7 Marketing Mistakes That Manufacturers Make Over And Over Again

After all of the time and resources you’ve invested into your digital marketing engine, you wouldn’t just walk away from the progress you’ve made, would you?

Common mistakes can derail months and even years of hard work. In many cases, the biggest risk is doing nothing at all — no more new content, not following up on industry trends, and not performing due diligence. Unfortunately, we see many companies making the same mistakes over and over again and it can cost them leads, customers, and a lot of revenue.

Here are common manufacturing marketing mistakes you should avoid:

frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at office-1

1. Not Having Goals Or A Plan To Achieve Them

What do you want your marketing efforts to achieve? It’s a simple question but, too often, industrial marketers don’t have a clear answer. If you don’t know what you want to get out of your marketing initiatives, it’s near impossible to put together an effective strategy.

Implementing a digital marketing strategy takes time. A lot of time. And in reality, it’s an ongoing process that’s never really complete. It’s very rare to see results soon after set up so don’t give up! Digital marketing will have some trial and error — you might spend hours writing the perfect email that ends up getting absolutely no traction. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the email, it just isn’t right for your audience right now. And that’s okay — it tells you what not to do so that you can focus your efforts on other possibilities until you find out what works.

Related Info: Email Marketing Do's And Dont's

Come up with a few strategies to try, including a couple of different email design templates, social media posts and frequencies (these will also vary considerably depending on the network), blog length, etc. Again, this will take time between brainstorming ideas, creating content, and analyzing results. But eventually, you’ll have a much better idea of what resonates best with your readers.

Unfortunately, even those manufacturing companies that do have goals in place are often focused on the wrong goals. While improving vanity metrics like visits, clicks, views, and social followers is certainly nice, what really matters is improving leads, conversions, and revenue. Of course, this requires a lot more effort, along with a lot more expertise in industrial marketing.

2. Staying In Your "Comfort Zone"

There was a time not so long ago when everyone wanted a niche; companies aimed for their own little corner in the marketplace and stayed there. But refusing to grow and expand into new markets seriously impedes your reach — and your chances of gaining new, valuable customers. Exploring other markets and regions can open up your business to many new opportunities.

So ask yourself what sectors you and your competitors are under-serving, and aim to connect with prospects in those areas. Highlight your expertise, take part in industry discussions, and offer valuable content and advice. This will help you build valuable relationships with new buyers and partners and effectively expand your company’s reach.

Hidden Markets-New Industries 2

3. Assembly-Lining Your Buyers

You know what’s better than a generic supplier? A supply partner who customizes their offerings to their clients’ exact needs. Recognizing your buyers as individuals with unique needs can catapult your business to a whole other level. Meaningful business partnerships depend on mutual success, so take the time to ensure your clients are getting the services and support they need. This will help establish you as a thoughtful, knowledgeable leader in your field and greatly increase your chances of achieving customer loyalty.

More specially, take the time to understand your buyers’ needs and how their operations function. Learn about their company shortcomings and strengths, and see where you can assist or advise. In this way, you’ll stand out from the competitors just looking to win faceless contracts. Showing your dedication to buyers’ needs helps you stand out from the other companies on their shortlists.

Why should a prospect pick you over a competitor? What sets you apart? What expertise can you share? If you're not answering these questions for your prospects, they'll find a company who will. Take the time to develop your unique selling proposition.

4. Ignoring Customer Research

The worst thing you can do is forget who your audience members are as people. You don’t need to know their full daily routine, but you should be able to identify their job function, general age, and what specifically they need in a supplier. If you don’t know who your customer is and you’re just sending out marketing collateral for the sake of sending something, you’re wasting your own time and theirs. And nobody likes having their time wasted.

Segment your audience into a few different lists. For example, prospects, current customers, and former customers should all be segmented into different lists. If you’re running an email promotion to appeal to people who have never purchased your product, you don’t want to send that message to current customers who would not be applicable to the campaign.

If you’re reading through this and thinking, “Wait a second, I’m supposed to have organized contact lists?” you have your work cut out for you. Pull together as much data as you can, and separate your contacts into as many lists as you feel would be helpful. If your company serves a wide range of industries, definitely consider which customers are associated with which industries. If you keep sending solar related emails to oil and gas related companies, eventually they’re going to unsubscribe. So, gather as much information as you can about each contact to make sure you’re appealing to each target.


Learn more: How To Create Buyer Personas For Industrial Marketing Campaigns


5. Holding Out For The Big Kahuna

Landing a big fish as a customer can change the fortunes of your business overnight. However, if you turn up your nose at small jobs and orders, you could very well be passing over potential goldmines. It isn’t uncommon for companies to place small orders at first in order feel out new suppliers. Waving off these opportunities or failing to provide dedicated, full support can seriously hinder your chances of winning future business — and hurt your company’s reputation.

Treat small jobs like the auditions they could be; use the opportunities to showcase your knowledge, professionalism, and expertise as you strive to learn about each client's operations, provide personalized service, and efficiently handle any issues that might arise. Prove yourself worthy of bigger business, and keep in mind that word can spread quickly about how you’ve handled certain jobs.

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6. Being Too Passive

To increase sales and effectively grow your business, you need to be on your potential buyers’ shortlists. You can’t get on those shortlists if you’re invisible. So make yourself visible, and get in front of potential buyers looking for new suppliers.

Bonus: How To Make It On Your Industrial Buyer's Shortlist

Yes, inbound marketing is all about bringing potential customers into your orbit rather than chasing them down through cold calling or mass advertising. However, too many manufacturing companies seem to be waiting and waiting for those prospects to magically find their websites, pick up the phone, and sign on the dotted line.

Industrial marketing doesn’t work that way. You need to not only create great content, you need to make sure people see it! That means utilizing email marketing, organic search engine optimization, paid advertising, and paid social media, too. And if you want to put yourself in front of the biggest and most active network of industrial and B2B buyers, you need to be listed on Thomasnet.com. That’s where buyers go when they are actively searching for suppliers or sourcing new products.

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7. Letting Your Website Decay

A lot of industrial marketers spend tons of money building their websites, only to neglect it as soon as it is published. Like your car or the machinery on your shop floor, your website needs to be continuously optimized to ensure peak performance. That’s why Growth-Driven Design is such an effective approach to website management; it focuses on quick improvements that drive immediate, quantifiable results.


Read More: 7 Quick Ways To Check If Your Website is Out Of Date


Stop Making Mistakes. Start Getting More Leads.

All these mistakes can lead to stagnation — and this simply isn’t an option in a marketplace that’s constantly changing and innovating. But you know what these marketing pitfalls have in common? They’re typical of companies that think in terms of quarterly statements rather than long-term growth. So set your sights high, and always seek out new opportunities and areas for advancement.

If any of these mistakes sound familiar to you, it's time to make a change before it is too late. If you need a little help breaking free, we can help. Contact the Thomas Marketing team today and we'll work together to put together a strategy that delivers the results you are looking for. 

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