Manufacturing Marketing is Hard - The Right Digital Marketing Consultant Can Help
Guide to episode
- Manufacturing marketing isn't an entry level function - it takes advanced skills like other roles
- A digital marketing consultant can help provide that when needed for under-resourced teams
- Be clear about the skills and experience required so you don't just invest more in mediocrity
- A strong digital marketing consultant should be able to demonstrate impact on revenue
Hi, I’m Ed Marsh. Welcome to this episode of Signals from the OP. I create these brief videos every couple of weeks to provide some hopefully different perspective for industrial manufacturing company execs. If you know of one who you think might find some value in this, please share it with them.
Manufacturing Marketing is a Senior Level Function
Today we’re going to explore the potential value – or not – of a digital marketing consultant. Many B2B industrial companies tend to think of manufacturing marketing as a relatively low priority – and the digital aspect of it as sort of an intern or entry level job. And so that’s what they get. Intern or entry level performance.
Now, of course, we’ve all been there at the intern or entry level. Every company CEO, every senior engineer – everyone was entry level at some point. So this isn’t intended to denigrate folks just starting. There’s often infectious enthusiasm and they haven’t yet been infected with the common wisdom of what won’t work in their industry, etc.
But, that being said, you wouldn’t hire a brand new grad to be CEO of a complex middle market capital machinery company. Nor would you turn over engineering of a new important product to a newly minted engineer. All of their years of embedded career experience, insight and wisdom are important to the outcome.
Well, believe it or not, the same is true of digital marketing.
Interns, recent grads, and even folks with a decade of digital marketing experience may be quite talented and effective tactically – creating engaging brief videos, strong email subject lines, and amazing automation workflows to help convert new leads.
A Digital Marketing Consultant can Bring Savvy and Expertise
But, and a big but, manufacturing marketing can’t happen in a vacuum. It only delivers on its potential when it’s integrated as part of a revenue growth system – with corporate strategy, sales and technology. That’s the premise of my Overall Revenue Effectiveness™ methodology.
Effective industrial marketing requires business savvy, senior management and board director perspective, strong sales capability, experience across the full range of industrial marketing functions, and practical understanding of technology. When you look at digital marketing options – in-house, agency and outsource contractor – you don’t find that blend of experience. Even middle market directors of marketing (or CMOs if they use the title) tend to come from one background.
So a digital marketing consultant should be able to provide the context and missing elements of a strong manufacturing marketing program. And that’s a role that may initially seem superfluous but is actually critical to unlocking the potential of any investments in manufacturing marketing.
How to Compare and Select a Digital Marketing Consultant
Obviously, the next question is what to look for and how to hire a strong digital marketing consultant – after all there are lots of folks who may have deep expertise in an area – take technical SEO for instance – that have no idea about how to formulate corporate strategy, drive great sales enablement, or use marketing automation to help coach sales reps on lead follow-up approaches.
I’d recommend the following selection criteria.
- Industrial company management experience – they should have carried a P&L, made capital purchasing decisions themselves, understand the important role of aftermarket sales for machinery companies, understand business accounting and finance, and participated in corporate strategy creation.
- Sales experience – they should have carried a bag and a quota for at least several years, be able to articulate the difference between sales methodology and process (and discuss various well-known methodologies), describe how marketing can support sales (describing marketing and sales operations functions), be metrics driven, and conversant in changing buying behaviors and how growing buying teams impact results.
- Marketing experience – a strong digital marketing consultant must obviously be well versed in a full range of integrated industrial marketing functions and have deep expertise in a couple key functions (SEO, conversion optimization, and content – all key to success), describe clearly how marketing supports and interacts with sales (from the organizational and buyer perspective), and understand the barriers to improving manufacturing marketing in many companies.
- Methodology and framework – success will never occur with an ad hoc approach and implementation of tactics. Rather a fully integrated approach needs to guide the improvement of marketing – and a digital marketing consultant should bring a robust methodology that they can explain.
- Walk the talk – they should practice the methodology in their own business and be able to describe how
The Right Digital Marketing Consultant will be Strategist, Coordinator, Supervisor and Coach
Now, you may have some contractors who don’t fit these criteria. That’s OK. For instance, you could have some graphic design resources on FIVERR, a paid ads manager, a videographer, website development, or even an agency that helps with various functions including marketing operations. Those can be helpful resources. But, they’re not going to be able to come in and help guide your team toward revenue growth. They’ll help with a function, a skill, or a couple of metrics.
A digital marketing consultant should help guide your revenue growth function to a higher level of performance. That’s only going to happen if you understand how the role should work, develop a strong description of an acceptable candidate, avoid falling for shiny objects, and search relentlessly until you find the right one for your business.
I’m Ed Marsh. If you found value in this episode of Signals from the OP check out the full playlist and maybe even like it, share it, and subscribe – either to my YouTube channel EdMarshSpeaks.TV or at the related blog SignalsFromTheOP.com.