Case studies and methods for manufacturing companies to utilize marketing research in sales and marketing activities

Marketing research is crucial for manufacturing companies to understand their customers and ensure their sales and marketing activities are effective. Conducting case studies and testing various methods can provide valuable insights to guide business decisions.

A case study involves deeply analyzing a specific company or industry to learn from their experiences. One instructive case is a mid-sized furniture manufacturer that struggled with declining sales for years. Through market research, they discovered many customers thought their products were too expensive and lacked modern styling. To address this, the company redesigned top-selling items to have a sleeker aesthetic at a more affordable price point. They also revamped their website and showrooms to better display the new look. Sales increased dramatically after these changes, proving the value of using research to identify problems and test solutions. Other manufacturers can study this example to find areas in need of innovation within their own business model.

Testing marketing methods is another prudent approach. A popular testing method is A/B testing, where two versions of an ad, webpage, or other material are shown to different groups of similar customers to compare results. For instance, a plastics producer A/B tested two different calls to action on their website. One button said “Get a Quote” while the other said “Check Pricing.” They found 15% more people clicked the “Check Pricing” option, showing it resonated better. The company now uses that language broadly across their digital properties. Regular A/B testing allows manufacturers to continuously refine their messaging and find the most compelling ways to appeal to audiences.

Surveys are a staple research method that manufacturers can’t afford to overlook. Developing questionnaires that gain quantifiable insights into customers’ preferences, pain points, and purchase decisions helps shape effective marketing strategies. A metal fabricator recently conducted a survey asking what factors were most important in a supplier. Top answers included on-time delivery, quality standards, and customer service. This guided the company to strengthen internal policies in these areas to attract and retain more businesses. There is also value in conducting employee and industry professional surveys to collect perspectives across the full value chain.

Focus groups bring qualitative research to the forefront. Convening discussions with target customers provides a deeper understanding of emotions, needs, and thought processes that surveys alone cannot capture. For example, a plumbing supply wholesaler uncovered frustrations from contractors about the complexity of their website in a focus group. Participants said it was difficult to find specific products among lengthy categories and search filters. The wholesaler subsequently simplified their website navigation based on this feedback. Having candid conversations in focus groups yields tangible takeaways manufacturers can implement to influence real change.

Additionally, manufacturers would be remiss not to perform competitor research. Analyzing what similar companies are doing well – and where they could improve – through website audits, social monitoring, and analyzing industry reports offers a benchmark for self-evaluation. An electrical equipment distributor conducting competitor research noticed one vendor had substantially more followers and engagement on LinkedIn and Instagram through consistent high-quality posts. This led the distributor to invest in a content marketing strategy and see their own social numbers rapidly increase as a result. Keeping a close watch on industry peers helps manufacturers refine their own tactics and marketing investments.

In summary, incorporating case studies and testing methods like A/B tests, surveys, focus groups, and competitor analyses gives manufacturers actionable insights to strengthen customer relationships and boost sales through superior marketing strategies and communications. Those who commit to ongoing marketing research position themselves for continued growth by ensuring their efforts stay closely aligned with shifting customer and market realities. With the right research approach, even small changes uncovered can make a big difference for bottom-line success.