Digital Insights and Marketing Ideas for Manufacturers

Back in late May, Advance Media New York had the pleasure of speaking to a group at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership with some specific insights regarding marketing for manufacturers. Speakers were Mike Belin, Steve Hodgens and George Kuhn.

Marketing for Manufacturers

In many cases, the marketing “team” at a company may only be one or two people, and they carry the weight of the marketing world on their shoulders.  It’s not easy, and often there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish your marketing goals.

Regardless of where on the journey your team may be, we’ve found 4 common challenges facing most businesses:

  • Generating website traffic and leads
  • Converting leads into customers
  • Creating relevant, engaging content
  • Understanding key metrics of ROI

The main topics covered by Mike Belin & Steve Hodgens were:

  • Web Accessibility & UX: Why your website needs to offer an inclusive user experience.
  • Micro-targeting: How digital advertising can improve ROI for trade shows and other traditional marketing tactics.
  • Influencing Millennials: How new decision-makers think differently and what that means for your marketing plan.
  • Looking past the last click: How Google Analytics and Multi-Touch Attribution models can help to understand the path to conversion.
  • Voice of Customer: How to gather meaningful, actionable feedback from past, current, and future customers as a foundation for your marketing strategy.


Voice of Customer (VoC) Insights

George Kuhn, President of Drive Research discussed the what, how, and why of VoC for manufacturers. Market research lays the foundation for strong digital marketing strategies. It ensures manufacturing companies base decisions on facts and evidence, directly from the voice of customers.

VoC is a formal market research process designed to capture feedback from customers, analyze the results, and take action. Action is the key word. Collecting feedback and doing nothing with results and making no changes is arguably worse than doing no market research at all. These improvements guided by VoC help manufacturers improve on several levels of organizational strategy, both operational and marketing.

Voice of the CustomerThe most common type of VoC is a survey. Years ago mail and phone surveys were the common approaches to collecting feedback. The industry shifted away from these methods because of the cost and the time it took to complete surveys. VoC has shifted online in the past decade, more specifically mobile. More surveys were taken on a mobile device in 2017 than any other device. A trend that will undoubtedly continue.

Choosing to conduct a VoC survey in-house versus outsourcing can be a tricky decision. If you go the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) route, you will likely save on out-of-pocket budget. However, without any formally trained survey writers or analysts on your team, you will likely take more time than expected to manage the project. You also run the risk of misinterpreting data or biasing the results.

Although using a third party will require extra budget, they will likely be able to add expertise, knowledge, and context, which would cover the cost of the service.

VoC creates five benefits for digital marketing campaigns for manufacturers: (1) segmentation, (2) messaging, (3) budget guidance, (4) content, and (5) measuring key performance indicators (KPIs). Here is a brief snippet on the benefits of each:

  • (1) Segmentation helps understand differences between high and low value customers
  • (2) Messaging helps you find what differentiates you from the competition
  • (3) Budget guidance ensures you spend marketing dollars in the right channels
  • (4) Results from the survey can be repurposed into content: blogs, PR, website copy
  • (5) Benchmark KPIs: Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES), etc.

Coordinating, implementing and executing an effective digital marketing strategy is not easy.  There is no silver bullet, or one size fits all solution, especially within the complex, diversified world of manufacturing.  What works for one may not work for another. It is important to do your research and understand the unique benefits of each option. Then choose the combination of strategies that best impact your goals/objectives, while staying true to your budget and your key metrics for success.