I recently received two emails from two different manufacturers. They both inquired about using manufacturing content marketing to help their sales efforts. Both these companies had used telemarketing and other conventional marketing tactics with very little success in generating sales qualified leads.
You may be experiencing the same or similar problems as these two manufacturers. Here are excerpts from those emails.
- “Using a lead generation company right now that charges too much and delivers too little. They do not understand industrial sales, and although they are talented and penetrating accounts, many of the set appointments do not answer the phone.”
- “I have been doing the conventional style of marketing i.e. making cold calls, face-time with clients. After all such interactions, I was simply told to mail the information regarding our product, company credentials etc. I have met 100+ people and so far only a few have responded.”
These two manufacturers are experiencing firsthand the realities of industrial buyer behavior these days. Buyers are in self-serve self-select mode and remain mainly invisible for a large portion of the buy cycle. These industrial buyers will engage with your sales team only when they are ready. Hounding them with cold calls or unwanted emails is not going to help them make a more informed decision of selecting your company as the preferred manufacturer.
Continue reading How Manufacturing Content Marketing Sets the Table for Sales
Marketing engineering services is very different from marketing industrial products. The biggest difference is that you are selling an intangible concept as versus a physical product. The final deliverable in engineering services may be a written report but it is still not the same as selling a motor or a pump.
I have run across hybrid situations where the manufacturer sells custom-engineered products. These are not standard off the shelf widgets but require significant amount of engineering consulting upfront before producing the final product.
In this post, I’ll stick with marketing pure engineering services such as Soil and Groundwater Investigation/Remediation; Engineering Feasibility Studies and Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) Audits to name a few.
Traditionally, engineering services firms have relied on referrals, professional networking and event sponsorships to grow their business. Referral business is great but they are usually few and far between for a dependable growth strategy. Networking and sponsorships are time consuming and expensive.
Let’s say you’ve perfected your marketing message into a concise 30-second elevator pitch and you’ve become good at delivering it to strangers you meet at professional events. Assume you’ve managed to pique their interest, which is no small feat. Guess what, they are going to check out your website when they get back to the office. The content on your site will make or break that first impression.
Continue reading Marketing Engineering Services with Content
Most manufacturers including precision CNC machine shops and fabricators have difficulty understanding the true value of digital marketing for manufacturers. Some that have implemented it, struggle to produce tangible results, meaning a boost in sales that they can attribute to marketing.
The need for a robust online presence (Website and customer-centric content marketing) is driven by your customer’s behavior and not because marketing consultants are telling you to do so. Today’s industrial buyers are in self-serve and self-select mode, making them virtually invisible and hard to reach. They don’t need or want to talk to your sales people to get product information. Your buyers will engage with your sales team only when they are ready. Hounding them with cold calls or unwanted spammy emails is not going to make them choose you over the competition.
The lack of buy-in for digital marketing is a two-fold problem as I see it with my industrial clients. The first issue is a mindset at the top and the second part is one of incorrect attribution.
Continue reading No Digital Marketing for Manufacturers = Marketing in the Past
Content marketing is proving to be a big challenge for industrial distributors that I have talked to. The problem stems from the fact that distributors have relied heavily in the past on their principal manufacturers to provide them with marketing content and collateral. Weaning themselves from that reliance and becoming publishers of original content is not only a challenge but they just don’t have the necessary resources for content marketing.
The second part of the problem is that these companies are sales driven and marketing has never been a major part of their sales process. Sales people cold calling, setting appointments for face to face meetings and building relationships are how they have always generated new leads and increased sales. Distributors have realized that industrial buyers are no longer engaging with their sales people like they used to. They recognize the fact that they need to support their sales team with better industrial marketing with content.
Industrial distributors don’t want to become publishers of content; they want to sell more of their products. I accept that reality, the challenge lies is delivering quantifiable ROI from content marketing. (See my post, “Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher, Act Like an Investor”)
Using content marketing for organic or natural SEO to drive qualified traffic for top of the funnel (ToFU) activities is a large part of the solution. However, it is only half the equation. Your content needs to engage with visitors, persuade them to take action now rather than later and convert them into sales qualified leads. This conversion process is far more challenging.
Continue reading Content Marketing for Industrial Distributors
Application Notes or App Notes are very effective and can help you jumpstart your industrial content marketing, especially if you are stuck because of lack of content. Application Notes are closely related to Case Studies but they are not the same.
I’ve heard some people refer to them as white papers. IMO, there’s a difference but that’s a topic for another post. My point is that these content assets are powerful tools of industrial content marketing for lead generation.
Application Notes focus on a particular process or application of a manufacturer’s product. They provide general guidance on the product’s usage under certain operating conditions. Sometimes these documents may highlight unusual or challenging applications of the part. App Notes put the spotlight on the manufacturer and are part of its marketing materials, albeit technical in nature. Here are two examples of industrial App Notes:
Continue reading Jumpstart Industrial Content Marketing with Application Notes
In case you aren’t familiar with the content marketing acronym TOFU, let me define it for you. TOFU stands for top of the funnel and relates to content that attracts qualified visitors to your industrial website or blog.
Creating effective marketing content for TOFU is proving to be a challenge for many manufacturers. That’s because these industrial companies have plenty of product datasheets, user guides and other product-centric marketing collateral but very little content that is customer-centric. Why is this important?
Continue reading How to Create Successful Industrial Marketing Content for TOFU
Developing a good digital marketing strategy and then executing it is complex enough but measuring ROI is proving to be a bigger challenge for marketers within manufacturing and industrial companies.
Thirty-one percent of industrial marketing professionals stated that measuring ROI is the biggest challenge in their profession. That is one of the findings from IHS/GlobalSpec’s 2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing report.
Continue reading Industrial Marketers Face ROI Challenges
Let me give credit where credit is due, I first heard the phrase “The Age of the Customer” from Forrester Research. It has a nice ring to it and IMO, it is a true reflection of buyer behavior today.
I have also heard/read the same phenomenon referred to as the Digital Disruption. Whatever you want to call it is fine with me, but the fact is that there has been a permanent shift in how customers interact with sellers now.
This means that sellers must change and adapt to new ways of acquiring new customers and keeping the current ones. If not, a more nimble and more relevant competitor who isn’t carrying the baggage of “old ways” of marketing will win over your customers and eat into your market share quickly. That’s the fact, Jack!
Continue reading Industrial Marketing in the Age of the Customer
I can assure you this is not another post about sales and marketing alignment. Plenty has been written on that topic already.
I am sure you’ve read many articles about today’s industrial buyers completing most of their decision making long before they ever contact anyone in sales. Various statistics show how Sales is not involved until the final procurement stage, thus making a strong case for using content in inbound industrial marketing to bridge the gap.
I read an article where recent Forrester research found that 75% of the buying cycle is completed before sales is engaged.
Continue reading Industrial Marketing Can’t Succeed Without Sales
Customer experience — the Holy Grail of customer loyalty and repeat business. Every company wants it, many talk about it but only a few get it right.
Customer experience is critical to manufacturers and industrial companies because it takes a long time and lots of hard work to find new customers from a limited pool of qualified prospects where their competitors are fishing too. You may be missing a huge opportunity if you are counting on your sales team and/or sales support people to provide “exceptional customer experience” from start to finish.
Continue reading Industrial Content Marketing’s Impact on Customer Experience