When it comes to industries to steal tips and best practices from, marketers typically look to creative or cutting-edge fields. Too rarely, however, does manufacturing jump to the top of the list.
Though technology and the knowledge of how to effectively use it is a top skill for marketing leaders, ignoring important lessons learned from older, established industries like manufacturing is a huge mistake. Not only might marketers miss insights into how to connect better with their customers, they also run the risk of missing out on beneficial strategies that can positively affect their bottom line.
Right under everyone’s noses, manufacturers have been implementing smart solutions across production lines, operations, supply chains, and technology integrations to remain competitive in an increasingly global and connected world. With help from organizations like The Pedowitz Group, a marketing consulting firm and expert in the manufacturing field, manufacturing organizations today are extending this data-driven culture into sales & marketing to build customer focus, new sales models, and new service models, all through the use of digital technology.
Sound familiar? Marketers – regardless of industry –need to scale their individual contributions, maximize their use of data, and combine disparate technology systems to get their job done every day.
Using manufacturing as a case study, there are three key approaches to business that marketers can glean: integrating technologies, leveraging data from all sources within the organization, and adopting automation.
Integrating Technologies Unlocks Untapped Potential
The imperative – and benefit – of bringing disparate systems together to optimize their use is something manufacturers have long recognized. Without doing so, manufacturers cannot get a holistic view, for example, of how supply chains interact with the factory floor. Dubbed “Industry 4.0,” the convergence of manufacturing technologies and trends takes into consideration four disruptions as defined by McKinsey:
“The astonishing rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity, especially new low-power wide-area networks; the emergence of analytics and business intelligence capabilities; new forms of human-machine interaction such as touch interfaces and augmented-reality systems; and improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing.”
While these technologies develop, manufacturers are preparing to implement collaborative solutions at scale. Similarly, marketing arms benefit from an integrated marketing technology stack, typically including a marketing automation, CRM, social media management, and web experience platforms.
Take the examples of small manufacturers like Kemppi, a privately owned Finnish welding company that operates on a global stage, and GE power, a public, multi-national company. Both of these organizations implement and sell Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Selling digital, connected devices means that they are receiving data back to their cloud platforms about the performance, usage, and characteristics of their devices. These elements make Industry 4.0 a reality.
Through the aggregation of data, GE and Kemppi can determine the performance of a device and potential challenges before they occur, thereby elevating productivity levels. The shift we’ll see in the near future is how these solutions will proactively drive the supply chain. It’s critical that manufacturing marketers insert themselves into the Industry 4.0 rollout to leverage data, business intelligence, and the manufacturing technology growth story.