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If you’re still making excuses to your customers, partners (or marketing director) about how outdated and homely your manufacturing website is, on some level you know that you should be funding its overhaul. Maybe you’ve even already made it one of your top projects – for next year – or next – and so it goes.
If you still think that all your website needs is a cosmetic refresh, you should know that when it comes to ensuring your customers and prospects can navigate successfully based on how they are buying today, cosmetics are only the tip of the iceberg.
Your future success is going to depend on the integrity of the biggest part the iceberg, the part that resides between the water line and the ocean floor. Starting with your brand foundation and brand story, including the creation and integration of a marketing ecosystem composed of integrated CMS (Content Management System), MAT (Marketing Automation Technology), and CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) systems, followed by a robust content strategy and consistent ongoing content generation.
To achieve this, your company and everyone in it will be required to change how they think about how this type of work gets done. Our observation is that as the program is implemented people actually recover time as a result of the efficiencies created by the new business systems and then use that time to create needed content or work in new ways. You might end up swapping out some roles. But the fear that dozens of additional FTE’s will be needed to pull off the implementation of a marketing ecosystem is likely unfounded.
Chances are you already have a goldmine of subject matter expertise already in-house. You just need to provide the stage.
Keep in mind that as a company, you already know how to change. Whether you are a young manufacturer or part of a multi-generational manufacturing family, think about how many changes you’ve been a part of during your tenure or even your family’s tenure. From something as simple as adopting email as a primary source of communication to adopting automation and lean manufacturing concepts, you not only changed, you embraced it.
Fun? No. Worth the pain in terms of the increased business advantage? Absolutely. I’m sure you’ll remember that with change comes challenges but the point is, with some help, you can do this. I’ll go so far as to say: You’ve got to do it – now.
I’m sounding the alarm now because the way your customers are buying has already changed. If you aren’t in the process of changing with them now I can guarantee it is already costing you market share.
Especially if you’ve owned a certain share of the market for some time, and you aren’t expecting those core customers to go anywhere anytime soon, you still need to get on this now. Why? Because the problem is not that your current customers are unhappy with you. It’s not even that they are actively looking for a new partner.
Let me give you an example. One of our clients recently reported that in just one year alone they were able to tie $13M in closed leads to their new marketing ecosystem. Many of those were companies they had not previously been able to reach in the traditional manner. But think about that for a minute. Weren’t those leads buying from someone else before they switched?
Competitors that have this marketing ecosystem in place are already using it to educate your customers. Relevant content is delivered via news feeds and search results which ultimately will drive traffic to their site. With the appropriate calls to action an opt in with their email will certainly follow.
And just like that, your competitor has established a relationship with your customer. A relationship they can then cultivate. A relationship you won’t know anything about – until it’s too late.
Understanding what’s at stake, what needs to change, and then doing what it takes to make the right changes to the way you are marketing manufacturing, addressing the entire iceberg that is your marketing ecosystem rather than just the tip, will ensure you end up on the right side of that fence now and in the future.
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