How Mobile Technology Helps Component Manufacturers Make Their Printed Catalogs More Productive

Component manufacturers are keenly aware of the fact that design engineers must first specify their components or parts before purchasing can place an order. These manufacturers have relied on their printed catalogs in the past to get their parts “designed in.”

However, there is an inherent drawback to these static printed catalogs. An engineer must first leaf through the pages, find the right part number and then call the components manufacturer for details, CAD drawings and pricing information. This manual process can lead to delays, errors and lost opportunities.

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Are Industrial Companies Wasting Their Leads?

No matter the size of the company or the industry they are in, my conversations always boil down to them wanting more leads from their industrial marketing. Yet I see very few of these companies with a lead nurturing strategy in place to convert leads into sales opportunities. As a result, online leads sit untouched or go without a response for weeks if not months.

Often I see marketing people from manufacturing and industrial companies hand off leads to sales with little to no qualifying. This only causes more frustrations and reinforces the long-standing belief by sales that “Marketing generates crappy leads.”

It is important to understand the differences between a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), a Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) and a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). (See my post, “SAL is the Glue that Binds Sales and Marketing in Lead Generation.”)

Here are some eye-opening statistics from a study done by MarketingSherpa:

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5 Most Popular Industrial Marketing Blog Posts from 2012

Happy New Year!

For my first post in 2013, I thought I would take a quick look back at the past year. Here are the five most popular industrial marketing blog posts from 2012. I picked these based mainly on the number of Pageviews and the Average Time on Page according to my Google Analytics.

Social sharing and comments also played a part but to a lesser extent since my primary audience of engineers and industrial professionals tend to be passive participants in those channels as many studies have shown.

  1. Content Marketing for Engineers
    I’ll go out on a limb and state that content marketing for engineers is different. Yes, I do get it that the lines between work and personal lives have blurred thanks to today’s hyper-connected world where everybody is always “On.” And I agree that at the end of the day, marketing to engineers is still all about communicating with people. Call it P2P (People-to-People) marketing if you will. (Continue reading…)
  2. How Manufacturers Use 3D CAD Models and 2D CAD Drawings as Sales Enablers
    Manufacturers usually want their industrial marketing to generate leads that result in RFQs as quickly as possible. Inbound marketing tactics such as SEO and other content marketing strategies do fill the top of their sales funnel but converting leads to sales opportunities takes too long for their liking. Read more

News Releases in Industrial Content Marketing — Part II

Think of this post as an extension of my previous article “Why Industrial News Releases Make Good Blog Posts.” Let me start with some findings and statistics from different B2B content marketing studies that I have downloaded and read in the past couple of weeks.

First up is 2012 B2B Content Marketing Trends by Holger Schulze (@holgerschulze) who is the author of the syndicated blog “Everything Technology Marketing.” He recently surveyed the 30,000+ members B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn on various issues related to B2B content marketing.

Among B2B Technology Marketers, the leading content marketing tactics are case studies (62 percent) followed by white papers/ebooks (61 percent) and press releases (58 percent). Those are the results in response to the question, “What content marketing tactics do you actively use?” The chart below shows the complete breakdown of answers.

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Why Industrial News Releases Make Good Blog Posts

Press or news releases about industrial products have been and still are very popular. They work because the content is mainly about features that help engineers specify these industrial products.

In the past, manufacturers used them primarily in traditional print media like an industry-specific tabloid. People sent back a completed reader service or bingo card and leads were generated that way. Of course, those days are long gone. Today, you are more likely to see a URL like http://ogpe.hotims.com or http://powereng.hotims.com printed at the end of the news release.

Since industrial companies struggle with content, I think one way to overcome the problem is to take a traditional marketing tactic like a news release and turn it into a blog post for use in digital marketing.

What I’m suggesting here is not to copy word-for-word from your old product releases but to expand on them and create new blog posts. Instead of listing product features and specifications, your blog posts can add a lot more information, which will be more educational rather than a blatant sales pitch.

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Content Can Differentiate Industrial Companies When There’s Parity in Value Propositions

A Value Proposition plays an important role in differentiation, which in turn affects lead generation. Yet, if you read the content on most industrial websites, they tend to sound similar within each industry. Most manufacturers and industrial companies make generic claims that are often copied by their competition and lack validation.

How do you rise above the noise when there is so much parity in Value Propositions?

There are experts who are more qualified than I am in crafting a Value Proposition that is so unique to a company that it cannot be easily duplicated by others. However, my clients look to me for answers for overcoming their lead generation challenges using my knowledge and experience in industrial marketing.

One strategy that has consistently produced good results for my industrial clients is using the power of industrial content marketing. You’ve probably heard that before so what’s different about what I’ve just said?

Let me answer that by giving you some specifics:

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What Does a Content Marketing Strategy Mean for Industrial Companies?

I’m sure every time you’ve talked with an industrial marketing consultant about content marketing, you’ve been told that you need to start with a “content marketing strategy.” That’s very good advice but what does it really mean if you are on the other side of the table and are responsible for marketing your industrial company?

I don’t want to overgeneralize the process of developing a good content marketing strategy because it varies from company to company. There are some guidelines and best practices that most professional marketing consultants follow but that doesn’t mean the strategies are cookie cutter plans.

What I’ve outlined here is my process for developing a sound content marketing strategy for industrial clients who are new to using inbound content marketing for generating more high quality leads at a lower cost per lead.

You are probably very familiar with the phrase “To succeed with content marketing, you have to think like a publisher.” Building on that foundation, my process is based on the time-tested principle of “the Five Ws (and one H)” of good journalism. In case you are not familiar with that term, the five Ws are – Who, What, When, Where and Why. The H stands for How.

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Can Digital Marketing Make the Phone Ring for Industrial Companies?

Generating leads is always the central theme in my daily conversations with manufacturing, engineering and industrial companies. However, a qualified lead means different things to different people and it is rare for me to find too many of these companies to have a clear definition of what a lead means to them.

Truth be told, lead generation is a catchall for “We want our phones to ring.”

I wish it were that easy. Then again, I had better be careful about what I wish for because if it were that easy, my clients wouldn’t need my help solving their industrial lead generation problems.

Let me make it clear from the outset, this post is not about sales vs. marketing. I firmly believe that complex industrial sales require both sales and marketing to work together. I advise my clients to embrace that philosophy and not to think of industrial marketing as mere sales support.

How can digital marketing help create more qualified opportunities for industrial sales?

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Do You Know the Cost of Maintaining Your Industrial Digital Marketing Status Quo?

For the past six years, more than two thirds of manufacturers and industrial companies have said that lead generation or customer acquisition is their top marketing priority according to the latest industrial marketing survey released by GlobalSpec.

The same survey also found that 42 percent of these companies have increased their budgets for digital marketing in 2012 and 47 percent of the respondents spend more than a third of their overall marketing budgets online.

Despite all the encouraging findings about the use of digital marketing within the industrial sector, it is common to find websites that are several years old. I have talked to owners and marketers from manufacturing and industrial companies of various sizes that sounded enthusiastic about launching an industrial blog and moving forward with inbound marketing with content but it seems easier for them to do nothing and maintain their digital marketing status quo. They are hoping that their lead generation problem will somehow solve itself if they continue to do business as usual.

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Industrial Marketing is not Disconnected Tactics

Many manufacturers and industrial companies are learning some hard lessons these days. Business as usual is not working – referrals are trickling in, if at all and the pipeline of leads is running dry. The old way of hiring away salespeople from the competition with their “ready book of business” is not producing the quick sales they had expected.

Next, they try a series of marketing tactics without a strategy or a plan, hoping something will produce results. When that doesn’t work, they turn to the Internet in search of information on how to do industrial marketing on a shoestring budget.

After being burned a few times by free tips from self-proclaimed experts online, they become frustrated and are suspicious of any more advice even if it is from a legitimate and proven industrial marketing consultant. In desperation, they start looking for a quick “Band-Aid” fix for their lead generation problems while spending as little as possible since budgets are tight or non-existent.

In short, they are now looking for Cheap Miracles or may be, Industrial Marketing Made in China.

Marketing for these industrial companies has always been a sales support function — put together a PowerPoint presentation for the next sales meeting, create a few posters for an upcoming tradeshow or make the product catalog look “pretty.” It is very difficult for them to change this mindset and think of an industrial marketing strategy before implementing tactics. Yes, there is a big difference between strategy and tactics. Google strategy vs. tactics and you’ll get 4,030,000 hits so there is no sense in me repeating all that here.

How can industrial marketing remove this disconnect?

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