Marketing for Manufacturers: The Starting Point Before Strategy

Manufacturing companies have many pressing priorities to manage and navigate. Between material sourcing, production, operations, finance and perhaps international trade, marketing often gets lost in the mix despite its importance for sales and growth. By the time business owners and leaders get around to marketing, they’re stuck wondering which channels to choose, who to hire for help, and how to measure success. Before you get into all of that, start here:

Your Brand

Your brand is much more than your logo and letterhead. It’s the foundation of any marketing and advertising you eventually invest in for your company. Your brand encompasses your mission, positioning, messaging, voice, visuals, and other pieces both tangible and intangible.

To get the essence of branding and why it’s important, read any number of these articles published on Forbes by Netwave CEO Dave McIndoe:

No Business Is Too Boring for Branding

Do You Need a Rebrand or a Brand Extension?

How To Build A Better Brand: The One Indispensable Tool To Set Your Service Business Apart

Should You Invest in Branding Right Now?

Whether your brand needs a refresh, a full rebrand, or no updates at all, decide where you stand with branding before considering where you want to go with marketing. Once your brand is in place, it’s time to update your most visible marketing materials, including:


If your brand evolves significantly, you may need a full website redesign to capture your new positioning. Otherwise, a messaging and image swap might suffice for the time being to keep gaining momentum toward a marketing strategy. If your budget allows, custom photography can be a difference maker for your website in place of stock photography. Either way, a website refresh is usually necessary since all roads (print and digital) lead back to your website. See our 5 Must-Haves for Manufacturing Websites.

Business Cards

Your website is essentially a digital business card for everyone in the company—but personal, printed business cards are still important, too, especially for your leadership and sales teams. Plus, a box of fresh new business cards will always be a morale boost for any employee. Consider paying the extra print costs for premium features like thick stock or soft touch to make stronger first impressions in person.

Sales Collateral

Just like your website needs an update to align with your new and improved branding, so does your sales collateral. Gather any and every piece of sales literature your team may be using. Sift through the stack to see if certain pieces might be so outdated that they can be discarded, then focus your attention on refreshing the core pieces like sell sheets, brochures, flyers, and pamphlets. This is also a good time to truly digitize your sales kit so it’s easily accessible and readily available for sales reps to attach in emails to prospects. See our 5 Cost-Effective Marketing Tactics to Support Your Sales Team.

Trade Show Materials

After a long hiatus, trade shows are back, and people are anxious to get out and reconnect. Your next trade show after a rebrand or refresh is an exciting opportunity to unveil your new look and/or message for the entire industry to see. If you have banners and boards that you reuse for annual shows, it’s also an opportune moment to get creative and spring for quality materials. You likely won’t need to make changes to your core brand for the foreseeable future after having just invested in branding.

Email Signature

The little things go a long way toward strengthening your brand over time. We’ll sign off with a friendly reminder to update your email signature template and share it with your team so that every message has that brand effect. Email signatures are now even able to support brand animations.

Getting Started

A strong brand is the key to a successful marketing strategy. When is the last time you evaluated your company’s brand, website and sales materials? If you are curious about how your brand is being perceived, contact us for a free, custom audit of your brand.

Next, we’ll move into the main event—marketing, including the makings of a great website, followed by SEO, content strategy, email marketing, social media, and digital advertising. Check back periodically as we release an article on each. These articles will also be distributed on our social channels: