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The Thomas Blog

Industrial marketing and manufacturing sales tips to help you grow your business.

Manufacturing Trends To Look For In 2018

With 2017 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead and consider implementing some new manufacturing initiatives for the new year. How much do you know about the Internet of Things (IoT), for example? Are you keeping up with developments in artificial intelligence (AI)? New technologies and other trends continue to barrel forward, bringing about new innovations that — even if you’re not yet in the position to implement — you still need to understand.

Below are just a few areas anyone in the industrial manufacturing space should at least know about in order to stay ahead of the curve in 2018.

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6 Things NOT To Post On Social Media

The industrial space poses many unique challenges and opportunities for marketers. In manufacturing companies comprising just a handful of employees, there’s often very little time or budget left for a full time social media manager. This leaves us with two options — contracting out social media services to an outside firm or enlisting the help of current employees to take some time out during the day to manage the social media accounts.

In many cases, hiring an industrial social media marketing firm is the right choice. Your employees can focus on their primary responsibilities, and you can rest assured that your social media profiles are being managed by industry pros.

That being said, if hiring a social media service provider just isn’t in the cards, creating a presence on your own is still better than not having one at all. However, always make sure you’re following best practices before diving in head-first.

Having managed social media accounts in the industrial space for a number of years now, I’ve come across many types of content NOT to post. Below, I’ve pulled together a round-up of the top items to avoid.

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The Men Behind The Maps: How Beer Cap Maps Became A Reality

At Thomasnet.com, we love helping to create connections between buyers and suppliers through our supplier discovery platform. A recent connection brought together two engineers in Wisconsin with Jonco Industries, Inc, a full-service industrial supplier.

Together, they created an awesome Made In America product –  The Beer Cap Map – which has  been a huge hit for craft beer lovers and road trippers throughout the country.

We spoke with the men behind the maps to find out how Beer Cap Maps went from an idea to a thriving business thanks to a great partner in Jonco and a little help from Thomasnet.com.

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Top 6 Benefits Of Local Sourcing

In today's increasingly global business landscape, it's no secret that many manufacturing and industrial businesses maintain supply chains that stretch all over the world.

However, what may be a secret is just how much procurement professionals would prefer to source locally instead.

According to a recent survey conducted by THOMASNET:

  • 72 percent of industrial/B2B buyers "always or generally" prefer to source locally.
  • In comparison, just 10.8 percent of respondents "always or generally" prefer to source globally.
  • In fact, nearly half of buyers (46.7 percent) actually "rarely or never" prefer to source globally at all.

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The 7 Reasons It’s Great To Work In Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is one of the largest and most influential sectors of the United States economy. It also accounts for a similarly large piece of the American workforce — the industry employs 8.7 percent of the country, making it the third-largest industry in terms of jobs.

But what is it like for the millions of people who actually work in the industry? The truth is, it's pretty fantastic. Here are some reasons why:  

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Why You Need To Expand Your Business To New Markets

The manufacturing industry can be unpredictable. One minute you might be entering into a lucrative contract with a great new customer; the next, that customer could be going out of business — putting your own company at risk in the process.

The best way to guard against this risk is to diversify your business and expand into new markets. Here are three reasons why you should consider it in your shop:

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Three Logistics Lessons Black Friday Can Teach Manufacturers And The Supply Chain

The shopping frenzy known as Black Friday is almost here. While you will probably see lots of stories about long lines and huge crowds tussling over the latest toys and electronics, there is another story taking place behind the scenes – one of careful planning, lots of moving parts, and plenty of risk. It’s a story of logistics.

The fact is that Black Friday is one of the biggest logistical challenges for retailers and their supply chains. Many companies spend all year analyzing data and building inventories to prepare for the holiday rush. And the stakes are incredibly high –  one mishap can throw off a company’s entire supply chain, leading to a major loss in sales for the day and the rest of the year.

While most B2B manufacturers, industrial companies and procurement teams aren’t directly impacted by Black Friday, there are certainly lessons to be learned from the retail world that can help improve efficiency, reduce risks and optimize their supply chains. Here are three of them:

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30 Industrial Lead Generation Tips, Tricks And Ideas

Generating leads is the most important component of marketing.

When you turn a site visitor into a lead, and then that lead becomes a customer, you’ve done your job, but you need to follow up on that accomplishment. As the experts at HubSpot say, “A successful lead generation engine is what keeps the funnel full of sales prospects while you sleep.”

With so many moving parts involved in  successful  lead generation, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the tactics available for use. That’s where this blog post comes in.

We'll cover the most popular and effective techniques utilized by marketers today to increase leads and generate revenue. They’re what we at Thomas and they’re what marketers across all industries take advantage of to achieve their goals. Let’s get started.

The Mechanics Of Lead Generation 

Before we dive into the 30 tips, we should first cover the mechanics of lead generation. The best lead generation campaigns contain most, if not all, of these components. From a tactical perspective, a marketer needs four crucial elements to make inbound lead generation happen.

These include:

Offers 

Calls-To-Action

Landing Pages
Forms
An offer is a piece of content that is perceived high in value. Offers include eBooks, whitepapers, free consultations, coupons and product demonstrations. A call-to-action (CTA) is either text, an image or a button that links directly to a landing  page  so  people can find and download your offer. A landing page, unlike normal website pages, is a specialized page that contains information about one particular offer, and a form to download that offer. You can’t capture leads without forms. Forms will collect contact information from a visitor in exchange for an offer.

The tips in this blog will cover each of these elements so that every component is fully optimized to help you generate the most leads for your business.

Creating Irresistible Offers 

Goal: Make them say “yes.”

Tactic: Portray the offer as hard-to-get. When something is difficult to attain, its desirability grows.

Content: What should the offer be? Your offer can be whatever you want it to be, as long as attracts leads. In the industrial space, this is most often a whitepaper, infographic, or eBook. Offers can also be free trials, memberships, and sales promotions.

Reminder: People will offer personal information when they feel that the value of what they are about to receive is equal to what they are about to provide. Make the offer enticing. Read on to find out how.

1. Use The Element of Scarcity

If you look at the principle of supply and demand, you’ll notice that when supply is limited, demand goes up. Scarcity has a psychological influence on us, making us want something even more if there isn't enough to go around. Scarcity creates a fear of shortage, and a sense of urgency, which is helpful for marketing.

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6 Steps To Transforming Your Sales Organization

It’s no secret that the sales landscape has changed in recent years. The general B2C space adapted fairly quickly to new technologies and tools, but for B2B businesses, and particularly industrial companies, the adoption has been slow moving. Keeping our reliance on the old rolodex and trade show lists in mind, it’s time to re-evaluate how we can keep up with the broader trends and modern tactics. 

We’ve had tremendous success using inbound selling principles — essentially, this is the process of aligning your sales process with your customer’s buyer journey. By asking the right questions and showing how you can solve a problem, you’re that much closer to onboarding your next client. 

While we don’t anticipate an overnight adoption, we did pull together some tips to incorporate tactics that fall under the inbound sales umbrella, which will help you get started and become more competitive in the current market.

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