Milwaukee, Wis. April 26, 2011—Trefoil Group, a strategic marketing communications firm with  strong manufacturing industry experience, recently conducted a market research study exploring  marketing effectiveness for plastics manufacturers. The survey was completed by 310 companies representing a cross section of the industry.

The survey found that nearly 53% of respondents were increasing their marketing efforts, more than double the number of companies increasing investments in their sales forces. According to Mary Scheibel, Trefoil Group principal who reported the findings at a recent Plastics News Executive Forum in Las Vegas, this is consistent with an upward trend in B-to-B marketing as more and more companies confront the competitive realities of the current global marketplace.

“Manufacturing leaders are recognizing the need to augment sales with more effective marketing communication strategies that enable them to expand their reach. In this survey, 52% of respondents said their sales forces are reaching less than 50% of their primary target market. With markets expanding and selling methods changing fast, better marketing has to be part of the solution,” Scheibel said.

At the same time, the results indicate that plastics manufacturers are not taking full advantage of the potential their strategic marketing investments have to produce real, measurable results. The study found that, despite increases in marketing, only 23% of respondents ranked themselves as excellent in communicating their unique value in sales conversations, dropping to 10% via the web and only 6% in marketing materials. In addition, while more than 75% have done a good job communicating change internally, a much smaller percentage – 32% – give themselves high marks in equipping employees to be brand ambassadors.

According to Scheibel, the results are consistent with the company’s experience in working with leaders of small to mid-market manufacturers regardless of the industry. “There’s a lot on their plates. The sales environment is rapidly changing, but manufacturers struggle with understanding the value of a company’s brand, the role of new mediums and how to design and implement communication strategies that accelerate their ability to acquire both customers and talent while creating a sustainable competitive advantage. Our goal, through this research, is to paint a clearer picture as to how.”

A copy of the full market research report is available on Trefoil Group’s website, or by contacting Mary Scheibel at

In a complex business environment, Trefoil Group provides strategic marketing communications services that help people see clearly. Services include communications strategy; branding and positioning; websites and digital marketing; advertising and direct marketing; public relations and social media; recruitment and internal communications; and more. For more information about Trefoil Group, go to