New Zealand is a country that is largely reliant on international trade, and contrary to what many in the media seem to think, not all of it revolves around dairy products.
We have a proud history of manufacturing innovation that stretches back to the early 1900s and includes products ranging from jet impeller units to electric fencing, irrigation equipment, commercial refrigeration, electronics and in more recent times, digital hardware and software.
The challenge many of our exporters and manufacturers have to contend with is their reliance on offshore distributors, retail networks, marketers and sales teams – all of which are vital to getting their products into the hands of consumers, but at the same time effectively keeps the creators of the product one step (or more) removed from their customers.
Why does it matter?
It matters when it comes to continuous improvement, particularly when as a manufacturer you depend on market clues for information about how your product could be better.
It matters even more when your product is just one of many that your distributor or retail outlets are selling and your competitors are also being sold through the same distribution chains.
What is the solution?
Over the last few years, we have had more and more clients come to us from the manufacturing space who are keen to build up their brands and help drive customer demand to their retail networks.
This is often a particular challenge because they are set up to sell to a small market, business to business, rather than directly to their end customer. That means inhouse marketing resources and experience may be quite limited, and the company may not have a strong understanding of consumer marketing channels and processes.
One part of the solution is to implement inbound marketing, aka content marketing to attract visitors who are researching their product to the brand website, and deliver a range of quality content that takes visitors through the various stages of the user journey or sales cycle.
Those steps are illustrated below:
Information that resides on your website and your social channels should be targeted towards each stage of that user journey, and also to the different audience personas who are typical of your customer base.
Working through the type of content and the channels to use is a critical part of any content marketing strategy, and the second part of the solution is to use marketing automation technology to link that content back to qualified leads that can be sent to your distribution network.
Succinctly put, marketing automation platforms are the bridge between marketing and sales – or in fact, between the brand/manufacturer and their distribution chain.
Partnering with an agency who can consult on and implement a marketing automation strategy in conjunction with your content is critical to success, according to international research. The existing platforms have a wide range of features and functionality that enable very powerful information to be gathered, customer profiles to be developed and leads to be produced and distributed.
Setting them up in a way that fits tightly with your business requirements is key to getting the results you are looking for, but as always, having a strategy that covers the functionality to be used, the various sales processes and channels, and the content that will make all of it work, is the place to begin.
Find out more
If you are a manufacturer or exporter who would like to know more about marketing automation and how we can assist you with reviewing the options and developing a strategy, please contact our account management team or add yourself to our mailing list for updates about upcoming events and seminars.