Too many businesses are focussed on what they do and not their customers. Even if you are the best manufacturer in the world, without sales you will not be in business. Marketing guru Winston Marsh preaches that “You have to be a better Marketer of what you do than Doer of what you do.”

So how good are you at marketing? Most businesses are great at what they do but struggle with marketing and sales. Manufacturers are no different. Here are the key elements you have to consider in your marketing approach if you want to get results:

Is it Measurable?

Whatever marketing you do, you must be able to measure it. Only by measuring the success of your marketing can you evaluate whether it is worthwhile repeating or whether you need to alter it to make it better. Just as in manufacturing, the quality and the quantity count, so measure them. It can be as simple as asking the leads where they came from. For example, if you ask all of your incoming leads where they heard about you and no one mentions Yellow Pages, you can safely consider your Yellow Pages entry ineffective.

In business, you have to know your numbers. Whether it be profit and loss, cost per unit, fixed overheads, cost per lead or cost per acquisition. The last two numbers are the most important for marketing. They show the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Trade shows and expos are clearly the leader in this area but sometimes you need additional marketing channels. You have to be able to measure them to assess their effectiveness and your return on investment.

Is it Targeted?

When it comes to marketing, your focus has to be as narrow as a laser. Targeting like a laser means that you connect to your niche market and the exact people who want what you have. For example, if your target market is Australian Manufacturers you would be looking at opportunities to get in front of them. From exposure in a trade magazine, exhibiting at Austech or speaking at manufacturing conferences, it is all about getting in front of your target market.

So ask yourself the simple question “Where does my ideal target market go?” Once you know the answer, go there. By the way, if you think “everyone” is your target market then you need to revise your target. The best way to go broke is to target everyone. Speaking to Joy Global at Austech, they said that they had 6 customers in Australia. So select your niche and target them.

Is it On Brand?

However you choose to market, it must reflect your brand. That doesn’t mean you have your logo on everything, what it does mean is that your marketing needs to reflect your business and your product.

At a recent trade show, a printer had a stand showing off some of the different items they could print on for their clients. One of their own banners had such a low quality image it had started to pixelate. The impression given (rightly or wrongly) was that they did not know their stuff.

Imagine if you put an advert in a magazine and you advertised “precision engineering” only to have several spelling mistakes in your copy. Or if you positioned yourself as the “Industry Expert” but the imagery you used looked like your worker with three thumbs took the photo on their phone?

Be on brand and let your images, stories, marketing copy and call to action messages reflect who you really are.

What is Your Strategy?

Marketing is not something you can do while shooting from the hip. You need a clear marketing strategy and marketing plan to make it work for you. It doesn’t need to be complicated, it doesn’t need to be detailed, but it does need to be created and followed.

Your marketing plan may have some very simple elements including: networking events; attending industry events; visiting international trade shows; actively asking for referrals; establishing your industry expertise; running instructional webinars; direct mail; social media; publishing white papers; and even something as simple as publishing a regular blog.

It is important to note “HOPE” is not a marketing plan and a great sales team is not enough either. The great sales team will need marketing support to make their work easier to either increase sales to the client or get new clients.

Invest or Die

Ok so maybe the headline is a bit full on but it is true. It all goes back to the original position that you have to be a better marketer of what you do than a doer of what you do. While you can do some brilliant marketing for low or no cost, at some stage you will have to spend real money.

It could be advertising, exhibiting, hiring a marketing specialist, updating your website or even just getting some professional photos done of your business, your people and your product. Too often businesses hesitate on spending money. You don’t need to go on a spending frenzy but you will need to invest some money and then measure the results that you generate from that investment.

What now?

So what does this mean for your business? Start with a simple Marketing Plan that positions you in front of your niche market and addresses their key issues, and keep working away at it. Marketing is something you need to do every week and not just once in a blue moon.

Author's Bio: 

Warwick Merry is the CEO (Chief Exhibiting Officer) of the Exhibiting and Sponsorship Institute. They work with organisations to achieve Excellence in Exhibiting and Event Sponsorship. For further information visit