143: How to Identify and Speak to Your Ideal Customer with Emily Joann Wilkins, Founder of Marketing Metal

This is a branding, marketing, and sales focused episode…but everyone needs to hear it! 

Our guest this week is Emily Wilkins, Founder & President of Marketing Metal, a company focused on helping radical job shops “make big profits by creating a killer brand and building out a stupid simple marketing machine”. Given this very loud mission statement, there’s no better person than Emily to cover the strategies outlined today. 

In this episode, Emily shares the importance of focusing on a niche audience through the lens of her own story that led to her founding Marketing Metal.  

We also cover tactics and strategies that job shops and other manufacturers should consider adopting using one of her recent projects, Manufacturing Champions, as an example.  

Finally, Emily shares a short list of things manufacturers should start and stop doing when it comes to marketing, plus a few final tips and personal stories on leveraging your unique voice. 


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. Job shops need to identify their audience before building their brand 
  2. Personal branding is a simple yet powerful marketing option for job shops 
  3. It’s essential for job shops to move with the times online 

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “When you bring some personal elements to (your brand), you look more human. That’s something all of us need right now.” 
  • “When you’re talking about a very specific person, it’s a lot easier for them to identify themselves and for potential referrers to send you the right people.” 
  • “Stop taking any project that comes to your door. It’s hard to say no if you’re in a cashflow problem, but how much is that job that’s not a right fit going to cost you?” 

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn. 

TRACTIAN is the all-in-one industrial workspace designed to make maintenance more streamlined, reliable and profitable. TRACTIAN’s solution integrates condition monitoring IoT sensors and an asset management software to create the most complete maintenance ecosystem on the market. Hear our full interview with their Founder Igor Marinelli. 

Interested in generating leads through videos, podcasts, or other digital content? Then make sure to check out our 6 Strategies for Growing Your Manufacturing Business Using Social Media. 

What We Discuss with Emily Wilkins

  • How Emily got started in manufacturing marketing 
  • Why job shops sometimes forget their audiences 
  • First steps for building their brand 
  • The benefits of personal branding 
  • The best ways of identifying your audience 
  • The advantages of focusing on a niche audience 
  • What job shops should start and stop in their marketing 
  • Why job shops need to evolve online 
  • How to mix your personality into personal branding 
  • How Emily turns her struggles into strengths in her personal brand 

Recommended Resources

  • Marketing Metal, building out meaningful, stupid-simple branding and marketing for machine shops, fab shops, OEMs, and systems integrators 
  • Manufacturing Champions, a community of up-and-coming voices in manufacturing that you can leverage to help tell your brand’s story 
  • The Southerner, southern–style dishes & cocktails are served at this relaxed lakeside venue with a comfy interior in Saugatuck, MI 
  • Pumpernickels, modern and upbeat restaurant and bar in downtown Saugatuck, MI and Emily’s other go-to destination for bourbon old fashioneds 
  • Taco + Bar, a community taqueria showcasing craft mezcal and agave cocktails alongside uniquely handcrafted tacos in Holland, MI 

Connect with Emily