Why Manufacturers Need a Multichannel Industrial Marketing Strategy

Multichannel industrial marketing strategy doesn’t get that much attention or buzz. It should, because it is a closer reflection of how manufacturing and engineering companies are marketing these days.

It’s a fact that in 2016, manufacturers and industrial companies are spending more of their marketing dollars on digital marketing tactics. This of course makes sense because 53% of engineers and industrial professionals spend 6 hours or more per week on the Internet for work-related purposes.

Manufacturing marketing budgets and satisfaction levels

Here are a few charts from research studies done by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), ENGINEERING.COM and IHS Engineering360.

Manufacturing marketing budgets and spends

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Top 12 Industrial Marketing Posts of 2014

top 12 industrial marketing posts of 2014It’s time to look back at the most read industrial marketing posts that I published in 2014. I’ve culled the list down to 12 based on the data from my Google Analytics. These industrial marketing posts are listed in the order of published dates –oldest to the newest.

#1: What’s Hot and What’s Not in Digital Marketing for Engineers in 2014: I just downloaded my copy of the 2014 Digital Marketing for Engineers survey published by John Hayes and his team at ENGINEERING.com. There are some interesting and encouraging findings. I’ll use a few of the charts from the survey results that show what they found and then add what I am seeing firsthand with my industrial clients. Read more…

#2: Industrial Website Redesign Should Fit Your Sales Process: If you want your industrial website to generate qualified leads and drive sales (Of course you do), make sure you and your web developer takes the time to ask and answer the key question, “How will the redesigned website align with our sales process?” Many other related questions begin to surface whenever I ask that question. Read more…

#3. How to Create Successful Industrial Marketing Content for TOFU: 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? Read more…

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Traditional Marketing is Alive and Well for Industrial Companies

Despite all the buzz about digital marketing and proof of results, manufacturers, engineering and industrial companies continue to use traditional marketing tactics such as trade shows, print ads and telemarketing.

According to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks–North America: CMI/MarketingProfs report, 67% of the 1,416 B2B Marketers surveyed, continue to rate in-person events as the most effective marketing tactic they use.

It would be easy to dismiss the continued use of traditional marketing by saying decision makers at industrial companies are resistant to change and they just don’t want to hear anything about current best practices in online marketing. While true to some extent, it doesn’t tell the complete story in my experience.

I have found owners and executives at industrial companies to be sharp business people who wouldn’t continue to spend good money on marketing tactics if they weren’t producing the desired results.

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The More Industrial Marketing Changes, the More it Stays the Same

I’m not trying to be clever or facetious with my headline. 67 percent of manufacturers, industrial and engineering companies stated that customer acquisition or lead generation is their primary industrial marketing goal in 2012, the same top two marketing goals for the past six years.

That’s one of the findings from a survey done by GlobalSpec during the first quarter of 2012. The online survey addressed the marketing trends, challenges, and expenditures within the engineering, technical, manufacturing, and industrial communities.

The primary goal of industrial marketing has not changed even though marketing strategies and tactics have changed significantly in the past 5 years. Either that or we industrial marketers haven’t quite figured out the lead generation puzzle yet.

Here are some other key findings from their report:

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Lead Generation: What’s Working – Tactics, Budgets and Preferences

Summer is a good time to look back at what has worked for lead generation and compare yourself with your peers as you plan for the second half of the year. You could use some of these findings to validate your own industrial marketing strategy and/or find some new ideas to fine-tune it for the remainder of 2012. With that in mind, here are some useful data and charts from various sources. Click on each chart to see a larger image.

MarketingSherpa: (www.marketingsherpa.com)

What were the most effective SEO tactics used for lead generation in 2012? Here are the results from a survey of 1,530 B2B marketers during this year’s B2B Benchmark Study to find what works in online and offline marketing.

MarketingSherpa

In another survey of nearly 2,000 B2B marketers, participants were asked, “Please indicate the expected changes to your lead generation budget for the following channels for 2012.”

And the survey says…

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When the Going Gets Tough, B2B Marketers…

…fall back on tried-and-true marketing tactics that they have relied on for years. In the current tough economy, cutting edge and innovative marketing is taking a back seat to proven strategies for lead generation.

B2B companies are spending more of their marketing budgets on channels such as trade shows, Website design, management and optimization and e-mail marketing. Those three marketing channels received the largest allocation of the budget. The trend holds true across the board even though the mix may be different depending on the size of a B2B company.

Smaller companies, those with less than 100 employees, tend to spend more on digital marketing tactics like Website design, e-mail marketing as well as traditional outbound marketing channels like direct mail. Not surprisingly, they tend to spend less on trade shows.

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Use Content Marketing to Manage Industrial Sales Funnels

B2B and industrial marketers are usually tasked with two main responsibilities:

  1. Fill the top of the sales funnel (ToFU) with high quality leads
  2. Maximize the middle of the funnel (MoFU) for converting more leads into sales opportunities

Achieving those two objectives are difficult enough, now add to that the constant pressure of having to lower the cost per lead at the same time. That’s why more B2B and industrial marketers are turning to content marketing to lift their lead generation ROI.

Several studies have shown that these lead generation challenges hold true across the board in B2B marketing. According to the recent MarketingSherpa’s B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey (June 2011) of more than 1,700 B2B marketers:

52% of the companies reported, “Converting qualified leads into paying customers” (MoFU) as their biggest challenge. This was followed by Lead Generation (ToFU) at 48% and Lead Nurturing (MoFU) at 40% (See chart).

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Inbound Marketing Alone May Not Be Enough for Industrial Companies

Inbound marketing with content has been getting all the attention lately. Consultants and practitioners of “pull” marketing want marketers to abandon “push” marketing because they say it is old school and no longer effective.

I too have read all those studies about the how the Internet has permanently changed the industrial buyer’s behavior. They provide examples of how the target audience behaves in their personal lives where they TiVo through commercials, use caller ID to ignore telemarketing calls, direct mail pieces go straight to trash and of course, nobody ever reads a newspaper or a trade magazine anymore.

Ergo, these people are too busy at work and couldn’t be bothered with anything that is deemed as interruption marketing.

I agree that there is a lot of truth to all those findings. After all, every industrial marketer would like hordes of interested visitors swarming to his/her website, eager to sign up for free content and engage in a meaningful conversation at every stage of their buying cycle.

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Dawning of the Age of Content Marketing in the Industrial Sector

Manufacturers and industrial companies have a reputation of being slow to adopt new marketing strategies and techniques. If you are a B2B marketer who deals with engineering companies, you know how difficult it is to explain the true value of content marketing to upper management and the C-suite. As a result, many industrial companies remain in the dark about the power of content for inbound marketing.

If you Google “definition of content marketing,” it will return 4,760 results. Obviously it means different things to different people.

I went directly to the source, Joe Pulizzi, the man who literally wrote the book on content marketing (co-authored Get Content Get Customers) and the founder of the content matching site Junta42. His defines it as:

Content marketing is the art of understanding exactly what your customers need to know and delivering it to them in a relevant and compelling way to grow your business.

By now it is well documented that the Internet has changed buyer behavior dramatically and permanently. Lead or demand generation is still the number one priority of industrial marketers and content is the fuel that drives this marketing engine these days. Read more

Why More Engineers Ought to be in Sales and Marketing

Think aligning sales and marketing is difficult? Think again.

In most manufacturing and industrial companies, engineering, sales and marketing operate in their own silos, barely acknowledging each other’s existence. The disconnect is strong and distinct.

As clichéd as this may sound, it seems Engineers are from Mars, Marketers are from Venus.

I feel I am qualified to talk about this problem because I am an engineer who makes a living as an industrial marketer. I see and experience this problem first-hand with my engineering and manufacturing clients. One of the reasons I am retained is to bridge this gap between marketing and engineering.

This misalignment is destructive and disruptive to the entire organization. The insults and accusations come hot and heavy from both sides of this great divide.

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