Making a lasting connection
Marketing can be thought of as an optional extra for manufacturers, but by having an ongoing relationship with customers, innovative manufacturers are finding new ways to add value.
One manufacturer that has seen how investing in marketing has increased the value of their products is Tradiebot. A spin-off of Plastfix, an automotive plastics repairs company, Tradiebot provides 3D printed plastic parts for automotive repair, along with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) tools for the installation and repair of car parts.
Part of the job for Tradiebot, in their marketing, was not just to spread the word of their product, but to educate their customer base and industry about what their product was, and this partly determined what marketing they invested in.
David Chuter, CEO and managing director of the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC), outlined that connecting with a customer once a product is sold can be an extension of a firm’s marketing practices, and one that allows for value adding as a product ages.
“If a company that manufactures equipment is able to monitor how that equipment is used, they’re going to be able to learn an awful lot about what its maintenance schedules are, what its energy usage is, and all of that data should allow that company to iterate that back into their design processes to improve their machine.”
This kind of monitoring also allows companies to take ownership of what happens to a product at the end of its life, potentially adding value as the product is re-used or recycled.