Do Manufacturing Firms Need Social Media?
Many manufacturing businesses may be known to be cutting edge, but not where marketing is concerned. That’s not really surprising, since companies that manufacture physical products concentrate on the production process, and marketing is usually thought of as part of the existing sales department.
While this may be a generalization, most manufacturing companies can use outside help and perspecitve in marketing their products and services. Since manufacturers serve a known group of buyers and industries and the market doesn’t much change over time, marketing and sales are generally thought of as one unit.
Some manufacturers sell their products to the consumer market (B to C) but most sell to downline manufacturers (B to B companies) who incorporate purchased components in their own products. B to B companies are usually more insular than their B to C counterparts, as their sales tend to be based on the marketing efforts of their customers. Because the nature of markets and globalization has impacted every industry, manufacturers that rely on stable sales to a known customer base are particularly vulnerable to market shifts and sentiments. In the information age, it is crucial for every firm to know the opinions in the market that may affect their business.
Manufacturers who sell B to B may not know, for example, the consumer thinking of their customers’ customers. This information is most easily garnered by having a presence on the social media networks, so it behooves those B to B firms to have a presence on those networks, even if they do not sell directly to consumers.
Manufacturers whose products are sold directly to consumers have a more obvious need to use social media networks. Firstly, they realize the tremendous reach of social networks. They also know that social media is an extremely efficient way to market to consumers, reaching a wider audience for a lower cost than other forms of marketing. They also want to seek information about their products, their industry, and even their competitors directly from consumers.
Every manufacturer should have an active presence on the social networks, and use social media to market on those networks. Many manufacturers have come to the realization that they need to actively market themselves on social media and look upon social media marketing as an integral part of their businesses. Because social media marketing is a highly specialized function, manufacturers should give serious consideration to hire social marketing consultants as part of their business operation.