Thought leaders in any industry deliver a ton of value to their audience. Manufacturing is no exception.
The best of best in your industry established themselves as a successful professional in their area, and they deliver content with the goal of being informative and motivational. Said content can vary in format, from blog posts and live events to interviews and webinars.
No matter the capacity of your work in manufacturing, you’ve encountered setbacks or challenges in your work. This is just part of any professional development, but following thought leaders can help with this process of growing.
By following thought leaders and connecting with them and their followers, you can educate yourself and explore new, innovative ideas.
The World of Manufacturing Is Vast
“Manufacturing” is kind of a blanket term for plenty of different subsectors, including:
- Food manufacturing
- Chemical manufacturing
- Metal manufacturing
- Wood/paper manufacturing
Regardless of what subsector you’re operating under within manufacturing, your marketing and sales teams have likely faced plenty challenges, such as the following:
Extensive Sales Cycles
When potential buyers research your products, it can be a long process. And it’s justified.
When trying to decide if you want to invest in a large transaction for your company, you’ve got to take your time in considering if you’re making the best decision. But that wise purchasing method can sometimes work against your side of the sale.
The (typically) highly technical nature of your products can make explaining them to interested buyers an extra step for your marketing team.
Maybe they’re super complicated, or highly specialized, or maybe they’re just too darn long to really explain. Learning how to keep it short and simple can go a long way, especially when you can build an impressionable story around the product and its uses.
Lots of Decision Makers
Remember when you had to present a project to your teacher and leave a good enough impression to earn a good grade? Imagine how much harder it would be to get that grade if you had six teachers assessing you.
That’s usually the case in the manufacturing world. Sometimes, that team of six isn’t even the final decision makers. That can be a big wall to climb.
Manufacturing needs tend to be super specific and contextualized. When it comes to parts for machinery, there’s no wiggle room in picking types, sizes, or shapes.
Depending on what your business offers, the picky nature of the industry can complicate and extend the sales process.
High Dollar Amount
Making these specialized products isn’t cheap, and so, unfortunately, neither is their asking price. Your business needs to make a profit. Your B2B buyers are looking for a deal. It’s a hard game of give and take that requires a great deal of research, patience, and savvy.
All the while, you have to maintain a positive relationship with your buyers so that you don’t lose all of your business.
It wouldn't be unexpected for your marketing team to feel like they're in the deep end without a float to help them. One of the best ways to stay on top of manufacturing trends and drive growth is to learn from the experts. Fortunately, many share their knowledge and experiences as thought leaders.
The Top Thought Leaders in Manufacturing
Companies and individual thought leaders alike create and share high value content for manufacturing professionals. Here are the top thought leaders on LinkedIn in the world of manufacturing that you should follow:
Companies to Follow
1. Caterpillar Inc.
The world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment has an impressive amount of content available to those interested.
Tailoring their content to different audiences for maximum outreach, CAT has various platforms where they reinforce their values of creating the best products and improving the world. You can also tune into their Caterpillar Podcasts to get up to date with the company’s happenings.
2. General Electric (GE)
General Electric has done a great job of consistently leading conversations in its field, regardless of their setbacks.
With content stemming from their digital media streams and online magazine, they keep the engineering community engaged. Years of experience in the industry guarantees that their thought leadership has information to offer from their successes and their failures.
Chief Technology Officer, Roland Busch, oversees most of Siemens social media channels, where he discusses plans for the future. As an industrial giant, their audience tunes in to their conversations surrounding what’s next for the world, like smart cities.
Jabil is a global manufacturing solutions provider that believes in driving innovation in an already fast-paced Industrial Revolution.
They share their thoughts on engineering, design, and product management services, all of which their thought leaders are experts in. With their eye on the prize of staying relevant in today’s tech boom, you can be sure that they have a lot to say.
Known as the world’s largest aerospace company and America’s biggest manufacturing exporter, they’re recognized and respected among their peers – fact that Boeing is not oblivious to.
Offering insight on aircraft engineering, the effort to lessen aircraft emissions, space technology, and more, they keep their audience up to date with where aerospace’s advancements.
People to Follow
1. Don Tapscott | Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Blockchain Research Institute
Having written 16 books around the influence technology has on business and the world at large, Tapscott has spent over 30 years in thought leadership.
With the knowledge he learns from his Blockchain Research Institute, where his team focuses on investigating blockchain strategies and organizational transformation, he’s a great resource for keeping one step ahead of the changes to come.
2. Bart De Muynck | Research Vice President, Gartner
Bart De Muynck publishes his findings after analyzing the advanced technological topics affecting transportation management systems. He’s consistent in his postings about the supply chain industry and transportation sector.
Following an expert with such an established presence on LinkedIn will keep you in the loop on what’s happening in your field.
3. Patrick Bian | Director of Supply Chain Management, Watts Water Technologies
Patrick Bian lectures at Northeastern University for the Masters Program in Business and Engineering on business management and building supply chains. Known for sustaining the visions for large, multinational companies.
His position as president of the French American Chamber of Commerce, New England warrants a look at what information he has to offer.
4. Sean Griffey | CEO and Co-Founder, Industry Dive
A recipient of the Digital Hall of Fame and Media News Award, Sean Griffey has expertise in everything B2B media. He publishes content on growth planning, financial management, technology strategy, social media, and lead generation, covering several different markets across his channels.
5. Kelli Saunders | President of Morai Logistics Inc., Mode Transportation Associates
Kelli Saunders is respected for her work in the Women’s Executive Network, where she encourages young women to pursue rewarding careers in business, logistics, and supply chain. With an impressive career herself, she provides a lot of insight on the supply chain and its weaknesses.
Make the Most of Manufacturing Thought Leaders
It’s the same as in your personal life if you follow celebrities on social media. You absorb the ideas and examples presented to you by those you admire and respect. When you engage regularly with thought leaders and read their content, you’re well equipped to grow professionally and drive results in your role.
Stay engaged in conversations with them and their followers. You can also join LinkedIn groups related to your manufacturing speciality.
Connecting with other knowledge-hungry professionals can help you learn important lessons about any aspect of business, like redesigning your website, building out branding strategies, and dissecting inbound marketing best practices you can put into action immediately.
All it takes is one click of button to follow these companies and influencers. It's up to you how you want to use this knowledge.