2019: A Huge Year for Manufacturing & Industrial Companies

2019, 2020 & 2021 are all going to be a really big years for anybody involved in this industry.

Whether you are a manufacturing company or industrial service provider, it’s an important time right now for sure.

This year we are seeing millennials move into management roles as the previous decision-makers in those companies age up and out.

And we’re going to continue to see that over the next few years.

This aging-up occurrence is particularly important this year because the millennial generation that grew up deep in the internet and social media are the ones that are now moving into these director and executive roles.

And when they’re making these decisions, understand that they’re doing it in a way that’s much different than the generation before—which will be a shock to the system for your business if you don’t understand it.

Times are a’changing

So the ways that you used to do business development—with trade shows, Word of Mouth, or just bid work—while still relevant, are giving way to decision-makers researching your company on the internet.

It’s also important that you know that they aren’t just looking for you specifically, they are looking for the best solution.

And if based on their view, you’re not the best solution, you’re in trouble.

Unless you are investing in what you look like to them across your website, Google and social media (like LinkedIn), then you might not appear to be the best solution. And you might never even know it, nor hear from them.

“When your online brand is not professional, you’re basically losing behind the scenes, and you will be completely blind to it.”

So when we talk about the people that are aging into these roles right now, we’re talking about people that are 35 to 45.

They are used to doing research and hiring in a different way than the generation previous.

They’re now using Google to look up solution providers, YouTube to learn how things are done and who is doing it, and they end up triple-checking other companies reputation in order to make their decisions.

But even this occurrence might not happen the way you think.

Image of the manufacturing inbound customer journey
Originally from McKinsey & company

In the early days of the internet, and even social media, the customer journey was pretty straight forward.

Manufacturers could advertise to a specific type of customer by sponsoring events and trade shows, then funnel customers down the pipeline until they needed them.

But now they are bouncing around like a pinball until they have an instantaneous need, or a brand/business shows that they have a clear advantage.

Graphic showing the circular customer journey when making purchasing decisions

The chart above is from a consumer study, but remember, at the end of the day, these decision-makers are consumers too.

They don’t magically turn off their human brain to make business decisions.

It works the same way as if they were personally looking for a car, or for a home insurance company.

Be everywhere. Be clear.

So now that you understand that your manufacturing business should not only “push” your brand and value-proposition out to your potential customers, but also prepare to “pull” them in and wow them or educate them when they land on your website or social media.

Notice the key sentence in #2 on the chart, “Consumers add or subtract brands as they evaluate what they want”.

This is were you can really win.

It’s easy to get in front of someone, just pay to advertise.

Any old marketer or agency can spend your money for you.

But to really deliver a message that influences them, that’s were you make that money back.

Image of the modern consumer decision making process
Originally from McKinsey & Company

So if you’re a manufacturer and you hope to get business from a large corporation, their decision will start with past experience or use word of mouth.

But then, they’re also much more likely to hop over to Google and do some research, look at your reviews, your case studies and videos about your work. 

These decision-makers are going to look at your website to see if they can trust you.

They will look at what other jobs or what are their clients you have, or have worked with. 

During their search, they are doing this with all of your competitors as well, in order to find the most valuable option.

Promoting your work has always been really important.

But now it’s more critical then ever to put that stuff out there because it needs to be discoverable on platforms like LinkedIn, YouTube or Google.

These decision makers are doing their research.

And if you don’t update your website, put your work out there with testimonials and the projects that you’re working on, then they’re going to think you’re old, dusty or dead.