COVID-19 has terribly affected the manufacturing industry because work cannot be completed remotely, industrial plants need to be closed partially and fully to prevent the spread of the virus, and the demand for industrial products has dramatically reduced in the US and all across the globe. Not to mention the uncertainty as to when operations could fully resume and when the economy would recover. By the end of this chapter, there is no assurance as to how many manufacturing companies in the US would survive.
Unlike other industries that are more focused on B2C efforts, manufacturing marketing involves are a more tedious process of establishing connections with wholesalers, distributors, and retailers while understanding the needs and expectations of end-users. Because of how the pandemic has shaken the industry, manufacturers were forced to re-evaluate their strategies and tap into digital marketing to get through the year. Given how 2020 has drastically changed Marketing for Manufacturers, here are a few tactics you might want to consider to help you with the transition.
One of the ways in which your manufacturing business can survive on even thrive during this pandemic is by investing in effective content marketing or redefining your outdated content marketing strategies. This way, you can adapt to the “new normal” for businesses. Although your clients might not have changed, their businesses and their customers, otherwise known as your end-users, certainly have. Thus, your content should discuss topics such as changes your company has adapted to meet demands despite the disruption in the supply chain.
It is understandable that some of your competitors have been silent for most of this year due to cutbacks in their budget. If you want to get ahead of them, you need to fill in the void by reassuring customers that operational changes have been implemented to protect your employees. This tactic will help with your brand image, therefore allowing you to win back their trust.
You can also add product and instructional videos, demos, virtual conferences, and webinars to your content marketing strategy to replace face-to-face conferences and trade shows. Through these, you can grab the attention of prospects, and instill your brand and add more value to existing customers.
Of course, having a website that is user-friendly and mobile-friendly would be highly beneficial for your company. However, if you don’t even have a website to begin with, you must invest in this right away.
According to an article by Harvard Business Review, “Don’t Cut Your Marketing Budget in a Recession“, companies that made it through past recessions did not decrease nor increase their marketing budget. Instead, they maximized every marketing dollar they had and strategically allocated their budgets.
As you’re preparing for 2021, the first step is looking into other manufacturing companies’ budgets. Expect some variations considering that companies have different locations, machines, equipment, customers, and sizes.
A special COVID-19 edition CMO survey back in June this year revealed that the average manufacturing and Industrial Marketing budgets are up to 6.91% of their revenue and 8.49% of their overall budget. The majority of them spent around $3000 to $5000 per month on digital marketing, including social media campaigns, analytics, fresh website content and blogs, and email marketing.
According to industry experts, it is expected that manufacturers shift their spending on digital efforts, especially those who are into e-commerce. However, companies that don’t sell their products online are predicted to have a stronger online presence.
Another survey revealed that email marketing for manufacturers has the highest and fastest return on investment than other online marketing activities. It is closely followed by social media marketing and search engine optimization. With that being said, it will be smart for you to formulate a new strategy on said avenues to avoid throwing money out the window.
One of the many activities you can do is sending regular email newsletters to your subscribers to update them about company updates, news, special offers, and lead them to your blog. However, it would be best if you didn’t do this too frequently. Otherwise, these emails will turn into spam and turn off your leads and customers.
Next, you have to identify or redefine your target market so that you can put a chunk of your budget into developing buyer personas. This way, your digital efforts can focus on attracting the prospects who need your products and equipment.
Lastly, you have to thoroughly look into your previous lead generation, website analytics, and marketing results and identify which areas need to be tweaked, improved, scrapped, or replaced. For example, Google Analytics will help you learn your website visitors’ demographics, which pages they tend to visit often, among others. Marketing is essential, even more so now that we are in an economic recession. This is why it is crucial that you develop crisis management and response to your current and future challenges.