Kendall | February 22, 2022 | Manufacturer Marketing
A marketing plan is a document that outlines your business’s marketing strategy for the upcoming year. It’s designed to be a pretty hefty, comprehensive document that includes all the elements of your marketing strategy, including your goals and each of the tactics you’ll use to achieve them.
Want a more detailed description of what a marketing plan is? Run, don’t walk, to this blog.
You mean you’re not just going to take my word for it? Fine, I’ll elaborate.
As a manufacturer, it’s likely that you’re struggling to make a lot more with a lot less these days. And while creating a marketing plan isn’t probably the first thing on your to-do list, and although it may take some heavy lifting up front, it’s something that will make things a lot easier for you in the long run. Here’s why:
Taking on marketing efforts without a plan often leads to confusion and disconnection. While you may have a lot of great ideas floating around the office, there’s nothing that keeps anyone informed or focused enough to bring them to fruition. It’s like being excited to take a road trip to some new, beautiful place, but driving around without a map. Yeah, the sightseeing can be fun, but it’s going to cost you quite a bit of gas money, and you’re still probably not going to end up in the right place.
A marketing plan helps provide a complete breakdown of what your goals are, and what budget, time, and tactics you’ll put toward achieving them. It gets your whole team aligned and on track, so you’re all working towards the same thing. And when you’re all working towards the same thing, that’s when you really start to see results.
So, what goes in a marketing plan for manufacturers, you ask? A lot. But I’m going to break it down into just four steps here.
Say it with me: all good marketing plans start with your goals.
Do you want to make $X more revenue this year? Do you want to be more recognized in your industry? Do you want to onboard X new team members?
Sit down, have some honest conversations, and decide what your team really needs to focus on in the coming year. Then, make sure to write these goals out in SMART format. SMART goals are:
And, honestly, once you’ve figured out your SMART goals, you’ve already finished a big chunk of the work. They’ll be your guiding light throughout the rest of your manufacturing marketing plan.
Next up, an easy step! Take some time to breathe, step away from strategizing and decision making, and copy/paste in some key branding and messaging documents that you likely already have.
Think things like: buyer personas, mission and vision statements, key branding points, and competitor analyses. If you don’t have one or more of these, no biggie. You probably already have some ideas on what each of them should include — you just need to get them down on paper.
But, after all, finding key branding and messaging points for a manufacturing company can be challenging. For many, it’s difficult to make plastics molding or conveyor belt systems seem, well, sexy. So if you’re starting from the ground up with your manufacturing company’s branding and messaging, here are a few questions to ask that will start you thinking in the right direction:
A lot of this information could come from looking at the people you work with, and the people you work for. What are they like? What do they want? How do they want to communicate?
If you need more guidance, check out this super helpful blog on How to Craft Brand Messaging Your Target Audience Will Love from the experts at HubSpot.
Now, determine your strategy. Include all the marketing tactics you’ll use to achieve those goals you worked so hard to decide on at the beginning of all this. What’s going to help you reach them?
As a manufacturing company, your marketing plan’s strategy will probably consist of the basic marketing tactics you’re familiar with, like website design and email marketing. But don’t be afraid to step a little out of your comfort zone and add some of these tactics as well:
Use one of these, two of these, three of these, or four — but no matter what you choose, make sure your tactics are directly aligned with your overall goals.
A lot can change over the course of a year. Your marketing plan can (and should!) change with it.
You should revisit your marketing plan every quarter, at least. With good reporting metrics, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not based on your goals — and if anything needs to be added, changed, or removed. Make revisions accordingly to ensure your marketing plan is always up-to-date and aligned with what’s going on in your company and the manufacturing industry as a whole.
The work doesn’t ever really stop, but it does get a whole lot easier. I promise.
It’s no secret that marketing plans are big documents — and that can make for a pretty daunting task on your to-do list. If you could use some help putting your own together, that’s what we’re here for! With extensive experience creating comprehensive marketing plans for manufacturers (and for ourselves!), we’d be happy to tackle yours as well. Contact us today to get started and learn more about our process.