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Category Archives: Insights for Manufacturers

5 Marketing Tips Manufacturers Can Take from Steve Jobs

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Posted on July 28, 2017 at 19:10 PM

marketing tips for manufacturers

Whether you loved him or loathed him, Steve Jobs knew a whole lot about marketing. He wasn’t a brilliant engineer. That was his buddy, Woz. But Jobs knew how to sell the brilliance. How to package it, how to market it, and how to stay ahead of the competition in ways that the CEO of any manufacturing company would envy.

After all, isn’t that what keeps you up at night? That burning question: How can I keep up with – and surpass – my competitors? As I’m reading the Steve Jobs biography, it’s easy to see that Jobs was a master at this. Sure, he had his failures. But his successes were far greater.

Here Are 5 Marketing Tips for Manufacturers That We Can Gather from Jobs’s Time as the Face of Apple:

  1. Put Innovation Ahead of Money. While he was referring to his use of LSD when he said it, Steve Jobs famously declared, “It reinforced my sense of what was important — creating great things instead of making money.” It seems elemental, but in the hot pursuit of the almighty dollar, creativity often gets lost. Don’t lose sight of what ultimately drives business – creatively solving the problems of your customers.
  2. Think Different. While this was a longstanding tagline for Apple products, it perfectly embodies the Jobs philosophy. You can read anywhere that he stole the idea of a Graphical User Interface (as opposed to green characters on a black screen) from Xerox. But that’s only half of the story. Jobs and his team thought differently than the folks at Xerox PARC. They took something that was designed for businesses and made it a seamless, friendly, intuitive experience for the consumer market. In doing so, Apple eventually attracted different kinds of businesses from what Xerox was pursuing. Design-focused companies like ad agencies and architecture firms were an easy match for the Mac’s simple yet graphically advanced platform.
  3. Get Inside the Heads of Your Customers. Like the design of products, the design of your ad campaigns, web content, and any brand communications should be created with your consumer in mind. You want them to know your features. They just want to know what they’ll gain. But they also want to trust your brand. They want to feel like you know what their day has been like. Like you can offer them something to make it better or easier in some way. Jobs knew this. And almost every decision he made – whether for marketing or product development – was driven by it. Today, there’s an easy way to use your customers’ desires and needs to drive your decisions. A core user study. Smart engineers do them. Smart marketers do them. And smart CEOs live and breathe by their results.
  4. Don’t Be Everything to Everyone. Apple is for dreamers. For creators. For people who want to make change. That’s how they positioned the brand in 1997. The legacy that Steve Jobs created stands true even today. And it applies to both products and advertising. Focus on what you’re best at instead of adding mediocrity into the mix. Keep your message on-point. Don’t sully it with unnecessary excess. Simplicity is the name of the game.
  5. Know Your Enemies. And your friends. Apple’s relationship with Microsoft was on-and-off over the years. And even when Microsoft succeeded, Jobs knew what Apple’s reaction would be and how their products would be different. As mentioned earlier, he kept an eye on what Xerox was doing, and used what he learned from them to create the interfaces we now use every day. Don’t copy your competitors. But know and understand what they are doing, so you can rise above them.

Steve Jobs had many flaws, for sure. But his product development and marketing instincts have changed the way we live today. Manufacturing companies would benefit from any one of these tips. Take them all together, and you might just find inspiration to revolutionize your industry. That sounds a whole lot better than simply “increasing the bottom line.”

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Worth Their Weight: Marketing Videos for Manufacturers

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Posted on June 29, 2017 at 08:46 AM

Marketing Videos for Manufacturers B2Bs

Video content is king these days, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. If you’re a manufacturer and have passed on the video spend, it might be time to rethink. A quick glance at the stats, and you’ll see why marketing videos for manufacturers are an important sales tool:

Lower-cost technology like drones, the GoPro, and the high-def filming options on digital SLR cameras make it possible for your marketing partner to produce video with much lower spend. But because video is now relatively simple to make, it’s easy to overlook the details that count. A well-crafted video can position your company as a trustworthy authority and become a lead-generation workhorse. In contrast, a poorly done video can have the reverse affect; looking like an amateur never helped a bottom line.

Before you sink any money into video, here are 3 things to consider:

  1. The Importance of a Well-written, Professional Voiceover. The narration of your video has an end game: persuasion. A good voiceover sets the mood, whether it be light-hearted, trustworthy, or authoritative, to move the viewer to action. Don’t leave that to the amateurs.
  2. Rich Visuals and Clean Edits. In other words, for a video to reach its potential, don’t use your smartphone. You don’t need Steven Spielberg, but you do need high-quality production to look professional and gain credibility. (You can use your smartphone for live video though).
  3. Music Selection. There’s a trove of good-quality, inexpensive stock music available these days. A seasoned ear can match up the right sound for you at very little cost.

What kind of videos work for manufacturers? Lots.

  • Explainer Videos: These vids explain who you are and how you solve a problem. Tip: a simple animated short can simplify a complicated manufacturing process.
  • The How To: The beauty of a how-to video is you can position yourself as a trustworthy industry resource, and feature your product or service at the same time without taking to much of a promotional tone.
  • Facility Tours: Let your audience get to know your facility, and the people that work there. This gives your company credibility, humanity, and lives well on all the social networks. 
  • Products and Services: A succinct, digestible breakdown of your offerings is a great way to get in front of a busy decision maker, perhaps one that is a little further along on the sales cycle. Your salespeople can use these as a tool when trying to convert a lead.
  • Customer Case Studies: A strong case study is the proof of your value. Video gives more depth to your case studies, making them more impactful.

No matter what type you choose (and you should strongly consider producing several), marketing videos for manufacturers can live virtually anywhere. Video has a home base on your website, but serves well as an independent sales tool, in a company newsletter, and can be especially compelling on social sites. Need help building a video strategy? Give us a call.

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A Rose by Any Other Name? 4 Signs It’s Time To Rename Your Manufacturing Company

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Posted on April 21, 2017 at 17:38 PM

rename your manufacturing companyIs your B2B company suffering a failure to thrive? Don’t underestimate the power of your name. And when it comes to rebranding, don’t underestimate how detrimental a bad name can be, either. B2B companies are quick to list reasons why their businesses are stalling – limited marketing budgets, saturated markets, changing demands – but rarely do they associate a bad name with a stalled out company. It’s just a name, right? The thing is, even though you are selling to another business, you’re still marketing to another human being. And words have meaning. (You know, the whole pen mightier than the sword thing? Yeah, that.) So how do you know if it’s time to rename your manufacturing company? Here’s a cheat sheet.

4 Signs That It’s Time to Rename Your Manufacturing Company

  1. Your name is too plain. Basic names only work when you 1) are the first company in the field, and 2) have years to establish yourself, like General Electric. But imagine if a company like Amazon had been named GeneralOnlineRetailer.com. They would have been hard-pressed to stand out in the online boom of the 1990’s. (Amazon has an interesting naming story, by the by.) Take note of your competition and your standing before you choose a name like “Universal Plumbing Standards Corp.”
  1. Your name is meaningless to anyone but you. Initech, anyone? We understand that there are some names that have inside meaning or a rich personal history for your B2B company. But what does that mean to an outsider? It’s this logic that lead Quantum Computer Services to change their name to America Online, which directly translates their product and elicits an emotional response. Unless your name resonates your brand positively on an emotional or literal level, it’s just white noise.
  1. Your name is hilarious… and not in a good way. We’ll just glance at Analtech, who despite a near 50 year legacy, is rebranding to iChromatography – which not only explains what they do, but keeps those pesky web filters from blocking them in search.
  1. Your name is scandalous. It’s no surprise when a company like ValuJet has to rename and rebrand to AirTran after their crash in 1996. But if your business, innocently (and coincidentally) enough, happens to be called Lewinsky Auto Supply, it might suffer simply from association.

The right name for your brand will both value your heritage and leverage your position. Think it might be time for you to rename your manufacturing company? Drop us a line.

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