It’s true. At first sight, manufacturing marketing may seem quite confusing.
For one, when marketing a manufacturing company, you almost never talk to an end-user. Your goals are different, too, at least when compared to other brands or industries. Not to mention that typical marketing messages would, most likely, fail to engage your target audience.
Table of Contents
In this guide, we’ll help you understand the ins and outs of manufacturing marketing. We’ll also discuss the major challenges manufacturers like you face with marketing. And we’ll show you the best strategies to use when marketing a manufacturing company.
It’s a lot to cover so, let’s get right to it.
Why is manufacturing marketing different?
We’ve mentioned that manufacturing marketing is different. But let’s go deeper and understand what are the key factors that make the process so unique, compared to consumer marketing, for example.
Overall, there are four core differences between marketing in the manufacturing industry and other industries:
#1. In manufacturing marketing, you don’t communicate to end-consumers
We often associate the term – marketing – with communicating with end-consumers. Electronic brands promote their computers or phones to the very people who are going to be using those devices daily. Software companies reach people who are going to use their apps to solve their problems or make their lives easier, and so on.
But as a manufacturer, you do no such thing. You rarely speak or engage with end users of what you manufacture. Instead, your marketing campaigns serve to connect you with a completely different type of a target audience – wholesalers, distributors, and people who help bring your products to end customers.
#2. Your product doesn’t serve your target audience’s needs
The focus of a typical marketing campaign is often to highlight how a particular product solves the needs of the target audience. But since you don’t communicate with end users, your marketing message needs to focus on something completely different. Instead of highlighting the benefits of using your product, your marketing goal is to support wholesalers and distributors. It needs to convince them of the business benefit of stocking your product, and support them in their efforts in delivering it to the end market.
This brings us to another core difference…and it’s also another factor that affects your marketing message.
#3. The reasons why your target audience chooses your product are different from why end consumers choose it
Your target audience is unlikely to use the product. As a result, they will evaluate it from a reseller point of view. As a result, they, most likely, won’t consider how well the product delivers on the promise. Or how uniquely it can solve the customer’s pain point. But they will certainly evaluate the business and market potential of stocking it.
This is directly related to another aspect of your marketing…
#4. Your sales process is significantly longer than in direct to consumer sales
A typical consumer sales process is short. A consumer identifies a product, perhaps they do some research, find a retailer they want to purchase from, and … that’s it. The product is theirs.
Most resellers, on the other hand, will require you to go through a lengthy process, verifications, negotiations, checks, and so on. And much of your marketing efforts, as you’ll see shortly, go towards supporting that entire process.
All of these differences result in several challenges marketers in manufacturing companies face when implementing various campaigns.
Let’s go through these now.
Typical manufacturing marketing challenges
The first challenge any manufacturing company faces is the need to create an incredible amount of digital assets.
This challenge is directly related to what your target audience expects. Resellers, wholesalers, and distributors will expect a company to supply them with all the assets they need to reach and deliver the product to end consumers. And that means that, at minimum, your marketing department will have to create:
- An extensive product image library
- Product sheets and any other product documentation
- Point of sale materials
- Product copy and info sheets
- Advertising assets, and more.
As a result, your company will need to develop a solid system for storing, organising, managing and creating retail portals for all your digital assets like a content supply chain.
(Note – Later in this guide will show you exactly how a content supply chain platform will help you manage the entire asset library, content production and distribution of assets.)
Another challenge is facilitating a longer sales cycle. In most cases, this once again, translates into having to produce an incredible amount of digital assets to support the process.
Lastly, as a manufacturing marketer, you need to communicate benefits that are different from what you’d normally use in your campaigns. For example, a major part of your manufacturing marketing process should go towards promoting your reseller support program. This isn’t something you would include in traditional marketing campaigns. Yet it’s a hugely important selling point to communicate to distributors or wholesalers.
This is another challenge that requires manufacturers to implement a solid digital asset management strategy to streamline asset management and content production.
Shortly, we will explain in detail how the content supply chain process works and helps improve your marketing efforts. There is one other thing we need to cover beforehand, though – What marketing strategies you should be using.
What are the best marketing strategies for manufacturing companies?
We’ve covered the issue of manufacturing marketing in general. You know what the process entails, and why it is so different from other industries. What we need to cover now is how it happens in practice.
And overall, manufacturing companies use these four strategies to reach their target audience:
#1. Publishing content that assists resellers with stocking and distributing their products
The role of a reseller is to help manufacturers bridge the gap between them and direct consumers. Resellers and wholesalers help you reach end users by distributing what you manufacture to retailers, and reaching customers through other channels.
But for it to work, distributors need your help. They need marketing materials, assets, and anything else that would help them gain traction for your product.
- They need visuals that they could distribute to retailers, online shops, etc. to use to promote the product.
- They need product information to hand over to their customers.
- They also need product videos and any other content asset that would help attract people to your product, and convince them to buy it. Some of these content types include product comparisons, buyer guides, case studies, and more.
#2. Direct advertising
Direct advertising plays two roles in your marketing:
- It helps you generate brand awareness and positions what you manufacture on the market. This is how potential distributors and wholesalers might notice you and what you offer.
- But it also helps you build buzz around your product among the end users. And that’s something that helps retailers to convince their channels to stock it.
TIP: Several different advertising strategies work for manufacturers. But overall, focus on those forms of advertising, be it online or in the media, that let you showcase the product (i.e., video ads) rather than just point customers to your site (i.e. paid per click ads.)
#3. Creating product tutorials, product sheets, and overviews
Once again, the purpose of this strategy isn’t for you to engage an end-customer but provide assistance to your target audience.
You see – resellers and their clients (i.e., online stores, retailers) will use these to help end-customers:
- Understand the product better.
- See it as a great option to solve their need.
- Provide support and assistance, should a customer require that.
However, the responsibility to create those assets resides with the manufacturer. And needless to say, whether you offer a retailer portal that is easy to access and search for all those assets or not, might become a serious selling point for wholesalers and retailers.
#4. Lead generation and nurturing
Finally, as a manufacturer, you also need to reach and engage procurement departments of retailers and wholesalers with whom you’d like to stock your products. In practical terms, this means connecting with relevant people, converting them into leads, and nurturing that relationship until the point of sale.
The process is actually quite simple. Although, in this case, it too relies on you creating several assets:
- A whitepaper or another lead magnet to convert visitors into leads.
- Email marketing messages to send to leads and nurture the relationship with them.
- Opening up other touchpoints (like using live chat for lead generation) to convert those people further.
How Content Supply Chain helps deliver the best manufacturing marketing campaigns
Two things quickly become apparent as you discover manufacturing marketing:
- You need to create an incredible amount of content assets to market a manufacturing company properly – Product images, videos, brochures, sales sheets, tutorials, and so much more.
- To deliver successful marketing campaigns, you need a way to create, manage, route and excite with personalised content for your retailers.
That’s where content supply chain comes in.
The term – CSC (the acronym for content supply chain) – refers to a process of storing, organising, distributing and personalising digital assets from a single, centralised location.
In practical terms, CSC is a system and software that allows you to combine all digital assets and organise them properly into folders, collections, and more. Your creative teams and anyone else involved in the process can, then, use CSC to access those assets as they please.
The ability to manage and organise assets in one location will have a significant impact on your business. Let us illustrate that with some examples:
- With a CSC system in place, you no longer have to worry about wrong assets being used in marketing collateral.
- Because everyone involved works off the same assets and workflows, the risk of errors and mistakes in product manuals is minimal too. On top of that, CSC’s online proofing process allows you to ensure that any potential errors get spotted and corrected quickly.
- CSC’s routing capabilities allow you to ensure that assets get sent to relevant marketing channels, and pulled off them when the campaign ends.
- Product images displayed in your catalogue are up to date and match the images on your website, and so on.
- You can create asset portals for all of your retailers based on who is selling what and where. This allows you to easily supply highly personalised content to your partners which is exciting for them. You can also gain insights as to what content is being used and by whom to optimise what you offer, which is exciting for you.
Introducing CELUM content supply chain plaform with powerful digital asset management at its core
CELUM (disclaimer – this is our product) is the first content supply chain platform with the world’s most powerful digital asset management (DAM) at its core.
Because of its laser-focus on manufacturers’ needs, CELUM offers all the capabilities you’d expect from the most robust tool on the market:
- The ability to store, organise, manage, and create personalised asset portals even with the largest digital asset collection in one central location.
- Working with multiple file formats, including documents, audio, video, CAD and other digital content assets.
- Advanced asset management capabilities including folders, collections, metadata, tags, and more.
- Flexible node structures and asset collections so that you and other team members can go through vast amounts of files and find anything in an instant.
- Defining relevant asset types and categorising your content based on a variety of formats and use cases.
- Collecting usage data from connected systems to visualize where your assets are and how they are related to each other.
- Review and approval workflows.
- Access control and rights management to ensure that only the right people can access the right assets.
- AI-based capabilities to assist your teams with finding similar assets, detecting duplicates, recognising faces, and auto-tagging your content.
- Powerful integrations.
- Asset routing to various marketing channels that you use in your campaigns.
- Asset portals that are highly personalised each of your retailers needs.
Manufacturers Who Trust CELUM
You’ve watched the video how CELUM has helped RubbleMaster. Check out some of the other manufacturing companies who are happy they are using CELUM and why.