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Monday, August 21, 2017

How Well Do You Really Know Your Customers?

Did you know that the average business-to-business (B2B) buyer reviews 10.4 sources in a typical buying situation?

Or that, according to recent research, most customers are 57% of the way down the path to a decision before even performing an action on a website?

These and more revealing stats help make up what Advance Ohio’s Digital Marketing Strategist Jason Plavic, writing for Metalforming Matters in late 2016, calls “The Evolution of B2B Marketing.” The new normal: Buyers are more empowered, and more knowledgeable, than ever before.

And now that buyers have upped the ante, it’s imperative for sellers to do the same. Sales and marketing departments in the manufacturing realm must evolve and embrace the changing, increasingly digital landscape in order to survive and thrive.

One way to do just that is to embrace the most ubiquitous buzzword in all of business: data. A recent survey of metalformers conducted by the Precision Metalforming Association (2017 Sales & Marketing Report) found that about half (49%) utilize some form of formal market research (34% conduct their own research in-house, while 15% purchase market research).

Strategic incorporation of data into sales and marketing operations can allow for smarter application of company initiatives. The success of marketing plans can be evaluated objectively, and the same mass-informational analysis that customers now are applying to purchasing can be used to understand the root causes of customer behavior. Utilization of data can help you know your customers better than they know themselves!

Want to know more about the changing landscape of manufacturing sales and marketing? Attend PMA’s Sales & Marketing Summit in Milwaukee, WI, September 26-27. Expert speakers will present on the ways that technology and other trends are changing the “industrial buying process,” and how you can respond. To register or find more information, visit www.pma.org/salessummit.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Evolution of Sales & Marketing for Manufacturing

The original format of marketing existed in a straightforward, clear progression: consumers saw an ad, developed an interest in the advertised product and made plans to purchase it.  Unfortunately, that simple path is no longer common anymore.  Now, buyers find information through external sources and their own research to make decisions, meaning that a manufacturer’s approach to marketing must evolve.

This evolution flips the entire order of manufacturing sales on its head: instead of sales representatives approaching potential customers, buyers are coming to sales reps with their extensive research in hand. To stay relevant and in demand, manufacturers must consider the minds of their customers and how they can find the right products during their search for a solution to their problem.

Below are two areas to consider when updating your sales and marketing strategies for the new age:

Search Engine Optimization:  93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and these searches bring more people to business websites than all other online channels combined. Search engines like Google and Bing use intricate, exclusive algorithms to determine which websites are most relevant to the words that users type into a search box.  Organizing your website’s homepage so that it contains phrases that describe your product (e.g. “metal stamping,” “medical,” etc.) as well as qualifying buzzwords (e.g. “reliable,” “premium,” etc.) will help draw the eye of the researching buyer.

Social Media: Most manufacturers think of social media as a platform best suited for B2C, but B2B marketing can benefit from this area, as well. Social media should be used to stoke the promotional fire by delivering content to the masses and engaging with potential buyers. Having one’s company social media accounts open to questions also streamlines the research process for the consumer: if they are interested in doing business with you, sending a quick question over the platform’s messaging system gives you the opportunity to engage and build rapport.

With these strategies in mind, manufacturers will have a leg up on their competition in the marketing space.  For more tips and insights into the future of manufacturing marketing and sales from experts in the field, join PMA in Milwaukee, WI, for the Manufacturing Sales & Marketing Summit on September 26 and 27.  More information and registration details can be found here.

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