Behind every great contract manufacturer is a great marketing plan

All articles | Strategy
Published Nov 29, 2022 | Written by Katie Hughes

Contract manufacturers are used to operating unseen. But those destined to succeed in a crowded marketplace will be those that invest in marketing to build their brand and stand out from the competition.

As a contract manufacturer, you're used to working in the shadows. And your clients own the IP of the products you make. So is investing in marketing really worth your time and money?

The trouble is, you're facing an unpredictable pipeline and missing your revenue targets. So you know you need to do something.

And while you may not have an IP, you do still have a brand.

The most successful contract manufacturers recognise the need to differentiate themselves from the competition. And marketing helps them make it happen.

Is marketing really worth it for contract manufacturers?

Marketing can be challenging and unpredictable. It requires a lot of time and effort to be effective, and it can be hard to measure the ROI. So how do you know it's worth it?

Maybe you've invested in marketing before, but you didn't get the outcomes you hoped for. Maybe you're just not confident it will work.

But if you don’t continue to grow and remain invisible to your ideal customers, then your business will stagnate.

Using effective marketing strategies, such as content creation, email marketing, and social media campaigns, you can reach potential customers and keep them engaged with your company over time.

In sum, investing in marketing can help you to:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Identify and connect with ‘right-fit’ customers
  • Generate more leads
  • Convert more customers
  • Form stronger relationships with existing customers
  • Scale and grow your business

But to ensure success, you need a marketing plan

A marketing plan is a document that outlines your marketing goals and strategies. It typically includes strategies for reaching target customers, identifying marketing channels, and tracking results to evaluate performance. 

When done well, a marketing plan can help improve sales and build long-lasting relationships with customers - making it essential for any successful contract manufacturing business with ambitious growth goals.

How to create a marketing plan for your contract manufacturing business

So, where to start?

Here are a few tips to get going:

1. Define your goals

What do you hope to achieve with your marketing efforts? To increase brand awareness, generate new leads, or boost conversions? Without specific goals, it can be difficult to measure marketing success and make necessary adjustments. 

When setting marketing goals, it's important to keep the following in mind:

  • Goals should be specific and measurable – this will help you track progress and make necessary changes along the way.
  • Objectives should be achievable and relevant to your business – this will help ensure that your marketing efforts are effective.
  • Goals should be time-bound, so you can track progress and make necessary changes – this will help you stay on track and achieve your desired results.
  • It's essential to stay focused and constantly evaluate results to optimise marketing efforts over time – this will help you ensure that your marketing efforts are effective and producing the results you want.

2. Identify your target audience

Who are you trying to reach with your marketing messages? Knowing your target audience is essential for effective marketing.

Buyer personas are an essential part of any marketing plan. They help you to identify and understand your target customers, which makes it easier to create marketing materials and messages that appeal to them. When you know who you're marketing to, you can target them more effectively and create content that resonates with them.

To create buyer personas, gather data about your ideal customers, including their demographics, interests, and needs. You can then use this data to create a fictional persona representing your target customer. 

This information can then be used to inform all aspects of your marketing strategy, from the types of content you produce to the channels you use to promote your brand. Having a clear understanding of your target customers is essential for any successful marketing campaign.

FREE eBook: The Manufacturer's Guide to Developing and Using Buyer Personas

3. Research your competitors

By conducting competitor analysis, you can gain insights into your competitors' marketing strategies and learn what works well for them. This information can help you create a more effective marketing plan to help you stand out.

Competitor analysis can also help you to identify potential threats and opportunities. By understanding your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, you can exploit their weaknesses and capitalise on your strengths and make informed decisions about your business.

4. Choose the right marketing channels

There are many marketing channels to choose from. Selecting the ones that will work best for your business is crucial. 

Some of the most effective marketing channels include:

  • Digital marketing channels, such as your website and social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation tools
  • Offline marketing channels, such as trade shows

Digital marketing channels such as your website and social media marketing are popular among contract manufacturers of all sizes because they're affordable and effective. Additionally, digital marketing channels allow you to reach your target audience with your message.

Email marketing is another popular marketing channel that can be very effective. It allows you to reach a large audience at a low cost and is a great way to build relationships with potential customers. 

Marketing automation tools are another great option. These tools allow you to automate many marketing tasks, such as lead capture and lead nurturing. They're affordable and easy to use and can help you improve your ROI on marketing efforts.

Offline marketing channels, such as trade shows, allow you to reach a large number of potential customers in a short amount of time. However, it requires more time and effort than other types of marketing and can only reach a limited number of people, so it's important to supplement with digital marketing.

5. Track results

Tracking marketing results is essential for any successful marketing campaign. You can evaluate which strategies are working, make adjustments as needed, and optimise your marketing efforts over time by tracking results. You can also follow the ROI of your marketing efforts to ensure you're getting a good return on your investment.

There are many different ways to track marketing results, and your method will depend on your marketing campaign. Some common forms of tracking marketing results include:

  • Website analytics - This is a popular method of tracking website traffic and leads. By tracking website analytics, you can see which pages are receiving the most traffic and which are converting the most leads.
  • Email marketing metrics - This includes tracking things such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. 
  • Social media metrics - For example, reach, engagement, and conversions. 
  • Google AdWords metrics - For example, impressions, clicks, and conversions. 
  • A/B testing - This is a method of testing different marketing campaign versions to see which one performs better. By conducting A/B tests, you can determine which campaign version delivers the best results for your business.


The most successful contract manufacturers recognise they need a strong marketing plan to set them apart from the competition and achieve their growth goals. With a plan in place, you can emerge from the shadows and take your business to the next level.

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Published by Katie Hughes November 29, 2022
Katie Hughes