Why Manufacturing and Marketing Go Together

Often, companies are divided into three parts. One side does all the product research, development, and manufacturing. The other handles sales, marketing, and customer service. The final segment is a management layer which sits on top and supervises both. With this sort of structure, it is not surprising that when the CEO is a marketing or design-oriented person, the company becomes much more creative and business thrives.

Manufacturing is often overlooked as a segment within the supply chain which is integral in marketing. This is true both for the strategic level and the operational level. To help illustrate this, we can look towards the story of 3M.

Story of 3M: marketing and engineering

While they are known worldwide now for a variety of products, 3M started as a humble company which manufactured adhesives. As they were developing adhesives, the researchers had the goal to create a super-strong adhesive which did not lose strength over time. They tried many times, but all their results were failures. In fact, they only managed to create a glue which was so weak that the scientists started using it to glue their notes to the walls- knowing it was easily detached later. It was not until one of the scientist’s friends commented that their bookmarks kept falling out of their books, did this become a breakthrough product. The scientist recommended some of the glue he had developed. From here, the company went on to become world famous for the Post-It note: a reusable, detachable, pressure-sensitive adhesive note which is now so common the brand is widely recognized all over the world.

In this example, we can see that a mix of marketing experience in the research process could have produced the result much faster: an iconic product which is a staple stationery item in almost every modern home. Variations of this story are told such that a marketer walks into the scientist research room to have the eureka moment. However it happened, manufacturing is an incredibly important process in marketing. It not only allows for new, breakthrough ideas- but is integral in providing value for an existing product.

The benefits which product manufacture brings can be condensed into the 6 questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Who: the person behind the product provides a rich resource of value. Viral advertising campaigns often feature a “secret discovered by a stay-at home mom,” or some other unlikely discoverer. Besides the novelty effect, the inventor or manufacturer could lend credibility and value to the product. If a mathematician and psychologist develop a game, that would be much more interesting than another generic puzzle or board game.

What: the product being manufactured is definitely important to the consumer- but the way in which it is manufactured could directly impact the quality of the product, or the benefits it gives. A snack-food product manufactured next to nuts, for example, must warn against people with nut allergies. This directly impacts marketing.

When: how quickly the product is manufactured and delivered to the warehouse not only decreases supply chain warehousing and storage costs, but it could be beneficial to consumers as well. This does not only extend to perishable goods, but also those which are time-dependent. Examples of this include fashion and fad-products.

Where: country of origin is an incredibly important marketing point which many already know about. The same product manufactured in a country renowned for it is much more valuable than elsewhere. A scarf from the venice countryside, for example, can sell much more than if it was made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh.

Why: the story behind the product adds depth and resonance to the consumer. Why the product was developed, and what role is plays in the story can have a big effect.

How: the method of manufacture can be another important marketing point, for example: oven baked chips compared to fried chips. Something which is hand-made can be seen as much more valuable than something which is automated- as it denotes attention to detail and authenticity. There may even be texture and taste differences especially in food products.

By being aware of the manufacturing process and merging marketing together with manufacturing, the company will not only see an increase in innovation, but in its sales as well.

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