How can a business evolve to meet a tech-savvy wave of buyers who use technology to research before they buy? Recently, goBRANDgo! President Derek Weber sat down with Bruce McDuffee on the Manufacturing Marketing Matters Podcast to share his insights on the disruption of the traditional manufacturer-distributor relationships many manufacturing companies are struggling with. At goBRANDgo!, we’ve seen it firsthand: the manufacturing industry is facing a huge wave of change. There’s tremendous upside potential for companies who are prepared to ride it and an equally ominous downside for those who remain stagnant.
What’s causing the disruption?
- As the workforce in America undergoes a generational shift, huge numbers of workers are retiring, which is bringing many 20-, 30-, and even 40-year manufacturer-distributor relationships to an end. In other words, if you’ve got a guy, that guy doesn’t work there anymore.
- Information is ubiquitous and people are doing their research online. Distributors’ knowledge used to be their key asset, but with easy access to information on the internet, distributors will have to find other ways to drive their value to consumers. In order to stay relevant, they’ll need to become problem solvers and consultants for their customers.
- Transparency gives consumers power, and with information directly accessible, distributors will need to align themselves with their customers’ needs more closely than ever, functioning as an ally or colleague, in order to win their business.
If you’re skeptical about this disruption, then you’re not alone. Keep in mind that Blockbuster was skeptical about the competitive viability of Netflix and cab companies about Uber. Which team would you rather be on? The way business has been done is not the way it will be done a decade from now, so be ready to evolve to survive and thrive.
“If you hold on too tightly to the way it’s always been done, then you are going to be done.” -Derek Weber
What can manufacturing companies do to win in this new landscape?
- Identify what value they can drive for their customer and what their customer cares about and how to help them solve their problems.
- Figure out what differentiates them from their competitors, or identify something that everybody’s doing, but nobody is talking about (check out the Schlitz Beer story at 29:00 to hear more about that).
- Make information about their products and services clear and available.
- Invest in making themselves easy to find online.
Don’t underestimate the changes you’re seeing in the industry. Make yourself easy to find on the internet. And finally, take a look at your business with fresh eyes, perform an honest assessment and consider how you can add value to your customers.
Want to learn more? Click here to listen on the MMM website, or simply click play below:
Get in touch with Derek Weber to learn how marketing can create momentum for your company’s future. Drop him an email at [email protected] or call 314-754-8712.