Manufacturing needs some marketing help says this month’s guest writer on the blog of Peterborough-based Metrix Marketing (

Mike White of Arvada Strategic Marketing suggests applying some marketing discipline to the image problem suffered by manufacturing industry – a problem which will hamper not just the growth of manufacturing in the UK but the UK economy as a whole.

He writes: “Despite the high numbers of apprentices entering the sector we still face a significant skill shortage due to the massive void built up since the mid 1980s. It is therefore essential that we not only get the younger generations interested and engaged in engineering, we need to be focusing on more mature generations too.”

He has worked in manufacturing for more than 30 years and throughout that time, he says, he has been constantly hearing that the sector has a poor reputation.

He writes: “Summits have been held and conferences have taken place. The consistent conclusion is that manufacturing has a poor reputation and something should be done about it. Nothing really appears to have changed since I started as an apprentice with Lucas back in the 1970’s.

“Many people in the sector are calling on politicians to do something about it – but should we be relying on politicians?

“Engineers are problem solvers. Are we so busy solving the challenges of modern technology that we cannot solve the reputation problem of our own profession? How can we help ourselves?”

In his blog Mike suggests a range of things that the manufacturing sector could do to help itself – starting with not ‘devaluing itself’ by the way it portrays itself and running through a manifesto of ideas for engaging with and educating potential employees.

He concludes: “Applying a little ‘marketing think’ to engineering would help to attract and retain the brightest and best people (of all ages) that are needed to rebuild the UK manufacturing sector.”