80% of the shops I speak with are hesitant to invest in marketing. They either do not have the time to focus on marketing efforts, or do not fully understand the steps needed to achieve their marketing revenue goals.
Much of the hesitation to invest is driven by the fact that results are not always guaranteed. In marketing, it’s about having the right message introduced to the right audience at the right time.
You do not have to invest in marketing to increase revenue in your shop. However, when shops ignore marketing their growth is typically much slower and oftentimes they lose customers at the same rate at which they take in new customers. This results in little to no net gain in revenue, and certainly keeps shops from experiencing any sort of exponential growth.
One of the best ways to increase revenue in your shop is to introduce on-going marketing initiatives.
In-house hires are a great way to have consistent, focused efforts on marketing your shop. I recommend this route once a profitable shop starts to reach the $7-$10M revenue range. This is an important decision, as a fully burdened professional marketer that has niche marketing experience in manufacturing can be a significant expense (ranging from $50K – $100K). Keep in mind that this expense is BEFORE you give them an annual marketing budget. You can, of course, find and nurture an existing employee or straight- out-of-college student that is interested in marketing and set them loose on the shop. Though this strategy may produce a slower return on investment, it is certain that hiring the right person will have a huge impact on your shop’s annual revenue.
Agencies can be of huge value if you can find one that has deep job shop marketing knowledge. In my experience, this mismatch leads to shops pulling the plug on their marketing agencies (I’ve seen 5 so far this year!). In talking with shop owners that have used marketing agencies, I have learned that the agencies struggle to understand how shops work and in turn do not produce strategies which bring in new business. As a result, shop owners must spend time teaching the agencies they hired about their industry. This is not only a waste of time, but adds more work to shop owners already busy schedules.
As the former Head of Marketing for RAPID, I spent 10 years working in the shop and building revenue via marketing. The investment was powerful – we grew revenue from $7M to $48M in that time. This experience produced both failures and successes which allowed me to tune in my strategy to focus on the activities that make the biggest impact. Those are the activities that I want to share with shops. As the current Head of Marketing Services at Paperless Parts, I offer specialized marketing services and expertise focused around the custom parts industry.
Get Started with Marketing Today
Whether you are considering an in-house hire, hiring a marketing agency or looking for expert consultation, I am here to help! Let’s schedule a brief 45-minute call to talk about your shop, what you have done (if anything) to market it, talk about your shop’s goals, and answer any questions you may have.
You can reach me at [email protected]
– Matt Sordillo
Connect with me on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with future posts: https://www.linkedin.com/in/quickturnmarketing/
Matt Sordillo was the Head of Marketing at RAPID, a CNC machining and sheet metal shop that grew to $50M in sales and was sold to Proto Labs, Inc. (PRLB) in 2017 for $120M. Today, Matt is the Head of Marketing Services at Paperless Parts and is working to provide job shop owners the tools necessary to compete in today’s increasingly digital business world.