- Our Approach
It’s Time to Get Creative, Manufacturers
It’s time to change the world’s perception of American manufacturers. Known for quality products and a hard-working attitude, American manufacturing companies experienced growth by building solid relationships and delivering on production promises. For the most part, their customer base was established, and little to no lead generation, marketing or major sales efforts were necessary. Prospecting meant answering the phone and taking an order – and then building a quality product on time and up to the new customer’s expectations. With the current economic scenario, this model simply will not work for most manufacturers.
Unfortunately, the stomach-wrenching drop in business activity and the effect of an economy that has had more twists than a M. Night Shyamalan movie demands creativity and a new approach for virtually all businesses. Solid, dependable customers and relationships have been shaken and stirred in this dizzying upheaval. Many manufacturers need to rethink their business model – especially lead generation, sales and marketing.
The industry has been hit hard this year. In May of 2009 alone, unemployment levels for the durable and non-durable goods industries reached 13.2% and 11.5%, respectively, and reflect the turmoil these industries are experiencing. Despite the doom and gloom, there’s always an opportunity for businesses that choose to take creative action to preserve their business and plan for the future.
I’ve reflected on this since yesterday morning, after attending the first in a series of six Sales and Marketing workshops presented by WIRE-Net in Cleveland, Ohio. WIRE-Net is a non-profit organization committed to strengthening manufacturers in the Cleveland area. The first session was an overview of the series, and the presenters were hitting all the right notes for the attendees. The purpose of the series is simple: to help manufacturers understand new ways to promote themselves and find new customers. One of the attendees, who has been in manufacturing for almost four decades, mentioned that this is the first time in his 38 years that he’s needed to find a new approach to increasing business. "We’re looking at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook….just trying to find new ways to reach out," he said.
You can’t help but appreciate the fact that this hardened veteran is learning a new trick, proving the old aphorism dead wrong. There’s your inspiration, manufacturers. Get creative! Look at your business and think about the following:
- Are there new industries you can approach? How can you approach them?
- Is it time to refocus your message? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Is there a new message for potential customers to hear, or do you just need to make your message louder?
- What is your website doing for you? Can it be improved to increase leads? Should you blog, develop white papers/case studies or other new approaches to improving and making connections?
Finding new customers or industries will likely require a number of tactics. While it's important to pick the right approach, it's more important that you take action to seek new leads and improve your business. It will pay dividends for the future of your company. Statistics for the manufacturing industry found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website: http://www.bls.gov/ Also check out WIRE-Net