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Target the Right Customers for Your Manufacturing Company

Narrow-mindedness isn’t typically considered a good thing, however, when it comes to marketing, especially in the crowded world of manufacturing, a narrow focus is exactly what you need! Rather than spread your marketing efforts too thin and across too many channels, in the hopes of maybe, just maybe capturing a lead, it’s important to narrow your audience for optimum ROI and your best chance at closing the sale.

So, what’s the first step in creating laser-focused messaging?

Defining your buyer personas.

For manufacturers, this means taking a close look at the types of companies you sell to as well as the kinds of people in those companies who are the best candidates for becoming leads.  

To determine your ideal customer on a company level —  sometimes referred to as a customer profile — think about businesses you enjoy working with versus the ones responsible for your collection of squeezable stress relievers. Now, consider who purchases from you but doesn’t require an elaborate amount of work and resources on your end — in essence, you’re separating who’s worth your time and who’s not-so-much.

Once you’ve narrowed down the companies who are profitable and with whom you like and want to do business, consider what they have in common: Industry? Size? Location? Technology? These are the types of company’s you want to target. Now it’s time to think about the people in those companies you need to reach (your buyer personas).

We’re talking about the decision makers and the influencers within a company. The people looking for solutions and evaluating which manufacturer best fits their company’s needs, then providing that info to whomever has the final say. In the industrial sector, the buying process is typically long and there are multiple people involved, so you need to make sure you cover all your bases, developing buyer personas for everyone who plays a role in every part of the buyer’s journey.

Of course, personas vary from company to company, depending on things like goals, products and services and what problems they solve, but with years of manufacturing marketing experience under our belts, we have seen a few common personas that often emerge, and coincidentally, follow that all-important journey:

Researcher (awareness)

This person may be, say, the project or plant manager who either discovers or becomes aware of a problem and is tasked with researching to find solutions.

Eliminator (consideration)

Often an engineer who evaluates all the options and narrows them down, determining which would be a good fit for the company.

Decider (decision)

This could very well be the CEO, otherwise known as the big cheese, top dog, THE decision maker, who studies the short list (which hopefully you’re on!) and considers things like costs, ROI, and whether you check all the boxes to be a strong, dependable and long-lasting partner.  

Determining further details about these people will help you to target your messaging even more. Consider things like their knowledge, roles, level of influence or authority, their typical responsibilities, and some of the challenges they need to overcome. It’s also good to know how and where your ideal audience most likely searches for information. This way you can create content that’s relevant to your customers and market it in places that they’ll be sure to see.

There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind, however. Your personas will differ, so your message to each must be different, too. You’ll still be saying the same thing, just in different ways that resonate with each buyer. Also, hold on to your hat — you’re going to get less leads. Before you panic, though, here’s why: by zoning in on your ideal customers, you’re weeding out the unqualified leads that come in and quite frankly waste your time. Therefore, you may see a decrease in leads, but the ones you get are not only qualified, they think you are too, seeing you as experts that really know what they need.

Ready to get less leads (but more conversions)? Get started by giving us a call at 231-727-9778. We love helping manufacturers focus their marketing efforts and get results — hey, it’s what we do.

Kelly honed her writing, editing, and management skills during her years as a writer and Associate Creative Director at Detroit area agencies. After freelancing from home so she could raise her two kids, she added internet marketing to her skill set. She also has held or currently holds such prestigious titles as Addy, Caddy, and RAC awards-winner, University of Michigan Mom, hockey mom, soccer mom, and other variations of Mom, and Alma College Athletic Hall of Famer in track and cross-country.

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