Digital marketing for manufacturers

Ian White February 28th 2017

Why manufacturers should embrace the internet

Advertising and marketing have been with us in the UK since the dawn of the industrial revolution, when manufacturers recognised the need to create a demand for their products. So Josiah Wedgewood advertised his pottery to the middle class masses by word of mouth, newspapers came along and displayed advertising, and clever advertisers began to mix words and images adopting the language of advertising that we’re familiar with today.

This morphed into clever soap manufacturers sponsoring radio programmes, which turned into television commercials where manufacturers informed prosperous consumers of the dazzling array of new goods they could purchase (and probably never knew they needed).

With new advertising mediums came ever increasing ad budgets, which had to be carefully spent to ensure maximum success. Marketing companies have always known exactly where the eyes and ears of the public they want to reach are focused. They’ll spend money where they get the most exposure for their products – the most ‘bang for their buck’.


Now, in the 21st Century, the best exposure that manufacturers can achieve is on the internet.

Potential customers use the internet’s powerful search engines to locate what they need at a speed that couldn’t have been achieved before, without the posters, TV, radio and magazine ads of the past. A powerful world-wide market has been created. Marketing is no longer limited by geography; a manufacturer of aluminium extrusions in Bradford can easily be found and contacted by a window manufacturer in Austria (or just as easily in Amsterdam, Australia or Aberdeen).

Also, unlike the older established advertising mediums, the internet allows sophisticated tracking and statistics that tell marketers where their traffic is coming from, and what those visitors are most interested in. Armed with this information, marketers can make refinements to website content, email newsletters and online advertisements.

At all stages of the buying cycle, manufacturers must incorporate stronger, more effective content in their digital marketing strategy.

Whilst the world has started to use digital marketing to great advantage, surprisingly the manufacturing sector has lagged behind. In an age where 36 million adults in the UK (73% of the population) access the internet every day, it is reported by Globalspec that “Industrial marketers are behind – they have not shifted their budgets and resources fast enough to online channels to connect with and engage their target audiences”

Conversely, technical professionals looking to purchase the goods created by manufacturers are shown in the same report to be on top of their digital marketing, showing that in virtually every industry, the Internet is a valuable resource.

Not only are technical professionals shown to be using the internet for an astounding amount of time, it’s also very interesting when in the ‘buy cycle’ that they’re using it.

  • MOST technical professionals (well over 80%) used the search engines (like Google, Bing and Yahoo) in the Research and Needs Analysis stage of their buying cycle.
  • MOST technical professionals used supplier websites in the Comparison and Evaluation (72%) AND the purchasing stages of the buying cycle

This is interesting,as it was shown that 59% don’t actually contact the vendor until they’ve passed the research and Needs Analysis phase, whilst 21% ONLY contact the vendor at the purchase phase.

The take-away: manufacturing sector marketers need to be visible in the search engines.

Digital Media is being used by industrial buyers in nearly every facet of their jobs. Digital is where your customers turn first…WE SHOULD EXPECT THIS TREND TO CONTINUE

This is a huge opportunity for manufacturers to grasp.

Not only are the majority of their customers regularly using the internet daily for work-related projects, they’re using it to actively search for products, services and suppliers, to narrow down options before buying.

It’s beyond doubt now that the business to business purchasing process is now heavily tilted toward online research. This means that there are lots of opportunities for manufacturers to use their marketing spend efficiently and effectively.

The search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo have brought relatively unheard of manufacturing firms within reach of purchasing departments. Without the higher overhead costs of the larger more established manufacturers, the smaller firms can offer more reasons to potential purchasers to buy from them, but only if they’ve been smart with their marketing and are being found online in the first place.


Author profile: Ian White


Prior to founding Bluehoop, Ian worked as a publishing manager and print buyer for several business to business and business to consumer publishers.

Ian has a strong aptitude and understanding of the business and marketing needs of companies across many business sectors; skills that are now utilised to develop successful website promotional strategies for all of our clients.


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