6 Marketing Mistakes Manufacturers Make [with Solutions]

Mackenzie | June 07, 2021 | Manufacturer Marketing

Marketing is tough for anyone. As digital marketing experts, we know firsthand how tough it can be, especially for B2Bs who work in niche industries like manufacturing. If you're working to optimize your manufacturing company's marketing strategy, this blog can help. Here are 6 marketing mistakes manufacturers make, complete with solutions to help you turn your strategy around. Let's jump right in!



01. Creating Only Self-Promoting Content

If there's one thing manufacturers are great at, it's brochures. Product brochures, solutions brochures, systems brochures, if you can slap it on a page and hand it to a prospect, your sales team wants it. 


And while brochures are an amazing resource for your sales team (and for your marketing strategy, if you use them right!) they're not the end-all-be-all when it comes to marketing. 


One of the mistakes we see over and over with manufacturing clients is that you use your product brochures and promotional materials as marketing content. 


While your product brochures are an important sales tool, it's important to realize that they're only useful to you for leads who are at the end of their buyer's journey. Leads who are in the awareness or consideration phase aren't going to get much, if anything, out of your promotional content, because they don't know what they want to buy yet.


Marketing, especially digital marketing in this era where content is king, relies on educational, helpful content that informs. People are looking for information that has answers to their questions, not information that is pushing a product. That's why your promotional product brochures just aren't the best way to spend your marketing money. 


Product brochures won't do anything to draw in new leads.  


To correct this marketing mistake, take a close look at your content development process. What causes your team to write a new piece of content? 


Are they responding to a customer need or to a sales need? Both are valid, but you should strike a balance between the promotional, sales-focused content you're developing and the helpful, informational content that is going to draw people in. 

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02. Failing to Push New Initiatives Across the Finish Line

Another common mistake we see with manufacturers, especially those in highly technical industries with complex products, is an inability to finish any kind of marketing materials or content. 


We get it, you want all the experts to weigh in. You want to make sure every piece of content is perfect — down to the last letter. And while that's a valiant effort, it's also important to remember that no marketing campaign will ever be perfect or done. 


Your team could go a million rounds on one branding message or paid advertising campaign, without ever coming to a consensus. 


Paralysis by analysis is common, but it's also avoidable. Here's how you can ditch the constant review cycle and actually get some materials published that are going to work to pull in more of the leads you want. 


  1. Set up a review schedule. Whether it's three rounds or five, have a clear, specific review schedule that outlines which documents go to who, when, and how you get approval to launch. 

  2. Have one point person driving each campaign. When everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. Assign one point person to every marketing initiative your manufacturing company takes on, and let them own that piece's journey to launch. 

  3. Stick to your review schedule, and make sure everyone understands it. Here's a sample to help you get started — it might not be perfect for your team, but it's something to build off of. 
    1. Round one. First pass at this campaign. Send it to the people who need to have input, and let edits be free game. People should know they're able to make as many comments, suggestions, and edits as possible.
    2. Round two. The second round of review should be more focused — identify problem areas, and have product experts laser-focus their efforts on those areas. 
    3. Round three. The third round of review should be focused on small, proofing issues. Everyone needs to get their extensive editing in on the first two rounds. This is not the time to make big changes. If your marketing materials or any supporting documents will need design, this is your last chance to make edits before the final version, and any edits you do make should be small. 
    4. Final round. Here, you're looking for minor errors like misplaced commas, misspelled words, or any errors that may have pulled over into a designed file. Especially for any kind of marketing content, any big edits here will cost you big time (you'll have to spend more to have your designer and content writer overhaul the existing piece) so avoid them as much as possible.

  4. Launch the campaign. Once you've made it through your full review schedule, it's important that you actually get the content published. I get that you don't want to put out misinformation or anything that's truly wrong, but after four rounds of editing, you shouldn't have any major errors left. Anything minor can always be changed down the road as it's identified.

  5. Remember that quality marketing campaigns are built on data and optimization. No marketing campaign is ever done once it's launched. That's always just the start. Track the performance of your campaign, and optimize and adjust based on the results you're getting. No marketing campaign is ever done, which is why it's so important to actually launch the campaigns you put together.

Again, I absolutely understand the desire to perfect your campaign before you launch it. But if your team is putting in the effort to develop it and put it together, it's essential that you get it out there to see how it works. 



03. Passing on Social Media Because It's "Just Not For You"

We get it, selling manufactured components just isn't the same as selling home goods or clothes. That doesn't mean that social media can't work for your manufacturing company, though.


We've written countless posts about the benefits of social media for manufacturers, as well as plenty of start-up guides to help you get your manufacturing company's social media strategy off the ground, so I won't go too in-depth here. 


I will say that if you're not using social media, you're missing out on many opportunities to amplify your brand, boost your presence in your market, and reach new quailfied leads. 


Do yourself a favor and pick one or two social media platforms, and start testing them out. You might be surprised to see how many of your customers, both current and future, take an interest in the great content you're posting. 



04. Ignoring Customer Research

Another common problem we come across with manufacturers is a tendency to ignore customer research. 


There's often the thought that "we know our customers, we've worked with many of them for decades." And I get it — your team does work every day with your ideal clients — they often do have great insights into your customer behavior that might not show up in a study or survey. 


But, it's important to make sure you're weighing the feedback you get from your team against some serious, hard data about your existing customer base.


That starts with actually doing some customer research, and then following through on that work by adjusting your content and marketing strategy to meet some of the new insights you've gained. We've written a bit more about this in our Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Personas, so if you don't know where to turn with customer research, that could help.


There's a lot you know about your customers from working directly with them for years, but there's a lot more you can gain by completing and paying attention to customer research. It's important to remember that consumer habits are always changing — customer research can help you identify those changes and meet new customer needs.



05. Letting Your Website Wither

Hey, the Evenbound team loves working with manufacturers. But, you gotta face the facts — the industry is not known for being the most advanced when it comes to digital presence. 


That's a problem for more than a few reasons, but here are the big two:


  1. You're a technology leader. Whatever it is that you produce, I'm willing to bet you use some high-tech engineering and new-age manufacturing processes to deliver a product that's better, faster, and stronger than what used to be on the market. When your website looks like it was built in 2000, that undermines your credibility as an authority in innovation and production. 

  2. You're losing leads. B2B manufacturing leads are looking for products online. When a potential lead shows up to a site that hasn't been updated and isn't optimized, how are they to know that you are a legitimate business, and how can they get in touch with your team? Quality websites deliver quality leads. I've written about it time and time again, so if you're new to this one, take a look at a few of these: 

Your website is a powerful marketing tool that functions as your 24/7, always-on sales team. Don't sleep on that. If it's been some time since anyone's looked at or updated your website, take this as your sign to take a look.



06. Leaving Marketing Just To Your Marketing Team 

The final manufacturing marketing mistake I want to touch on in this blog is a big one. It's not often discussed, but leaving marketing to just the marketing team is a mistake we see across industries, and particularly with manufacturers. 


While your marketing team should be largely responsible for any marketing campaign you develop or deploy, it's a mistake to let them operate in a vacuum. 


Your marketing team can only market with the information they have available to them. Often, we find that manufacturer marketing teams aren't able to or are often discouraged from talking to product experts, engineers, and other technical leaders in your manufacturing company. 


Yes, those people are busy, and yes, they have full-time jobs to do, but without their input, there are a few problems that will arise, the most common of which is a disconnect between marketing and the rest of your team. 


When marketing doesn't have access to regular information from your product experts, technical leaders, and engineers, it's common to develop a sense that, "marketing just doesn't get what we do." 


From posting misinformed content to writing blogs and emails that just don't quite fit your product or audience, these are all mistakes that happen when your marketing team functions on their own, without help or input from sales, production, and technical experts. 


To solve this, remember that marketing should be a full-team effort. While the marketing team can and should do most of the work associated with developing marketing campaigns for your manufacturing company, it's important that they have access to product experts who can guide them in the right direction, and are aligned with the sales team. 

Marketing and Sales Alignment Click

Whole team alignment between marketing, sales, and yes, even engineering and production contributes to a solid, informed manufacturing marketing strategy that delivers the results you're looking for. 


Your marketing team is an important resource for your manufacturing company. 


They're who gets the word out about you, and who works to bring in the ideal leads your sales team loves to close. 


Make sure they have the resources they need to do their jobs well and make sure you're working hard to bring marketing into the rest of the team, so they can create relevant, impactful marketing campaigns that actually do bring in the leads you want.


Marketing Mistakes Manufacturers Make: How to Stop Making Them

As a manufacturer, marketing isn't always your first priority. You make things, after all. If your team is having trouble managing everything from production and engineering to marketing and sales, it's always helpful to call in the experts. Whether you opt for an in-house marketing team or bring in the big guns with an agency, it's always a good idea to choose people who are experts at what they do, and who know the manufacturing industry inside and out. 


If you're ready to stop making these marketing mistakes at your manufacturing company, Evenbound is here to help. Not sure your manufacturing company is ready to take the plunge? Check out 8 Questions to Ask a Digital Marketing Agency Before You Sign to see if you're ready.  


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