Outsourcing some - or all - of your marketing initiatives to an agency is an enormous business decision. And while some agencies claim to have a focus in the manufacturing vertical, it’s rarer to find one that talks the talk and walks the walk.
Finding the right agency partner for your manufacturing business isn’t just critical to ROI. But it can make the difference between seeing tangible results this month versus next year.
At PMG, we’ve been designing and implementing digital marketing strategies for the manufacturing vertical for more than 15 years.
Recently, we were able to grow one of our manufacturer’s global businesses by 40% with digital initiatives. But we aren’t the only ones out there who know our stuff.
In this article, we’ll explore how to identify and choose the best manufacturing marketing agency for your specific business.
What is a manufacturing marketing agency?
A manufacturing marketing agency is an outsourced organization that can take on specific portions of your marketing tasks. Alternatively, a manufacturing marketing agency can work as an outsourced marketing department, owning the strategy, direction, implementation, and reporting of your entire marketing segment. Manufacturing marketing agencies should have specific expertise, experience, and results in the manufacturing vertical in order to drive maximum results for your business.
Where can I find the best manufacturing marketing agency?
There are several resources you can utilize to identify the best marketing agency for your business.
Resources to identify Manufacturing Marketing Agencies:
- HubSpot’s Agency and Solutions Directory - This is a great place for those who are utilizing HubSpot’s CRM, COS, or Service tools. A certified HubSpot partner will make sure you’re getting the most from your HubSpot AND marketing budget. HubSpot’s directory makes it easy to segment results by industry.
- Sales Artillery List of Agencies - This list of manufacturing marketing agencies is highly utilized in the digital space to research the top names in manufacturing marketing. It’s a great way to scan the 1-2 sentence summary of more than 35 agencies.
- RH Blake list of Top 10 Agencies - This list of top ten agencies is provided by RH Blake.
- Agency Arsenal’s List of Top 10 Agencies - This blog highlights some of the websites and services that are offered by a variety of manufacturing-centric agencies.
- Local Google Search - Of course, if you’re looking for someone hyper-local, a quick search of agencies in your area might be a great place to start.
- Word of Mouth - With just these lists alone, there are more than 300 agencies to choose from. That’s why asking your friends, colleagues, or social connections is an extremely valuable approach to identifying a great agency.
What to look for in a manufacturing marketing agency
Once you have your list of agencies to evaluate, it’s time to consider exactly what it is you’re looking for in an agency partner. Here are some key considerations:
1. Identify the service level you need - and your budget
The first thing to consider is the kind of relationship you want to have with your manufacturing agency partner. Determining the level of service you need can help you segment out agencies that only work with certain retainer commitments, budgets, or services. Ask yourself:
- Do you need an agency to take on specific segments of your marketing, such as content strategy and PPC? If this is the case, you may want to consider an agency that allows project-based pricing.
- Do you need an extension of your marketing team, such as strategic advisors and implementers, to collaborate on creating and executing marketing strategy? If this is the case, you should consider an agency that is flexible enough to adapt as your needs change over time.
- Do you need an outsourced CMO and/or marketing department to take complete ownership over the direction, implementation, and reporting of your marketing efforts? If this is the case, you should select a partner whose team you feel a true trust and connection with and has proven results owning and implementing a marketing strategy.
- Do you need a one-off project, such as a one-time website redesign, with no maintenance required? If this is the case, you’ll likely want to find an agency that specializes in that particular kind of project
Once you’ve determined how you want to work with your agency, you can use that as a baseline to evaluate your budget. $5,000 a month likely won’t get you an incredible outsourced department, but it could get you a team of awesome contributors to manage and own a particular segment of your marketing.
Not sure what a good budget looks like? Many of our clients are able to see incredible results with just $7,500 a month. But the more you spend, the more you’ll likely get in return.
2. Determine the type of expertise you’re going to need
If your business is using HubSpot, you’ll likely want to choose an agency that has extensive experience with that particular platform. But your tech-stack is just one asset of your business you’ll want to evaluate against the agency. You may also want to consider:
- What clients do they work with that you might recognize?
- Are they B2B-centric? Or B2C centric?
- How experienced is the team?
- What results are they able to share?
- Do they have experience with your particular automation platform, CRM, website host, email service provider, etc.?
3. Find out how manufacturing-centric they are
Some agencies claim they work with manufacturers. But in reality, they are a jack-of-all-industries. Make sure you select an agency that is a true expert in your field.
- Do they know what metrics are most important to your business without asking?
- Do they need you to translate every acronym?
- Do they have case studies, testimonials, and clients that you can speak to about their experience?
- Do you recognize the businesses they’ve worked with?
Note: it's not always a great idea to disqualify an agency simply because they work with other industries. Oftentimes, things that work really well in other industries - like technology and saas - can be applied to manufacturing marketing. In fact, a somewhat varied focus in your agency's portfolio could be an advantage. You can benefit from trends that are working cross-industry instead of the same-old tactics. Just make sure they know your industry as well as the others.
Chances are, a highly-experienced agency can apply key strategy from other accounts to your business, which means you’ll see success -- fast.
4. Explore their web content
One way to determine how manufacturing-centric your agency might be is to explore the content on their site. A great digital marketing agency will have a strong content strategy focused on the manufacturing vertical.
See if they have:
- Manufacturing blog posts
- Downloadable and research content about manufacturers
- Case studies about manufacturing clients
- Inbound links from high-authority manufacturing organizations
- Testimonials, video content, and website pages about manufacturing
All of these can be a strong indicator that your agency knows their stuff.
5. Ask your agency key questions
The agency you choose can mean the difference between flushing $10,000 down the drain and maximizing your revenue operations this year. A critical component of seeing ROI is understanding their level of experience, service areas and focus, employee and customer satisfaction, and how your relationship will work.
Questions to ask your manufacturing marketing agency before hiring them:
- How long have you been in business?
- What other industries do you specialize in?
- Where can I browse results and case studies?
- What is your employee turnover rate?
- What is your Glassdoor rating?
- Can I talk to an existing manufacturing client about their experience with your agency so far?
- What is the team structure like?
- How long does it take to get onboarded?
- How many months of commitment do you require? And how flexible is our retainer if our needs change?
6. Evaluate the intangibles as well
Evaluating how the agency makes you feel after your sales calls is less measurable and tangible, but it’s just as important. Working with an agency partner requires a great deal of trust. Not only do you want to align with their services and pricing, but you also want to make sure they’re the right cultural fit for your business and existing team.
That’s why you may want to evaluate the following intangibles:
- Did you connect with them?
- Do you feel like they truly listened to you and your needs?
- Did you feel like they were experts trying to help, or highly-trained sales professionals trying to close you before the end of the month?
- Do you feel like you would have consistently great experiences with them as you produce work and drive results together?
- Are they experienced business professionals willing to challenge you to try new ideas? Or are they order-takers?
Choosing the right manufacturing marketing partner
We get it. Choosing the right manufacturing marketing partner is a lot of leg work. It’s a lot of research, a lot of scheduling, a lot of googling, and a lot of hoops to jump through.
If you’re a B2B manufacturer looking to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level, PMG’s team of manufacturing experts can help get you there.
Click here to book a meeting to talk about your marketing strategy for this year.
With specialists in content strategy, design, sales and marketing alignment, paid service, email & social campaigns -- and much more -- your marketing will be in great hands.
In fact, we grew Kardex's business by 40% with a strategic and flexible marketing strategy.
We wish you the best of luck on your search for the right fit for your business.