An end-of-year message from Made in Britain CEO John Pearce
HEADING towards the turn of this extraordinary, time-warped year, it’s a good idea for us to gift ourselves a few moments to reflect on all that has happened, and to take forward all we have learned. This should help us get through the next few months of the transformation that we all know is coming. Many economic forecasters are predicting another difficult year for every kind of business in Britain but there are lots of affordable ways to make our businesses more resilient. I’d like to share four easy ways to improve your marketing visibility in 2021.
Tell us about all of your products
Our members join Made in Britain primarily to sell more of what they make, and we’re constituted to find an ever-increasing number of ways to help them do exactly that. We consulted with members and marketing experts in the summer and designed a new feature to our site to make finding products much easier and more fun. We have this month launched a bespoke, ‘digital warehouse’ for members, housed safely on the premises of our famous website URL: madeinbritain.org – the aim of this new feature of membership is to make it easier for procurement professionals and the general public to find what they are looking for, made closer to where they live. As the number of products increases and the accuracy of our own search engine gets greater (it’s learning from people’s search criteria), we expect this site to become the most trusted place to find exactly what you are looking for, made in Britain by one of our members.
Work to enjoy online learning
Our organisation has grown consistently this year, at a faster-than-ever rate. We’ve welcomed in more than 400 new members across all our 60 sectors and helped them connect with the broad network of Made in Britain with more, free, online learning events than ever. Feeling isolated in business can be disheartening or much worse. So, we’ve made the effort to increase the opportunity to meet up online with other members and 100s have taken advantage of this networking service. In 2021, we’ll hold twice as many networking events for members and in the autumn, if we are allowed, some of them will be in-person events.
Practice makes perfect in online selling
Marketing is a social science, even when you’re trying your best to do it over a free-to-use video conference platform. Note to self: “You’re probably on mute… again!’
We’re all aiming to bring about profitable changes in behaviour in buyers and consumers - a profitable activity for our manufacturing business, to help it prosper now and in the future. Bringing about those changes in behaviour, (convincing people to buy your product for the first time, or your product rather than someone else’s) isn’t easy. One of the ways we helped our members this year, using the medium of video conferences and downloaded content, was by introducing them to new marketing experts, with a focus on the toughest challenges for manufacturers. We did our best to make the most of this year’s first-ever virtual Digital Manufacturing Week with some mixed results. Speaking to members after the event, it’s clear we’d all rather be meeting up face-to-face – especially those, like me, who love nothing more than meeting lots of new people in person. But we were unanimous in our feedback to the organisers that learning how to use video conferencing to sell your product or just your message is a skill we all have to perfect, and fast!
If we are to become proper net-zero salespeople in 2021, making the most of Zoom, Teams and GoTo will be a must-have for all manufacturing marketers.
Declare your green credentials to sell more to everyone
This year, as the pandemic put the brakes on so much conventional consumer patterns and behaviours, the alternative future of the economy started to be described by some media as much more than just climate change and plastic pollution. Whether the name badge is ‘green industrial revolution’ or a ‘new green deal’, we know already that buyers, specifiers and the general public are already asking deep, probing questions about the impact of what they choose to buy on the society they live in and on the planet on which they depend.
To help our members understand where their business is on the road to sustainability, we’ve designed and built a bespoke green growth programme, free for members and universal to the outside world of green, sustainable accreditations. We aim to launch this service early in the spring and use the data we collect to publicise precisely how green our group really is. We’ll also offer members clear signposting to partner organisations that can help fill in the missing components, affordably. At Made in Britain, it won’t cost a penny to declare your business green growth plans – just share your thoughts about what you’re already doing in our new baselines study here.
You really don’t need to buy more new kit to make new business contacts and friends. We are all perfectly equipped socially to connect with new and not-so-new customers, using the video-conferencing technology that’s already here right now. Before we discern on the purchase of new, hi-tech equipment to take us into the new emerging economy, let’s learn to collaborate better every day. Practice really does make perfect.
Before I sign off at the end of this stressful and frustrating year, I'd like to invite you to watch our latest video, below. Made with strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines this is our video presentation of 'Why Made in Britain matters now'. It really does.
John Pearce, December 2020