U.S. manufacturing production dipped 19.7 percent in April 2020 compared to the previous year, according to Federal Reserve figures. Although output has started to rebound, many manufacturers still aren't back to their pre-COVID levels due to the global economic downturn. The current crisis has led to unprecedented changes in industrial buying behavior. Marketers are adjusting their strategies accordingly. Keeping the following mishaps in mind will help you to avoid them.
#1 Under Communicating
According to the “2019 Crisis Impact Report” from Crisp Thinking Group, 90 percent of buyers say they are likely to shop with a brand that responds well to a crisis. This is your opportunity to shine. The worst thing a company can do is “go dark” with their marketing now. Leverage the tools you already have to connect with your audience including your website, social media, email marketing, and video.
#2 Forgetting About Your Customer's Needs
Buyer personas are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research and real data about existing customers. According to Cintell, companies who exceed lead and revenue goals are twice as likely to create personas than companies who miss those goals. By creating buyer personas, empathetic marketers stand to gain market share when they keep their buyers’ needs at the forefront of their message.
#3 Stopping Marketing Altogether
Henry Ford famously said, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” Advertising is a critical part of a successful business. A McGraw-Hill Research study showed that companies who continued advertising during the 1981-82 recession experienced significant growth throughout, and even beyond the recession. Those companies saw a 2.5X increase in sales over competitors who pulled back or stopped marketing completely.
#4 Failing to Adapt Your Marketing Strategy
We’re all feeling the pain from COVID-19. Savvy manufacturers are shifting their pandemic marketing plans from lead generation to communication and education. Rather than trying to sell something someone can’t afford right now, this strengthens companies’ position as thought leaders in their industry and creates lasting bonds with customers.
#5 Ignoring the Numbers
“What gets measured gets done.” Whether it was Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, or Rheticus way back in the 1500s who said it, measuring something gives you the information you need in order to make sure you actually do it. Immersing yourself in tools like Google Analytics and Moz gives you a leg up on your competition. High-performing companies glean actionable insights and pivot their strategy to take advantage of trends based on the numbers.
The Coronavirus pandemic has challenged us to rethink the way we attract customers. By avoiding these mistakes, manufacturers can position themselves to weather the storm and be ready when the floodgates open again.
This article was originally published in the October 2020 issue of the Michigan Manufacturers Association's MiMfg Magazine. Read the article.