Canadian Manufacturing

5 ways manufacturers are taking advantage of digital marketing strategies

by Lisa Shepherd, President, Mezzanine Growth   

Manufacturing Operations Research & Development Sales & Marketing Technology / IIoT Infrastructure Manufacturing marketing Research sales

Driving growth with digital marketing: lessons from Canadian manufacturers.

How digital marketing can help manufacturers increase their business.

Almost two-thirds of Canadian manufacturers struggle with mastering digital marketing skills – that’s according to a recent poll we took in a webinar hosted by Canadian Manufacturing. Canadian manufacturers know that digital marketing is a key for driving growth, but getting the right skills in place is proving tricky for them.

So what can manufacturers do to succeed? Here are 5 top strategies that Canadian manufacturers are using to win at digital marketing.

  1. Find the one hire you need: a strategic marketing generalist

The operative word here is strategic. You don’t need a large team of in-house digital marketers. Instead, focus on having a marketing leader who has enough knowledge of digital marketing to determine how it can work for your company, what tools are available, and when to bring in experts. In short, don’t look for someone with strong credentials in just one area (like Google Analytics or Paid Search). Look for someone who will develop a big picture understanding of your business and how marketing will help achieve the growth goals.

  1. Identify who’s on the bus

There is a dramatic skill shift occurring in marketing.  If you have an existing team of marketers, it’s important to identify who has an appetite for learning. You can have the most experienced team on the planet, but if they’re not willing to evolve, they won’t help you grow. The most critical thing is to figure out who is willing to learn the necessary skills to make digital marketing work. Those are the people you want to support. You may have to make hard decisions about the others.

  1. Take advantage of FREE online skill-building resources

There’s no need for a marketing MBA: there’s a wealth of information online. Hubspot Academy is a treasure trove of free resources that run the gamut from creating a buyer persona to sending an email campaign to doing a podcast. There’s Google’s Digital Garage, and a variety of social media platforms and inexpensive tools to build your skills.

One thing to remember: you can put a hundred options in front of your marketing team and even give them incentives to do the learning, but ultimately, they have to actually do it. The people ‘on the bus’ will demonstrate who they are by putting in the time and enhancing their skills.

  1. Use a combination of in-house and outside skills and resources

To build a sophisticated digital marketing function, you’ll need a lot of different skills: email marketing, ecommerce, Google ads, social media, content, lead generation, media buying, strategy and more. With a small marketing team, there’s no way to have deep expertise for each of those niches. Having a combination of in-house people AND outsourced agency and freelance resources is the best practice for savvy marketing functions. It’s the best way for manufacturers to get a breadth of expertise, on a budget that works.

  1. Don’t be afraid of making a few mistakes

Making digital marketing work requires learning, and sometimes that means learning from mistakes. Good marketers are always trying new things to see what works. So if you’re going to succeed, you need a healthy attitude towards experimentation. A culture where people are terrified to make mistakes is a recipe for failure.


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