Marketing Automation for Manufacturing: How to make it Your Firm’s Unfair Advantage
Manufacturing is an industry that can often rely heavily on trade shows, in-person meetings, and product catalogs. However, like many industries, there’s a pressure and need to survive and thrive in the digital marketplace we’ve all become accustomed to. One tool manufacturing companies can have in their toolbox, is marketing automation. Marketing automation helps manufacturers simplify complex b2b processes while personalizing and scaling their digital marketing and sales efforts.
With 48% of Marketers using marketing automation, it is one of the 4 most popular methods to create personalized customer experiences. – House of Marketing “Yearly Marketing Survey 2019” (2019)
By definition according to HubSpot, marketing automation is a tactic that allows companies to nurture leads through the buyer’s journey using personalized and valuable content. It also supports scale and growth within organizations. In this post we will talk about five key areas marketing automation can fuel your modern marketing strategy.
But First, Strategy.
Marketing automation is all about using software to automate manual processes and activities. These activities can include email, lead routing, social media, managing contact data properties, lead scoring, contact follow up, and more. But those are all features and functions. Technology is a solution. Not a strategy.
Marketing automation is most effective when it’s driven by a persona-centric, buyer-focused, process founded strategy.
Looking for help with strategy? Book a free consult.
Marketing Automation for Email Marketing
Marketing automation is so much more than email, but it’s likely what comes to mind first when you think about marketing automation. When done correctly, it allows for personalized emails to be sent to a segmented list from your contact database.
Why is this important? Manufacturers can have massive contact databases that house leads, vendors, reps, distributors, and customers alike. Personalizing communication and tailoring your message to your personas is key for engagement and effectiveness.
List segmentation is pulling contacts that meet a certain set of criteria at a given time based on the information you have in your database. When potentially crawling through tens of thousands of contacts, automating list pulling is a must.
For example, if you want to send an email to all of your customers who are engineers, who have an interest in product XYZ and reside in the U.S., list segmentation is the way to go. With a few clicks, you’ll have the list you need to provide relevant, timely, and helpful information in your communication.
Automated marketing emails don’t have to ‘feel’ automated. Marketing automation allows for email personalization at scale. Here are a few examples for manufacturers.
- Addressing your recipient by name in the greeting
- Referencing their company name when giving an example of how their company could benefit from your product
- Referencing their role or job title when discussing pain points or solutions pertinent to their role
- Referencing the last piece of content they downloaded by name and asking if they are finding it helpful
- Customizing the sender information per contact by contact owner
- Referencing product or product category of interest
- Referencing examples and case studies
When using platforms like HubSpot, you can pull in nearly every property as a personalization token within your email.
Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to test your email internally, prior to sending your full list to confirm the personalization tokens rendered in the copy as intended.
Marketing Automation for Lead Generation
Marketing Automation facilitates lead capture and lead generation most commonly through forms and landing pages. Leads can take all sorts of forms for manufacturers. New distribution partners, new suppliers, all the way to end users and customers. But they all start their journey at contact with your firm.
Landing pages are web pages that are optimized for conversion and focus on a clear call-to-action for your personas such as downloading an ebook, requesting a catalog, signing up for a newsletter or requesting a quote.
Manufacturing websites can be robust because they house many product pages so providing dedicated landing pages that cut out the noise and drive one action becomes really important.
One key part of landing pages that is so fundamental it deserves a call-out of its own, is forms. Forms provide the chance for your personas to share information with you in exchange for something (an ebook, a purchasing quote, etc.) Selecting which form fields appear in your forms is a part of a sales and marketing aligned strategy. Here are some form fields for consideration for manufacturing:
- Job function
- Company name
- Product interest
- Readiness to buy
Although I’m sure there is a lot of information you’d like to know about our contacts, be selective and make sure the number and type of questions you ask is equivalent to the value the user gets in turn for completing the form.
Pro Tip: Platforms like HubSpot allow you to leverage progressive fields which means you aren’t showing repeat questions for the same lead. This allows for you to continue to collect valuable information for repeat form fills.
Marketing Automation for Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is the process of cultivating relationships with potential buyers at every stage of the sales process and through the buyer’s journey. It puts a focus on meeting buyers where they are at, listening, and providing helpful relevant information.
On average, 50% of the leads in any system are not yet ready to buy (Marketo).
Marketing automation allows you to create lead nurturing campaigns, also known as email drip campaigns which are a series of emails spread out over time that help buyers move from awareness to consideration to decision. Here are a few examples of actions that can initiate a lead nurturing campaign for manufacturers.
- A lead downloads a piece of premium content like an ebook
- A lead attends a webinar
- A lead requests more information on a specific product
- A lead downloads a case study or a buyers guide
When it comes to what emails to include and how many and what frequency, it really depends on your personas needs and your buying cycle. Nurturing campaigns are definitely not ‘set it and forget it’. Email open rates and engagement all the way through to marketing attribution reporting, will be your workflow gut check and point you towards areas for optimization.
Marketing Automation for Sales Collaboration & Internal Processes
Marketing automation is a major element of sales collaboration and simplifying internal processes.
At Lake One, we bleed sales and marketing alignment. Marketing automation facilitates collaboration between sales and marketing in real-time. It’s the conduit between the two teams. Manufacturers can use marketing automation for the following sales collaboration oriented workflows:
- Lead scoring
- Assigning lifecycle stages and lead statuses
- Handing off Marketing Qualified Leads to sales
- Closing the lead quality feedback loop
Related Reading: How to Marketing Qualify Your Manufacturing Leads
Manufacturing companies often have complex business processes. Marketing automation can drive efficiencies and allow for real-time routing, task creation, and follow-up across functions and channels. It’s made possible again through workflows. Here are some examples of workflows leveraged by manufacturing companies to drive efficiencies.
- Routing leads by sales rep territory
- Sending custom ‘Thank You’ emails by country
- Routing internal requests like samples, RFQs or catalogs
- Creating custom tasks by sales rep for lead review
- Automatically setting subscription types
- Setting product interest categories
The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to creating custom workflows to support your internal processes.
Marketing Automation for Reporting & Attribution
At the end of the day, it’s about numbers. Marketing automation platforms give you the ability to create dashboards for your organization to view the reporting that matters most. Typical reports manufacturers can leverage include:
- Contact lifecycle funnel (from a lead all the way to a customer)
- Lead source
- Traffic sessions
- Email performance
- Landing page performance
- Sales pipeline
Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Manufacturing Company?
We realize marketing for manufacturing can be complex, especially when you add marketing tech. Building a revenue operations machine with the technology to automate and support the complexities of your customer channels can come with plenty of questions.
Interested in exploring if marketing automation is right for you? Book a free 1-hour consultation with Ryan, our lead strategist.