Manufacturing Skills Gap: Self Inflicted Or Not?

I regularly  interview our staff of lead development representatives who spend their days on the phone with the people on the front lines of manufacturing and this is what they hear over and over again: supply chain managers have to buy cheaper products overseas. They wish they could buy American, but the cost-reduction pressures on the US supply chain force companies to purchase manufactured goods overseas even though American manufacturing quality is still the best.  

So, it got me really thinking about how this relates to the skills gap we all keep reading about  all over the news.  Go to any publication, industry news, business insider and they all say the same thing, "The US has a major problem with skilled workers to fill the ever-growing number of jobs in manufacturing." They blame education, manufacturing automation, a global supply chain, and the politics of the time. They're all right, but my question is, "What came first: the skills gap or the government policies"

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Teach Your Manufacturing Organization Inbound Marketing - Part Four

Now that we've talked about the what, why and how of inbound marketing, it's time to learn the playbook, the many tools you can use to attract prospects to your company and convert them to customers. Following these steps and techniques, you'll get content in front of your prospects and nurture them to become your customers when they're ready to buy. In honor of my professional baseball-playing son, Sean, I'll use a baseball analogy of running the bases. With inbound, just like baseball, you need to know when to act and when to hold back. This playbook will help you know when to apply certain techniques to get the run.

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Teach Your Organization Inbound Marketing - Part Two

In my last blog post, I focused on why inbound marketing is so necessary to attract new customers. In part two of this series, I focus on why inbound works and why manufacturing companies need to get in the game.

Why is Everyone Talking About Inbound Marketing?

Basically it comes down to this: Consumers buy differently today than they did even 10 years ago. Before the full adoption of the internet, buyers typically didn't have access to the amount of information they have at their fingertips today. Their journey from initial contact to sale was linear and predictable, and marketing strategies focused mainly on interruptive methods like cold calling, advertising and direct mail.

Today, it's a different story altogether. While the methods mentioned above are still viable and important, especially in the industrial space, today's buyers are well informed. The glut of information can be overwhelming, but by doing inbound marketing right and focusing on freely sharing information, your company will rise to the top of the search window. The buyer journey is no longer a straight line. It's fluid and random, and if a potential buyer doesn't see your company name often enough, it won't be "top of mind.".

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Constructing a Winning Blueprint: Analyzing and Tracking Your Marketing Efforts

If you're a manufacturer, you know that going from blueprint to delivery requires a very customized, repeatable process. Yours probably includes highly-skilled team members, technology, procedures and more. And that's how sales and marketing should work as well. There's a special sales/marketing combination that works best for each manufacturer - it isn't one size fits all. You may have the most success with trade shows, or email or phone calls - it's most likely however that you need the right blend of all of the above (and more). And like many manufacturers, you may not yet know what that special blend is.

To address the sales and marketing challenges manufacturers face, Acadia collaborated with 22 other HubSpot partners on the just-released ebook, Constructing a Winning Blueprint for 2017. It's geared toward helping you, the manufacturer, overcome your biggest marketing and sales challenges, including finding what works best for you. The section below focuses on analyzing and tracking marketing efforts. Not quite there yet? Download the full ebook for help getting started. Chapters include:

  • Prospects Can't Find You if You Don't Market to Them
  • Prioritizing Investments: Technology vs Sales vs Marketing
  • How to Remain Competitive in an Increasingly Smaller World

Now, back to analyzing and tracking...

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5 Things I've Learned in Manufacturing Marketing

Generally, someone who's not in the marketing field views marketing as the pretty visuals, videos and advertisments that make you want to buy things.
They're not technically wrong but those who are in marketing know there's more to it than making things look nice. In my opinion, one of the more difficult sub-categories of marketing is manufacturing marketing. I only say this because as a marketer in manufacturing, you're making machines, civil structures, or technical products sound exciting. Not so easy.

When I joined Acadia, I was new to the industry, so I thought I'd take this time to reflect on the most important things I've come to learn over the last few years in the riviting and glamorous field of manufacturing marketing. 

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5 Simple Steps to Determine Your Market Size

Don't we all want the entire pie for ourselves? Of course that comes with ramifications, mostly around the waistline. In business, we all want a little more of the available pie. Who among us has all the pie (or market) that you want for your business? If you're saying "Me!," then you most likely have a lifestyle business. In short:

A lifestyle business is one that has been set up or has become a business that allows the owner(s) the ability to maintain a certain level of lifestyle they are comfortable with and have been accustomed to. There really is no desire to grow beyond that level of business.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a lifestyle business, but what if you do want to grow and get more of that pie? If we imagine the markets we serve as a whole pie, very few of us have the market share represented in the picture. More often than not, what we do have would barely be considered a full serving of dessert. The real dilemma is, how much pie is actually available in your market space?

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Going for Silver the Inbound Way

"It's called inbound marketing." 

I was busy crunching sales automation data but I couldn't help listen to Mike Murphy as he introduced me to this relatively new concept - inbound marketing. Later that day we spoke with the nice folks at HubSpot, and I was really listening.  Acadia quickly became a HubSpot partner and, over the past few years, we've fully embraced the inbound philosophy. We did something different though - we stayed true to our roots (outbound sales and marketing). The combination of inbound and outbound marketing, also known as Omnibound™ marketing, has worked. And we're pleased to announce that we've achieved silver-tier partner status. Here's a synopsis of our ride so far.

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Manufacture New Customers by Using New Social Media Platforms

I’d venture a guess the most difficult thing about owning a manufacturing business is also the most difficult thing about owning any business: acquiring new customers.

Which is why I don’t understand why more manufacturing businesses aren’t ahead of the social media curve, or at least in line with it. The amount of people you can reach through social media—customers and prospects—is astounding.

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The #1 Excuse Why Your Manufacturing Business Won't Grow This Year

I'm not going to give you a top 10 list. I'm just going to cut to the chase. Every 4 years I hear the same thing, the same phrase, and in my opinion, the same excuse. Well, it's happening again. "I'm going to hold/cutback on any sales and marketing spending until we see how the election turns out."  Let me ask you, how well has that strategy worked in the past? The economic winds don't change on a dime and for most small businesses we can control our future if we choose to do so. BUT, it is a state of mind. We primarily work with small businesses in the manufacturing, technology and technical space. As small businesses, we can control our destiny, but first let me remind you of a few interesting stats from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM.org).

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10 Tips For Successful Spring Trade Shows

It's spring trade show time! I just returned from one and was just reminded that they aren't cheap. Let's focus on how to get the most out of our (often substantial) trade show investments.

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This blog exists to educate manufacturers, engineers and technical minds on the wonders of inbound marketing, sales enablement and more.

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