Survey MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU The Tooling Sector Needs More Marketing Courage
In order to ensure the competitiveness of German-speaking tool, pattern and mold making companies, the cooperative MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU eG conducts an anonymous company comparison across the industry. The initiators started in 2019 to systematically make the companies better with industry knowledge. This article presents the key figures report from March 2021.
As a supporting pillar for the industrial business location, the tool, pattern and mold making sector is not only highly impressive, but above all indispensable. Every day, it handles projects that require highest quality, maximum precision as well as high-tech know-how and equipment. Accordingly, it is an industry that has a lot to report. At least one would think so. But in fact, it is even better at keeping quiet than at technical engineering.
To this day, a large part of the population hardly knows about this industry, let alone which companies make it up. A state of affairs that can become problematic, especially in times of crisis, as Benedikt Ruf explains. The serial founder and managing director of the used machinery platform GINDUMAC studied international marketing with a focus on business administration. He is one of the initial idea providers of MARKTSPIEGEL WERKZEUGBAU eG and involved as an expert, analyzing the field of marketing and sales. How visible a company actually appears on the market depends on marketing measures that are carried out professionally and continuously.
With the "Marktspiegel Werkzeugbau", tool-, model and mold makers as well as series part manufacturers from German-speaking countries are analyzed annually, based on a strictly anonymized data collection and evaluated with regards to their competitiveness. The aim of the initiators is to make the results from the data analysis available to the industry in turn, deriving trends for the industry from concrete key figures and to create a valid basis for future decisions.
Marketing Has No Strategic Relevance in Corporate Management
The data evaluations of member companies from the 2019 financial year showed that more than 70 % of companies have not defined a marketing strategy or established professional marketing planning. This means that a large proportion of tool, pattern and mold making companies are not concerned with marketing, do not actively cultivate the market and are apparently passively driven by ongoing project business. Benedikt Ruf expresses concern at this result. "Being close to the market is the core of successful entrepreneurship. Active marketing is the key to ensuring that we are not left behind by the competition," Ruf explains and warns. "Ignorance and passivity are the wrong advisors. Particularly in times of dynamic and uncertain market conditions, this poses a great danger to the industry. Sustainable corporate management requires positioning oneself in a market-oriented way. This is only possible with a suitable marketing strategy and marketing planning. Marketing belongs on the industry agenda."
Project-Driven Day-to-Day Business Utilizes Entrepreneurs
The marketing strategy derives the company's goals. How much revenue do I want to generate this year? Which are my target markets? How do I approach my market development accordingly?
Once the strategy is in place, the next step is to transfer it to marketing planning. If a company focuses exclusively on business with existing customers and decides against acquiring new customers, this can be a strategy. The essential thing is to make a conscious decision to do so. "I in many cases have the feeling that entrepreneurs rely too much on traditional success formulas without realizing that in doing so, they are distancing themselves from the market in their project-driven everyday lives," the expert describes. In his opinion, many entrepreneurs find themselves in a "blind spot" here. That is why he appeals: "Declare marketing to be a matter for the board and integrate it as a fixed pillar in the company management. Go ahead with new marketing courage. Set goals, define measures, test, measure, adjust, repeat."
Only a Few Companies Put Themselves and Their Strengths on Show
Especially in times of high competition and price pressure, it is inevitable to highlight your own advantages and to market them in public. Also in this point the survey's result is pretty scary. It indicates that only just less than one fifth of the member companies communicate their strengths to the market. Ruf considers the preparation of reference reports and press releases to be one way of tackling this problem, as they sharpen the company's profile and lead to greater public recognition.
Potential of Social Media is Barely Used
Just as the regular sending of press releases, active social media marketing pays off positively for the company's level of awareness. That's the theory. Because here, too, practice shows a rather humble result. LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: Only just under a third of the surveyed companies currently use social media as an advertising platform. Despite this, an account can be set up quickly and a lot can be achieved with relatively little time investment, as Ruf knows. He believes that these portals are important channels for positioning the company as an employer: "I can only encourage businesses to get involved in the social media business. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, professional networks such as LinkedIn or Xing have two substantial advantages: they offer a valuable networking effect and, in addition, the opportunity to enhance one's own employer brand."
Visibility on Google is Imperative in the Digital Age
Further potential for improvement can be detected in the web presence of the companies. Only about 40 % optimize their website for search engines. Many companies benchmarked by the market survey, in fact rely on modern and mobile-optimized websites, while ultimately failing to invest in search engine optimization. Benedikt Ruf sees a need for action here: "The website is the digital business card of a company. If it cannot be found in search queries, however, the company remains invisible to the market. Especially in the current time, where we can all more or less exclusively take place digitally, basic SEO is an undeniable necessity. Entrepreneurs need to become conscious now and start to face the new marketing demands. Only those who transform themselves in a market-oriented way and also understand digital marketing will be able to ensure the continued existence of their business in the long term."