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A turbulent first half of 2020 has hit industries around the world, and manufacturing is no exception. As in any industry, manufacturers need to maximize their digital footprint to be more seamless and meaningful with current and potential customers – and that has never been more important.
Many stores are forced to modernize on the fly and put things like digital marketing at the center of their budget after previously being relegated to a subordinate role. Manufacturers are typically not seen as digital leaders like the software industry, but the global pandemic has made it impossible for them to ignore digital and especially e-commerce channels.
Related: The pandemic economy has made e-commerce more indispensable than ever
Recently, our agency Shift7 Digital surveyed hundreds of manufacturer decision makers to find out how they are doing in the midst of the chaos of 2020. While the current economy is by no means strong, the results have not been what you expected. The survey found that four in ten manufacturers said they took vacation and laid off employees this year, while more than half (56 percent) have not received government funding, including Small Business’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Administration. Manufacturers are trying to do it on their own.
While many have not turned to government aid, some are shifting their budgets internally to adapt to the new landscape. The survey shows that the focus of manufacturers on optimizing their digital presence is shifting at a time when traditional marketing methods – trade shows, sales pitches, mailers – may be less available. Survey results showed that more than two-thirds of these companies switched marketing dollars from traditional to digital channels this year, and 80 percent are investing most of their marketing spend on their own website. This trend correlates directly with manufacturers' sales – 52 percent say the majority of their sales in 2020 were generated through online channels – and shows that these steps are really paying off and will continue to do so.
Related: Online Shopping: Consumer Behavior Evolution Amid the Pandemic
Manufacturers are beginning to understand that now is the time to make these changes or they will be left behind forever.
This is a trend that won't go away even after the pandemic ends. Any manufacturer can benefit from a more robust digital footprint, and the pandemic has given many the boost they need to make that happen. The cross-platform integration of the brand experience and the optimization of a company's consistent online presence is an important, but important, marketing approach. This shift is paramount as brands need stronger direct relationships with consumers, retailers and resellers. Manufacturers facing this revolution are the ones who will survive and thrive in this environment and beyond.