Search Marketing in Manufacturing: Who’s Controlling Your Brand?

by | Aug 1, 2012

Guest Post

Sage Lewis is Founder and CEO of SageRock Inc., a digital marketing agency in business since 1999 and recognized as a Marketing Sherpa top ten U.S. search marketing company.

You do a search on Google for your top-selling product and there you are in spot #1. Whew. Your listing is followed by your best distributor and then after him that new startup you signed on that knows how to market online, but has a website from 1998. Then the trade publications are interspersed in there, touting your product in their article but, sure enough, your competitor’s ad is all over the landing page. The paid search is filled mostly with competitors and Ebay folk selling parts without your permission.

Face it, this is a mess.

Your brand and products are being represented by everyone with a vague interest in them online. You want to control the marketing message, but how? Ideally people would come to you and localize for the distributor, but you can’t tell partners to disengage because it’s driving revenue for everybody. You talked about cookie cutter distribution sites, but those flop in Google. You can’t fund top distributor’s marketing the same as the guy who sells every competing line indiscriminately. Besides they all talk after 3 beers and you don’t need that hassle.

So, you do your own SEO and Paid Search and keep your head down, right? Wrong. There IS a solution to this madness. Here’s what you can do to fix this:

Create a system

What’s the ideal? Step one is defining the goal. What does page one on Google realistically need to look like when you visit? Now make it happen. How? That’s the system part.

Part one of the system:

Create a portal, a first place of contact for those selling product. It should be populated with everything you wish they inherently knew and thought you didn’t have to tell them (you do).

Shareable useful content:

  • Approved photos
  • Press releases on product and parts
  • Video tutorials on selling and running demos
  • Downloadable brochures and sales PDFs
  • Recommended products by industry, price and other demo targeting

Tools and Resources:

  • Training in effective SEO and PPC practices
  • Google Analytics basics
  • Localized targeting advice for PPC
  • Local Page claim instructions
  • SEO phrase recommendations for product and location (help everyone understand long vs. short tail)
  • Ideal Phrases for distributors vs. corporate (and why they should comply for their best interest)
  • Web design consultation and improvement tips and options
  • Free software for managing digital marketing


  • Link back requirements
  • Duplicate content restrictions
  • Spam and other deal breakers
  • Blog and social media policies

Launch the System

  • An onsite launch / workshop is ideal.
  • Explain and build excitement about the common goal (Discuss the master plan for online dominance).
  • Show everyone how working together means increased revenue for those who comply.
  • Bring in experts for your event.

Give funding incentives for those who follow the system

People won’t do it. Plain and simple. Money talks. Match investment. Give marketing dollars to those who use the portal and comply with the system. The smart ones will see the benefit and jump all over it.

Monitor and follow-up

  • Use the tools in the portal to do your own digital marketing work.
  • Monitor who’s doing what out there and reach out to the eyesores and the high achievers.
  • Combat competitors who hijack product phrases. In paid, by contacting Google about policy and inorganic by creating content strategies that smack spam landing pages down.
  • Encourage those complying to share success.
  • Offer additional incentives for high achievers.

Is it a lot of work? Yes. Is it free of investment? No. Is it worth it in the long run? Of course. Take back your brand.

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