Competition in the B2B manufacturing industry is fierce, with similar products and services offered in the marketplace. Without marketing investment, industries can’t position themselves as unique in their sector. A strong manufacturing marketing strategy helps elevate an industry’s presence in the market, highlighting its distinct products and services. In fact, 85% of industrial marketers surveyed in 2022 have a defined marketing strategy, and 98% of manufacturers generate sales-qualified leads with digital marketing.
So, when defining a B2B manufacturing marketing strategy, it is essential to understand what makes the business unique and why its product is the best one around. A solid manufacturing marketing strategy must sieve the top qualities that set a business apart and place them in front of the right decision-makers.
This blog explores the challenges B2B manufacturers face while marketing. Explore the key steps to build a dependable B2B manufacturing marketing strategy to get desired results.
Table of Contents
Challenges in the B2B Manufacturing Marketing Industry
Marketing for B2B manufacturers differs from B2C businesses and, thus comes with different challenges. Understanding these challenges and preparing a manufacturing marketing strategy that helps you tackle them is vital.
1. Targeting a Panel of People
A B2B manufacturing marketing strategy needs to keep a panel of key people in mind. This is because major business decisions in large industries or corporates are often made with multiple executives, unlike B2C marketing, where one individual is often the decision-maker.
The hiring decision often goes through multiple levels. An employee shortlists companies offering similar solutions and passes it to multiple high-level executives, for the final decision such as
- Financial Adviser
- Product Manager
- C-level executives
At all these levels, the marketing team of the manufacturing industry will have to conduct meetings, discussions, and product demos to provide quotations.
It is common in the market that B2B manufacturing companies are portraying their products cost-extensive, as their clients want the best deal possible. Therefore, the marketing strategy needs to showcase value to all these different levels of decision-makers for a successful outcome.
2. Long Sales Funnel
B2C marketing often involves helping potential customers through the sales funnel by creating a sense of urgency and propelling them to invest in the product. This is an efficient solution in the B2C marketer’s arsenal as it can help promote products that might not have much demand in the target market at a particular moment.
But the B2B funnel is quite lengthy. While creating a sense of urgency may work on customers at the bottom of the funnel, the entire sales journey is quite long for them. As they focus on purchasing bulk products/services to make their daily business convenient, businesses often assess the product multiple times before moving on to the next stage.
3. Investment Sum and Value Realization
With multiple similar products in the market, your B2B manufacturing marketing strategy should focus on pushing your product’s value to the forefront.
With either a bulk product offer or offering larger and specific pieces at a higher cost-point, your target audience should understand the “why” of your product and the “how” of the value you provide them.
This poses a challenge for B2B manufacturing marketing as the buyer must realize the value of their investment in your product.
4. Buyer Research
The B2B buyer arrives with research as they know what they are looking for specifically. In their search for the right fit, businesses also put strict constraints on the buying process, fix a budget and want to understand the materials or resources used.
These circumstances make the manufacturing marketing strategy for a B2B company tricky. Marketers must balance providing high-value emails and key product specifications that set them apart.
One key rule: share limited but enough information to increase your value and cover your client’s needs.
Importance of Understanding Product Differentiation
Product differentiation is a strategy to help you understand how your services or products are a step apart from your competitors. The aim of this is to create a manufacturing marketing strategy that is value-driven and distinguishable. It helps you gain a competitive advantage and make decisions that set you up for success.
Product differentiation answers multiple questions, such as
- How are your products different from a traditional business?
- What makes the value of your product worth investing in when compared to new businesses?
- What is a factor you provide that no one else can?
The deeper you dissect this stage and understand your value and uniqueness, the more you can bring to the table. This helps you launch lucrative offers and easily hit the right marketing targets.
In today’s market, who you are and what you do as a company heavily impact your B2B manufacturing marketing strategy. Simply having the best services or products is not enough. Let’s look at three ways you can consider product differentiation to understand your value.
1. Ranking and Quality
Product differentiation is called vertical differentiation, where the audience selects your product based on quality. Here, customers in the market rank your product based on objective and quantifiable measures such as quality, build, price and quantity.
This assessment is taken with an understanding that all the clients have an objectively similar scale of selection regarding quality and price. However, this scale may differ in reality.
The goal of vertical differentiation is to understand the product so B2B businesses can work to achieve higher quality and gain a competitive advantage in the long run.
2. Audience’s Personal Preference
Horizontal differentiation is a strategy where a customer selects a product based on personal preferences or subjective outlook. Here, price point or quality is not an important factor; instead, their preference affects their selection.
3. Mix Factor Decision
Mixed factor differentiation is a strategy that is a combination of both differentiation techniques. Here, the client considers objective aspects like quality, price, and features, along with their personal preference.
Most B2B manufacturers use this technique to make purchases. Therefore, creating a manufacturing marketing strategy that is flexible and offers variety is always a good decision.
Manufacturing Marketing Strategy for Effective B2B Marketing
Once you assess your value via product differentiation, marketing your B2B company becomes simpler. Then, you can keep your products/services according to the preference of your audience by customizing your marketing to fit this six-step strategy.
1. Make Market Research a Priority
Evaluate your target audience before you pursue any marketing efforts, as it will not yield fruitful results otherwise. Using market research and assessing your leads and audience needs is vital.
You can undertake this research in the following ways:
- Perform in-depth research on what they dislike or like about your competitors and your products.
- Understand their pain points and what you can offer them to customers.
- Complete market research using focus groups, surveys and interviews.
Do not rush this step, as it will skew the research of your target audience and will not give an accurate idea of your client’s expectations from your product. It will also deem your marketing campaigns ineffective.
As a part of their audience research, many B2B companies outsource their market research to a specialized company that collects genuine data for efficient B2B marketing.
You can distinguish yourself after you understand your target audience and have a solid idea of what they want. Observing your audience’s interaction and their unmet product needs can be a good starting point for building your foundation.
Assess what your competitors offer to the audience and how they engage with the competitor’s brand. This will tell you what your ideal audience thinks of your competitor’s products and what they are doing right. With that information, you can learn how to differentiate your product from competitors and develop marketing campaigns that outperform industry standards. You can also learn where competitors are falling short – which helps to spot opportunities in your market and test new marketing tactics that haven’t been taken advantage of.
2. Focus on SEO Investment
Most of your target audience will start researching the product you provide online. This creates an excellent opportunity for you to position your product before them.
Your manufacturing marketing strategy needs strong search engine optimization (SEO) to make this impact.
SEO is one of the top ways to attract quality B2B leads. This marketing technique drives organic traffic, attracts the top-of-the-funnel audience’s attention, and helps you establish your brand as an industry leader. It will help you generate high conversion rates and increase website traffic.
To get the maximum benefit of your SEO budget, you can hire specialists focusing on B2B SEO. B2B SEO consultants typically have vast expertise, so hiring them can help boost your business while maintaining your budget.
3. Build Industry-Focused Content
After laying a research foundation and strategizing with a focus on SEO, you need to ensure that your content educates your audience. Creating good content will help you stay on top of your audiences’ search results and minds regardless of their position in the sales funnel. This will ultimately give you the upper hand when they consider their purchase decision.
You can create the following content to intrigue your audience and help them consider your products:
- Blog posts
- Authority articles discussing manufacturing trends
- Industry-specific news
Use your market research and your team’s industry knowledge to form content specific to your product and industry.
4. Focus on Website Optimization
Your website might be one of the first things your B2B lead accesses to understand your product better. You can use this space to guide them in your chosen direction.
Assess your goal in this scenario and design your layout keeping that goal in mind. Create a high conversion-focused website and include the following pointers:
- Strong CTA (call-to-action) buttons that guide leads to register their information for demo sessions and price quotes.
- Easy-to-navigate and intuitive pages for your audience to know more about your products.
- High-value proposition statements and proofs for your leads so they know what you can offer if they take the next step.
If you divert all your attention to sales but not to user experience, your manufacturing marketing strategy may not bring in desired opportunities.
5. Be Present Where Your Audience Is
The industrial purchasing cycle has changed tremendously in the last few years. Social media is an important aspect many B2B buyers consider as it offers social proof and quality assurance. In fact, according to research, nearly 73% of millennials today are involved in B2B purchases.
Publishing content on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help you reach the desired audience and expand your presence within the social network.
So, if you have a social media account but are not consistently active, it’s time to pay due attention to that and make it an important part of your B2B manufacturing marketing strategy. This will help your customers stay engaged and help you stay in their minds more often.
Pro Tip: Break the conventional tone of professionalism on social media occasionally, and put an emotional element in your communication to connect with them.
6. Perform Multi-Channel Marketing
Effective marketing is a consistent effort and continues after creating some content or redesigning your website. You need to be proactive to reach your audience and consistently offer value.
Setting up multi-channel marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness and drive more buyers to your website is vital. Invest in quality leads from genuine database provider and stay in contact with your leads to increase ROI with your marketing strategy.
A good B2B manufacturing marketing strategy can help you set yourself apart in a saturated market. It is essential to understand your product, conduct exhaustive research to generate a high-value image and provide quality products to your leads. Invest in SEO practices, genuine datasets and social media campaigns to drive quality results.