The Globe and Mail recently published an article on the rebirth of Canada's manufacturing sector. As we all know, the sector has been hard hit in recent years. But this article was a good news story and highlighted a few companies that are achieving success in new ways.
These companies are focusing their efforts and providing products for niche industries which emerging countries like China can't yet replicate. By staying ahead of emerging countries whose manufacturing focus is primarily on low-cost goods, Canadian manufacturing companies are building momentum and gaining traction in the global marketplace. That's good news for Canada – it's exactly what we all need to be doing.
For these companies, the key to success has been based on three factors:
1. understanding their niche
2. articulating how their products and services are different from the competition
3. building a compelling story about the company, its people and its offerings.
The Canadian companies are achieving success by selling on 'value'. And marketing is playing the role of demonstrating the firm's expertise, educating the market and establishing the company's position as the thought leader.
This is a change from the past. Twenty years ago, B2B companies thought primarily about cost structure. Now it's increasingly about marketing. RIM's current predicament is blamed mainly on the company's poor marketing.
Good marketing for Canadian manufacturers now means:
• highlighting key technical differences between the high-value (yours) and low-value (competition) offerings
• showcasing customer success stories (having actual customers speak to the quality and uniqueness of your offering)
• having the capability to develop custom solutions that are unmatched by others.
If you're a Canadian manufacturer who is experiencing a resurgence by carving a niche in your industry, I'd love to hear how you did it and the changes you made in marketing that have contributed to your success.