotion around tradeshows, retargeting is an absolute must. If you’re doing any sort of lead generation program – retargeting is a low-cost way to drive additional conversion opportunities off people who respond to your manufacturing lead generation programs but don’t convert on your website. You’ve already invested a ton to get a prospect to your manufacturing website, if they don’t convert, set aside a small add budget to serve ads to them after their visit to try again.

Monitor social conversations

Depending on what your firm makes, monitoring social media for conversations around needs or trends can be a great way to identify opportunities for direct sales, PR opportunities to talk about your offering or identifying new channel partners. You can monitor conversations in several different ways. Join groups on LinkedIn, set up feeds or lists on Twitter or search on Facebook.

Manufacturing lead generation with social monitoring

Activate paid media around trade shows

Trade shows are still a great gathering place for manufacturing and industrial firms. But following up with people from trade shows can sometimes be a bit – meh. Instead of grabbing everyone’s business cards, leverage your marketing automation tools and let people book real meetings with you. Or set up a nurture sequence for those who stop by the booth.

Activating paid search around the tradeshow name is often a low-cost way to drive traffic to a landing page ahead of the trade show. Here you can promote any giveaways or reasons for people to book time with your team.

Monitor industry news & trends

Similar to monitoring social media, monitoring news alerts can be a great resource on multiple fronts. It can inform you inbound content strategy, support your account-based marketing program or provide opportunistic outreach opportunities for your sales team. The easiest way to do this is to set up Google Alerts or create a Feedly account to monitor terms and topics that matter most to your industry and buyers.

Manufacturing news monitoring

Leverage tools

There is a constant flow of tech tools rolling into the market. Here are a few of our favorite lead generation tools for b2b. Of the tools mentioned in that post, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is probably the most relevant for our friends in manufacturing and industrial organizations. One of the features I find the most useful is the account and lead recommendations. As you interact with and tell Sales Navigator what kind of leads and accounts you’re interested in, it surfaces new contacts and accounts that are similar but might not have been on your account based targeting list. It’s a great way to expand your scope with the accounts you can truly add value to instead of randomly selling to anyone with a pulse.

manufacturing lead generation with LinkedIN

3+ Social Media Tips for Manufacturers

Historically, manufacturing companies have been known to heavily utilize one-way advertising including TV and radio ads and billboards, as well as offline face-to-face interactions and word of mouth. These may still work to an extent, but they are limiting in how far they can reach.

An active social media presence allows manufacturing companies to reach a wider, more receptive audience than traditional marketing. Consumers are spending the majority of their time online. When they are looking for project ideas, answers to questions, or firms to partner with, they are turning to their online communities to find information and engage in conversations. Make sure your firm isn’t overlooked by putting the following social media tips for manufacturers to work.

1. Build Lasting Connections by Being Engaged in Industry Conversations

The manufacturing industry is constantly evolving. The professionals involved have great stories to tell whether they’re about exciting industry innovations, successes throughout projects, or admirable firm culture. There are many ways to engage with your industry and your target audience using social media; here are a few.

LinkedIn for B2B is always a good idea. Checkout out our LinkedIn Marketing guide.

Provide Educational Content on Regulation Changes

Regulations are constantly changing in the manufacturing industry. Social media is a great medium to have discussions on how to best handle those changes. Make an effort to become actively involved in Groups on LinkedIn or Facebook that address regulations specifically.

Once you’ve started to build a reputation as a thought leader in your Groups, begin creating educational content such as blogs, videos, and infographics that will help others address the regulatory compliance issues your team has conquered. Share these resources in your Groups as well as across all of your social media channels in order to spread their potential impact to a wider audience.

Show Off Your Successes

Another one of our favorite social media tips for manufacturers is letting your clients and prospects know exactly how successful your firm is when it comes to completing projects and staying ahead of your competition. In a way, social media was designed around the idea of showing off a bit, and it’s a great medium to demonstrate your full capabilities. Here are a few ideas to get your humble brag motors turning:

  • Display beautiful photography of your finished work on Instagram, Pinterest, and Houzz
  • Boast about your team’s diversity and inclusion efforts on Instagram
  • Do “sneak peek” walkthrough videos of completed projects for Instagram and Facebook
  • Demonstrate how your firm is innovating using exciting, new tech on LinkedIn

Marketing ideas construction and engineering

Drive Referral Traffic

According to Econsultancy, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook account for 90% of all social referral traffic to business-to-business (B2B) websites, with LinkedIn accounting for more than half (64%). Being engaged regularly on these platforms will keep you visible to your target audience. Even if they don’t need your services right now, they’ll know where to find you when they do in the future. Here are some additional post ideas for LinkedIn to inspire you

2. Get Creative with Video Across Different Social Channels

When it comes to social media tips for manufacturers, video is a must. Video is one of the most powerful marketing tools of our time. It helps draw in new followers and is an exciting way to provide valuable content that actually gets viewed. If you aren’t currently using video in your social media marketing, here is what you are missing:

  • Video content is the best performing content type on social and can help to increase brand awareness, interest, and conversions. (SocialMediaToday)
  • Views of branded video content increased 99% on YouTube and 258% on Facebook between 2016 and 2017. (Wyzowl)
  • On Twitter, a video Tweet is 6x more likely to be retweeted than a photo Tweet. (Wyzowl)

Video production doesn’t need to be extremely technical or time-consuming. According to HubSpot, 56% of all videos published in the last year are less than 2 minutes long, which happens to be the sweet spot for maintaining viewers until the end. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started with video marketing on your social channels.

Live Stream to Provide an Inside Peek at Your Operations

Outsiders probably don’t know what the day to day looks like in manufacturing. Even your current clients that meet with you regularly may not fully understand how you make decisions and problem solve. Manufacturing can be quite technical in nature so providing a raw, real-time inside look gives it a human touch and makes it more relatable.

Live stream content is not only interesting but also beneficial to your curious clients and future prospects as it increases transparency and builds trust with your brand. It is a great way to get useful information to your followers in a way that is easily digestible.

There are many platforms to choose from for streaming. It may be worth it to diversify across several to target different types of audiences. Between four of the major players, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Periscope, there are over 1.1 billion hours of video watched each day.

On several platforms like Facebook and Youtube, when you start a live video, automatic notifications are sent out to pull in followers as you are streaming. A good practice while streaming is to have a moderator prepared to keep an eye on the live chat and respond in real time to questions or comments.

Easily Start a Vlog (Video blog) on YouTube Reusing Your Blog Content

80% of people now prefer videos over blog content and social media posts. All of those people may be skipping past the wealth of information in your blog simply because they’d rather watch or listen to it than read it.

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This effort can be as simple as recording someone reading the information out loud. This is a bit more like a podcast because there isn’t a lot of visual value and will be a quick effort but doesn’t take full advantage of the power of video.

To really add value, you could bring in a designer to create a simple but engaging animation that demonstrates visually what is being said in the audio. Another popular strategy is recording a person explaining the content (memorized snippets of the blog) along with intermittent animation overlays to help demonstrate specific points.

3. Amp Up Your Social Media at Expos & Trade Shows

Trade shows and expos can be a powerful marketing and sales channel that allows for informative face-to-face interactions with current clients and potential prospects. In fact, 88% of exhibitors participate in trade shows to raise awareness of the company and its brand.

The key is getting attendees to not only notice your booth amongst hundreds but to be interested in what you have to say or offer. You can use social media to create a buzz and keep people informed throughout the show.

Use SnapChat Geofilters to Draw in a Crowd

You don’t have to have the biggest, most expensive display but everybody knows the booth at the show with excitement and a crowd draws in even more curious people. At your next trade show, utilize a SnapChat geofilter. This can create interest and draw people already at the show to your booth.

You can set your filter for the timing of the show and confine it to the specific location in and around the venue. You can utilize several pre-made SnapChat templates, or if you want to make sure it’s fully branded have your designers create a custom filter. It just needs to follow SnapChat’s custom creation guidelines.

Include your recognizable branding and your precise booth location so people can easily find you. Provide a reason to come to your booth, such as a free t-shirt or some other kind of swag. Most importantly, make sure when people do come to your booth, you help them take pictures using the filter and share to their networks.

Don’t know how to get started with this? It might be time to work with a digital agency. Learn more.

Live Tweet Q&A During On-site Presentations

If your business will be doing a live presentation or giving a speech, a Live Tweet Q&A is a great way to wrangle questions from your audience while also making them aware of your presence on Twitter.

This will require a well-advertised hashtag for questions to be submitted; make sure it is discussed prior to the speech beginning and is visible throughout the entire presentation.

For a smaller audience, you could have the speaker keep an eye on the hashtag and try to catch questions coming in real-time and work them into their presentation. But, this can be quite distracting for someone who isn’t well-versed at multitasking.

Another option is to have a moderator keep an eye on the incoming questions, they can sort them into categories, get rid of duplicates, and choose the best questions to be addressed at specified times throughout the presentation.

Pair this Q&A effort with a giveaway where a winner is chosen randomly out of new Follows from the audience throughout the presentation.

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Conclusion

As you can see, there is a multitude of ways to creatively engage with and market to your target audience using these social media tips for manufacturers. The most important thing to remember is it is all about making and building upon connections and being present, so don’t go in halfway. Committing to being fully engaged on one channel is better than being partially present across several.

Manufacturing Marketing – Building a Modern Growth Machine

There are a lot of organizations that rely on face to face relationships to increase revenue. In manufacturing, especially if you are regional or specialized – the value of your network is particularly important. But often, as organizations that focus only on relationships start seeking growth, the role different roles marketing and sales play in the pipeline unfolds. Sales (the relationship)is a short-term player. The hunter, sometimes gatherer, who finds revenue now.

Manufacturing marketing, on the other hand, is out sowing opportunity for tomorrow and next month and next quarter. As digital media advances and demographics change, marketing takes an even more active role in building pipeline and businesses that rely on relationships, like manufacturing, need to shift their focus on building a modern marketing strategy to attract and engage a modern buyer.