The Failure of Marketing in Manufacturing

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The Failure of Marketing in Manufacturing

Historically, manufacturing revenue growth was driven by Sales, with Marketing taking a back-seat role. During the pre-digital era, sales reps drove business growth through relationship selling and Marketing supported Sales with trade shows, events, sales decks, and direct mail.

The Digital Marketing Promise. After the great recession of 2008, forward thinking manufacturers brought in a a new generation of marketers with the promise of accelerating revenue growth through digital marketing. They invested in technologies such as website content management systems, webinars, social marketing tools and “marketing automation” for email marketing and lead generation.

Customer Breakdown. Ten years later, marketing hasn’t worked out as hoped for manufacturers. Both marketing and sales teams remain frustrated. Customers are unaware of new product lines, key accounts are confused, and the CEO brand story goes unheard. Now with the virus, trade shows and events are gone. Marketing budget cuts are looming and Sales are threatening to take over Marketing’s job with new sales outreach tools.

Why did Marketing Fail? The mess was driven by the fact that both traditional and digital marketing tools such as Pardot, Marketo or Eloqua only nurture known contacts in target accounts. They fail to address the extended and unknown buying committees. Besides, email messages only kick off after contacts have filled in a web-form or reached out to a sales rep. That’s just too late in the buying cycle to make an impact because the “lead” has already self educated based on competitor information available on the internet.

We Live in a Buying Group Era. Marketing failed with both traditional and digital marketing because big B2B purchases in manufacturing are made by teams of ten or more individuals. Furthermore, most buying team members do much of their own buying research anonymously.

Marketing’s Responsibility in the Buying Group Era. Last June, Forrester declared that in today’s buying group era, it is impossible to optimize B2B marketing and sales performance that starts with lead-centric processes, technologies, and culture. They stated that marketing and sales must align systems and processes to attract, engage, and convert buying groups.

Given recent breakthroughs in account-based marketing technologies such as anonymous intent monitoring, IP-based advertising, account-data platforms, and omnichannel engagement tracking, Marketing now has the means (and the responsibility) to “skip the lead line” take back control of the buying cycle.

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