Manufacturing is Becoming Smarter in More than One Way

diamonddog laser-machine Manufacturing is Becoming Smarter in More than One Way

Smart Marketing Efforts Help Drive Company Results

Manufacturing is becoming smarter in many ways, from how machines operate on the shop floor to how marketing reaches target customers. IIOT, or the industrial internet of things, is transforming manufacturing plant floors by acquiring great amounts of data at incredibly fast speeds, enabling organizations to make smarter decisions that drive efficiencies and cost savings.

Similar to IIOT, smarter types of marketing also are being employed by progressive manufacturing companies. Marketing tactics such as cold calls, direct mail, and static websites no longer generate the business growth desired, nor do they attract top talent.

First Impressions Matter

When you exhibit at a tradeshow or meet with a new prospect, you may be concerned about making a good first impression for your company. However, that first impression may happen long before you meet someone face-to-face. Your website or your visual platform is often your company’s first impression. To ensure an excellent experience, your website should not only be optimized for a desktop, but it also must be mobile-ready.

You may think that a mobile responsive website is critical only for reaching millennials, who grew up with the internet and now are the vast majority of smartphone owners (almost 98 percent use a smartphone). However, baby boomers, who comprise the majority of decision-makers you want to reach, also are big users of smartphones, with almost three-quarters of younger boomers (54-68 years old) owning such a mobile device.

“Baby boomers are spending 27 hours per week on the internet, which equates to two hours more per week than your average millennial,” said Kaylee Swearingen, marketing specialist at Mazak Optonics Corp. “And since last year, the mobile traffic to our company website is up 4 percent, while desktop traffic is down 3 percent.”

A mobile-ready website not only provides a better user experience and first impression, but it also can contribute to a heightened level of engagement, positively impacting business growth. Recently Ohio Laser has been placing greater emphasis on its online marketing efforts overall. Every page of the company’s website has a call to action with a “request a quote” form, which can be completed online. Drawings and other files can be attached and submitted. A customer can easily complete this request on a desktop or a smartphone. This enhanced capability has led to an increase in responsiveness. “The speed to responses has changed. Customers demand answers or quotes a lot quicker nowadays,” stated Christine Simpson, sales representative at Ohio Laser. “Millennials have shaped this heightened level of responsiveness, but now it is becoming the industry norm.”

Blogging Is Not Important in the Manufacturing Industry – WRONG!

Blogging can be a time-consuming endeavor, but a new blog should be written and posted at least once a month. If composed properly with search engine optimization in mind, it can become an invaluable component of your company’s marketing strategy. However, if you have many great subject matter experts in-house, but not many good writers, blogging is an activity that you may want to consider outsourcing. Well-written blogs contain useful, educational content that builds trust with your audiences and ultimately positions your company as a thought leader.

Blogs can help with your organic search goals. As your blog receives an increasing number of views and shares, Google will consider your website a trusted authority and rank it higher. The number of views and shares can grow even further if you post these great pieces of internally generated content on your social media platforms not just once but multiple times over a few months. This will help to not only generate likes and follows, but also drive viewers to your website where further engagement may happen. What other simple marketing component delivers so much value?

Make Sure Your Social Media is Not Lagging

When you think about the industries that incorporate social media into their marketing strategy, manufacturing usually is not the first one that comes to mind. However, it is projected that 2018 will be different for the manufacturing industry, with many companies dominating the social media landscape.

According to the Content Marketing Institute’s “2018 Marketing in Manufacturing Report,” the top three social media platforms that will be most effective in helping to meet specific objectives are LinkedIn (62 percent), YouTube (52 percent), and Facebook (48 percent). The digital marketing efforts at Mazak Optonics support this finding. “Our videos on YouTube receive the most engagement and bring the best traffic to our website,” said Swearingen. “On average, these visitors end up spending 10 minutes on the Mazak Optonics website.” Growing your number of followers on these social media platforms is key, but the golden nugget is when these followers engage and take time to truly explore what your company has to offer.

Social media can help educate your customers through the sharing of thought-provoking industry articles, or even internally generated content, such as case studies, white papers, and blogs. Outside content, as well as your own materials, can position your company as a thought leader, opening it up to other opportunities. However, company-specific content receives the highest level of engagement, whether it be an in-depth white paper, blog, or just photos from the latest conference you attended; therefore, it is key to develop an editorial calendar to help ensure this internal effort is ongoing throughout the year.

Approximately 88 percent of millennials are on at least one social media platform. Today these millennials may be the influencers, not the decision-makers, but it is critical to ensure your brand continues to be visible to them as they climb the corporate ladder. Today’s influencer may be a key customer’s decision-maker tomorrow.

A Smarter Marketing Approach

This article just scratches the surface of ensuring your marketing efforts are becoming as smart as your factory floor. It is critical that your approach is holistic and includes a strong online marketing presence. The effectiveness of your online marketing efforts should be measured with tools such as Google Analytics, social media analytics, Hoot Suite, or many others that offer enlightening insights and data. Analyze these results to help determine which generate the best ROI, and where you should focus your future marketing efforts. A strong online marketing presence can help increase your brand visibility, maintain that competitive advantage, acquire new customers, and ultimately increase your company’s bottom line.

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