Manufacturing & industrial marketing insights for 2021

The majority thing market in is high priority, but does this really feed through to action for many within the Manufacturing and Industrial industries.  How successfully are marketing strategies being implemented? And which strategies seem to work best?

With the help of a recently published report by The Manufacturer and Intergage, as well as some insights of our own, we hope to boil down some of the industry’s key marketing statistics for easy consumption in this blog.

How much of a priority is marketing? 

According to the report, just under two thirds (63%) of respondents felt that marketing was a high priority. This is a positive start, particularly as 41% of respondents agreed that their digital marketing strategy budget will increase this year when compared to last.

A key finding here, however, comes in the disparity of perceived importance found between salespeople and marketers/business leaders. While 64% and 75% of marketers/business leaders felt marketing was of high importance to their business, only 25% of salespeople agreed.

It is currently estimated that just 17% of a buyer’s customer journey is spent meeting with potential suppliers, and as little as 5-6% of that time is spent talking to an actual sales rep. Maximising points of contact, as well as the quality of information available to prospects, should therefore be a priority.

Having both your sales and marketing teams working on the same page will lead to better cohesion in your business development plan and, hopefully, more successful results.

What marketing strategies are being used?

Across the board – and really coming as no surprise given the last year – digital marketing reigns king in most companies’ strategies.

Nearly 83% of respondents carried out organic social media promotion (unpaid, self-published content), 67% write a regular blog (47% produce regular creative content), and 60% also engaged in email newsletter marketing.

Notably for this sector in particular, 53% of respondents still noted exhibitions as a key pillar of their marketing strategy. The ability to do this has obviously been curtailed by lockdown restrictions, a fact that has no doubt fed into the rise in webinar adoption, which 32% of respondents say they are now doing.

Further to this, 53% carried out SEO best practice, 53% engaged in paid-for digital advertising, and 25% created ‘guest content’ for third-party publication sites.

It’s really interesting to see how the industry has diversified its approach to marketing strategy in response to the pandemic. Across the board we’ve seen companies adopting new digital marketing strategies to find more targeted and successful ways to engage with prospects.

What the challenges marketing faces in Manufacturing? 

A key challenge many Manufacturing/Industrial businesses face is just how to measure the efficacy of their marketing campaigns. Unlike traditional B2C selling, the buyer journey for industrial goods and services is often long and complex: there is no streamlined and measurable journey through a marketing campaign that can be reliably measured.

Coupled with this there is a strong trend towards resource-related challenges: 45% of respondents found it hard to create enough content; 33% lacked enough resources or skills, and 25% faced budgetary restraints. In fact, the lack of resources experienced by respondents is mirrored by the fact that over 70% of companies surveyed dedicated only 5% of less of their annual budget to marketing.

Further to this, 55% said they found it difficult to target the right audience, 27% said they lacked a strategy or proper plan, and 15% said they didn’t understand what technology they should be using.

These statistics point more towards the growing pains of digital adoption more than anything in my opinion. Many businesses in the sector have had to fundamentally alter their existing plans and strategies in order to comply with lockdown measures, so some difficulty in adaptation is to be expected.

Final thoughts 

The Manufacturing and Industrial sector has, like many others, been forced to reassess the way it carries out its marketing procedures in response to the many lockdown measures in place across the world. Across the board, this has served to propel the rate of digital transformation and increase investment in more digital marketing techniques.

In the long-run, this will largely be a good thing for the industry. Once lockdown measures end, traditional marketing activities – such as trade shows and exhibitions – will be able to resume as normal. The benefits of a developed digital marketing strategy – honed throughout the pandemic – will pay dividends in the years to come.

Industrial buyers want to self-serve. They’re empowered by 24/7 access to online information. They don’t want to speak to salespeople until they have conducted their own research – on their terms

By Rebecca Garland on 24/05/2021