By Drew Cohen

Marketers in the manufacturing industry face complex challenges that can be unique based on the specific buyer they are trying to reach. Once they do successfully reach their target audience, closing the deal can be extremely difficult.

However, before even reaching that phase, getting internal decision maker sign-off on campaigns and deliverables can be just as frustrating. Why? Decision makers in this industry tend to wear many hats, and getting them to commit to making decisions can be both time-consuming and frustrating.

With our organization’s expertise in marketing and first-hand experience working with manufacturing professionals, SmartBug Media® has a unique perspective in helping manufacturing marketing leaders understand how to encourage decision maker sign-off.

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Completing a Historical Marketing Analysis

Any marketer knows that analytics and reporting are critical to success. Determining the path for the future starts with learning from the past, and analytics are the compass for the marketing map. 

With that in mind, we recommend that marketers complete a thorough historical marketing analysis that dives deep into performance in areas such as email marketing, SEO, paid media, and website conversion. Conducting this research allows you to gather excellent insight into well-performing areas, as well as areas that need significant strategic overhauls.

Manufacturing organizations tend to get caught up in the day-to-day happenings of the business, and this kind of historical analysis gives leadership a chance to step back and visually digest marketing performance. When it comes time to propose a marketing plan to leadership, the historical analysis can be a critical element to solidifying leadership’s confidence in the marketing vision.

Completing a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Manufacturing marketers have varying degrees of success in completing competitive analyses because many companies find that they are one of a kind (e.g., distributors in a certain geographical area) or don’t have direct competitors. While that might be true from a technical business perspective, indirect competitors can still be excellent sources of information when it comes to building a competitive marketing analysis that informs the future plan. When these comprehensive competitive analysis presentations are completed, leadership teams and key decision makers can fully understand where the opportunities exist, and what it will take to unseat or overtake key competitors.

Developing a Manufacturing Marketing Playbook

After completing your historical analysis and competitive marketing analysis, you have the ingredients needed to develop a detailed marketing playbook for your manufacturing organization.

A completed playbook provides a detailed roadmap for email marketing, SEO, website conversion rate optimization, social media, paid media, review acquisition, and more. Each playbook can be uniquely crafted for your specific industry, and any detailed sub-sector of it. Here at SmartBug Media, we develop detailed marketing playbooks in collaboration with our clients, and this serves as the guide for our future quarterly plans that are put into motion.

One of the most important parts of the playbook is the goals that are set. These detailed goals are developed based on historical performance and the forecasted performance of the proposed plan. By connecting specific actions and aligning these to specific goals, leadership and key decision makers can see the total picture and specific deliverables that will be produced in order to meet the agreed upon goals.

The Collaborative Plan

By including decision makers and members of leadership across departments in the analysis and playbook process, different perspectives and voices are heard, and it usually results in a more creative playbook. Therefore, the quarterly plans (sometimes referred to as 90-day plans) that are developed based on playbook strategy are that much more successful. It’s also important for everyone involved in the marketing plan’s success to understand that decision making power needs to go hand in hand with accountability. McKinsey & Company said it best: “Instead of pulling back decision power after a slipup, hold people accountable for the decision, and coach them to avoid repeating the misstep.”

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Drew Cohen

About the author

Drew Cohen is a Philadelphia-based Inbound Marketing Senior Manager who has developed strategies for organizations in both B2C and B2B verticals. He has unique experience in private-equity owned organizations, early-stage technology startups, sports & entertainment and healthcare. When not marketing, you can find Drew yelling at his television during any Philadelphia team's sporting event. Read more articles by Drew Cohen.

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