Archive for the Web Site Strategies Category
A Marketing Quadrant For Manufacturers – Content & Social Media

You must have 'the talk.' Whether you're beginning your marketing journey or restarting, the first step has to be discussing what your content proposition is and should be - to serve your customers, and win new business.

You must sit down and have ‘the talk.’

Far and away, the the most common mistake I see made by well-meaning but frustrated manufacturing businesses is ignoring ‘the talk’ about what their Web site & Social Media strategies should be. They discuss colors, or layout. They jump head-first into building a web presence, or establishing a Social Media voice – but rarely discuss content. It just doesn’t seem to matter much.

‘What will we say? What resonates most with our clients and prospects? What are they looking for? What are they trying to do? And what do they need that we can give them to make those things easier? Or better?’

In a perfect world, you’d think manufacturers would be the last to make this mistake. When you receive an RFQ or or inquiry from a prospect, the first thing you want to do is assess what’s needed – review the print, discuss the processes, dissect the job, find a better way. Do it right.

But with mixing marketing & most manufacturers, reality goes into suspended animation. They tend to make it up as they go along. And it’s probably like that at your company.

Here’s a guide to get your conversation about content marketing started. No matter where you are in your marketing journey, use this Marketing Quadrant for Manufacturers to get yourself on track & help ensure that you’re more successful in your own markets.

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Reshoring Manufacturing To The US Is A Gradual Process

A Textiles & Apparel Company CEO explains the decisions he made in repatriating production to the US - reasoning that applies to many manufacturers in other industries.

Lonnie Kane is the CEO for California-based Karen Kane, a fashion designer of women’s clothing founded in 1979 & carried in department stores throughout North America. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Business, he shared the motivations that led his company to repatriate its production – now at 80% – back to the US, the impact of the US and Chinese economies on those decisions, and the role of government on supply chains & manufacturing.

His thoughts, experiences and advice apply to manufacturers within many industries and demand chains – not just textiles & apparel. Here are some salient highlights from the interview, my take on their importance in assessing a reshoring strategy, and the full video of the interview (you can watch it below).

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The Impact Of Marketing Content Types On Industrial & ManufacturingTechnology Buying Cycles

Specific media serve specific needs at various stages of the capital equipment and industrial technology buying cycles.

In 2009, Google commissioned a survey with the company TechTarget to measure the behaviors around IT technology purchases, and how content types served those prospects throughout the buying cycle.  A compelling feature of this study is that Google used actual keywords and phrases that prospects searched for, as well as the content types they selected.

In short, this is no survey – actual behaviors, keywords searched upon and content types selected were OBSERVED. Real-time, and without the fog of interpretation, memory or recall.

While there are differences between IT and industrial technology buying cycles, there were compelling and surprising conclusions drawn from this study, and industrial marketers should consider these findings to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing strategies.

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Social Media & The Industrial Technology Buying Cycle

Industrial and manufacturing prospects use media differently than general consumers, to research protracted, complex technology purchases.

In this period of great change and experimentation with emerging media, two things have remained constant within the capital equipment and custom/discrete parts manufacturing industries – the special compliance and corporate requirements of industrial prospects, and the steps they follow through their unique buying cycles.

The stages & steps they follow have remained virtually unchanged throughout the industrial age. While media and communications options have evolved to make their journeys through the cycle more efficient, they’ve remained consistent in following these steps, in virtually the same order.

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Are Social Media Right For All Manufacturers? Maybe Not

Social Media these days may not be worth it for some manufacturing niches and their industrial marketing needs. At least not yet.

I’ve just read an article that eloquently and accurately explains the dramatic differences between industrial marketing and marketing for the consumer sector. It’s so good, that I wish I’d written it myself. I don’t care if you’re a small manufacturer in the heartland, a massive capital equipment OEM on the West Coast, an industrial marketing consultant that serves ’em, or anyone involved in the industrial manufacturing genome – stop what you’re doing:

Read it. Now. Because it’s great.

Great articles often transcend their initial concepts and take us to unexpected topics and conclusions. And this one does that. But more about that in a minute. Continue Reading

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