Why Marketing Matters to Manufacturers

Marketing is more than websites and branding.

As explained by Mike Levy, GENEDGE’s business services director–growth, marketing is a science, a process-based approach that studies growth opportunities and positions companies to increase profits. Marketing makes a company accountable to its financial and strategic goals. Successful companies need a marketing program, and it’s critical that executives understand why and the benefits it brings.

“Our data show that from 2016-2021, marketing was the No. 1 need in our manufacturing companies in Virginia,” Levy said. “GENEDGE is here to help manufacturers innovate, compete and grow, and having a process-based and a product-management approach to marketing is key to our manufacturers’ success.”

When Levy first meets with a company’s leaders, he asks about their processes and numbers, such as details about their markets, business cycles, frequency of client contact and market segments.

 “I need to know who they’ve targeted, the size of their markets and the number of potential customers,” he said. “While there’s a human-based component to marketing, it’s not just websites and graphic design.”

Levy walks his manufacturing clients through the broad strategy of a marketing plan, establishing metrics and goals that help companies target their markets and look for new opportunities.

Another tool offered to members of GENEDGE’s Alliance is CONNEX Virginia, a free online database that lets Virginia manufacturers find qualified supplies, new contract opportunities and state manufacturing resources to help them keep up with ever-changing market demands.

Companies across Virginia appreciate Levy’s expertise and say small manufacturers in particular can benefit from GENEDGE’s counsel, via the GENEDGE Alliance.

How We Deliver Marketing Expertise

Foster Fuels Inc., located in Brookneal in Southside Virginia, is FEMA’s emergency fuel provider nationwide. When a natural disaster hits, the company provides guaranteed fuel delivery to such critical operations as hospitals. After 2017’s busy hurricane season, the company created a new division devoted to mission-critical services and reached out to Levy for help developing a marketing plan.

“Mike spent a lot of time mapping out what we were doing then and where we thought there were opportunities, potential disruptions or challenges,” said Will Rohrig, Foster Fuels’ senior vice president of mission-critical services. “We discussed what we needed to do as a new division and where we wanted to go.”

The goal: 300 percent growth in five years.

After making new investments in people, systems, and software and focusing on markets in new regions, the company is seeing success.

“This is the fifth year, and we are easily on that goal. It was definitely a big scary goal. But with Mike and GENEDGE, we were able to have those conversations that forced us to not just think about doing our day-to-day business but to think about what the long-term would look like in two, five, and 10 years. I can’t say enough good things about them.”

Friendship Industries Inc. in Harrisonburg, a packaging company, has worked with GENEDGE on various projects, such as lean manufacturing, over the years. Recently it turned to Levy and GENEDGE when it wanted to expand its marketing operations and develop a business development strategy.

“GENEDGE is just a wonderful resource because it allows a company like ours that operates with limited funding to access their resources and operate on a higher level,” said Piete Casius, president and CEO. “They understand our business, and they work with us on a solution that’s best for us. They make us feel like we matter.”

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