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What is Manufacturing Marketing?

Industrial manufacturers help buyers understand, quantify, and solve B2B business problems.

Manufacturing marketing used to be about magazine ads, branding, bingo cards and trade shows. 

That's changed. Today manufacturers strategically invest in digital tactics to boost their brands, understand buyers and markets, position product pricing and development roadmaps, generate leads, support sales channel, and empower their B2B sales people.

Industrial procurement is now the collaborative effort of multi-disciplinary teams. Each member of the buying team is a consumer whose buying preferences are shaped by their B2C experiences - and also a representative of their department which has its own priorities.

Manufacturing marketing and sales is the set of tools, tactics and thinking that enable manufacturers to engage with buyers virtually and collaboratively 

manufacturing marketing is built on digital tools

3 Quotes & A Shelf Full of Green Books

You remember how you used to buy.

Decide what you need, turn to the volumes of green bound industrial registers to look for possible vendors, summon them for meetings and request quotes.

You don't do that anymore, and neither do your buyers.

But a website, some Adwords ads, a bit of SEO, a manufacturing blog and some "expert" who's never been on a factory floor don't get you there.

As every company in your space get's more sophisticated, the reality is that your industrial marketing is competing for the opportunity to educate buyers on how to improve their business. 

That's means you need to build programs that talk about theirs, not yours. And that do it in ways which will help you get found and establish your firm as a helpful resource.....long before you worry about a "lead."

annotated gartner complex buying process

Outbound Sales

There was a time when cold calling and trade shows were the way industrial manufacturers sold and marketed.

Technology changed the former and COVID the latter.

Inbound lead generation is helpful, but outbound sales remains critical to growing predictably and profitably. Unlike the days of line cards and cold calling, today outbound sales requires technology and planning.

Account-based marketing (ABM) and target account selling represent the combination of marketing and sales which was innovated by technology companies and is gradually adopted by industrial manufacturers.

It's about coordinating the right contacts, with the right people, at the right companies, at the right time.

More Effective Sales Teams are critical to manufacturing marketing

Manufacturing Marketing Is Sales

Crazy sounding. We get it.

But...when so much happens in the shadows of the internet before you are ever contacted by a buyer, that means that marketing has to be in front of buyers early and effectively.

Of course, you want to be remembered and you hope that your brand marketing and industrial public relations will be effective. That's expensive though and so it needs to overlap with efforts to reach buyers who are vaguely aware of and just beginning to wrestle with complex business problems.

That means that your B2B manufacturing marketing needs to coach, consult, educate, and inspire - and it also needs to enable your sales team to help prospects, buyers, and customers.

And that requires more of your sales people than they've had to give in the past. They must:

  • research every company and every member of a buying team
  • be conversant in business finance
  • understand industry trends
  • be fluent in technology including social media, video and sales automation
buyers hate sales and marketing

Without Turning Them Off

Buyers have a dim view of B2B sales people. 

Recent research found that:

  • 74% of those buyers said (a meeting) was a waste of time and would never take another meeting with that salesperson
  • Only 18% said meeting met their expectations
  • Only 7% said they would schedule a follow-on meeting because
    • the salesrep was not prepared and the meeting took too much time
Therefore every tactic, content and interaction must be created to solve for the buyer first before your company. And you need to plan for the entire customer lifecycle including customers, providing helpful marketing tools like a customer portal.

Have you internalized the requirement to improve your marketing?

Should manufacturers try to emulate technology marketers?

If manufacturing marketing is increasingly selling, then shifting sales budget to provide 5% of revenue for marketing starts to make sense


Core Business Function

Many industrial manufacturers think of marketing as something that big companies and consumer brands do.

But now it's how you sell!



You define competition in meters/min, torque, HMIs, durometer, and horsepower.

Your buyers define it by your company's relative ability to help them improve their business.



Comfortable or not, digital tools and tactics are at the core of successful manufacturing marketing and sales today.

If you're not advanced, you're irrelevant.


Marketing & Sales Mashup

You probably have separate functions. A small marketing group and a big sales team - direct, field and channel.

And maybe you still print fax numbers on business cards.....


Build the Muscle

Manufacturing marketing isn't a project. It's not a fix.

Success will depend on investing in, developing, nurturing and growing the technology and market savvy and the requisite sales skills.


Is it time to step things up at your company?


You may want to talk to Ed.


The Role of Sales

Many digital marketing firms will focus on lead generation.

What good is a raft of leads that appear on a report....and just age off the bottom?

That's why we believe that manufacturing marketing and sales has to include the "sales" piece. Otherwise, it's folly.

The challenge is that most manufacturing companies believe they have great sales - and it's a difficult message to absorb. Often it takes some years of marketing success, and poor sales follow-through, to convince owners that they need to change the system holistically.



Frequently Asked Questions

Is Consilium a Digital Marketing Agency?

No. Consilium is Ed Marsh.

Ed is a business strategy and digital marketing consultant with years of experience in industrial and manufacturing markets and sales channel, and deep experience in digital industrial marketing and sales.

He's walked in your shoes - and he works with your team or another agency to deliver results.

Agencies - even those that discuss experience with manufacturing - are often just marketers who haven't lived on factory floors.

Is industrial marketing like advertising?

Industrial marketing is a grind.

That's the truth. 

There is no sexy, flashy aspect to it.

It's the incremental improvement, step-by-step, of every aspect of your marketing and sales.

Do you understand our ideal customer profile?

If you sell industrial products and capital equipment to manufacturers, I probably do. A well defined ideal customer profile is an important precursor to effective marketing for manufacturers.

Will Account-Based Marketing work for industrial?

Account-based marketing (ABM) works if the marketing and sales are top-notch.

That's what will determine success. Not your industry.

Short answer - yes, if done right, it will

Do you guarantee top line results?

Of course not. 

It's up to your team to do the work. To:

  • create the content
  • understand the buyers
  • sell effectively
  • etc

And many industrial companies haven't caught up with B2B buying changes.

So we know that if you follow our advice, you'll grow. But that's up to you and your team.

What is HubSpot?

HubSpot is a digital marketing, customer service and CRM software suite that many of our clients use to manage the manufacturing marketing process and improve sales performance.

Originally designed for technology, HubSpot for manufacturing is ideally suited for many capital equipment companies which are improving their marketing.

Can you help with indirect sales channel?

Absolutely. Sales channel marketing is an overlooked opportunity by most manufacturers.

Will our manufacturing marketing investment be reflected in our topline?

Eventually it will.

However, it will take time.

It will be a grind.

You may find you have to replace your sales force (seriously.)

You're going to have to spend far more on marketing than you ever have. (Don't worry....far less than the 50% technology companies spend.)

Ready to get started? Schedule a meeting with Ed.