Competitive markets have the opportunity to be successful now.

I just finished working for a manufacture company. Seems like manufacturers companies are facing big challenges, but the only problem they see is Price = China.

But I don’t think the problem starts there.

So, where?

I asked them:

  • Who is currently buying your product or service? What are these people’s lives/work actually like?
  • Who would be interested in buying it in the future? Who is the next generation?When are they going to start managing the company?
  • Who is your real competition?
  • What improvements could be made to your product or service to meet people’s needs even better?
  • Which are the key factors that matter to my customers?
  • How can you best communicate that benefit to the people you’re interested in attracting?
  • What is the right price to charge?
  • What other new products or services could your brand offer people?
  • So what is your vision for your brand?
  • And what would be the best roadmap for getting there?
  • What’s your major challenge?

Be my Guest! Here are some of the most common assumptions.

Assumption 1:Everyone can be your customer.

Assumption 2:Price is the number 1 factor why they choose 1 company.

Assumption 3: My major challenge is to hired qualify people.

No everyone is your customer.

Fundamental to any marketing practice is segmenting the market. No everyone is your customers. This is like real life, no everyone is going to love you. Segmentation is like dividing consumers to groups. Each group require a different marketing strategy because each segment (or group) have different needs, cultural values,etc.

The 80:20 rule.

20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales. The 20% of your loyal customers (target market)may be defined by demographics, socio-economics, media consumption, etc.

So, how can you learn about your customer?

Panels, Ad hoc surveys, Tracking, Ethnographic, Social Listening, etc

Once you have the data I will recommend creating a Persona (please check my post about personas)

We are emotional animals.

Studies show that positive emotions toward a brand have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments which are based on a brand’s attributes.

So, why we invest more time reducing cost he easy way, when emotions are the primary reason why consumers prefer a brand?

Brand related research will help the company to create products, communications, their corporate identity, advertising, etc based on the brand.

People vs Robots.

This is a fight!

These challenges have very real effects on the economy. From 2004 to 2008, more than one in seven manufacturing jobs, nearly 322,000, disappeared- shows the Canadian statistics. From 1990 to 2003, employment in manufacturing decreased by 29% in the United Kingdom, 24% in Japan, 20% in Belgium and Sweden, and 14% in France. As manufacturing activity has declined in relative importance in OECD countries, China has become the world centre of manufacturing employment. In fact, the number of workers in manufacturing in China was estimated at 109 million in 2002, which represents more than double the combined total (53 million) in all of the G-7 member countries (Pilat et al. 2006, and Banister 2005).

So, how can we find people that feels “safe” on a fragil environment .In other words, while production was decreasing, businesses were also becoming more efficient and could produce more with the same workforce.

So, not only the conspiracy about the job is creating a gap between job demand and job expectations, also influences the existing price war that sometimes affect job losses and salaries.

Job losses in manufacturing were compensated by major gains in the service sector and technology.

So, what do we do?

Integrate Lateral thinking in your company, think about other ways to create value, without compromising wages or hours.

Some of my proposals where to:

  • Increase value to the service by inviting the client to workshops, testing their products, the materials,etc.
  • Integrated marketing to increase brand awearness.
  • Product development to reduce the use of extra material and increase margens.
  • To create a catalogue with suggestions, well organize and easy to use to reduce churn (please check my post about customer success).
  • Measure happiness and team work.

Problems can have different solutions, it’s time to re-think about mass-production.

What to do?

  • Market research will help your business to reduce risk and find better solutions.
  • Understand your customer and create a product, price, promotion, place, communication based on their needs, their motivations, their patterns, ..etc
  • Integrated marketing strategy: Process responsable for identify, anticipating and satisfying customers requirements profitaly with the resources you have.
  • Be more social- Go social but careful, understand your customer.
  • Web, Store or Both, take care of the design and user experience.
  • Integrate Coaching & HR strategies to motivate your team.
  • Use design thinking and lateral thinking to solve problems and to innovate.
  • Be strategic! Track your investments and find better ways to use your resources.
  • Don’t be arrogant. Nobody knows everything. Team up, share, give feedback and delegate.
  • Don’t stop learning!
  • Be curious !
  • Stay in the Loop.