The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 9 months ago

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Level Up Their Marketing w/ Allison DeFord


Manufacturing is the backbone of the modern world…

But the manufacturing sector has been lagging severely in the marketing department for a long time.

The good news?

This only creates opportunity for you to get out ahead of your competitors.

Today, I’m joined by Allison DeFord, Founder and Trailblazer at FELT Marketing for Manufacturers, for a discussion of 5 key concepts every manufacturer needs to understand about their marketing — from common missteps to untapped opportunities.

We cover:

  • Humanizing your brand
  • Finding your unique selling point (or, rather, your “unfair advantage”)
  • Aligning your marketing strategy with execution
  • Meeting your customer where they are in the buy cycle
  • Measuring indicators that actually matter

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Because we're all focused on what we do and if we could switch that and focus on what is it you solve for the person who's coming to your website, and then, by God, say that at the top, above the fold. Make it a sentence and let them know right away. Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that are driving midsize manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to another episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host and a CO founder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla seventy six. I've been working as a marketing consultant to the manufacturing sector for over a decade as CO owner of our industrial marketing agency, guerrilla seventy six. When it comes to marketing, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and so is my guests today, another marketing agency owner that has also built her expertise right here inside the manufacturing sector. We're putting our brains together for today's episode. Specifically, we're going to talk through five places where we see manufacturers missing opportunities on the marketing front and, most importantly, will tell you how to cash in on these opportunities in ways that your competitors likely aren't. Let's get into it. Alison de Ford, founder and trailblazer at felt marketing, is on a mission to strengthen the heart and soul of manufacturing for generations, and she does so by helping manufacturers make sales easier with an emotionally engaging, holistic marketing system and brand foundation that connects to the heart of their ideal customers. Alison will tell you that the most successful brands aren't just seen and heard their felt alison is the trailblazer in an industry where head and heart haven't always connected. She lives to rid the manufacturing world of what she calls we we syndrome. I'll have to ask you about that later. And she leads a devoted and talented, award winning team, six degrees of Midwest roots who believe wholeheartedly in keeping manufacturing alive, relevant and profitable, buried out not only by the numbers and brands they've worked with, but by the strong relationships they've built, fueled by starbucks. Alison never settles for Lukewarm and, admittedly, geeks out over wood tools and wonder woman. Alison is a CO author, speaker, Executive Director for the North American Forest Foundation and resident marketing expert on manufacturing masters and on demand education platform. She's also the overly caffeinated cohost of manufacturing out loud, podcast with the Unicorn Ray Zaganto at teas up courageous sales and marketing conversations for manufacturers. I also and welcome to the show. Thank you. I'm excited to be here. That was a lot. So everybody always says that. Don't worry. You know, it's funny, like on paper it doesn't look that long when you write your own bio and then, and then you hear it rad you like. Okay, maybe I didn't have to say that much, but now it's always good. I like I like the buyos. I think it gives people contact for her they're about to hear from and so yeah, no, no reason to feel bad about it. Well, I'm excited to be here because I am a fan of yours and I feel like you're my marketing brother from another mother and that just like there's just I think you're doing cool things in the world and I love your podcast, so I appreciate you having me. Thank you. I say the same about you for all the same reasons. We've been kind of running in the same circles for a while now in this world of manufacturing marketing, but not until recently did we finally connect for a face to face conversation. And Yeah, it's about a pleasure getting to know you. So let's do this thing. All right, let's do it. We have a topic today that you and I could probably spend the entire day talking about, but that wouldn't be fair to make our listeners have to listen to that all day. So what we'll somehow keep ourselves in check here and and hit on some of the the key things we really want to dial in on, and we're going to will going to do this in a little bit different format than than my typical, you know, question after question interview. I think we're going to be a little more collaborative on this one and que each other up a few times here, so I'm excited to do this. Well, Alison, I know that a lot of the work that you and your team at felt does is the foundational stuff, you know, uncovering what really makes a manufacturer unique and being able to articulate that in a way that tells a compelling story, and taking into account that this is really one of your key areas of expertise, you said something really interesting to me is we were preparing for this conversation. That had me, you know, nodding my head vigorously. You said manufacturing itself needs a rebrand, and I agree. So for our listeners, can you talk about what you meant by that? Yes, and, and I can't take credit, I've heard lots of people say, you know, in probably the last two years, that manufacturing needs...

...a rebrand, and I feel like it is a I think we need to dispel the myth and the story that we've been told about manufacturing. I grew up in Indiana General Motors. We had, I don't know, thirty plants in our town and I always thought manufacturing was Grimy, blue collar, you know, fill in the blank. I think a lot of that is still happening. So I think to rebrand manufacturing. We need to tell a new story and I think making young people the hero of the story by showing them here's what your hero state would be if you chose a career in manufacturing, and this is how cool it is, and really emphasize, I think, bring back the cool factor of manufacturing, because I think it's gotten cooler, I think you would agree, over the last ten years. But God, there's just manufacturers are makers and it's and every manufacturing operation I've ever been in it isn't grimy and dirty. It's the opposite, which is hilarious. It's clean and there are, you know, processes and procedures and people take pride in their work and they get paid really well and there's always this like family atmosphere. I obviously depending on how big, you know or small the operation is, but there's just just sense of camaraderie and people are really proud of what they're building and what they're making or building goes into something else, like a spaceship or a television or, you know, your eye watch or whatever it's. It's part of something bigger and it's part of what makes makes life tick. So I think it's about telling a different story I think it's about demonstrating the hero state of what it would look like to choose it. And I think then we've got to spread the word right and that's marketing. That's what you and I love. And start younger. You know, there's a lot of high school programs and people like Nicole Walter in Chicago, Patricia Miller, Pamela con out on the West Coast like they're all doing a lot of great work mentoring young people, and so I hope to see more of that in the near future and then also, like I said, spread the word. We've got a I don't know if it would take a campaign necessarily, but I think a joint effort, if everybody got on board, I think we could change hearts and minds. Let's go to the the main plan for today, which was, you know, we were talking a couple weeks ago try to flesh out a topic here, and you had suggested that we put our two industrial marketing brains together and we both been in this game for a while and let's lay out a set of, you know, ways that manufacturers maybe maybe missing on the marketing front, but frame it in the context of opportunities that maybe our are on the that that are kind of in front of them and they may not see yet. So we've got five, a list of five things we agreed on here. I'm going to tee you up for the first three, you're going to team me up for the next two and we'll have a conversation around these and see where that goes. I'm going to read that list first and then we'll come back back around to each of them one by one. So five opportunities, or maybe misses by manufacturers right now. They are creating opportunities. The first one is manufacturers typically fail to humanize their brands. Number two, manufacturers don't always clearly articulate their unique selling point. Number three, manufacturers sometimes have a disconnected marketing system or maybe a lack of alignment between their marketing strategy and the execution of that strategy. G number four, manufacturers tend to be near sighted on the marketing front, sort of assuming that everybody is in a bicycle rather than looking at how do we educate and reach our audience, regardless of where they are and their current bicycle, and sort of build trust and awareness. And then number five, manufacturers are tend to measure what I think you and I would probably say are sometimes the wrong results. We're looking at the wrong indicators of success on the marketing front. So those are the five things we're going to we're going to go into each of them. Els, I'm going to tee you up for the first few here. Number one, manufacturers fail to humanize their brands. Tell us what you mean. Tell us what the solution is. Well, I think old marketing was, I feel like it was very robotic and you were not encouraged, as a brand, at least as a manufacture, I should say, to act like a person. I think even pre pandemic that was happening right and unfortunately it's still happening. People, companies are fraid to talk like you talk right. If you're the audience, how do you talk? Do... talk very, you know, in really large words, and you say we are going to, you know, be bringing you know we are right. Use contractions like talk like a real a person, and that's everything. It's how you communicate. So if somebody feels like you get them, they're going to be more apt to listen to you, to pay attention to if you're busy acting, I call it non personality disorder. So if you don't even know who you are. First of all, you don't have a brand persona for your own manufacturing organization. Then it's like dating. If you were going out to date somebody and they said, we'll tell me about yourself and you thought you give some I don't know, some practiced, boring, you know, explanation. It's not interesting, it's not compelling. Or if you said, well, I really don't know who I am, but let's go out. You know the person's like. I don't think so. You've got to know who you are and and what that would mean to the potential customer. So I think a big part of the problem that creates this huge opportunity is start talking like a person and don't be afraid to be vulnerable and transparent as a brand. You know, I know for years, I can only speak from my own experience. For years I treated felt this way. I was afraid that people would think, oh, well, they're too funny, that's that's a little too corny. Afraid to not know the answer, afraid to it was all fear based, and I think that with manufacturers, I think it's a mixture of fear, being afraid of what people will think or competitors. Are they doing this? No, then we won't either. You know, we want to. It's like status quote. So I feel like there's just this huge opportunity to get to know yourself. Get to know yourself as a brand. You know you do customer personas well. What about your brand persona? If you were a you know, what kind of car would you be? Are you the Mercedes? Are you the Chevy? Are you the UGO? They even make you go? You goes anymore? I don't know, but you get the point right, like who are you to people, and what lane are you going to drive in? And and then that will also help you show up consistently. You know, you're not going to be all over the place one minute, oh, we're really funny this week, and then the next week we're very staid and we're very we're not going to comment on black lives matter because we don't have an opinion like you have to. You don't have to, but I want to encourage manufactures to get human. And what do you think, because this is not all about me. I know you have opinions about this too. Sure, yeah, and I think those are all great points. I mean, I always say that people like to work with people they like. You know, it's show faces on your website, your communications. We just default to written communications because that's what we've, you know, done for the last twenty, thirty years, since emails about around or whatever. But like what there's you can it's how how easy is it to use a tool like loom or bomb bomb or and said a video message like put you whether it's in your sales communications. We do it a lot of in our internal communications, rather than take it fifteen minutes to write out a long emailed into side to our team, like I could say it in in two minutes as opposed to write it in fifteen and then my tone is communicated to the communication. You could see my face and hear my voice. And when you start doing that externally again, whether it's in sales communications, whether it's a content on your website. So I think bringing a human elements, like we are real people. This is not just a brand that's out there, like there are people behind this and people, and especially when you have charismatic people in your organization and you know, put put a spotlight on that, because that's a differentiator that can immediately be a differentiator for you. I everready talks about how great their people are and how they've got the best customer service and how their customers love them and never leave them. Will can what? What from that can you physically show before somebody even meets you in the first place? Right, yeah, and and the other thing, like you mentioned, that Wei Syndrome earlier. I talked about this a lot. You can tell if you're suffering from the Wei Wei Syndrome. Look at your website. Do the five second speed test and say how many times immediately in five seconds do I see the word we versus the word you? And if you can, like today, flip the script right and and stop talking about yourself, I call it navel gazing. Growing up, I had these cousins. They were a lot of cousins that were boys and growing up in Indiana it's hot, humid. They're running around with no shirt on all summer. I'm Super Jealous. I couldn't do that. And I noticed at some point, you know, they're looking down and they're making their...

...really button talk. Oh, and I thought it was so funny and I remember thinking you guys are so stupid and but they were fascinated with their own navel and about fifteen years ago I found this picture of this little boy and he's doing exactly that and I use it in a lot of my Webinaris and presentations and every single time people crack up and I say, but this makes so much sense and we've all done it. So I am guilty, you're probably guilty and and I think that's the cool thing, is that that you and I are doing with our work and our agencies is we're helping manufacturers do things. We've already made the mistakes. Right. It's like we're not offering you a meal that we wouldn't serve ourselves. We wouldn't eat it ourself or serve our own family. So I think that's the cool thing, as experimenting, and I always tell people like you know, we're the test tube. We've tried this, we've made these mistakes and we've and then we've also helped other companies work through this. So, yeah, I think we've got to stop that. We we send her, flip the script, make it about you, because that's people care about themselves. They want to know what's in it for me. Exactly right. Let's go to number two. So number one was manufacturers need to humanize their brands. So number two, manufacturers often fail to clearly articulate their unique selling point. Yes, well, how many websites do you go to and it looks like everyone else, especially if you're a manufacturer. So if we get a new client and we're doing a competitive analysis and we look at their you know, who their competition are, and we pull up all the websites and nine times out of ten they all have this similar feel and look and content. And I say, well, what is your unique value proposition? And they look at me and say quality, with our quality products, customer service, solutions, on time delivery, and I say that's fantastic. And then at the end of each of those could you say like everyone else, and I get this look of like and I've done this for myself, so I've been through this process and it was brick to the head, brick to the head, brick to the head. Well, that's like every other agency. So how are you really different? And you think, oh so, I think the faster you can dig a little deeper and and it's probably right under your knows right, it doesn't have to be like you and I were talking about the steam cleaning of the VAT story from Schlitz. How you know? Just because everybody does it but nobody's talking about it. So maybe it's something like that. That is your unique value and it and it isn't necessarily what you do, but it's what you solve. So that is something that I see like a lightbulb goes off, and you probably do as well. When you say that to a manufacture they say, Huh, okay, well now that's a whole different mindset, right, because we're all focused on what we do. And if we could switch that and focus on what is it you solve for the person who's coming to your website, and then, by God, say that at the top, above the fold. Make it a sentence and let them know right away it's here's what's in it for you, here's why you should buy this and here's why you should buy it from us. And it's a sentence or it's it could be five to six words. Please don't make it long, please don't make it anything ubiquitous, anything. If you start using the word quality, Dear God, get out the Red Pen right and say Nope, nope, we still haven't hit it. And and we call it uncovering your unfair advantage. And it could be something as simple as and we did this recently for a client. We make it easy. They looked at us and said, let's so that's so simple. We said, I know, but nobody else is talking about it. And you guys do this at every turn. So use it. That your advantage. It doesn't have to be some crazy, convoluted thing. It could be so simple and I think when it's right under our nose, we probably take it for granted. You know, there's always something great about what you're the work that you do and the results that you get. But you go ahead. Doesn't everybody do that? Yeah, for sure. Yeah, there are a couple smarter people than me that I'll reference and response to what you're talking about, because I agree across the board. And were we at Gorilla last December we started implementing Eos, so the entrepreneurial operating system based on traction by Geno Wickman. A lot of manufacturers, a lot of marking people operate on this system and you know, one of the things that is part of developing your your VTO, your vision traction organizer, which... like a two page business plan, is to be able to articulate what are your three uniques, and the way that Gino Wickman describes it is like you say one of these uniques and there's probably, I don't know, eighty, ninety percent of the other companies in your space could also say the same thing. When you add the second one in, now it's down to like twenty percent. And then when you add the third one, and nobody else can say all these three things together about what you know, what unique value they create. And so I think that's one good way to look at it. Is To you and you and you can't say, you can't say the best customer service. You can. I mean you can write but like, as you said, just like everybody else, everybody says that and nobody has a reason to believe that until they've experienced it. That's the problem. It's like a chicken egg situation here. It may be true for many of you listening, but you need to dig deeper and either you know, hang your hat on something that truly is, is different for your or else you need to be able to demonstrate that, yeah, you're you really do have the best customer service or whatever that thing is you got. You got to show it. Somehow, whether it's through case study or testimonial or success, you know, so success story or something like that. But if you there are two platforms, that frameworks that were big fans of. Talk about these plenty for writing, you know, a brand narrative or positioning language. In the first one is it's a book called New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg. I actually I was fortunate enough to get him on this show, which was by far the most popular episode. Had published probably coming up on a year ago at this point, but and hit chapter eight of his like best selling sales book. You sell simplified is about developing what he calls a sales story. But basically the framework is this. It's stating simply, as you said, Alison, like the thing that should be right there on your home page like a billboard, at eight words or less or whatever. You know, this is who we help and hat like this is who we help. We help these types of companies to accomplish this thing and then and then from there you go into you know, companies like fill in the blank come to us when they're experiencing issue, issue, issue, issue, issue or trying to achieve you've bullet bullet bullet, bullet bullets. So you're put you're wrapping your whole value proposition around not the things you do but the things that matter to your audience. Right. And then, very briefly after that, that's when you say, you know, the ways we help accomplish that are these ways and here's what makes us different. But, like the bulk of all that is, it's focused on the issues of your audience and the things that they're trying to achieve, because that's what matters to them. They don't care who you are what you do until they believe you've seen their their issues before, you've helped other people like them solve those things, and then they'll start listening to who you are. So that's one. The other one I really like, which probably more people listening are familiar with, his building a story brand by Donald Miller. Where you are, you're I can tell you already you're a fan there, where he draws a parallel between business and and like the you know, Hollywood script where whether it's you know, whether you as the manufacturer, are Gandalf as the guide to your customer, who is Frodo or, you know, Yoda or Obi Wan, Kenobie leading Luke Skywalker, like you are not the hero of the customers journey. The customer is the hero and you are there to guide them and get them the right solution. And so it's another really it's I think it's a fun and and really smart framework for being able to articulate what what differentiate to and how you create value. Well, absolutely, and that's I'd love him and I love of how he talks about there are seven stories that rule the world. So is yours a story of rags two riches? Is it overcoming the monster? You know, is it? Is it a quest or an adventure? And when you start thinking about that, think about your story. That is a unique part of your business that doesn't exist any place else. Then think about what is your customer story? So if you think about it in you know, circles and then they overlap, it's that sweet spot in the middle. That's your shared values, that's your shared part of the story. So what does your customer look like in their hero state when they've overcome the monster? So address what the monster is and when they've overcome it, there what what's happening? So if you can show them that right away and I encourage manufactures to do this in there about us section of their website as well. Don't start with a history lesson because again, that's all about you and if you change, you're about us, and I think that I did get this from Donald Miller, come to think of it. But so I want to give credit where credit is due. But talking about flipping your about us, you can have a history. It's absolutely important and it's unique and it's special and it and again, doesn't exist any place else and it's how you got to where you are today. But if you could move that down below the fold and start with a paragraph or two, really small paragraphs that talk about about us, who we...

...are in terms of who we are because of you, who we are with you, and if you do that, it's so much more interesting to people. Again, you're continuing that humanizing shared experience guiding them, and then put a call to action right there in your about us, because if why I'm shaking my head, I'm relating, I'm feeling like God, yeah, they really, they really get me. Well, what might they want to do next? And that whole point is going to tie into a question that I'm going to ask you in a little bit about nearsightedness and assuming that everybody is always ready to buy. So we'll get back to that, but I think that that's an opportunity and against this is simple. This is not an expensive thing that takes a long time, that's going to take a lot of effort that you gotta you know, I suggest if you aren't a copywriter or professional, that you work with one or you know a company like ours. But it doesn't take a ton of money and it doesn't take a ton of time. So these are some simple, quick wins that you could implement right away. Yeah, I like the tangible advice there. It's great. Let's go to number three. So manufacturers have a disconnected marketing system or a lack of alignment between strategy and execution. What do you mean by that, Alison, and what what can they do about it? What's the opportunity that is created here? Well, we created this periodic table of customer touch points, and the reason that we did that was it's so much easier when you can see right in in a at a glance. Well, here are all the opportunities where we could be touching people, and when you can see, well, which one of these are do we have activated? And then you see, well, which one of those that are activated are optimized, and then you see what which ones are dormant, and you go home. Most of the time people go we need to be at a few more points this. Boy, why aren't we here, in here and here, and why aren't the yeah, those really aren't optimized. Why aren't we doing a better job? So it's really a tool that helps you see for yourself. Instead of somebody like me going look at that, it's you going look at that and it's this revelation like a lightbulb goes off. So it's a way to help you see or become aware of where you're showing up and if it's effective and if it's not, don't don't Fret. Like you have an opportunity to make it better. Again, I've put myself through this. It's something you could go through every year and say, okay, so let's say we want to optimize, we want to optimize these twenty five or thirty or fifty touch points. How are they all connected? You know, and I had mentioned to you before, my old creative partner of twenty years had me by this Hoberman's sphere it's right back here, up above my head, and I was like, why do we need a toy, and she said, just wait till it gets here. So it got to the office and she opened it up and she was just like and we both we started talking and we said, Oh my God, that is like your brand experience, right. And when you've got see how there's different colors that are connected. Now imagine if you've got this sphere and you disconnect, what is left? It's this fragmented not really just a fragmented strategy and execution, but a fragmented experience for your customers. So you know, it's the difference between going to like I recently bought a nectar bed. Okay, it's a company that's a manufacture right, they manufacture mattresses. And after I did my research online, ninety percent of it, everybody listening, ninety percent I did online. Then I went to the store, a store, and I just experienced all the different beds and how they were displayed and how they talked about them. And then when I ordered the bed, first of all, their website was incredibly easy to use and very intuitive. Secondly, and here was a unique selling point that totally sold me not just a five year warranty or a ten year warranty. This was a three hundred jured and sixty five day guarantee that if I did not like this mattress I could send it back, no questions asked. And I thought what they must be really confident in this mattress. And so, anyway, not to go off on a tangent with this long story, but what an experience. So then to get the mattress, have it be everything they promised. And then guess what happened after the purchase? This is that nurturing part. This is that connected system part that I talked about. They sent me an email and it didn't just say thanks for purchasing our mattress, we hope you like it. Follow us on social nectar out it was like that at all.

I getting these little drips, these little drips, these little drips in email. I got something in the mail, I start seeing them on social media feeds as a sponsored post. So the point is, and this ties into why manufacturers asked you and I all the time, well, why do we need to be in social so much? Why? What is really the point? What's the Roi Et lasts? Aren't those aren't those out at you know, are people really paying attention to those? We don't want to bother people, and this is part of this connected system. If at every part of the journey, and again you have a lot to say about this, this customers journey, so I can't wait to get into it. But at every point it's about before, during and after the purchase, and I like to call it after the purchase is just until the next purchase. So how do you continue nurturing before, during and after, and what's that experience like for them? So if you can close the gap in your Hoberman's sphere and you can connect all the dots, doesn't have to be perfect. It's a constant evolution. But think of the momentum. If this thing is rolling down a hill, it's gonna go smoothly and quickly and it's going to have gas, going to have energy, where if it's disconnected, it's clunky and I think it leads opportunity for people to feel confused, to feel like you don't understand them, to feel like you forgot about them and, like Seth God and says, you got to show up and show up and show up and you got to be where the people are and not try to talk to everybody, but talk to the people who will matter, demonstrate for the people who will matter. And I hope that wasn't like word vomit and a really long explanation, but I get really excited about this. Yeah, I know it was good. I think, and I won't say too much here because I'm gonna I think this ties actually to the last number five that we're going to hit on shortly, or we're going to get into manufacturers measuring the wrong things. But I think that, like when I think of this disconnected system, or you know, you mentioned something a few minutes ago, like why do I need to be in social why do I need to be doing this? Like all these little people, all these little components, work together. And if you ask me to answer the question, well, what's the Roli on that social media post I made last week, or this, you know, this piece of content that we developed as part of, you know, our content marketing strategy, or you know the email, email blast that went out on, you know, October fifteen or something. I can't answer that, and nor should I have to be, because these are all pieces of a system and there's each of them serves a different purpose. You know, there are things you do on the marketing front that are there to capture demand that exists and to drive results fast, and I'll talk about that when we get to number five. And then there are things that you do to consistently be in front of the right people, to create awareness, to build trust, to establish yourself as an expert practitioner in your space so that when that audience enters a bicycle, be the first one they think of. When they go to Google, they recognize your name already and they have positive associations with it. But when you try to look at the you know, contribution of each of those things individually, all on their own, and if you chose to do this, this and this and leap leave the rest be, none of them are going to accomplish anything for you. Like we, you're a podcast host and, like I, look at this podcast, you're at your episode, seventy four of this podcast, and how many weeks has it taken me to publish seventy four episodes? Seventy four weeks exactly, because every single Tuesday morning one goes live and I can't tell you what the Roi on any individual podcast episode is. But I can tell I can tell you the Roi on doing this for almost a year and a half and I can tell you the intangible things that have come from that and the people I've met in the referrals that have been made and the clients that have been one as a result of those referrals. And so it's all part of a system. Right in the podcast rous is just a piece of of a bigger system, like every individual episode is a piece of the podcast system. In the podcast is a piece of a bigger system. So having a strategy, like we know that we need to reach these types of people from these types of companies and we know they care about these things because we've heard that from their mouths and we've done the customer research and we've worked with companies that resemble them and we know this what matters to them. So we're going to build our marketing program around those things and then we get into the tactics. What are the tactics? are going to be a piece of that. And that's how you create that. You know holistic marketing program well. And and one thing, yes, yes, yes, to everything you just said. Wholeheartedly agree. And the thing that I tell manufactures, and I think this is exactly what you were talking about. Is, you know, the old idea of Roi was to always focus on well, how much? What's the return in dollars? And, like you said, we can't always put a number on that and it's not... ambiguous, fluffy market is position, because we just can't. It's I like to think of it as Roiicube. So let's think about Roi in a whole new way. What's the return on investment? Can we measure it or not? Maybe not. What's the return on influence? Ah, we can measure that. And what's the return on innovation? So if you think about Roi in a whole new way as return on influence, return on innovation and return on investment, I guarantee if you're doing all those different activities and they're all working together, you're getting one of those returns, if not more than one, at every single touch. So that's my two cents on that. Yeah, I like that way to look at it. So I want to hear from you because I've been doing a lot of talking and and you have so much knowledge and so many great ideas. I know that you've talked before how manufacturers suffer from near sightedness. I myself in very near sighted and I can relate to this in more ways than one. So how would you say manufactures are leaving money on the table by assuming that everybody is always actively in a bicycle? And and then how is that showing up in their content and their marketing efforts? Yep, so te and me up for number four here. This markys idea of marketing and your sightedness. So, you know, it's almost counterintuitive to think that the best way to grow your business is to not be building lists of people in hammering, you know, cold calling and knocking on doors and and listen, I there's a place for that. I'm not going to sit here and, you know, discourage sales teams were effective at prospecting, from from doing that. There's there's absolutely a place for it. But marketing is not the same thing as sales. It's not. Marketing is largely a long game and to look at marketing the same way you look at sales is the wrong approach. If you are a manufacturer selling some kind of you know, you're a machine builder, you're selling cat ex equipment or you're selling a you know, five hundred thou dollar solution or a fiftyzero solution, whatever it is. For a lot of manufacturers out there it's you're dealing with longer sales cycles. You're dealing with committees of buyers that include, you know, technical professionals like process engineers and automation engineers and plant managers, and you're dealing with facility managers and you're dealing with, you know, procurement people in CFOs and CEOS and and you need to influence a number of these people throughout that buying process. So, first of all, it's you know, it's a longer sales cycle and I still see marketers being held accountable for well, we're not producing marketings, not generating revenue and we've been we've been doing this thing for three months. Okay, will your sales cycle six months like? First of all, let's let's let's come back to reality here for a second. And Yeah, and and remember that. You know, how fast could one of your sales people move somebody into into a bicycle? Right, and you can't expect marketing to beat that. marketings are to tea up these opportunities and be able to, you know, get the right eyes on you. So those opportunities can get created the first place. But you know, I think the main point that I want to make care about marketing, near sightedness and changing the perspective on that is it really comes down to this. This is a topic I've talked about a lot recently, so some of you may be sick of me me saying it, but here's the reality. For most of you, probably somewhere between one and three percent of your total addressable market is in an active bicycle right now. Think about that for a second, when you think about everybody who could be a potential customer of yours, how many of them do you believe, at this exact moment in time today, are out there looking for a solution that you could provide them? Actively looking? Do they maybe need one? Is it under the surface and they don't realize it yet, or it's kind of on, you know, the back burner, it's on the horizon. Okay, sure, yeah, there, but but who is actually out there looking? It's a small percentage of people. Yet so much marketing that happens in the manufacturing sector is done under the assumption that the person on the receiving end is actually buying right now and that they want to hear your message about all your your products, features and benefits and how awesome your company is and how great your customer services and some of the stuff we talked about earlier that manufacturers think are their unique selling points. But do you want to hear a sales message right now, Alison, from you know, from someone about something that maybe you'll need in a year, but not right now? Like you don't want to be you don't want people screaming at you, you know, trying to blast a sales message. You're turning that off like the same way you turn off. I just bought a car the summer for the first time in a long time, and so I was in active buying mode for the last year because it's a big, just big purchasing decision. I'm not going to put like I probably won't even...

...see another car ad for years because I'm not I'm not looking for it right. So I think the point here about near sightedness is there is a percentage of your audience it's actively buying and yes, you need to be in front of them. You need a strategy to get in front of them, to deliver your value proposition, to open the door to a conversation with those people and to be able to close those deals, to get them in your funnel. But a majority of your audience is not buying right now. But so does that mean you shouldn't be marketing to them? No, absolutely not. It just means that the type of marketing you need to be doing to them is not the same as sales. It's not blasting a bottom of funnel ready to buy sales message at them. It is here's what it is, here's what it needs to be. needs to be understanding what matters to own their job. It needs to be creating value around your product category or that you know the things that you do, that you know that your product or your service, your solution can do that actually is meaningful to them. Your job is to educate and create value for that person around your expertise as it applies to the to their job, and to earn attention and trust and position yourself as a thought leader and to be so they know your your the d resource in your space for this thing, for this category, and so when they enter that bicycle, you're the first one they think of. And so that's really what I'm talking about. With near sightedness, we can't make the assumption that everybody is buying now. We have we need some patients. We need to play the long game, capture exist demand where it exists, but be prepared to build brand and awareness in front of people and realize those results will come in time. But you can't, you can't be doing everything with the expectation of results tomorrow. Exactly. Well, I'm going to clap right now because that was beautiful and and true. And you know, and it's not just a marketer. I don't know what the right word is, but like you know, from the sidelines and saying you know, you should do this, this is it's I think it's a you're a marketing professional who is observing a pattern, and that is that's insight. That's just you've got to pay attention to that as as a manufacturer and say, HMM, you know, these folks are seeing this thing happening everywhere. Am I doing this thing? Oh, wow, I guess we are. Well, how could we do better? So it's really again, just uncovering this opportunity to be cognisant that most of the people you're talking to most of the time are not ready to buy right now. So what else. What's in it for them? Why should they pay attention to you and why should they think of you when they are ready? So I think that was that was brilliant. So let's jump into number five, because there's a lot with with this to unpack as well. How are manufactures measuring the wrong marketing results and what are the opportunities there that? I feel like there's money being left on the table. Yeah, so you know, as I I will quickly describe sort of the evolution of marketing measurement over the last fifteen, sixteen years or so. I graduated college in Undergrad and o five that fall is when Google analytics came out. I came up with the ability to measure digital marketing like it was there from from day one for me. But it's still, you know, like we went into this era where do your ability to measure anything was very limited, frankly, and and quickly moving into this you know, all of a sudden we have all this date at our finger tips about, you know, website traffic, where it's coming from, what content on our site is being consumed, and that very quickly evolved, or maybe I should say devolved into Oh, we can measure stuff now and now we need to measure everything and it's gotten to a point where, and believe I'm a huge fan of being able to measure things, but there's so much data available and it's led to this obsession among marketers with trying to measure everything and to the point where they're not looking at the right stuff and or there make their drawing conclusions to early about, you know, what's working and what's not, and they're completely missing the opportunity because they're making decisions too early. So, you know, here are just a few examples, like website traffic. Okay, website traffic, and then let's let's say leads, like leads generated through forms on your site. I'm talking about like White Paper downloads and and you know, ebooks and things like that. You know these are should these things we measured, absolutely, but they are leading Kpis. That's what they are. They are not and all bl these are not bizarre, these are not business outcomes. Website traffic will tell you are we getting visibility? And you need to look more carefully at that even and say, you know, for example, what what pages through search engines are people entering through? Are they coming through the pages that are...

...related to keywords that matter to us. For example, people who are converting on your site that are, you know, downloading content or, more importantly, filling out consultation requests. Are they the right people? Where they coming from, where they originating? These are all leading indicators that are we moving in the right direction? What can we glean from this information? But there are so many agencies out there still that are selling themselves on being able to you know we can double your traffic. In three months. We will you know we're going to quadruple your leads and to them all, a lade means it's some person filling out a form on your site, when ninety nine percent of them are probably doing nothing but bogging down your sales teams time, wasting time and and, for that reason, actually hurting you because they're not the right people. And so again the Kase. We have to distinguish between what is a leading KPI and what is an actual business outcome. Business outcomes are things like sourced pipeline, like actual quoted business with the right types of companies that can be traced back through your marketing activities and then resulting revenue from that like that is where marketers need to hang their hat is on. Are we generating tangible business outcomes? Not, are in and not stop at are we driving traffic and leads? So I'll stop there and throw it to you, Alison. No, I your spot on and I think, to just really simplify it, that what came into my mind was it's quality over quantity. So, and how many manufacturers do you know that have been taken advantage of by companies that give marketing a bad name and they're selling them this? That's you know, will will? We need to double your your number of followers? Well, you know what, that's Dandy, but what if they're not the right people? Like we don't need Russian Porn Stars in droves following are it doesn't mean anything. So you listening? Please, don't be fooled. If somebody makes these big promises to you, it doesn't matter how many people like you right. I think we all can fall into that trap of, like you're talking about, measuring the wrong things. So I think it's so important and I would love like you and I could talk about that for another three hours. But I think that that is some huge value that you bring to the manufacturing community and to your customers. Is that I've been very impressed with is that you guys are really great at digital execution and and helping people create that right the holistic, connected components, and then measuring the right things so that they can really understand. You know, this doesn't have to be overwhelming. I don't have to be like a genius to understand all this stuff, because it's confusing for most people. Yeah, I don't know about you, but sometimes I get overwhelmed and I just think, wow, what is all this stuff? You know, and you have to take a step back and say, okay, what's really important? What? But it's great to have people like you who can lead, lead me through the process. If I don't understand and I'm not going to feel dumb and after we work together I'm going to feel so much more. I'm going to trust myself and I'm going to trust that I don't have to know everything you know and we don't have to we don't have to measure everything, but at least I'm going to understand what are the right things to measure and to have this more, I think, realistic idea and understanding. Is that sound right? Yeah, I think it's great. Well, I think. I think we did it here. I think we've set the record so far for longest, longest show. Yeah, which is not surprising to have to marketing people. It's debating five topics, but I think I'm thrilled some of the stuff we were able to cover here. I think it's all really important stuff. I think there's some big opportunities for manufacturing people out there and hopefully, you know, some people be able to take some of this and turn it into you know, action. Right. Yeah, absolutely, and I really look forward to revisiting the manufacturing rebrand. Yes, we are going to be talking about that for for sure. Well, Alison, thanks for doing this. Can you tell our audience how they can get in touch with you and also where they can learn more about your agency, felt marketing? Yep, we're felt Marketingcom and you can find me on Linkedin. Just Search Alison to Ford. I'm really easy to find. I'm there a lot. It's my playground. And then also you can shoot me an email if you have a question. I'm a not going to try to sell you anything. I'm happy to just help. So you can reach out to Alison at felt Marketingcom and I would really appreciate it if you would also check out MFG out loud. We're on all the platforms and we have a slightly different approach than Joe and you might get some value out of it. Joe Is going to be a guest coming up here in the next month or so on our podcast as well. So if you are up for a courageous conversation about sales and marketing for manufacturers, check out MFG out loud. Yeah, please do there. There's some really great podcasts in the manufacturing sector, so I am always happy to promote those, but Alison...

...and Ray do a great job with theirs and really dial in on those marketing and sales topics which, as I think you've learned today, we're both quite passionate about. So go check out manufacturing out loud. Well, Alison, thanks for doing this. This was awesome and I'm excited to continue the conversation on your show and and more more conversations offline see we can keep doing to, you know, to help help change the perception of manufacturing the outside world and keep moving the industry forward. So absolutely well, thank you for everything that you're doing. I am truly a fan and you guys are doing great things for manufacturers and I really appreciate it. Awesome well, thank you, and as for the rest of you, I hope to catch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy, you'll find an ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically for bedb manufacturers at Gorilla Seventy sixcom learn thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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