As a local media seller, you focus on many different industries, depending on your market, expertise and other factors. There may be an area you’re overlooking for digital advertising sales — manufacturing companies. You might not consider them a viable target to prospect for many reasons, like that their audience is B2B customers. You may also look past them because their sales channels are complex, or you think they’d only want to buy advertising from bigger agencies.

Some of this reasoning may be true, but don’t discount them as a great prospect for digital advertising. If they are in your market, you have the opportunity to form a relationship and help them target their customers anywhere. Let’s look at why you should put them on your prospecting list.

Manufacturing Companies Need Employees

Manufacturing job creation has been strong in 2023. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry has added new jobs every month this year. Job creation in the sector should continue on this path, buoyed by a return to made-in-America products and legislation like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the CHIPS and Science Act.

However, manufacturers are facing labor shortages and gaps. A study from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute reported that 2.1 million jobs could go unfilled by 2030. A big reason is that older workers are retiring, and younger generations aren’t entering the industry due to misconceptions. They may erroneously believe these jobs are low wage or unskilled, but that’s not the reality. Wages are competitive, and many jobs in manufacturing require advanced skills, especially those where employees work with technology and robotics.

Manufacturing may need an image overhaul to attract new people. Manufacturers in your market are likely facing these challenges, and as a local expert, you can be a great resource. Some key points to make on recruitment digital advertising include:

  • The ability to target potential hires with multiple tactics based on demographics, location and behaviors
  • Geofencing to “fence” locations where candidates spend time, including trade schools, high schools or competitor locations
  • Expanding beyond your city to target other areas of the country where unemployment may be higher with messaging around helping people relocate
  • Testing social media ads to introduce the idea of manufacturing to Gen Zon sites like Snapchat and Instagram

You can execute all these different tactics in an integrated campaign to help them achieve their recruiting goals. They’ll likely see a much better return on spend than throwing all their budget to job boards.

A B2B Audience Is Still People Making Buying Decisions

In manufacturing, those purchasing the equipment or goods are other companies. However, it’s not much different than businesses selling directly to consumers. It’s still people making buying decisions. The caveat is that there may be multiple people making them. Digital advertising still makes sense here — the targeting and approach change a bit to understanding an audience through the lens of their job.

Depending on how well the manufacturing company knows its customers, you can recommend multiple campaigns for each persona. They can all have similar creative and messaging but be personalized to that person. A great way to do this is with video advertising. It allows the brand to tell a story, which could be about their innovative products or include actual customers giving a testimonial. It can be highly effective and run programmatically on social media and via OTT/CTV. All these ad types can push people to their website to learn more.

Digital Advertising Can Simplify the Customer Journey

Manufacturers and other B2B companies find the customer journey overly complex. B2B customers feel the same, with 77% stating their last purchase was difficult. Digital advertising campaigns can untangle this journey. The sales cycle will be longer, and the investment will be considerable. A lot of this process isn’t going to involve customers spending time with their sales team. Much of this journey happens online with research and evaluation, so their brand needs to be top of mind.

Again, you can leverage storytelling to build credibility and trust with audiences by showcasing powerful proof points about their products and addressing the challenges their solutions resolve.

Extending the Impact of In-Person Events for Manufacturing Companies with Digital Tactics

Manufacturers have a large presence at trade shows and industry events. Their objective is face-to-face time, but that’s not always possible. Thus, they want to extend the event’s impact for much longer, and you can help them do that with targeted and geofenced display ads. Geofencing the area around the event is the first step. Then, you can recommend campaigns that target the locations of their biggest targets with the same look and content from the show. Check out this case study that outlines how a media company did this successfully for a global manufacturer.

Build a Plan for Prospecting Manufacturing Companies

With these ideas and your knowledge of the market, you can put together a prospecting plan to target manufacturers. Getting a meeting will require a compelling valid business reason (VBR), and the tips above can help you build that. Do your research to understand how they are advertising now, what they’re doing well, and areas for improvement. Take what you learn from your first attempts, and refine your prospecting plan to win this business.

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