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Top 5 Ways Mills and Manufacturers Can Successfully Promote Their Business (and Win New Customers)

Most manufacturers think that marketing is for different kinds of businesses but not for them. They see marketing as offering no real value, or as a waste of time and money. What they overlook is that marketing is a powerful tool that can help a company stand out in a hypercompetitive market and help to “pre-sell” customers even before the first sales call. Good marketing comes down to a set of activities that build your company’s image in the eyes of your customers for the end goal of growing profitable sales.

Here are five tips for success:

1. Irrelevant Content Does Not Work: Most brands rely heavily on social media. They receive the same kind of messages from every company, which makes it hard to stand out from the competition. A common complaint is that too many suppliers contact brands to sell products or categories that they do not even buy. It is important to create relevant content that can meet brands’ individual needs.

2. Brands Prefer Personalization: We surveyed key brands to ask them, “what makes a supplier stand out?” and “what could they do to catch your interest?” Brands responded that they like when suppliers take the time to study the brand and offer real solutions that support their business needs.

3. Do Your Homework: Research and identify those brands where you have a competitive advantage. Think about how you offer something of greater value for their product lines. No one can do everything, so focus on what you do best, especially compared to your competitors.

4. Solve a Brand’s Problem: At the top of the list of brand problems is the demand for greater transparency and sustainability. Joining the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol directly addresses the demand. It provides mills and manufacturers with access to the Protocol Consumption Management System (PCMS) to validate consumption of cotton and associated consumption units. This certification is very attractive to brands.

5. Build Your Company Image by Co-Branding: If you look around, you will start to notice co-branding everywhere! Some famous apparel examples include how Uniqlo features Supima cotton on their online store, or how Merrell footwear features the Vibram logo on their soles. By using the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol logo on your customer-facing communications such as email signatures, social media profiles, and website, you are letting your customers know that your company meets the highest international standards for a sustainable and transparent cotton supply chain.

These marketing tips can help you promote your business through content that is relevant, personalized, well-researched, and thoughtful. As brands continue their desire for greater transparency and sustainability, choosing smart partnerships, like with the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, can help meet this demand.

Learn more about joining the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol as a member at

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About the author

Jane Singer is managing director of Inside Fashion, a market information platform for the global apparel supply chain. In addition to monthly reports and updates, Inside Fashion publishes The Current Situation, a quarterly advisory report that includes market alerts, market consensus and key insights that helps senior supply chain execs make sharper decisions.