There is no question the electronics manufacturing services industry is evolving. One aspect of that evolution is actually hurting the industry, however. As outsourcing has become more commonplace, its salespeople have become less technically competent. At the same time, as outsourcing “experts” at OEMs have retired, they have been replaced by less-experienced personnel. The result is a commodity sale focused on price.
My February Circuits Assembly column looks at ways to change that dynamic.
Amazed at the number of views a recent blog post of mine (The Five Biggest Myths in Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) Sales and Marketing) received, I expanded on the topic in my August Circuits Assembly column:
EMS companies typically fit into one of three categories:
- Those that have excellent marketing and make every dollar count.
- Those that have a marketing budget and waste money without a clear plan.
- Those that depend entirely on the sales team for marketing.
Not surprisingly, the companies in the first category have the biggest budgets and likely get the best return on investment. Why? Because, like sales, marketing in EMS is a numbers game. People have to be exposed to a message five to seven times before they remember seeing it at all. Develop a marketing plan that schedules a series of activities promoting a consistent message over the course of a year, and your market will remember seeing it. Buy a single ad, book at the last minute at a local trade show, or post an occasional message on your LinkedIn page, and you’ll be in the crowd that complains marketing doesn’t work. Put the entire load on sales and you’ll have a frustrated, overworked team with marginal results.
Read the full article.
Here are the five biggest myths in electronics manufacturing services (EMS) sales and marketing:
Myth 1 – Cold calling works: Years ago a large magazine publisher used to run an ad with an unfriendly buyer and the headline, “I don’t know you. I don’t know your company. I don’t know your product. Now, what are you trying to sell me?” Today that buyer screens phone calls and deletes unsolicited emails. A good marketing campaign that highlights the common problems your company regularly solves can help get through that automated gatekeeping. Otherwise, cold calling is an inefficient use of sales team time.
Myth 2 – Your website should make it easy for prospects to download all your company information: Outsourcing is a relationship sell. If you make easy for someone to visit your website and download your brochure, equipment list and all other facts about your company, then they don’t need to contact sales and request more information. Meanwhile, your competition’s sales team is building a relationship.
Myth 3 – Marketing is unnecessary: Back in the 80s, most EMS companies did business through engineering networking. Now that the industry is much larger and competition has also grown; getting your company’s name out is important. That doesn’t necessarily have to translate to huge budgets, but you do need a strategy focused messages that are timed to repeat at specific intervals. With no marketing, your competitors will position your company to their advantage.
Myth 4 – Copy the Competition: In the absence of differentiation, prospects focus on price. You want prospects to focus on the specific benefits your company offers.
Myth 5 – Sell the sizzle, not the steak: Ask most successful EMS companies what clenches the deal and they’ll say it is their plant tour. The main reason that is true is because outsourcing decision makers can lose their jobs if the contractor doesn’t perform. Your marketing should sell your competencies and your plant tour should demonstrate how well you walk that talk. Too much focus on sizzle without substance may actually turn buyers off.
For over a decade, Powell-Mucha Consulting, Inc. has helped EMS companies develop marketing strategies that work and fit their budgets. Visit http://www.powell-muchaconsulting.com to learn more.
Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) is an educated sell to a cross-functional team that goes in and out of ready-to-buy mode. What does all that jargon mean? Basically, you need to have a range of messages that are strategically timed to regularly reach your market. With that in mind, here are the top five things your marketing program should do:
#1: Make Every Dollar Count – EMS is a low margin industry and there is a relatively small target market. Programs should be tailored to reach the audience relevant to EMS vs. the world at large.
#2: Create Awareness and Preference for Your Brand of EMS – No one EMS provider is good at all things. What do your customers think your company does well? Every message and image should reflect that brand.
#3: Get the Right Kind of Attention – What keeps your customers up at night? The best programs promote an EMS provider’s ability to solve critical customer challenges. And, since it is a cross-functional decision team, there should be a range of messages that appeal across the team vs. simply to purchasing.
#4: Make the Sales Team More Productive – Advertising won’t close sales, but it can help identify the prospects worth spending time with. Cold calling and sitting in lobbies hoping to catch a decision maker is an inefficient use of sales force time.
#5: Help You Keep Mindshare – How many times has a prospect told you he isn’t looking and then a few months later given business to your competitor? A good program schedules communications at regular intervals to keep in touch. That type of program also reminds prospects who are ready to talk about their challenges that you can solve their needs. A marketing program with good mindshare maintenance activities can force multiply your sales team by identifying prospects who are entering ready-to-buy mode.
If your marketing program isn’t doing those five things, visit http://www.powell-muchaconsulting.com to learn more about our services.
My latest article in Circuits Assembly is out. This month we look at ways EMS companies can team Sales and Operations to sell focused solutions vs. “me-too” capabilities. If you aren’t differentiating by figuring out what keeps your customers up at night and offering a solution; you are likely being judged on price. My column in August will discuss how a good marketing strategy can help cut non-value added sales costs and let the sales team focus on selling to people who are ready-to-buy.
Kudos to Mike Buetow and the team at Circuits Assembly on their new website. It looks great.