2019 manufacturing marketing trends guide

5 Smart Marketing Trends for Manufacturers Who Want to Grow in 2019

With each passing year, the tools, techniques, and needs of your audience changes, and 2019 is no exception. What can you do to stay on top of your market and customers?

According to our new research and first-hand conversations with leaders in manufacturing and marketing, these 5 key trends are ones you’ll want to pay attention to if your goal is growth in 2019.

1. Content Marketing is Critical: Companies Lacking Engagement Risk Failing.

Manufacturers as a whole are making two major mistakes when it comes to content marketing. They’re either using content marketing but talking too much about themselves, or they’re not using content marketing at all to stay engaged with their customers.

Now that most of the customer journey touchpoints between your brand and your customer happen through digital channels, content marketing serves to bridge the gap between your business and your audience. Done correctly, content marketing resonates with your customer base and moves them along the journey.

  • Regular, ongoing content like blogging, podcasting, social postings, and video are what fuels customer behavior and creates successful manufacturers. Non-promotional content is key: content resonates the most when the message prioritize the audience’s informational needs and values over a sales message.
  • Developing a regular content calendar is critical to making it easy for your customers to engage on a regular basis, and to turn browsers into subscribers.
  • 71% of people who have a positive social media experience are likely to share the brand with others. Content marketing fuels this engagement as the most shared content is something that informs, helps, ignites, or entertains the audience, rather than sales messages.

2. Automation: Start instant conversations with your customers.

Automation is big in 2019. From automatic email sequences to introduce an audience to your product, to scheduling regular communication, to now tools like ManyChat and other chatbots, manufacturers can take advantage of these tools to create instant communication bridges with customers.

Over the 2010s, as digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing in advertising opportunities, customers by and large prefer frictionless methods to getting questions answered in their buyer journey. Phone calls for early stage prospects are almost unheard of, and if your brand isn’t anticipating and instantly answering the questions asked by your customer base, you’re perceived as not worth the time.

  • Plan sequences to point interested prospects to key content and messaging that moves them through the buyer journey. Create interaction opportunities to build a relationship with them virtually, and triggers that indicate when they’re ready for your sales process to take over.
  • Improve the effectiveness of your marketing by using the automation process to profile and personalize content to the individual customer level. Emails are most effective when they are tailored to a customer and their interests.
  • Manychat and other Facebook bots help you answer questions instantly and also build subscribers to your Messenger content. Then, send a tailored Facebook Message out to your customers instead of an email blast.

3. Analytics & Audience Profiling: Plan, Implement, Measure, Improve

Digital marketing gives you opportunity to continue to improve and tailor marketing over time. By analyzing gaps in moving customers through conversion steps, you can spend more judiciously by focusing money on platforms and messages that work.

Compared with older marketing techniques and “spray and pray,” digital marketing analytics give you insight like never before into the mindset and interests of your customers.

  • Always be learning from your customer. Researching your audience means listening to what they say on social media, talking with your sales team, performing regular surveys for feedback, seeing what keywords and search terms are being used to find you, and looking at performance behavior on your website and in your marketing funnels. Through ongoing examination of your audience’s behaviors, you will be able to build a system over time that grows your customer base and your business.
  • Analytics help you refine your content and conversion plan. Through consistent testing of how customers are using your marketing system, you can continually refine the content to move your audience along the sales path, and plan marketing touchpoints all along their journey.
  • Test everything to improve your efficiency. Ongoing observation of your analytics and audience enables you to improve your search presence in both organic and paid search, and the wealth of data enables you to make informed decisions about your messaging and offer to achieve your most profitable results ever.

4. Recruitment & Internal Branding: Build a Strong Workforce with Marketing

Manufacturers continue to struggle to fill needed positions in the US. If you’re one of the thousands of manufacturers competing for labor, there are several ways you can stand out as the organization of choice, and build a strong, engaged workforce that goes beyond just the paycheck.

  • Profile your workforce and build content and messaging that resonates with their lifestyle and interest. Use the same marketing techniques you would use for your customers, from blogging to landing pages to content created for specific steps in the engagement funnel, and tailor it to the channels your team uses outside of work.
  • Manufacturing has a lingering perception problem, and is often incorrectly seen by the younger workforce as dirty, dingy, and outmoded. Attract millennials by branding with messaging and visuals that show how manufacturing has evolved, that work is clean, and that modern manufacturing is high-tech.
  • Make the job about making something. Connect the dots for employees to show them how they can take pride the end product they are producing. When you show your workforce how their work matters to a bigger picture, your teams will feel like they’re making a difference.

5. Influencer Marketing: An untapped resource for many manufacturers

Similar to the content you might create, there are already content creators on YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and several other channels who are creating content your customers are engaging with. This is an untapped resource for many businesses in general, much less manufacturers, as something that’s been under the radar for years. It seems obvious as soon as you read it, but when you sponsor the interests of your customer base, your customer’s awareness and interest in your brand improves.

This technique is the evolution of TV/Radio advertising, as you are picking influencers who align with your brand and your customer’s values, and paying for sponsorship opportunities. The difference here rather than using traditional media is that you can measure and analyze the performance of that marketing effort.

  • Research influencers who fulfill niche interests, and watch their content to ensure their values align with your brand’s values and messaging. If you’re not sure where to start, survey your customers and see what media they’re consuming.
  • Ensure they are connected with the audience demographics you’re seeking, and that they have authority and ability to persuade in a given niche.
  • Influencer marketing and their channels will vary greatly by demographics of your audience. Some demographics, like streamers, may be most active on channels such as YouTube or Twitch. Others, like parent bloggers, may be more active on Facebook, Twitter, and their own website. Pick the medium and shows most consumed by your demographics.

Use Marketing Effectively to Grow in 2019

As you plan how to effectively expand your manufacturing operations in 2019, look to your marketing department and focus on these five ways to grow your audience base and boost your growth. It’s tough out there, and there’s a lot of competition, but focused efforts in these areas will have a tremendous impact on your long-term performance.

Where is your company making strides in these 5 areas? Have you seen results from expanding your marketing plan using these techniques? Let me know in the comments section below!

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