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Why is it important to get Marketing Strategy right in Engineering & Manufacturing?

by SamanthaTonge, Founder, Labrakita Marketing

Marketing is often seen as a “fluffy” area of business, a “nice to have” and something anyone can do. Even many businesses that seriously value marketing end up wasting their budget because they are unsure where best to invest it.

Done correctly, marketing is essential for growth, but without the strategic groundwork, doing marketing correctly is a lot easier said than done!


Many businesses overlook SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) objectives in their marketing planning. Some businesses that do have some marketing objectives (e.g., the number of new Facebook followers in one year) have unwittingly created arbitrary objectives that won’t help their business grow. It doesn’t matter what a Facebook “expert” says everyone’s following should be – what matters is what will help you grow YOUR business and how you reach potential customers.

Always start with the business objectives – long-term and short-term and work backwards from there. Ask yourself what your conversion rate is, how many good quality leads you to need to hit your targets, and what your brand recognition and recall rate needs to be in your target market.

And don’t forget to cover those long-term (5-10 years) objectives. Many businesses focus on one year or even one quarter and make life harder for themselves down the line. Research shows that as a rough rule of thumb, in B2B (Business to Business), you need to invest 50% of your budget into those long-term objectives (which tend to be about brand awareness) and the other 50% into short-term objectives (which tend to be about lead generation). In B2C (Business to Consumer), this is even more skewed towards long-term objectives – if you are B2C, the rough rule of thumb is 60% investment into long-term and 40% into short-term objectives.

Brand & Customer Focus

In order to grow and get the most out of your marketing, you need to understand your customers inside and out. Who are they, where are they are (and where are they will see your message) and what they want. You need to be able to use their language and satisfy their needs.

And, going back to the Facebook follower objective example above – this will tell you if that objective is the right one. Is your target audience even of Facebook? If they are, do they want to hear about your brand when they are on there? Are you gaining followers who are in HR and into wellness and food when your target audience is in operations management and is interested in reducing their plant’s energy consumption?

This is also essential if you are going to get the brand and messaging right. If you know your customers inside out, you will be able to explain what your company is and what it represents to them. That is the brand – the essence of the company – your branding then evokes how your customers feel and think about the brand.


Unfortunately, you have to spend money to make money. You wouldn’t think twice about investing in new machinery to improve your production line or deliver something better for your customer if it leads to more profit. The principle is the same with marketing. If you invest in the correct marketing, you will increase your profits.

Research shows that brand-guided companies (those with a brand proposition that is communicated, understood and acted on by the whole organisation) have twice the profit margin of the industry standard.

But that only works if you invest that in marketing communication – the customer also needs to know what your brand is, and they also need to know why they should buy from you.

How much you should spend depends greatly on what you want to achieve. A rough rule of thumb is around 10% of your target annual gross profit. There are a few factors that might change that, though. If you are in a very competitive environment, you may have to spend more; if you are very lucky and have a captive audience and little competition, you may be able to spend a little less.

And don’t forget to invest in your marketing strategy – or you could be wasting the rest of your budget.

Marketing Delivery

If you have done your research and got a great marketing strategy, knowing what marketing communications delivery tactics you need to use should be straightforward; however, it is easy to fall into certain pitfalls. It is tempting to keep doing what you have always done because it’s comfortable – or the opposite, trying out the newest shiniest channel from fear of missing out rather than because it’s the right channel. It’s also tempting to use certain tactics because your existing agencies specialise in them, or you can do it “cheaply” in-house.

The other thing to think about is how the marketing department contributes across other areas of delivery. These days, the “marketing department” is usually really the marketing communications department, when marketing is much broader than that. But the marketing department is still the department that is the guardian of the brand, with all of the information at its fingertips (or at least it should be). To grow the business, the marketing department must work with and influence product development, sales, finance, HR, logistics, IT, etc.


Are you sure your marketing strategy is optimised to grow your engineering or manufacturing business? CeeD has partnered with the marketing strategy agency Labrakita Marketing to help you find out by launching our first Marketing Strategy survey. By participating, you will get an immediate personalised report with an overall score and a score within each category that will help you see which areas to improve. Everyone who takes part will also receive a copy of the full report.

CeeD members will also have the opportunity to have a one-on-one session with Labrakita Marketing founder Samantha Tonge to go over their report and receive free advice on how to improve their marketing strategy.

Take part in the survey here