Manufacturing marketing isn't pretty. Not because it's old-fashioned. No, old things can certainly be beautiful. The problem is it's butt ugly, with a personality to match.
If your marketing had a face, what would it look like? It might look like the creepy guy who follows you through the parking lot. It might look like the car salesman who harasses every pedestrian on the street. It might look like your aunt who won't stop bothering you about Beach Body. It would look annoying. Frustrating.
But there's more. The personality of your marketing sucks. And, after a while, the personality warps the face. Manufacturing marketing is needy, self-centered, and unpleasant. It doesn't make you feel good to be around it. It feels desperate. No one likes desperate.
Take a step back for a moment. What does your marketing strategy look like from the outside? Is it pushy or confident? Self-centered or generous? Robotic or human? Does it make people excited to interact with your brand?
Too many manufacturers forget their customers in their quest for growth. But you can't have growth without customers. So, how do you make a marketing strategy that's growth-centric AND customer-serving?
Here's the secret: if you want to fix the face, you have to start with what's underneath.
How to Give Your Manufacturing Marketing a Facelift
Step 1: Surgery & Personality Overhaul (Hop on the Inbound Marketing Bandwagon)
The first step to getting help is admitting there's a problem. Your marketing strategy looks like it fell out of the Ugly Tree and hit every branch on the way down. It has a personality to match. Now that you've admitted it, you can move forward and fix it.
Overhauling Personality: This step will take constant, conscious effort from you and your organization. You'll have to screen every word you say/type for "sales" language. You'll have to drop the constant desire to sell your product. People can smell sales tactics from a mile away - they're not stupid. And you're more than a salesperson. Be human before anything else.
Face Surgery: This will take a lot of immediate work, and then a lot of waiting. You'll need to look closely at the structure of your website, your social media, your blog, and other media outlets. Then, you'll have to break them down and rebuild them in a way that gets results. Every media outlet should feel human, yet be focused on lead generation.
Bonus: check your site against these 25 Website Must-Haves to identify problem areas.
Step 2: Restructure Your Foundation (Address Your Strategy's Purpose)
Your face is made up of a few layers: skull, fat & muscle, skin.
The skull won't change. The skull is your goal - what you want to achieve with your marketing strategy. This will, barring any unexpected incidents, remain constant.
The fat and muscle is your strategy. Content, SEO, sponsored advertising, email, etc. This is built behind the scenes, and it's what you'll manipulate in your facelift.
Bonus: use this free SEO checklist to check your SEO's effectiveness.
The skin is how your customers absorb your marketing. It's your brand, the words you type, the emails you send out. By changing the muscle and fat underneath, you change how they see your brand.
Step 3: Let Yourself Heal (Create Effective Content)
Your face doesn't heal overnight. You can't expect your new marketing strategy to work overnight either.
When you heal from surgery, your cells are working overtime to rebuild your face the way you want it. You're the cells in this analogy. Based on the strategy identified in step 2, you'll work hard to create an archive of content that supports the new structure.
You'll need to address ALL forms of content: your website content, blog posts, emails, social posts, PPC, etc. It'll take time, but the final product is worth the inconvenience.
Bonus: use this free PPC checklist to test your paid advertising strategy.
Step 4: Reveal Your Beautiful New Self - Inside & Out (Keep Them Coming Back for More)
At this point, you've spent months healing from major surgery and making yourself likeable. It's time to show the world what you're really made of.
Distribute your content effectively. You've made big changes, but it doesn't matter if no one sees them. Put yourself out there, stay authentic, and be confident in your brand. Even with your new image, you'll have ups and downs.
Network. Every relationship is a potential lead. Don't form relationships with the expectation of making sales, but truly make others love being around you. Give them advice, assistance, a shoulder to cry on. If they need your services in the future, you'll be the first choice.
Delight your customers. Your customers have seen your ugly side and stuck with you. It's time to return the favor. Loyal customers mean more referrals, word of mouth marketing, great reviews, and brand recognition. They're also much more likely to make another purchase.
Facelifts are kind of major surgery. Am I qualified?
Maybe, maybe not. A successful marketing strategy requires resources: time, money, or both. For busy bees, there are certainly alternatives to doing it yourself.
Or, if you're looking to completely overhaul your strategy, you could benefit from hiring an in-house marketer or outsourcing to an inbound agency. Time is a limited resource, and this stuff is a full-time job. You already have a full-time job. Problem identified.
Whatever you choose to do, we're excited to see the new face of your business. Good luck!
Editor's note: This post was originally published November 2016 and has been recently updated.