No generation of consumer has ever had more control over the information flow that informs their decision making prior to making a purchase. Whether an eager car buyer comparing and contrasting the latest competing makes and models, or a procurement manager researching potential new suppliers for parts in a new product, they do a great deal of legwork investigating their options before ever stepping foot on a car lot or picking up the phone to call a supplier.
And this trend is affecting the manufacturing industry as much as any other. You could once reach most if not all of your prospects at tradeshows or in person, but in a 2013 survey, 51% of engineers stated they attended no tradeshows in the previous twelve months. And 46% of industrial professionals spend between 6-8 hours a week on work-related websites. Your prospects are spending more time than ever online and expect to be able to research suppliers from the comfort of their workstation.
Informing and educating inquiring minds is vital to a successful marketing strategy for all industries, especially one as information-dependent as the manufacturing sector.
A Savvy Generation of Internet Users
The days of being able to throw a few basic pages on your manufacturing website and make your prospects happy are long gone. Internet users today are more savvy and informed than ever before and will quickly click the back button if they come across an outdated, information-barren website. Quality content that addresses their problems is not only effective; it’s expected.
The challenge for manufacturing firms is to identify the key problems and questions their potential customers have and produce content that speaks to these issues, rather than yet another sales pitch. From a marketing perspective, this type of content sacrifices the opportunity to immediately present your sales pitch for the chance to build a long term relationship. Procurement managers source from those they trust, and people trust people who provide a wealth of data and informative content.
Driving the Dialogue: Pleasing the Masses
Even as seasoned veterans of the manufacturing industries, the procurement managers and engineers you target with your marketing efforts may not fully understand the specific benefits of your processes or finished products. The use of educational content that guides them through the selection process, identifies key problems they may already be having, and simplifies the decision making journey not only establishes your company as a thought leader, but allows you to generate more leads with which you can build long term relationships.
Build trust by providing a valuable commodity, information, which helps build sales relationships down the road. By tapping into the tendency of decision makers to research their buying decisions well in advance of making a purchase, savvy manufacturing companies, can position themselves ahead of the curve, driving future customers to come to them first for their needs.