I recently attended a marketing conference (That might not sound as exciting to some people as it was to me and that is OK, but don’t stop reading yet). What was interesting at this conference was not only the keynote speakers and the discussions about how customers make every industry, but most importantly, it was when I walked into a session titled, "Marketing to a Boring Industry," and realized the session was completely packed. Every seat was filled! All of the attendees looked around the room and collectively thought that if you aren't selling beer or clothes that athletes and celebrities wear, then you must be in a boring industry.
In truth, I went into the session to see how I could not only market IQMS to the manufacturing industry to gain more clients, but also how to market to IQMS’ existing clients to encourage them to:
- No. 1: Utilize our manufacturing ERP and MES system more
- No. 2: Market themselves as a competitive manufacturer and gain more industry share
Manufacturing as a whole is a great industry, but not one that is first thought of as cutting edge or cool. But it should be. Think of all the things that come out of the manufacturing industry: life-saving products used in automobiles or the medical industry, innovative materials and new processes to utilize them and envelope-pushing technology that helps final products get through the supply chain.
Sure, assembling life-altering medical devices or manufacturing the latest first class airplane seat may not be considered “sexy,” but that doesn’t mean it is not interesting. In the standing room only marketing session, we were encouraged to focus on using education, rather than sizzle, to build new client relationships, bring in sales leads and better market our “boring” industries. Helpful, useful and educational marketing is far more valuable than being “sexy.” With engaging stories that solve common problems that your customers are experiencing, you are instilling credibility and trust into your company. When they have a problem, they come to you. It is not boring if it is helpful.
But where do you find those common problems to market? You can begin by asking your resources internally. Chances are high that your sales team encounters the same questions over and over again when they are out in the field. How about your customer service representatives? What common questions do they frequently get asked? What is important to your clients will certainly be important to others. You can also check the news headlines for topics that are making a splash in the manufacturing world.
Looking to up your “sex appeal” from more than just educational? Sprinkle in information about exciting things that are happening in your specific business. For example:
- Awards: Have you been recognized for any special achievements lately? Regional and national awards can highlight advances that you are making in your industry, ranging from customer excellence to employee relations and sustainability to adoption of new technology.
- New cool products: I am always amazed by the innovative products being produced in our customers’ facilities. Unfortunately, it is an infrequent experience to hear about what is manufactured behind their doors. Making something cool? Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn occasionally.
It turns out that unless you sell beer with models or clothes that celebrities and athletes wear, your industry might not be the first one thought of to be "sexy," but honestly, no one’s industry is! Instead, let’s focus on being educational, helpful and engaging experts to help market our industry to the masses. Here's to all those manufacturers who want to take that lead!