As a primarily B2B manufacturer, your digital marketing works on a much larger scale than a B2C company. However, the ultimate goal remains the same. You want to convince your target audience to opt into the products for sale.
Digital marketing practice encompasses several sectors, including advertising and outreach. You need to fully understand and maximize its potential for your manufacturing business, regardless of industry.
But before you can convince your target audience with digital marketing, you need to convince your executive team about digital marketing.
So where do you begin?
Money – specifically profits – is obviously the main selling point for any kind of digital marketing method. Whatever tactic brings money into your business is worth an increased investment. It also provides critical information for the marketing department.
Traditional manufacturing centers that have run the same way for decades may resist a change in their marketing methods.
They’ll likely want to put most money into sales or into traditional lines of advertising that seem to have worked in the past.
However, this short-changes their company’s potential.
If you want to convince executives about their business choices, don’t talk to them solely about progress. Talk to them about the bottom line.
In the corporate world, money talks. That’s why it’s vital to monitor the revenue and to highlight the earning potential of digital marketing.
More traditional businesses remaining in outdated practices must see the revenue numbers attributed directly to digital marketing.
Recognizing an increase in profits should help bring in additional funding for expanded digital marketing. It’s especially urgent to do so because traditional forms of advertising are dwindling and will not be able to sustain companies for much longer.
We discovered in our recent survey that manufacturers consider trade shows to be their best-performing marketing tactic. However, over 50% of them also agree that they’ve seen a decline in trade show leads over recent years. The next three best performing marketing tactics are emails, online ads, and social media: all digital.
With the ability to launch a product online and receive digital coverage from news outlets, major trade shows are becoming less and less necessary. That especially impacts the companies that still rely on such events as their main lead-gen tactic. If your executives are still on the analog bandwagon, talking in dollar signs is the first step to speaking their language.
Marketing is an investment. If a campaign or outreach method doesn’t pay off, then it doesn’t deserve to receive more money.
In the past, there was no way to determine causality in marketing.
“Did that uptick in leads come from our direct mail campaign, or our magazine ads? We have no idea. Let’s just keep doing both.”
The advertising and marketing department of most businesses is relatively fixed, which means there needs to be a strong return on investment
The heads of a manufacturing business don’t just want to see a strong return on investment for digital marketing. They will want to know how long it will take to begin turning their advertising money into sales.
Different manufacturers and B2B businesses have different buying cycle durations. And different forms of digital marketing and advertising outreach have varying developmental times. So, ROI by tactics will vary. However, one thing is clear: digital tactics consistently work faster than more traditional means of advertising. And there’s a good reason for that.
Digital tactics educate leads and help them self-qualify, which shortens the buying cycle.
Traditional advertising requires a potential customer to read, watch, or hear a single ad. Then they have to remember it and perform the next step by researching or contacting your business. With digital marketing, the connective opportunity is readily available through a single mouse click.
So, naturally, digital marketing provides a faster rate of return over traditional marketing. This expedites the return on investment. And thanks to digital’s powers of attribution, the company will not only see an increase in profits but also know its cause. That should in turn increase the financial assets of the marketing department.
3. PROOF OF CONCEPT
Proof of concept is not a new idea. However, it has picked up steam in recent years.
POC is the act of establishing your business as having created a particular product. Your creation is showcased before being officially released to the public as a “proof.”
Many companies within the manufacturing industry utilize proof of concept.
Smartphone manufacturers release product information months before the product itself is ever released to market. Auto manufacturers may show off new technology years before the average drive has access to it. Even movie production studios will shoot small concept videos or trailers of a larger story idea as proof of ownership.
Proof of concept establishes that your business had the idea to create a new product.
Products that are well-established and in the near-complete stage are considered prototypes. Meanwhile, concepts are exactly that: concepts.
At auto shows, auto makers reveal “concept cars.” These are exercises in whether something is realistically possible. Cadillac rolled out a V16 concept that was used to garner attention and turn heads. They didn’t release that vehicle, but it became the basis of the Cadillac CTS, which helped launch a new branding of the company.
Consumers also want to see your concepts, too. Your ideas, even if they’re mere blueprints or formless ideas, offer a window into the future. They provide exciting marketing potential, not to mention they help boost interest in a company.
Proof of concept shows investors and buyers that you’re preparing for the days ahead, and aren’t wallowing solely in the past. If your executives can get a hint of what you’re planning – or if they can see the excitement of your customer base about it – they’ll be easier to convince about budgeting.
4. SALES & MARKETING UNITY
Your sales and marketing teams must work together.
Far too often the two departments fail to connect with one another. This means the marketing department may not know what advertisements are working; and the sales department may not know what kind of outreach is going on. This leads to a fracture within the business and stunts any possibility of major growth.
Regular meetings between sales and marketing teams are vital to tracking your customer journey from start to finish. In recent years, some companies have blurred the lines between both departments so much so that they’ve even coined a new term for it.
“Smarketing” is the best way to make sure your marketers bring in the right kinds of leads, and that your sales team will have the content they need to close deals.
Despite the need for marketing and sales to synchronise, this is something that doesn’t often transpire within most B2B companies or manufacturers.
If both departments have separate or even conflicting goals, that only serves to confuse your higher-ups. Executives will be hesitant to invest further in either department until the disconnect is resolved.
5. TRACK AND MEASURE
In order to identify what works and what doesn’t within any line of digital marketing, you must look to the analytical data. That data is precisely what traditional methods never really had; and why they’re in decline.
The more specific or wide-reaching your data, the greater the insights you can glean. With this information it becomes possible to identify what’s working and what needs to change.
If you can determine your successes and failures with numerical proof, you can make choices about the future that will be more financially beneficial.
This allows for a better investment of the advertising budget, and will directly affect the return on investment and overall revenue.
Despite the importance of tracking website analytical data (as well as advertising on other platforms like social media and through Google advertisements) many businesses do not track performance.
According to our 2019 Sales & Marketing Survey, 33% of businesses either do not look at their analytical data or are not sure if they do. Another 24% only look at the percentage of leads to sales, and nothing more.
Even the companies that do use some analytical data are not fully investing in it. Leads-to-sales is a basic form of measurement, but there are many other variables at play. For any digital marketing plan to work, ample data is required to show what’s going on behind the scenes. You need to get more specific numbers and particular causality in front of your executives to help them understand how your work is performing.
Digital marketing plays a crucial role in your manufacturing company’s outreach potential. Or, at least, it would if your higher-ups knew what it could actually do. That’s where you come in.
It’s not your executive team’s job to trust that your marketing will be successful. You must prove yourself to them. These five factors will help you speak the language they’ll best understand: numbers, and money.
If you need to exercise these five steps in everything you do, you’ll be able to monitor the performance of your every marketing tactic. You can finally identify what works and build off of it; change what isn’t working; and maximize your financial potential.
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