The Changing Face of Marketing in the Manufacturing Industry


Marketing in the manufacturing industry has changed more in 2 years than in the past 50 years.


Marketing in the manufacturing industry is similar to many industries and 57 percent is a number they watch. For some manufacturing consultants, system integrators, and VAR’s the figure may be higher or lower.

57% – that’s how far the average manufacturing buyer is through the decision process before engaging system integrators, VAR’s, and consultants?

This is an alarming statistic. 57% of your buyers are already in your buying cycle before you even know about it. But it’s especially distressing if you are in the manufacturing industry.

Minimize your risk and get ahead of the pack through an integrated strategy that ensures you are in front of your active buyers. So that when they search for your products and services, they find you.

The prospects are experiencing and expressing symptoms of a problem. They know they have a potential problem, but they are unclear about how to solve it. They are doing research and you must be providing educational content to help them solve it.

At the awareness stage, media clutter is often a major bottleneck for brands, particularly new entries. The insufficient intensity or creative appeal from marketing communication can limit growth in awareness.

This might include a lack of distinctive or relevance to the target audience, drive-by gaps in real or perceived brand positioning.

You want to in front of RFI’s and RFP’s before they are written. Before they are even a twinkle in their eye.

I used to sell, cutting-edge digital security solutions, to the public sector, the FBI, airports, and public transportation. This was back when everything was recorded on analog VHS video.

I was always frustrated by the fact that the sales cycle was often over 2-3 years. But, by laying the groundwork and by adding our specification to their requirements we would typically have huge payoffs, for my company and the customer.

My specs would often be written into the request for proposal (RFP) well before the competition even had a look at the RFP.

It’s not that I wanted to trick the customer into buying something they didn’t need. It was that I spent the time talking with, understanding the problem, and developing a solution to solve their problem economically. It all paid off in the end, and that’s what I am talking about here.


57% of sales cycle


What are you doing about it?

Research from CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council shows that potential business customers are increasingly using digital channels to form opinions about major purchases.

Today’s business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is complete. The challenge for marketers is to be present in the right channels, with the right content, at the right time to educates buyers and help guide their commercial decisions.


What it means for the manufacturing ecosystem

CEB and Google explored this problem to learn what leading companies and their marketing teams are doing differently to thrive in a world where customers learn on their own.

Let’s break this down in into three segments:


Digital Integration for Manufacturing Firms

“Integrating marketing communications is hard—and that’s not a new concept,” — Shelley West, Principal Executive Advisor at CEB, @CEB_News.

The report states, you can’t process your way out of a marketing structural problem. Your sales and marketing silos might be holding you back. Focusing on process changes won’t fix it. 

They have distinct challenges and very different solutions. Message and channel integration are critical just to get customers to hear your message through the clutter. But there are two kinds of integration. “Campaign Integration” and “Digital Integration”. 

However, there are two types of integration:

  • Campaign Integration
  • Digital Integration

They have distinct challenges and very different solutions.


Content Marketing for Manufacturing Firms

“Content marketing has a dirty little secret,” by Brent Adamson (@brentadamson), Principal Executive Advisor at CEB.

If you want to be found by your target customers in the noisy digital environment, you must meet consumer demands.

The system integrators, VAR’s, and consultants have the ability to provide valuable, highly relevant content with context. It’s the price of admission.

Even though you may have the greatest content, it may not be all that successful. Context is about how you have already engaged with your relevant prospect, the relationship you have had, what devices they are using, to have a more intelligent conversation.

Many marketing teams are settling for a fractured, over-engineered approach to content creation. The result? Mediocre content that only adds to the noise and doesn’t stand a chance of breaking through.


Marketing Analytics

“The missing ingredient? Savvy analytics talent with a nose for how marketing contributes to economic value creation,” by Pat Spenner Strategic Initiatives Leader at CEB

A story of humans over technology and big data. The quest for perfectly integrated data and the next best thing in analytic tools is endless.

In their quest, most B2B marketing teams are overlooking simpler, but useful analytics that can be utilized with existing tools. Have you looked at your Google Analytics account recently?

The missing ingredient? Savvy analytics people with a nose for how marketing contributes to economic value creation.


Conclusion about Manufacturing Industry-Changing Industry

Before you jump on the 57 percent bandwagon, be sure that you know what you are doing.

When do your manufacturing prospects want educational material like a blog post, white papers, and when do they want to see videos? Matching your customer’s need with the right content and right marketing channel is the biggest challenges in digital marketing.


If you want to do this right, it requires data on what content your customers are consuming and on what channel.

System integrators, VAR’s, and consultants are often not set up for those things. Typically, they’ve responded to digital with a fragmented approach where one team owns content creation for one product line, another team owns webinars for another product, and a third-team owns video for the entire firm, and so on.

How do you solve the problem? Rather than investing the time and money to implement uncertain marketing models that attribute specific leads to specific pieces of content, Marketing should do two things: Simpler, more actionable models, and analytics talent.

If you can get digital integrated with your broader mix, get the message right, and pick the right format for those messages, you’ll be well on your way to generate leads in the manufacturing digital landscape.

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General FAQ’s

How do you market a manufacturing company?

Top 5 Strategies For Industrial B2B Marketing
1. Marketing research and competitive analysis
2. Establish a communication architecture and clear uniques value proposition 
3. SEO-friendly website tuned with call-to-actions
4. Paid search can help boost your web traffic quickly
5. Content marketing is critical
BONUS: Use marketing technology to scale and reduce cost

What has changed in and manufacturing industry and marketing?

Marketing in the manufacturing industry has changed more in 2 years than in the past 50 years. Leading manufacturing firms are going through a digital transformation and using modern digital marketing strategies.

What does it mean for the manufacturing ecosystem?

The manufacturing ecosystem included many players and stakeholders like tier 1, 2, and 3 suppliers, system integrators, consultants, and more. 


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