For a manufacturer, the purpose of marketing is the same as it is for any organisation: to find and help keep customers.

The task of sales is to close interest. Your ability to gather, maintain and draw upon information generated through customer and prospect activities is your best hope of doing this well, because the more you know about each customer, the better you can predict and adapt to their buying behaviour. This is where having a single view of each customer comes in. But what is a single view of the customer?

A single view is the amalgamation of all information you hold about a customer, accessible in one place. It tells the story of how each has engaged with you, what they bought and the platform they bought it on; even how they came to be on that platform in the first place. But what information should you look to capture?

Building a picture of each customer

Capturing information such as demographics, social media platforms used, and websites frequented, can help manufacturing companies to create content that fits customers’ needs. This information provides a picture of buying behaviour, allowing you to tailor your marketing. One of the best examples is Amazon which has developed powerful tools to enable it to target existing customers with product suggestions that match the profile of their previous buys.

The internet has increased accessibility and put your customers in the driving seat when it comes to purchase choice. This means it’s critical to use a single view of each customer to communicate the most relevant information.

This said, you cannot hope to develop relationships with each customer, but you can, at least, develop a sense of personalisation that strengthens loyalty. This is one of the most effective tools in marketing. For example, loyalty programmes or bonus offers create a level of satisfaction with customers that they do not feel it necessary to consider alternative suppliers. Satisfied customers stay longer and buy more often.

Are you saying the right thing?

Manufacturing production traceability is another important element in gaining value. Connected logistics helps you understand what you are delivering where.

Your customers don’t buy products, they buy benefits. Put another way, the product is purchased not for itself but for the promise of what it will ‘deliver’. These benefits may be intangible, i.e. they relate not to specific product features but rather to such things as image or service. Marketing has long sought to achieve competitive advantage through variety, high service levels and frequent product changes. Manufacturing processes have then been pushed to adapt and deliver change.

Of the many changes that have taken place in the marketing environment, perhaps the biggest is the focus upon ‘speed’. Because of shortening product life cycles, time-to-market becomes ever more critical. Yet speed is reliant on a connected network.

Manufacturing is a network

Members of a manufacturing supply chain are unlikely to have considered themselves as part of a connected network, and so would not have shared strategic thinking with each other. For manufacturers to grasp new opportunities generated by marketing, they will need a higher level of joint strategy development.

This means members of the supply chain must collectively agree strategic goals for the network and the means of reaching them.

For network marketing to work to its fullest potential, visibility and transparency of relevant information throughout the manufacturing supply chain is essential.

A single view of your customer

Having a single view of your customer enables you to create marketing that engages individuals. As a manufacturer, you’re likely to be dealing with customers who have lots of points of contact within the organisation, and so it’s important to know the roles of each, in particular, who your key stakeholders are.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement for manufacturers gives users contextual insights into their interaction with each customer. One form this takes is action cards – automatically generated prompts to, for example, remind users of deals that have actions or are due to be closed. Another, is using Azure Machine Learning to automatically identify potential sales opportunities from content found in Outlook emails.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has enabled manufacturers to increase the number of meaningful customer interactions across digital and physical channels and created more opportunities to sell well as a result.

What next?

Agility and speed offer a competitive advantage for today’s manufacturer. To discover how HSO can help you combine data and systems to run sales and marketing activities that deliver results, book your complimentary, no obligation consultation to understand what Microsoft Dynamics 365 can do for your organisation.

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