Article | March 30, 2021
The past 12 months have been especially challenging for the manufacturing industry. The pandemic affected in-person manufacturing jobs as well as supply and demand, causing many manufacturing companies to shut their doors or lay off valuable employees. Recognizing the vulnerable state of manufacturing companies, cybercriminals saw manufacturing as an easy target. In fact, the manufacturing industry saw an 11 percent increase in cyberattacks in 2020.
And even more concerning, our recent State of Software Security v11 (SOSS) report found that, when compared to other industries, the manufacturing industry ranks last for fix-rate and median time to remediate security flaws. That means that the manufacturing industry has security flaws in applications that aren???t getting resolved in a timely manner. And more lingering flaws mean more opportunity for a cyberattack.
Article | April 6, 2021
Inbound marketing has become a vital part of the manufacturing industry, especially after the pandemic. Marketers want to get more business, more high-quality leads, increase revenue, and expand it into new markets. A lot of opportunities are arising for manufacturers to embrace its effectiveness—especially online.
Unlike other industries, the manufacturing industry is not safe from the continual pendulum swing of updates, new platform creation, and changing buyer preferences. Manufacturing marketing has its own blend of deliverables and initiatives that can spell the success of your business.
Until now, you must have realized that your traditional marketing tactics are obsolete and would have planned to get the inbound marketing program off the ground.
Here comes the critical part—understanding how to implement inbound marketing for your business to generate high revenue. With the help of these five steps, you can stay ahead of your competition.
Before you approach the steps, first you need to:
Identify your Customers’ Pain Points
Understanding what frustrates your buyers gives an insight into how to answer the queries they look for. To determine what queries your buyers may have, you can:
Interview your customers: Your customers are your leading source of information. Ask them what solutions they are searching for. What content did they read to solve their solutions? What information, insights, FAQs, or product details can help them? This way, create content that answers all of these questions.
Talk to your sales representative: Your sales team is on the front line with your buyers/customers. They very well know what content gaps can be filled. Identify the gaps and work accordingly.
These considerations will help you to stay updated in the competitive landscape of manufacturing marketing.
Now, start your inbound marketing program by following these steps.
When planning inbound marketing, your website becomes the center of the universe. It’s where all your marketing efforts, like great content for your prospective buyers come in. After all, this is how you’re going to start ranking on search engines and driving in leads.
Before you get to this part, you’ll need to do a basic audit to ensure your website is in tandem with your targeted audiences’ expectations.
The website interface is the focal point that helps buyers to interact. This will help them to interact with your business. And if their experience is negative, they’ll probably never bother to read further. To avoid such circumstances, here are a few critical web design tips you should know and implement:
A Clean Look
Keep your website simple and embrace spaces to make it more appealing to the eyes. Too many visuals and color combinations will make it hard to find the information they’re searching for. Creating a simple yet appealing website neither costs your pockets nor makes it hard for your audiences to contact you.
Tablets and smartphones have overtaken desktop computers. So, creating a mobile-friendly design will ensure your website looks impressive on any screen size. Your audience does not feel lost, and it helps to scroll information from your website.
Move from HTTP to HTTPS
With massive data breaches becoming common in the internet world, your audience will be more concerned with security and privacy than ever. Converting your website from HTTP to HTTPS will protect their information. Also, it will help you get ranked on the Google search engine.
Create Informative Content
Content is the backbone of inbound marketing efforts. It’s how you can build a strong audience base for your business and convert them into leads.
To market your business effectively, you need to provide informative yet relevant content at every stage. Think of creating a blog to inform rather than a sales tool. With this notion, your content will rank and stay on top of the mind throughout your customers’ buyer journey. This means your industry-related content has to be interesting and attract visitors to become your leads.
To understand how your content needs to work, list these funnels of content ideas and try implementing them.
Content Ideas: Top Funnel
Include content in these ways:
Social media posts
Videos on factory products tour
Content Ideas: Middle Funnel
While the top of the content funnel is the widest, the middle of the funnel is often the deepest. It includes content type such as:
‘How to’ guides
Content Ideas: Bottom Funnel
The bottom funnel creates chances to close the deal and convert visitors/buyers into leads. This includes content ideas such as:
Call to action
So, in the marketing competition landscape, many manufacturers are busy updating their inbound marketing strategies like you. Many others have overhauled their business. While you have a lot on your end, inspire yourself to create that excellent piece of content now!
Invest in Marketing Technologies and Automation
One way to grow your business through inbound marketing is automating your marketing efforts. This way, you can devote more time focusing on the bigger picture. There are tons of tools online to help organize strategies, create content, schedule emails, campaigns and publish to your website. Use them!
Marketing technology usage can help your business to operate faster and more accurately. Here are some automation tools to use:
G Suite: Google’s products are becoming just ubiquitous with a bonus—everything is in the cloud today. You can find your work easily and access it from any device. Also, manage all marketing efforts from one place and collaborate globally in no time with clients.
Sales and Marketing CRM: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, like HubSpot CRM, gives you a quick view of your marketing funnel and sales channel. Not only does it enable transparency all across, but it gives you hours back in the day by starting different events and marketing flows automatically.
Email Marketing: Emails are the most effective marketing channels in terms of ROI. Email usage endures growing around 4% year-over-year. And has no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In this case, many emailing tools are available. Like HubSpot is well known for its CRM and inbound marketing software. It boasts exceptional deliverability for emails. With about 2,000 email sends/month, contact lists, a drag-and-drop email builder, and ready-made templates, you can start right away.
These are some examples to decide what's best for your industrial inbound marketing efforts. Get started today!
Keep Tracking your Marketing Efforts
You’re spending your time, energy, efforts, and resources on marketing to grow your business. So, it’s essential to track your marketing initiatives and see if it’s functioning as expected or not.
Here are some crucial aspects with which you can keep track of your marketing program:
Get an ROI measuring tool:For measurable goals, you’ll want to select KPIs to measure ROI. Some common ones include the cost per sale, per lead, overall marketing program, and overall customer relationship length. You can also set points for channel performance with campaign-specific KPIs, including email open rate or social media impressions.
Google Analytics:This is a free tool. It will help monitor your website's health by tracking site metrics such as page views, visits, and clicks. With this, you can easily set up customized reports to monitor specific metrics of interest for your campaigns.
Lastly, get a lead generation tool that tracks who is in-market for your services. How they’re interacting with your online presence and where they are in their solution journey.
Inbound Marketing Case Study: Get Inspired!
If you ask your competitors what their main goals are for their company, the answer would most likely be related to increasing sales and leads. Even if they mentioned other purposes, such as improving website performance and SEO or redesigning a website, the main objective would be to get more traffic. And it will lead to more sales.
For Corrugated Metals, Inc., these were the goals. This manufacturing company deals in roll formation. It manufactures products for the equipment, construction, transportation, and defense industries.
The company used inbound marketing strategies during the pandemic and found success with it, resulting in:
Increased quality leads
Increased sales revenue
More opportunities from the manufacturing industry for long term sales potential
Redesigned their website to bring design and UX (user experience) up to date and increase engagement
Maintained and increased SEO
Through the implementation of inbound marketing, the company saw a 198% hike in website traffic and an implausible 285% increase in leads. But that wasn’t all. The quality of leads radically improved by 321%.
Since they were able to identify and target long-term sales prospects through persona-based targeting and lead nurturing, they lined up a potential million dollar per year customer. This created a possibility of 20 years of recurring sales.
In a nutshell, using these inbound marketing tactics can bring high revenues to your business.
1) PLAN! Do as much research as you can. Know your industrial customers. Find what’s trending. Analyze what worked, what didn't work, and why. And start with these ways to boost marketing for your business.
2) CREATE! Use the information as the backbone to create a stellar inbound marketing plan. Be patient, and do one project at a time.
3) OPTIMIZE! There are ways to improve. And if you’re testing correctly — no industrial marketing strategy will ever fail.
In a recent 2020 Thomas Industrial Survey, there has been a 12% surge in website usage by manufacturers using inbound marketing campaigns to connect with more buyers and customers since the outbreak of COVID-19. Therefore, adjusting your manufacturing inbound marketing strategies today will perhaps help you win more business down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
What manufacturers should follow to do inbound marketing?
Manufacturers implementing inbound marketing should follow some crucial aspects before they start. These attract customers—don’t interrupt them, measure all activities, nurture leads, do SEO and social media activities precisely.
What are the four stages manufacturing marketers should know about inbound marketing?
There are a lot of relatable things to do inbound marketing. But along the top four things, manufacturers must know to drive business growth are attract, convert, sell and create leads.
Does inbound marketing for manufacturing works?
Absolutely. Inbound marketing for manufacturers has been fruitful. If you are willing to include it in your business, you will reap its benefits and see your business growing with time. Creating a proper strategy is foremost.
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"text": "Manufacturers implementing inbound marketing should follow some crucial aspects before they start. These attract customers—don’t interrupt them, measure all activities, nurture leads, do SEO and social media activities precisely."
"name": "WHAT ARE THE FOUR STAGES MANUFACTURING MARKETERS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INBOUND MARKETING?",
"text": "There are a lot of relatable things to do inbound marketing. But along the top four things, manufacturers must know to drive business growth are attract, convert, sell and create leads."
"name": "DOES INBOUND MARKETING FOR MANUFACTURING WORKS?",
"text": "Absolutely. Inbound marketing for manufacturers has been fruitful. If you are willing to include it in your business, you will reap its benefits and see your business growing with time. Creating a proper strategy is foremost."
Article | December 16, 2021
Lean manufacturing is an operational approach used to create value. Businesses adopt lean manufacturing to improve productivity, reduce waste, increase customer value, and employee satisfaction.
Many businesses are accelerating their adoption of lean principles and practices due to the emergence of the industry 4.0 transformation. As a result, companies such as Caterpillar, Intel, Textron, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere are all reaping the benefits of lean manufacturing.
So, where did the idea of "lean manufacturing" first originate? In this article, you'll learn about the origins of lean manufacturing and its key principles.
The Origins of Lean Manufacturing
The principles of lean manufacturing were developed in Japan in the mid-20th century. Toyota, a famous Japanese automaker, experienced major delivery issues at the time. Its production chains were excessively long; thus it couldn't supply enough products on time. As a result, Toyota needed a new Performance measurement system. The company's managers identified a solution.
They created a new project management method called the Toyota production system. Its basic idea was to improve product distribution by reducing waste. It was a good concept. It helped the company shorten manufacturing chains and deliver products faster. Toyota's production method created a simple and effective waste definition. Any step that did not improve the end product's functionality was called a waste.
Later, other manufacturing industries adopted the system. It was renamed as lean manufacturing. It's now a global phenomenon and is used by large and small businesses worldwide.
When should you implement the Lean Manufacturing Method in your business?
Lean is a waste-reduction methodology, approach, and a lifestyle. While it is commonly used in manufacturing, lean techniques are applied to reduce waste while keeping high quality in any business.
Waste reduction of 80% plus
Reduced production expenses by 50%
Decreased inventories by 80-90%
Producing quality items is 90% less expensive.
Workforce productivity improved by 50%
If you want your business to get the above benefits, you need to adopt lean manufacturing principles.
Five lean Manufacturing Principles
Lean manufacturing benefits businesses in multiple ways, and this lean lifestyle has the potential to empower any organization and increase its market competitiveness. So, let us observe the five fundamental principles of lean manufacturing.
For the first principle of defining customer value, it is vital to understand what value is. For customers, value comes from what they're willing to pay for. The customer's actual or hidden demands must be discovered. Customers are not aware of what they want or cannot express it. When it comes to new items or technologies, this is a regular occurrence.
Assume nothing; ask about the pain points being experienced and then craft a unique value proposition. Never force a solution into a problem that does not exist.”
– Thomas R. Cutler, President & CEO at TR Cutler, Inc.
For example, you can use various methods to find out what customers value, such as surveys and demographic information. With these qualitative and quantitative methodologies, you may learn more about your clients' needs, their expectations, and their budgets.
Identifying and mapping the value stream is the second lean principle. By starting with the consumer’s perceived value, all activities that contribute to that value may be identified. Waste is anything that does not benefit the client in any way. It can be divided into two categories: non-value-added and unnecessary waste. The unnecessary waste should be removed, while the non-value-added should be minimized. You can ensure that clients get exactly what they want while minimizing the cost of creating that product or service by removing unnecessary processes or steps.
The next operations must proceed smoothly and without interruption or delays after removing wastes from the value stream. Value-adding activities can be improved by breaking down tasks, reorganizing the manufacturing process, distributing the workload, and educating personnel to be flexible and multi-skilled.
The fourth lean principle requires a pull-based manufacturing system. Traditional production systems use a push system, which starts with purchasing supplies and continues manufacturing even when no orders are placed. While push systems are simple to set up, they can result in vast inventories of work-in-progress (WIP).
On the other hand, a pull method pulls a customer's order from delivery, causing new items to be made and additional materials to be acquired. Kanban, one of the lean manufacturing tools, can help organizations develop a pull system to control material flow in a production system.
An efficient pull system maximizes available space, reduces inventory, eliminates over-and under-production, and eliminates errors caused by too much WIP.
While completing Steps 1-4 is a great start, the fifth and possibly most critical step is incorporating lean thinking and process improvement into your organizational culture. As benefits accumulate, it is vital to remember that lean is not a static system that requires continuous effort and awareness to perfect. Each employee should get included in the lean implementation process. Lean experts sometimes state that a process is not truly lean until it has undergone at least a half-dozen value-stream mapping cycles.
How Nike Demonstrated the Benefits of Lean Principles
Nike, the world-famous shoe and clothing powerhouse, has embraced lean manufacturing principles and practices. Nike experienced less waste and increased consumer value, as did other businesses. It also shared some unexpected benefits. It is proven that lean manufacturing can minimize terrible labor practices at a company's overseas manufacturing unit by up to 15%. This result was mostly due to implementing the lean manufacturing practice of valuing the workers more than earlier routine labor practices. It provided greater significance to an employee and, as a result, greater significance to the organization as a whole.
Implementing lean manufacturing principles is a good way to run any organization. Businesses that build their operations on the two pillars of lean manufacturing, constant improvement, and personnel respect, are well on their way to becoming a successful and productive organizations in the modern era. To become a lean company, an organization must fully grasp the benefits and added value that it may get by adopting lean manufacturing principles.
What is Five S's of lean manufacturing?
The 5S of lean manufacturing are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, and they give a framework for organizing, cleaning, developing, and maintaining a productive work environment.
What are the two pillars of lean manufacturing?
Lean, as modeled on the Toyota Way values, has two pillars, first is ‘Continuous Improvement’ and second is ‘Respect for People’.
Why are lean principles beneficial for any business?
Lean manufacturing is a business strategy that has proven to be highly successful since it can help you decrease costs, remove waste, enhance production, maintain excellent quality, and thus increase business profit significantly.
Article | January 4, 2022
So much emphasis has been placed on features, advantages, and benefits; too little attention has been paid to delivery dates. The best automation solution on paper means nothing if it cannot be delivered in 2022. Selling the sexy sizzle of new, clever, even remarkable AGVs means nothing if manufacturers and distribution centers cannot take delivery of the product until 2023. Throughout industrial manufacturing and distribution the lead time from many AGV manufacturers is more than a year. That means product ordered in Q1 2022 will not be delivered until the following year. That is an absurd lead time and reflects poor planning and unnecessary supply chain constraints.