A manufacturer needs a solid marketing strategy to reach its target market.

Generating a comprehensive marketing strategy that stands above the noise in an over-populated manufacturing industry can be difficult. Time is a scarce and precious resource so focusing your project efforts is a must. But how can you measure the return on investment of your marketing programs? With today’s competition setting the bar higher than ever, your manufacturing marketing strategy needs to be exhaustive.

Don’t worry, though, Matrix Marketing Group has compiled what your marketing strategy needs to succeed. So take a quick step back, and dive into this challenge head-on.

Snapshot

It doesn’t matter if you are a start-up entrepreneur with a few cents in your budget or the head of a large enterprise organization with millions of dollars at your disposal. The blueprint of your company’s marketing strategy should consist of these 10 activities:

  1. Situational Review
  2. Current Marketing Report
  3. S.M.A.R.T Goals
  4. Buyer Personas & Target Audience
  5. Software Stack Selection
  6. Inbound Marketing Activities
  7. Outbound Marketing Activities
  8. Sales & Marketing Process Identification
  9. Marketing Budget
  10. Measure Return on Investment

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1. Situational Review (Analysis)

Anyone who has taken business 101 has probably heard of an S.W.O.T analysis or situational analysis. Its sole purpose is to connect strategy and objectives by establishing where a company stands in four key areas. This overview consists of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your business while opportunities and threats are external. It is important to prepare a thorough review as it will be the underlying message for all your marketing efforts going forward.

Your company’s strengths should revolve around the superiority of your products over close competitors. Either that or define how the services offered alongside the products are more inclusive.

Whichever you choose, these should be compelling to your niche audience as strengths are undoubtedly the focal subject of future communications. Conversely, address possible weaknesses and get to know how to present the relevant solutions. Understand that your target market and market research might be slightly outdated and be ready to address concerns based around it.

External opportunities present themselves in many ways, high product demand, loyal customers, changing the target landscape. Plan extensively for openings but to successfully position your product in the market you must mitigate external threats as well.

Don’t be caught off-guard, analyze your commodity and as efficiently as possible, predict the outcome of your marketing efforts. Know what your customers want and execute on your full situational analysis.

2. Current Marketing Report

A current marketing report takes a look at your marketing teams approach to gaining new leads and customers. What has been your general marketing procedure? An issue we often come across at Matrix Marketing Group is small teams typically have one or two specialists that have extensive knowledge in one or two sub-categories but lack the ability to craft a full marketing strategy.

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Additionally, over 50% of marketers don’t feel prepared to provide their executive team with hard metrics. So let’s make our company stand out from the crowd and take care of business.

Reach:

This is a solid indicator if your content has been loved by your viewers and consumed or if it has been a dud. Where are these observers coming from, email, PPC, social? If your reach hasn’t been growing at a healthy rate, you might be missing out on new marketing leads. When you miss out on leads you miss out on revenue and no executive will be happy with that.

Website Visitors:

The number of visitors to your site details how many people came to your site during a given period. More importantly though is where these visitors originated. As you enter the nitty gritty of the marketing strategy, you’ll naturally want to treat referral traffic differently than organic and social traffic. If efforts aren’t paying off on social media it’s nice to know so that you can refocus and adapt.

Am I driving new website traffic? Is it high-quality and targeted traffic? Is the traffic converting into sales? And if not, how can I improve to maximize my efforts? That point should be brought up early on and repeated often. [Learn how to increase website traffic]

Leads:

These are your bread and butter, your meat and potatoes; they make the marketing world go round. Leads will show the direct return on investment of your efforts and how beneficial the marketing department has been for the sales team. Ideally, divide your leads generated by the source to identify the most efficient producing channels. [30 Lead Generations Ideas]

Customers:

What’s on everyone’s mind, the total amount of clients gained from marketing campaigns. New business is what drives your budget and gets straight to the executive’s heart. Couple this section with conversion rates on business closed by the sales team to understand the quality of leads that are flowing through the sales funnel. Are you experiencing a low closing rate? It might be time to change the basis of how you are handing off leads to the sales team.

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3. S.M.A.R.T Goals

S.M.A.R.T Goals is another one of those acronyms most of us know by heart: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely. Nonetheless, structuring plans around these parameters increase the likelihood of success. So let’s structure a sample goal.

Being specific on what your team intends to accomplish drives them forward. Who is involved, what are they trying to achieve, where will this be executed, when will they finish, which requirements or constraints are in place, and why are these individuals included? These points all relate to transparency, and they aim to make sure everyone is up-to-date when it comes to fulfilling their goals.

Goals need to be measurable to establish criteria for progression. Just like when reporting marketing metrics you want reliable standards that will relay where the goals stand regarding completion. Understand questions along the lines of when will “X” be finished and how much of “Y” do I need to achieve that?

Begin determining what developments are most important to you and figure out how to make these things a reality. What skills and abilities will have to be improved to make this goal attainable? Remember, if you develop your goals wisely and with uninhibited motivation, almost anything can be attainable.

That being said if you were never realistic in the first place then you are just wasting everyone’s time. An ERP company probably won’t make a seamless switch to selling gym socks, but you never know. Balance your goals with realism and driving substantial progress. Just because you might have to reach doesn’t mean it’s unrealistic, motivate the team to perform their best.

Draw a line in the sand

Create a sense of urgency and follow a time frame right from the beginning. Don’t allow procrastination to take over, set intermittent due dates to drive productivity. So let’s wrap all of this together with the example promised earlier:

“Our marketing team would like to increase inbound lead flow by 25% through content marketing. Within two weeks, we would like to develop and approve a three-month-long content marketing plan that will describe how to attract, convert, close, and delight future inbound leads.

One marketing team member will be responsible for SEO, two will be responsible for blogging, one will be responsible for premium content (white papers, ebooks, videos, etc.), and one will be in charge of design.

At every two week duration during our three-month plan, we will generate six blogs and three premium pieces of content. At six weeks we will review metrics and determine if our long-tail keyword strategy needs an adjustment based on recent lead generation rates.”

Sales Marketing Effectiveness Model

4. Buyer Personas & Target Audience

An ideal customer profile (ICP) can either bring total success or total failure and therefore is a crucial make-or-break decision for marketing managers. Try to envision who your businesses buyers are and how much information is known about them.

In thinking about consumers, you begin the process of developing buyer personas. Matrix Marketing Group offers an excellent free buyer persona template to help organize your thoughts and walk through the entire creation process.

Buyer personas are fictional generalizations of users who fit into an ICP. These personas are not only beneficial to marketers but also sales, product development, and customer services. Future marketing content generation will be dependent on who these dynamic fictional characters represent. The good news is buyer personas aren’t challenging to form under the right circumstances.

To start the process you can use market research reports, customer surveys, interviews, and focus groups of anyone in your target audience. These don’t have to be customers only; they can consist of sales prospects, referrals, and database contacts. The better understood a profile is, the more valuable it becomes. Begin asking questions along these lines:

  • What is their job title, role, experience?
  • What does an average work day look like?
  • Do they possess a specialized skill set?
  • Which industry are they involved?
  • How big is their company?
  • What are their responsibilities?
  • What does their personal life look like?
  • Do they have shopping preferences?
  • Educational background?

Take this raw data and compile it into the top reoccurring trends. Organize and fill in the essential background, demographic, and identifying information. I would suggest downloading our free buyer persona template for a more in-depth, step by step guide to creating your company’s buyer personas.

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5. Software Stack Selection

The sales and marketing technology industry has become exponentially overcrowded in the past few years. In 2016, the industry offers over 4,000 different solutions. The good news is this provides marketing teams with the ability to create a marketing software stack that fits their exact needs.

The bad news is finding the software to match your requirements has become a daunting task in the face of 4,000 options. Every manufacturing marketing strategy will require a personalized software stack for efficiency, but we have some favorite combinations that we’ve come across with multiple clients at Matrix.

Our Setup

Outreach: We use Outreach to structure our outbound email campaigns. It allows for personalized correspondence with prospects and statistical analysis to let us know which emails are working and which emails need tweaking for better results.

A majority of the activity generated is directing towards our website. The outbound activity here is typically cold-emailing or old leads that need some reinvigorating. Outreach is where new data starts in our full-cycle sales and marketing system; it is the beginning of our cycle.

Our favorite Outreach alternatives:

Hubspot: This is our marketing stack middleman. Hubspot manages our web presence and everything related to our inbound marketing strategy. They have a broad range of services from web content management, inbound email marketing, marketing automation, and digital analytics. Their core is inbound marketing, but their team endlessly pumps out new innovations like PPC management, an advanced reporting add-on, and their sales sidekick.

Our favorite Hubspot alternatives:

Salesforce: To end our full circle software stack we implement Salesforce CRM and integrate its functionality with Hubspot, and Outreach. After leads have taken enough predetermined action on the website, they are passed along to the sales team to be qualified or sent back to Outreach for further lead nurturing. Salesforce provides limitless features and upgrades to keep the sales process on track.

Our favorite Salesforce alternatives:

It’s easy to get lost in all these software options, and we didn’t even get into niche solutions for content creation, collaboration, social, paid media, project management, and contact discovery. Take the time to devise a strategic framework that works with your team. Most of the software listed offer free trials so you can play with organization structure and operating different options in unison.

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