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Manufacturing News is Good. Again.

Posted on | June 2, 2010 | No Comments

It’s the “again” that counts!

According to a June 1 report by the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, the manufacturing sector has shown expansion now for 10 consecutive months.  (Yeah!) The latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® also said that the overall economy has grown for 13 consecutive months!  (Woohoo!)

The report’s rate of growth reflects continued strength in new orders and production across 16 of 18 industries as measured by the PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index).  The report also points to six months of continued growth in employment.   (We like the sound of this more and more.)

What’s growing the fastest?   At the top of the list is: paper and wood products, transportation and electrical equipment, appliances and components, fabricated metal products, computing and electronic products, and furniture.  What’s contracting? Petroleum and coal.  (Seasonal?)

It’s good to see expansion continue as it can only mean greater opportunities for our clients and their customers too, since so many of them are in these sectors.  However, with companies still being cautious on how they spend their money, more and more of them are turning to emarketing tools during this recovery to help sustain their momentum.  It’s sometimes slow going as many manufacturers find it hard to make a transition from an account management/sales model to a marketing/sales model.  This is a critical step for success that some smart manufacturers are already beginning to adopt. 

As indication of this, a recent report from Forrester Research predicts B2B companies will lay out $54 million on social media marketing alone in 2014, a huge increase from 2009’s $11 million spend.  You can read more about the growth of social media and other interactive marketing in eMarketer.

B2B customer buying practices are changing according to John Neeson, managing director and co-founder of SiriusDecisions.  Sales and marketing need to change as well.  At the recent SiriusDecisions 2010 Summit Neeson pointed out that customers and prospects “no longer want to be marketed and sold to in a linear fashion.” They want to control the experience and interact on their terms.  Where does this happen most?  On the Internet:  via search, the web, and social media. 

As further illustration of this, attendees at the Summit heard from B2B marketers about tools they’re adopting to better manage and analyze customer responses to their online marketing activities. 

Net:  The economy may be getting better, but the question is:  Has manufacturing turned the corner on learning how to engage with buyers on their own terms as a way to accellerate growth?  I don’t know if we’re quite there yet!  What do you think?

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