Manufacturing marketing often consists of specification sheets and little else. While specs are important, they aren’t very engaging – even to engineers. The days when a manufacturer could post product data sheets on the web and call it manufacturing marketing are long gone. Today, customers don’t have the time to dig through spec sheets to decide if the product works for their application. They want manufacturing marketing that engages their imaginations.
In this post, Beyond the Specs: Effective Case Studies Help Manufacturing Marketing, we will discuss why case studies play an important role in a strong manufacturer marketing strategy and provide some pointers on what makes a case study effective.
Potential customers like to know who your customers are, but simply listing existing customer names or showing their logos doesn’t cut it in today’s manufacturing marketing world. Customers love seeing case studies about how other customers used your product to address a business or engineering challenge. Call on your best customers to participate in case studies that showcase both your product and the customer to make it a win/win.
It’s About Social Proof
Reinforcing the promise that your marketing makes requires having a product (or ability to manufacture products) that meet the specs – that is just a given. Social proof raises you to another echelon of marketing engagement by using a recognizable brand, or simply a customer that is in the same position as your target audience, do the work of selling for you. Social proof works by essentially say that you can do what you promise – you walk the walk rather than just talking the talk with your marketing.
Case studies are the most effective form of social proof because you are (ideally) combining elements of your process, capabilities, and finally reputation into an easy to digest package for your audience. Think of social proof as a form of leverage that can make a decision maker take a leap, or look past the numbers, to turn into a lead.
Pointers on Effective Case Studies
If you have the budget for it, consider using video for your case studies. Video is the fastest growing part of the Internet, and having video on your website will help boost your page rank. If video is beyond your budget, don’t despair. The important part is showing that customers use your product to achieve their own business objectives. You can always use written success stories or short testimonials.
Keep written case studies to no more than 1,000 words, which will be roughly equivalent to both sides of a single sheet. Although you will not be printing these success stories, it’s important to keep them short so customers can read them quickly. Focus on the benefits your customer achieved by using your product or services, rather than the details of which product they used or how they applied it.
What to do With a Stand-offish Customer
If an entire case study is more than a marquee customer can commit to, ask if you can get a quick quote for a testimonial. Hearing what another customer has to say is powerful, and you can pepper your website with quotes about your product and services. In fact, all your case studies and testimonials should include some non-product reasons why your customers do business with you. Whether it’s quick delivery lead times, high quality, rapid prototyping or the ability to enter orders over the Internet, find some aspect of your business processes that a customer may find attractive. If two products have similar specs and price, showing that you are easier to do business with than a competitor may win you the business. And that’s the objective of all manufacturing marketing.
One of our clients, Steel Forming Systems, makes great use of case studies to show how their manufacturing services help various industries. Learn more about our work for Steel Forming Systems in our portfolio, then take a look at their office furniture industry case study here.