Manufacturing Marketing Strategy

How to create a marketing led growth strategy for manufacturers.

Read the guide

 

As a manufacturer it's likely that your strength lies in your operational expertise. With operational strength alone, it's common for manufacturers to hit a ceiling in their business growth.

You know you have the ability and capacity to achieve significant growth – but something is holding you back. It's time to break through your growth ceiling. 

Signs that you need a marketing led growth strategy

Do you recognise one or more of these scenarios in your business?

  • Your business relies on existing customer growth to fuel the majority of your growth
  • You get very few enquiries compared with the size of your potential market
  • You have a few marketing tactics running in your business, but no marketing strategy
  • You don’t understand marketing in the same way you understand the operational aspects of your business
  • You can’t see how you can measure marketing return on investment, compared with investing in new machinery or a key member of staff
  • Your new business relies on a few skilled technical sales people

What is a growth strategy?

A growth strategy is a high-level plan to achieve business growth goals.

A marketing led growth strategy, emphasises marketing leading the growth. This is important for operationally led businesses that need to build marketing strength.

Why do you need a growth strategy?

You’re running and growing your business to achieve an end goal. Everyone who runs and owns a business has an end goal in mind. Whatever that goal is, increasing the value of your business will be an important part of it.

Consistent growth, creates value.

Uncertainty is also one of the few certainties when running a business.

We define a growth strategy as:

A high-level plan to achieve business growth goals under conditions of uncertainty.

 

Why is a marketing strategy critical to the growth of your manufacturing business?

Marketing and sales is the front line of your growth engine.

Adding frontline marketing and sales strength to your operational strength is the winning combination to driving consistent growth.

It will create the value you know your business is capable of.

Systemising your marketing and sales, as you've systemised the operations of your business, will give you the understanding and control of marketing and sales you are looking for.

Operational strength is developed through consistent refinement and improvement. In the same way systemising your marketing and sales allows you to apply this process of ongoing improvement to your marketing and sales.

Common barriers to business growth

It's likely that you have plenty of potential growth opportunities.

What are the barriers that are preventing you from realising those growth opportunities?

  • Lack of financial resources
  • Lack of time or people to pursue the opportunities
  • Spreading yourself too thin, by pursuing too many opportunities
  • Not knowing which opportunities to pursue
  • Lack of a clear and well communicated strategy
  • Lack of unity and traction in your team
  • Important people leaving your business and stalling your growth

If you are facing one or more of these barriers - a clear and well communicated strategy will provide the clarity you need to solve and overcome the barriers faster.

Why does having a written marketing growth strategy help business growth?

A marketing growth strategy is marketing led rather than operationally led. It’s a customer first strategy – an important shift for operationally led businesses.

Strategies are often held in the minds of the senior board. Getting the strategy written down helps to overcome the barriers mentioned above.

Overcoming a lack of financial resources

  • A well-produced marketing led growth strategy should model performance and financial requirements. This will allow you to get the appropriate finances in place and make it much easier to identify whether your performance is on track or not, helping you keep in control of your finances
  • A written strategy will help you secure funding if you need it

Overcoming a lack of time or people to pursue the opportunities

  • A well-produced marketing led growth strategy will help you understand the resources you need to achieve your goals in your chosen timeframe
  • It'll give you the information you need to assign adequate resources to achieve your goal, or review your goals and timeframe to be in line with the resources you have available
  • It'll provide reference points to identify issues due to a lack of time or skills resources, so that you can fix them faster

Overcoming a lack of alignment

  • Issues with unity and traction typically come down to a lack of alignment behind a common goal. A written strategy clearly communicates the common goal and high-level plan to achieve it. It's essential to building alignment within the business at all levels

Helping to focus on the right opportunities

  • When a written strategy is used as a reference point for decision making, it helps to identify the right opportunities and enables faster decision making
  • Regular referencing of the written strategy will also help to identify pursued opportunities that have evolved to be poorly aligned. Faster decision making to abandon these poorly aligned opportunities will help you focus your resources on the right opportunities, speeding your growth

Preventing knowledge loss from stalling your business growth

It's inevitable that people will leave your business during your growth journey. A written strategy helps to prevent stalls due to knowledge drains from your business.

  • A well-produced marketing growth strategy will identify risks of knowledge drains, so that you can mitigate them and minimise their impact
  • It helps retain knowledge within the business, by educating and empowering the whole team to think more strategically for the business
  • It’s an important onboarding tool, to quickly bring new employees up to speed with the business and its customers

Where to start with your marketing strategy

Insight

Developing a well thought out marketing led growth strategy requires insight.

Insight into the market, to understand your customers, potential customers and competitors.

Insight into your company, to understand your people, goals, culture, processes and performance.

Whether you’re producing your strategy internally or you’re engaging with a consultant or agency to help produce it – insight is key.

Goals

Starting the insight process by understanding your goals is important, as it provides the context for what follows.

Why do you want to achieve the business growth? What are you doing it for and what does success look like?

As well as the goals, also think about the implications of not achieving them.

Clear personal goals are important, as they will give you something clear to aim for.

Your why

Also think about your personal why and the why of your business. Can you make these consistent so that they are well aligned?

Simon Sinek explains the importance of starting with your Why in business.

Have the end in mind

It's always good to have the end in mind at an early stage of working on your strategy. What timeframe are you working to. Would you like to increase the value of your business, to pass it on to your family, sell it on to your management team, sell it to a competitor or an investment company?

Your end goal and timeframe are likely to influence your decisions on the strategy to follow. Having them in mind from an early stage will help you make the right decisions, faster.

Understand your market

When you have understood where you want to get to and your personal motivations. You then need to shift your focus to your market.

Put yourself in your potential customers' shoes.

  • Who are they?
  • What do they want?
  • How are they looking for solutions?
  • How many of them are there?
  • Are they already well served? Are they looking for something more, better, cheaper or different?
  • Do you know they have problems or needs they aren’t even aware of?
  • How many of them are there?
  • Are they ready and waiting for change?

The better you understand your market, the better you’ll be able to serve them. So many businesses look from the inside out, rather than the outside in. Just changing your focus will give you an edge.

At LexisClick we use a variety of tools to help develop a deep understanding of the market and customer. The tools we use include:

  • Best customer description
  • Customer personas
  • Customer journey
  • Competitor analysis
  • Market analysis
  • SWOT analysis
  • PESTLE analysis

Using a set of tools helps to systemise this process. It means that you can develop the understanding of your market and customers faster. It also means that you can update your understanding to keep on top of market developments as the landscape inevitably changes.

Four common methods of business growth

Market penetration by increasing market share

A company opts for a market penetration strategy when it decides to drive its growth by selling existing products or services within the same market it's already serving. The only way to grow in an existing market, by selling the same products or services, is to increase market share.

Typical methods of achieving growth in a competitive market penetration strategy are through one or a combination of focus, differentiation or cost leadership.

Market Expansion / Market Development

Market expansion or market development involves selling current products in a new market. Companies often consider a market expansion strategy if there is no room for growth in their current market or markets. Expansion can be by expanding into new geographies or industries with the same product or service.

Product Expansion / Product Development

This is when a company adds a new product or service line, or new features to increase its sales and profits, while continuing to sell within their existing market. Product expansion strategies are often seen in fast moving industries such as technology, like the endless cycle of new mobile phones being released or the latest razor blade.

Diversification

Diversification is when a company opts to sell new products to a new market. This is inherently a risky strategy as it involves new elements in both the product and market. Market research is essential to understand the appetite for the products in the market.

Methods of pursuing these growth strategies

Companies may choose to focus on one of these strategies or use a combination of two or more. They can also choose to pursue them organically, or through acquisition, mergers and joint ventures. It's common that a combination of methods are considered.

Depending on the size and resources of the business it can be a mistake to use too many different strategies at a single time. For smaller businesses with limited resources it's best to focus on the opportunities with the best potential for growth, rather than risking spreading resources to thinly.

Online marketing opportunities for manufacturers

The majority of manufacturers aren’t making the most of online opportunities. It's usually because they don’t really understand it in the same way as the operational aspects of their business.

The speed of change that technology and the internet has encouraged is the most significant development in recent times.

The opportunities it presents are massive.

Embracing internet-based technology is likely to be the biggest growth opportunity for your business.

Whatever your reasons for pursuing growth, and whichever opportunities resonate with you. It's essential that using the power of technology and the internet is factored into everything that you do.

You may be thinking “my industry is different” and “my customers like/need a personal service”. Beware of this trap. Even if your industry is lagging others, it will change. It's important that you accept this and start preparing for it now.

Imagine the consequences of ignoring the opportunities that electricity or the telephone held for business growth 100 years ago. 

The internet and technology help make marketing and sales much simpler to systemise. Which means that you’ll be on familiar ground much sooner than you may think.

To read more about using the power of the internet to drive your business growth, download our guide for manufacturers.

Decide if you need outside help

Manufacturing businesses generally don’t take much persuading that a lean approach makes sense.

Keeping your business lean and focused, means partnering with the right suppliers.

It's faster and more efficient to partner with specialists in the areas where you lack resources or expertise.

It's feasible to find a business growth agency with the marketing and sales expertise in your sector, to help you develop and manage your manufacturing marketing strategy for business growth.

If you follow the lean approach in your business and have experience developing strong business partnerships, finding the right marketing partner will be a sensible option.

Tips to finding the right marketing partner

  • Do they have the strategic expertise to help you develop a market led strategy – not just a series of tactics?
  • Do they have senior team members who can act as your Marketing Director on demand with a seat on the board and accountability for your growth?
  • Are they able to provide examples of success stories for similar levels of growth you are looking to achieve?
  • Are they able to operate as your outsourced marketing team – to manage the tactics for the strategy they have developed?
  • Do they have a team capable of delivering within your specialist market place?
  • Do they have proven systems and processes to help you systemise your marketing?
  • Are they prepared to get to know you, before you make a commitment?

Run a growth workshop

A good way to kickstart your growth strategy is with a Growth Workshop. This gets all of your key stakeholders in a room together to understand your goals and market in more depth and get the process of developing your growth strategy started.

At LexisClick we start all of our engagements with a Growth Workshop. For the right customers, we offer this as a free workshop, to help you get to know us and for us to get to know you.

Find out more about our Free Growth Workshop.

Arrange a call with an expert

If you are looking to build your marketing growth strategy, it will be helpful to speak with an expert who has been through the process hundreds of times.

You can arrange a free call with one of our experts. The steps that we go through are:

  • An initial 10 – 15 minutes introductory call to understand your business and what you are looking for and book in a more detailed exploratory call. Arrange your introductory call.
  • A detailed 1 hour exploratory call to understand more about your business, including your goals, challenges, marketplace and plans. We’ll book this as part of the introductory call
  • If there is a good mutual fit between our businesses arrange a one-day Growth Workshop with your senior team. Find out more about our Growth Workshops here.

We look forward to speaking with you.

 

Arrange a call with a Growth Consultant.

Use the calendar below to a book an initial call with one of our Growth Consultants.