According to this recent Guardian article, manufacturing output has risen over the last quarter, signifying the post-Brexit slump has now passed. What’s even more encouraging is that this new found growth is expected to continue, with the CBI claiming it’s predominantly down to the food and drink sector.
With order books looking solid and the weaker pound encouraging exporters, there’s a definite buzz of optimism billowing from the factory chimneys that all manufacturers need to capture and harness to steam forward.
Customer acquisition is high on the agenda, but this can only be achieved if your product offerings align with consumer demand and shifts in society. Industry 4.0 is approaching, so rather continuing to contemplate this trend for any longer, we suggest you approach it heads on and prepare for your operations to be digitally connected via the Internet of Things (IoT).
The idea is that through a customer-centric strategy and all platforms, people and systems in alignment, the hoards of data acquired can be used to improve your processes and product development. A data-driven marketing approach translates the information into tangible actions; for instance, in being able to identify trends in buying behaviour, you can tailor your products and marketing messages to address this change.
Connecting machinery with people and computers allows you to find weaknesses in your supply chain and react quickly before it becomes detrimental to your finances and operational efficiency.
The CBI’s chief economist Rain Newton-Smith has urged the chancellor Philip Hammond to include investment and innovation in his November autumn statement as a means to help manufacturers adjust with the new relationships with the EU and rest of the world.
Investment in R&D only constitutes 1% of Britain’s national GDP, half of what our German neighbours spend. Previously, manufacturers have withheld the view that measuring the ROI of R&D is difficult and it hinders profits in the short term. Yet through the IoT and other emerging trends we’ve discussed, data analysis is the key to conducting profitable R&D whereby your efforts are targeted towards consumer demand.
The digital age continues to blossom, producing more technology that enables manufacturers to get closer to end customers, meet consumer demand and streamline processes to be more profitable. Customer acquisition is a primary goal, and with advanced technologies now at our disposal, there’s prime opportunities to develop new products with ease and at less cost. 3D printing for example allows you to cost effectively produce prototypes to ensure the accuracy and health and safety of a product before it goes into production. This saves money and mitigates the risk of a product recall, which is not only costly but it can damage reputation.
Manufacturing marketers should be looking to invest in a data-driven marketing approach, using the information garnered through connected devices to make informed business decisions around which technologies to adopt and improve product development. By anticipating change, you can respond quickly and be first to market, outperforming your competitors.
For more detail into data-driven marketing and its many benefits, head over to our Video Series where you’ll find a back-to-basics explanation and various online tools that are helping businesses tap into their network of data. Don’t forget to Subscribe!