Audience Personas in the Manufacturing Industry

So, you want to market your products in the manufacturing industry. The first thing you must consider is who you are trying to reach. What are their responsibilities and needs, and what content appeals to them. In this industry you will find that the people with decision making authority will often have one of three roles. They will either be a Procurement Manager, a Design Engineer, or an MRO Manager. It’s important that as you start to build out your marketing plan that you first determine who you are talking to and what is important to them.  This will help you focus your content on topics that they will read, driving awareness of your brand and building authority in the space.  It will also allow you to create gates (lead generation) where you give a piece of the content they are looking for and holding the rest back until they give their contact information.  Let’s get to know these three audience personas.

Procurement Managers

Each manufacturing plant receives parts and equipment needed to keep operations going. These items need to be adequate for the job and cost-effective for the company. How does the Procurement Manager achieve this?

Responsibilities

The Procurement Manager takes the BOM (Bill of Materials) and makes sure the needed products are delivered to the company on time and at a competitive price, meaning they are involved in negotiations with suppliers. They determine which suppliers the company works with by establishing and updating an approved vendor list.

They focus on cost per piece, impact of shipping options available, reliability of on time delivery, and the quality of products and services being sourced.

Needs

This manager needs to make sure the correct products and services are sourced; they are delivered on time and at the right locations. To achieve this, a wide array of reliable business partners is essential.  

Content that appeals to them

They like to see as much information about products and services as possible. Examples of who the suppliers currently work with, industries served, measurable quality standards, supply chain capabilities, and certifications.  Helping them with technology selections or potential cost reduction opportunity areas will get their attention.

Influence on buying process

They will often state that they make the final decision on the products sourced but often work closely with engineering who will confirm or approve any changes to make sure the right selection is made.

Source: Hubspot

https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/persona-targeting-procurement-managers

Design Engineers

Every product undergoes a design process, during which its purpose and how it will achieve that purpose is determined. This is done by Design Engineers, who are some of the most influential personas in the manufacturing industry.

Responsibilities

When products are being designed, Design Engineers establish what parts are needed, generate the necessary drawing for the manufacturing team, create the bill of materials, and troubleshoot performance problems of the design.  They determine which technology will be used and signoff on the final performance specifications.

Needs

Since Design Engineers spend much time researching products or technologies to determine which ones they need, they need accurate and detailed product information and CAD files to evaluate products using software such as AutoCAD or Solidworks. They also may specify the products they need on the bill of materials by brand, part number, and certain attribute specifications.  They want simple access to this data and often as introverts they want to get it without the hassle of speaking with anyone.

Content that appeals to them

They are interested in what products do, what shape they have and what are their dimensions. If dimensions, performance capabilities, graphs, curves, drawings, operational specifications, acceptable ranges for environmental conditions, and physical properties can be provided, they will be happy.  They often need assistance with technology selection and want to know what latest technologies are available and how they compare to each other.  They also search for white papers to get the in-depth technical knowledge and understanding of how to apply technology or an example of how others have applied it.

Influence on buying process

Design Engineers are responsible for asking for the exact products or services they need to solve problems and will advocate for certain products or suppliers when they believe it will reduce cost, the risk of failure or improve the overall performance of what they are working on.

Source: Hubspot

https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/persona-targeting-for-manufacturers

MRO Managers

Every manufacturing plant needs to keep operations going. Making sure production lines and machines are running is critical.  There is one audience persona responsible for preventing that from happening, the MRO Manager.

Responsibilities

Keeping manufacturing plants operating means scheduling down time for preventive maintenance activities.  It means acting quickly when production stops and performing corrective maintenance duties as needed.

To achieve this, it is important to understand a component’s lifecycle.  To be able to predict failure cycles and select the best parts to maintain uptime.  Product needs to be bought and delivered for planned shutdowns.  When faced with an unexpected production halt, a diagnosis must be fast, accurate and must have solution to fix it.  Getting the right parts to do repairs and getting the business up and running as quickly as possible is key.

Needs

Because they can face production stops at any time of the day, MRO Managers need support from suppliers 24/7. They tend to be very loyal to suppliers who help them consistently throughout emergency situations.

Content that appeals to them

They appreciate installation guides, product maintenance bulletins, lifecycle expectation charts, troubleshooting guides, product specifications, and emergency delivery information.  They also heavily rely on the knowledge that vendors can bring to them and the availability of the vendors to help troubleshoot.

Influence on buying process

They are serving the rest of their manufacturing colleagues.  Whether that is process or manufacturing engineers, machinists, or cell managers.  They are tasked with keeping the necessary product in place.  They heavily influence the selection of products in the plant and work closely with engineering and production to ensure everything meets spec.

Source: Hubspot

https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/persona-targeting-maintenance-repair-operations-managers

As you start to look at your own sales process, ensure you know which type of buyer you may be working with.  Determine their key pain points and what they need from you as they make their buying decision.  The more you can streamline their life, the more likely you will become one of the critical players they call when they need help.

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