One area of growing success in UK manufacturing is in niche sectors, where the emphasis is on technical capability and bespoke production.
Recently, the Financial Times reported on resurgence in urban manufacturing, involving large numbers of smaller manufacturing firms. It is also something that is tied in with urban regeneration and has become an issue policymakers are focusing on.
“Having a niche product is one thing, but knowing how to maximise its marketability and extend its marketing reach is another.”
The Pros and Cons of Niche Manufacturing
Some of the UK’s most successful niche manufacturers have a very specialised customer base but one that is spread out, even on a global scale. For example, Formula 1 has a firm manufacturing base for its cars in the UK.
Where UK manufacturers may not be able to compete on price in a global market dominated by highly-automated, mass production, they can compete on the basis of technical expertise, in defined niche markets.
“There’s very much an engineering culture in the UK, with a focus on concentrating skills in key fields. But while manufacturers might find it easier to fit into micro-sectors, this way of thinking can also hamper their marketing.”
The cons of niche manufacturing include a risk of being overly dependent on a single market and being vulnerable to changes in that market
“There can be tendency for niche manufacturers to narrow their options and stick with what they think they know when it comes to marketing to potential customers.”
“They are often very technically-focused, with sales and order teams that are more reactive than proactive.”
Expanding the Niche
Niche manufacturers may not need to go beyond their specialisation to survive, but they do need to maintain their growth.
“The way to do this is not to compromise on the integrity of the product, but rather to find ways of extending their marketing, to then bring in new sales opportunities.”
One proven approach is to use specialist telemarketing services.
“While existing technical sales teams can provide the right level of detail, they may lack the specialist relationship-building skills to explore new potential markets, and also to engage new customers in the markets they are already familiar with”
“It can be a cultural thing. Niche manufacturers sometimes have an almost protective approach to their product, and to understanding its benefits. What outsourced telemarketing can do is provide a fresh perspective, combined with excellent people skills.”
For niche manufacturers to build on their success, they must be prepared to look beyond their familiar customers and immediate markets. Telemarketing is the perfect tactical tool to help them do this.
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