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Marketing for Manufacturers: Commodity vs. Customized

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Updated By: Dan Soldner on Thu, Jan 04, 2018

Is your business B2B or B2C? While you undoubtedly know the answer to that question, do you know how it affects your marketing strategy? Being either B2B or B2C is simply a way for businesses to classify themselves based on who they serve.  And who a business serves has a big impact on the buying process, the sales cycle, and the approach to marketing. 

Manufacturing Marketing Strategy 

Being B2B isn't about size or industry, it's about your customer. Similar to how industrial companies apply B2B sales strategies, adopting a B2B marketing strategy is just as important. Not only will this bring alignment between your sales and marketing efforts, it'll also increase the ROI (return on investment) you see from your efforts. This is especially true for industrial businesses that have been using general, generic marketing processes. A marketing process that is not specific to your sales process, products, or customer base will use up plenty of resources without providing much in return. 

Marketing for Manufacturers: Commodity vs. Customized

In order to get the most bang for your buck for industrial marketing efforts, consider the following:

Start with Your Core Offering

There are a lot of ways you can further classify an industrial business, but if we're focusing on who you're selling to, let's talk about what it is you're selling. One of the easiest ways to segment is to determine whether your core offering is a commodity or something custom. This has less to do with volume than it does with approach - you can definitely create a custom product for a customer and sell them 50,000 of those products each quarter. When it comes to custom, I find there are three things a buyer wants to know ASAP: 

  1. Do you have what I need?
  2. How fast can I get it?
  3. How much is it going to cost me?

So, imagine you are a buyer who's interested in what your business manufactures. Then, ask yourself those questions and think about how easy or difficult they are to answer. Are they easy to answer? If you said yes, congratulations, you have a leg up on a lot of today's industrial businesses. But, you're not out of the woods yet.

What Does Your Website Say?

Consider how easy it is for someone to get those answers using your website. Now, I'm not recommending you lay it all out there and publicize your pricing structure. But, think about a prospective buyer visiting your website. How close to answering those questions can they get? And, have you made it easy for them to ask those questions and request those answers when they are ready?

Your website is a lot of things. It's a representative of your brand, it's oftentimes the first impression a prospective buyer gets, and it's your number one sales tool. So, while you don't want to have 100 percent of the information out on your website, it should have enough information to get a buyer interested and wanting to know more. And, it should have easy, quick ways for them to get additional information. After all, a huge percentage of buyers research online long before they talk to an actual salesperson or decide to make a purchase. These people want to purchase what you have to offer, you just have to make it easy for them. 

In summary, always look at who it is you're serving and what you have to offer. Whether it's a commodity or something custom, a B2B marketing strategy will help you get your offering in front of the people who are looking to buy it. 

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Dan Soldner

About The Author

Dan Soldner

Dan believes that marketing has one purpose: to generate sales leads. He is certain the best marketing tactics and sales people are decision-making facilitators, not yes getters and being customer-centric is the only way to be successful in the long run. Dan started Leighton Interactive in 2009 with a vision to help high-growth companies attract and close more ideal customers. A perpetual student of sales and marketing, Dan focuses on two things: finding clients with problems Leighton Interactive solves and talent with the expertise to solve them.

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