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Who Needs Marketing in Manufacturing Anyway?

Many manufacturing businesses start out similarly: a founder with technical expertise and passion striving to do what they love for more people starts making widgets in their garage. A successful owner’s energy and tenacity create the company’s overall direction and culture, which sets the stage for its future and fuels initial growth. The operation grows…and grows…and a few decades of blood, sweat, and tears later, the company is running full production on three shifts from a 100,000 square foot facility. 

Somewhere in the middle of that story, the founder created a system for gaining more sales. They probably hired salespeople to do the traditional door-knocking and hand-shaking that worked so well for so many years. We all know what happened in 2020—all that door-knocking and hand-shaking came to a screeching halt. 

While there’s no question that any successful company needs to focus on sales, focusing solely on sales and neglecting marketing will undoubtedly result in missed opportunities, especially in an increasingly virtual selling environment. But how do branding and marketing efforts support real, money-in-the-bank sales? Is putting resources toward marketing really worth it? Yes. And here’s why.

Buyers interact with your brand before they ever meet a sales rep.

Think about the last big purchase you made. Whether it was a new appliance, a car, or an Apple Watch, your journey as a buyer started long before you signed on the dotted line or walked into a store (people still do that?). Before you did either of those things or even expressed your intention to buy, you likely did some research—looked up online reviews, visited company websites, compared pricing, or talked to friends or family who already own a product you are considering buying.

While consumer goods like appliances and smartwatches offer fixes for fairly clear-cut problems, in complex businesses and industries, the solution (or even the issue) might not even be clear yet to your prospects who are still in the research phase. This is where the big opportunity and competitive advantage lie for companies that focus on marketing.

Producing content and leading webinars are two examples of ways that allow your brand to reach your potential buyers virtually when they’re still in the research phase. These approaches establish your brand’s expertise, solidifying trust in your potential buyer that you would have had to work much harder for otherwise. Would you be more willing to connect with someone after a friendly email introduction or a cold LinkedIn request? Marketing warms up the relationship so that buyers aren’t so wary when it’s time for sales to step in. And this counts more than ever when that first meeting occurs over Zoom rather than over beers at your prospect’s favorite establishment.

A strong brand makes the company more valuable.

If you’re an owner, then the thought of what will happen to your business after you exit has likely crossed your mind. Suppose you’re “the guy” who drives revenue to the organization because you have all the relationships and all the knowledge. In that case, the thing that makes your company successful is you. And without you, it’s going to be tough to carry on. 

Marketing helps translate your passion and purpose to your brand as a whole. If you’re selling your company, it must be able to run without you successfully for it to be attractive for an acquisition. Building a brand that your industry perceives as a go-to expert helps attract the best possible outcomes, sets your company up for success after you’ve exited, and also helps to ensure your life’s work continues to make an impact.

Want to talk more about how to use marketing to set up your sales team for success and make your company more valuable? We can help! Connect with goBRANDgo! today and let’s start a conversation.

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