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It's no secret that the manufacturing industry is a tightly held niche.

With many companies specializing in very specific areas, it can be difficult for business owners and top-level management to decide whether they should hire an internal marketing team or partner with an external agency.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of working with an internal team versus an inbound marketing agency for manufacturing businesses.


Hiring an Internal Team for Manufacturer Marketing

When opting to hire in-house, many smaller manufacturing companies look to hire two to three employees maximum to complete all marketing tactics in a timely manner. Several puzzle pieces make up the roles within a marketing department.

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  • Team Leader: This individual is responsible for creating plans and assigning tasks based on role. The leader meets with top-level management to discuss priorities, needs, and results. The leader also embodies characteristics and has experience in all or most of the areas listed below, maintaining an understanding of the processes needed to complete action items.
  • Copywriter: The copywriter is responsible for all copy being published on behalf of the company. This individual writes website content, blogs, emails, social media posts, content offers, and more. Copywriters often specialize in specific industries, so while one individual may excel in crafting content for a medical provider, they might not be the ideal choice for capturing the voice of your manufacturing business.
  • Search Engine Specialist: This team member is well-versed in all things search engine optimization (SEO). They know the ins and outs of how to improve search engine visibility through calculated tactics and best practices. While web developers, analysts, and copywriters have experience and knowledge in SEO, many marketing teams opt to hire an expert in this area.
  • Web Developer: This individual is responsible for building website templates, placing new landing pages, creating blog templates for copywriters to use, and fixing any errors that might present themselves along the way. Web developers can be considered website linguists, as they can read and produce code to ensure your website is functioning the way you intend it to.
  • Analyst: If you want to know which marketing efforts are working and which aren’t, an analyst will be crucial to your team. Analysts have the skills to read and interpret data and then make strategic recommendations based on performance.
  • Creative/Graphic Designer: Last but not least, this individual is responsible for all graphics, logos, colors, imagery, and any other creative services needed for your initiatives. They work hand in hand with writers and developers to create stunning visuals that produce additional engagement for your audience while solidifying your brand.

However, many companies quickly realize that to scale their efforts, they simply need more manpower.

The pitfall of this is that marketing professionals can be costly to hire and retain internally. With the average marketing salary coming out to $60,000, more for additional experience and higher levels of knowledge, many small manufacturing companies do not have the capital to retain internal marketing teams.

This is not the case for all companies, and each independent business should decide if keeping marketing efforts internal is the best choice.


Hiring an External Agency for Manufacturer Marketing

Digital marketing agencies are true experts in lead generation, especially when working with a company in an industry in which they have robust experience. The good news is that manufacturers can find several agencies that specialize in their market and operate at their price point.

Through partnering with an agency, you have a full marketing team ready to conquer your goals. Creative directors, account managers, content writers, graphic designers, web developers, and more are dedicated to seeing your company scale revenue.

Unlike internal team members, agencies are not a short walk away from your desk, however, many offer reasonable compensation rates compared to hiring an internal team. This is one of the most attractive benefits to smaller companies looking to expand their marketing efforts.

Additionally, marketing agencies can provide insights about your industry that your company may not be aware of. Through previous experience, research, and trial, you’re getting inside knowledge.

For example, say you’re considering whether to prioritize marketing on LinkedIn or Facebook. Your agency, armed with buyer personas and pain points insights, might recommend LinkedIn. This platform is where decision-making executives actively seek manufacturers for partnerships, fostering valuable interactions within the business community.


Benefits of Working With an Inbound-Focused Agency

Not all agencies are created equal, and we know you’re looking for the true action items an inbound marketing agency can provide you with.

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Inbound agencies focus on generating qualified leads that will become revenue-generating customers through SEO, content marketing, and growth-driving website design. However, the mix of strategies is dependent on what your specific company can grow in.

The inbound methodology is centered around meeting your customer at the right time in their buying journey. When partnering with an inbound agency, the focus is kept on what your company needs to grow revenue. Custom solutions are built to meet your specific needs as a manufacturer while staying on budget.

If your website is already a lead-generating machine, efforts can be shifted to providing additional content. Or if you have content nailed down, the epicenter of your plan can be solidifying your branding. There are an endless number of ways to create a plan that is tailored to your needs and will provide the results you want to see.

While some of these tactics might sound too good to be true, fear not. Inbound agencies are motivated by results. Through robust tracking tools and insights, efforts will always be backed by the results they are producing.

Maybe your agency crafted a content offer that brought in five new leads that closed this quarter. If that was your first content offer, you can guess where additional time will be spent. Our bet is on creating another stellar guide, eBook, or checklist.


What Do Inbound Agencies Specialize In?

There is no short answer to this question. The truth is that inbound agencies are well-oiled machines full of varying experts working to deliver goals. Most teams are made up of passionate individuals who have focused on perfecting their craft.

Here is a list of some specialties and how they work to increase your revenue.

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Lead Generation

Inbound agencies are built on the foundation of delivering more leads. Through this training, they are equipped with strategies and resources to take your manufacturing business to the next level by bringing increased digital leads interested in partnering with your company.

Email Marketing

Inbound agencies strive to only deliver leads to the sales team that align with their criteria. This is achieved by meticulously crafting email marketing nurtures designed to guide leads seamlessly through the flywheel and convert them into new customers.

Marketing Automation

Through marketing automation, inbound agencies work to create additional revenue through decreased manual work. For example, by implementing workflows, your leads are being nurtured with content downloads, blogs, and other resources without your sales team stepping in until the lead is ready for them.

Social Media Marketing and Monitoring

Effectively promoting your manufacturing services extends beyond having excellent blogs and resources on your website. In the current landscape, social media platforms have gained significant traction for B2B companies marketing to other businesses.

Inbound agencies enhance your company promotion strategy with meticulously planned calendars, posting schedules, and compelling content. Additionally, they continuously seek opportunities to boost your social media presence through increased account engagement.

Content Marketing

We know what you’re thinking. Content is not going to bring in your manufacturing prospects. But let us prove you wrong!

Your customers are looking for information about your company that goes deeper than an about page. Your leads want details on the products you use, the processes you choose, and the strategies they can implement to receive a better experience with your company. This is where search-engine-optimized content shines.

Insightful downloads, eBooks, and webinars are a sure way to increase awareness about your brand and provide your leads with concrete reasons why they should partner with you.

Graphic Design

Content would not be what it is without beautiful graphics to complement it. Humor us: If inbound agencies were chefs, content would be the main course, and graphics would be the side dishes. No one wants a main course without any sides. That is what graphic design provides for your audience.

Web Design and Development

Digital marketing relies on a central hub, and for inbound firms, this hub is your website. The primary objective is to transform your website into a lead-generating powerhouse for your manufacturing company.

At the core of inbound marketing philosophy is the belief that your website should function as your most effective salesperson, offering all relevant information about your company in an aesthetically pleasing and easily digestible manner.

With strategically placed call-to-actions to capture lead information and a layout designed to showcase your best content, your website becomes a destination where leads are compelled to stay, establishing you as one of the top experts and providers in manufacturing.


Marketing Team vs Agency: Which Will You Choose?

We’ve covered quite a bit about how inbound marketing agencies can grow manufacturing businesses. LAIRE is passionate about providing revenue growth to manufacturers and truly believes that inbound is the way to go.

If you choose to handle your efforts internally, check out our Ultimate Guide to Marketing for Manufacturers. You might find a few things that can help boost your company’s marketing plans.

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Todd Laire

Todd Laire

B2B Sales and Marketing Leader | CEO at LAIRE, a Digital Growth Agency - Co-Founder, Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, Marketer, Sales Team Builder, and Change Advocate.