2014-media-in-usageIf you’ve been following me a while, you’re probably wondering, “Why are you writing about manufacturing all the time now?”

Well, haha, I have this little secret. I’ve been working with manufacturing companies the entire time I’ve been in business. I just never thought to niche myself. Like everyone, I lumped them in with B2B.

But, the more I worked with the owners of small manufacturing firms and got to know them and their challenges, the more I realized that much of the marketing advice out there wasn’t really suited to them.

In fact, much of the advice out there is dead wrong when it comes to small industrial manufacturers. But, I was too afraid to say anything — until recently, when I wrote this post, “Why Marketing Advice for Small Industrial Manufacturers Has to Change.”

I’m out of the closet now . . . and am happy to come clean because Gardner Business Media published its 2014 Media Usage in Manufacturing Report (free download).

Much of the data didn’t surprise me as I was already aware of many of the behaviors cited in the report. But a few things did surprise me.

A few things of interest:

I was quite surprised to learn that 56% of survey respondents don’t use social media and that Twitter and Facebook are blocked at 20% of companies. Wow!

Manufacturing buyers find social media, with the exception of YouTube and LinkedIn, a waste of time or feel neutral about it as a business tool.

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(If you keep reading that your company should be on Facebook, but you really don’t see the value and have been resisting, you can take that task off your to-do list. In fact, I agree with the survey findings, which is why I closed my Facebook page — AND deactivated my personal profile. Freedom!)

Manufacturing buyers also use industry and supplier websites to source information. Of course, I knew this as well.

However, I didn’t know that 86% of buyers will click on companies whose name they recognize — which means brand awareness is super important.

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But what’s the one thing manufacturing buyers rely on? Their trade magazines! In fact, 58% prefer PRINT publications.

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I’m very happy about this data. For a while now, I’ve been asking any small manufacturer I meet, “What do you read?” The answer always is, “Trade magazines.”

If you’re a manufacturer and want to reach your audience, you’d do well to follow Gardner’s advice:

Develop an integrated marketing plan that includes a well-optimized web site and articles in trade magazines.

Oh, and don’t forget that e-newsletter. It still has value, too.

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Dianna Huff is the founder and president of Huff Industrial Marketing, a full service agency that tackles a host of marketing and communications challenges for manufacturing companies.

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