Industrial journalist, TR Cutler recently discussed the importance of competitive knowledge gathering for manufacturers in the January issue of Manufacturing Outlook e-zine. Cutler shared, “Too often manufacturers have their head in the sand, ignoring declining sales, customer acquisition costs, and the truth about the causal implication. Too often the competition is taking away customers or simply bad-mouthing a manufacturer’s operation. Ignorance about the competition is inexcusable.”
Cutler stressed that the first steps is for manufacturers is to know their competition. Every manufacturing sales team knows the competition from whom business has been lost. Knowing how these competitors are branding, messaging, and marketing will help to overcome objections and create differentiated value propositions.
The ability to explicitly define deficiencies of the competition is the second step according to Cutler. Manufacturers wishing to grow their sales book while diminishing the scope of the competition is optimal. This can be done as a series of three press releases a week or monthly feature articles within leading industry trade publications.
Defining the customer profile versus the competition is crucial. Perhaps the product being manufactured is similar, yet the target customer is different by title or function. Sometimes products which may have horizontal multi-industry applications need to be described to the customer demonstrating an understanding of their industry sector. Machinery used in a food manufacturing plant (such as a conveyor) must be explained for this target audience.
“Put marketing intelligence into the budget,” suggested Cutler. Whether professionally conducted marketing research surveys of target customers, existing customers, or perception of the competition, manufacturers cannot fly blindly unaware of customer perceptions. Market intelligence is the information relevant to a company’s market trends. Competitor and customer (existing, lost, and targeted) monitoring must be gathered and analyzed specifically for the purpose of accurate and confident decision-making in determining strategy.
Jacket Media is the parent company of Manufacturing Outlook e-zine. The publication highlights current manufacturing trends.
About TR Cutler, Inc.
Thomas R. Cutler is the President and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., the largest manufacturing communication firm worldwide with four dozen industry experts and thought leaders on staff. Cutler is celebrating the 22-year anniversary of the Manufacturing Media Consortium.
Cutler has authored more than 8,000 articles for a wide range of manufacturing periodicals, industrial publications, and business journals. Cutler is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide, and more than 4800 industry leaders follow Cutler on Twitter daily at @ThomasRCutler.
Company Name: TR Cutler Inc.
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