Sales and Marketing: What’s Your Target Market?

May 9, 2017 No Comments
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Create A Strategy To Achieve Results

by Wayne Wilcox

toc_columns50pxWikipedia defines a target market as: “A select group of potential or current consumers, which a business decides to aim its marketing and advertising strategies at in order to sell a product or service.”

Defining a target market is the first stage in the marketing strategy of a business, and is a process of market segmentation. Market segmentation can be defined as the division of a market into its select groups, based on a variety of factors such as needs, characteristics, and behaviors, so that the application of the marketing mix can be appropriate to the individual. Segmentation of the market gives a business the ability to define its target market for its product or service, and effectively apply the marketing mix to achieve the desired results.

A leading engineering research firm conducted a study of recent digital media use in the industrial sector. The study concluded that 77 percent of engineers use digital media to find parts, services, and suppliers. Although manufacturing companies tend to get the majority of their business via loyal customers, word-of-mouth, and partnership deals, it’s crucial they don’t overlook the importance of online marketing. By leveraging content and perceived leadership to promote products and services online, manufacturing companies are succeeding at boosting their brand, attracting new prospects, growing the business from existing customers, and increasing sales.

Here are a few ideas on how to get started:

CREATE PERCEIVED LEADERSHIP
For marketing to be effective, visitors must view your company as a leader in the manufacturing industry. They need to see that you bring innovative ideas and trusted expertise to the table. For a manufacturing company to enhance their reputation as a leader, try hosting or sponsoring a webinar, creating a company blog, publishing a White Paper that demonstrates industry knowledge or insights into the attention to the customer, and attending and/or presenting at industry events and trade shows.

LEVERAGE KEYWORDS
A prioritized digital marketing strategy that encompasses keywords, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads will help ensure your target market can easily find your company online. Some manufacturing companies tend to benefit from targeting customers in specific regions; areas where the company has current customers. They might experience advantages by creating region-specific web pages, driving traffic to those pages using keywords and PPC ads. That way, when a customer searches, “airplane parts manufacturing in Minneapolis,” there’s a better chance they’ll find that manufacturer who specializes in that targeted market located in that particular area of the country.

PUBLISH WRITTEN CONTENT
Strong content is the key ingredient to online marketing and lead generation. A steady stream of specific content helps to ensure priority in search engine results and enhances your company’s position as a perceived industry leader. When creating written content for the manufacturing industry, aim to demonstrate how your company understands your customers’ needs, offer helpful solutions, and stand out with authoritative and timely information.

HUMANIZE YOUR BRAND
Humanizing your brand is a powerful way to edge out the competition. Customers have seen enough of the cold and corporate manufacturing websites – they want something new. They want value and conversation, and they want to feel engaged. Manufacturing companies need to connect with their customers by showcasing their human side. For example, launch a “Meet the Team” campaign and share photos of your company’s leaders, along with stories about why they’re passionate about manufacturing.

VIRTUAL TOURS AND VIDEOS
Virtual tours and marketing videos are fresh and engaging ways to showcase your products and will assist in enhancing your brand. Consider creating capability-driven videos, videos about people behind the brand, and behind-the-scenes videos that show how the manufacturing process works at your company. Consider incorporating customer testimonials, case studies, and success stories to further demonstrate your company’s value and credibility. Video can make a company appear instantly real, forthcoming and trustworthy – unlike any other media.

CUSTOMER RETENTION
In addition to attracting new prospects, an online target marketing strategy is the perfect tool for customer retention. Try creating e-Marketing campaigns targeted specifically to existing customers. Use these campaigns to offer high-level content, resources they can use to achieve their goals, and examples of how you’ve helped your customers succeed. Stay in touch and stay current with past and present customers. Don’t be shy about touting your knowledge and success. Most customers want to engage with perceived winners.

WEBSITES
Industry studies show that 66 percent of manufacturers want to improve their visit-to-lead conversions. A myriad of factors have a hand in website conversions, but the primary deterrent for lead generation is an outdated design. Websites are the digital version of your business’ brochure; but, even more importantly, when appropriately designed they often act as your top salesperson, leading potential clients down the sales funnel. If your website is not designed with the end user in mind, many potential customers will pass you by and focus on a website that is fresh, engaging, responsive, and current. Keep your eyes on potential clients who end up deciding on competitors – you may find that your website’s design is to blame.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA
LinkedIn is the most widely-used business platform, but many manufacturers now are finding that YouTube may be more effective. In fact, 89 percent of manufactures utilize LinkedIn, but only 54 percent find it to be an effective marketing platform versus YouTube’s 66 percent effectiveness rating. 2016 was a huge year for video across the board. However, with this data, it’s easy to predict that YouTube and other video sharing platforms will see substantial growth in the years to come.

If you’re new to video, YouTube is one of many platforms for video sharing. Many social networks also are designed to share video and you’ve probably seen videos circulating on your business and personal profiles. Some social networks like Facebook now are prioritizing video in their algorithms. Without a doubt, YouTube is the heaviest hitter for video marketing – accentuated by the fact that it’s the second largest search engine on the web. pm_endmarkred-e1320337243152


This is Part 1 of “Marketing for Manufacturing.” Look for Part 2 in November.

WAYNE WILCOX is President of Wilcox Design Group, a Minneapolis-based business communications agency specializing in the manufacturing sector. He can be reached at wayne@wilcoxdesigninc.com or 612-670-3811.

Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.

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