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Are Manufacturers Turning a Deaf Ear to Content Marketing?

Despite all the published reports about the great results that businesses are deriving from content marketing, it seems manufacturers and industrial companies are still stuck in their old ways of marketing. According to a recent commissioned study done by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Act-On Software, SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) prefer the more personal touch of face-to-face marketing tactics for customer acquisition.

Marketing Tactics Used by SMBs

Even though the study included 208 SMB decision makers, it is very relevant to manufacturers and industrial companies because 40% of the respondents were Manufacturers from various industries.

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Content Marketing is Not More Content Output

It used to be that the biggest challenge faced by B2B content marketers was “What will we write about?” At least that was what I heard most often from many of the industrial companies that I talked to.

Producing enough content is now the #1 challenge faced by B2B content marketers. That was one of the findings from the recent survey, 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks–North America conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs.

Challenges that B2B Content Marketers face

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Content and Social Marketing: Connecting and Engaging with 10K+ Engineers

Most marketers agree that content marketing and social media have become mainstream B2B marketing strategies. Nine out of ten B2B marketers are now using content marketing to grow their businesses, according to the recent study released by MarketingProfs and Junta42|Content Marketing Institute.

The reason for not using content marketing that I hear most often from my industrial clients is “we don’t have and/or can’t produce enough content that our customers (engineering, technical and manufacturing professionals) will find valuable.”

This is a problem across the board for B2B marketers as reported by the same study – the largest challenge is “producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers” (36% of respondents). One-fifth say that “producing enough content” (21%) and “budget to produce content” (19%) are their greatest challenge in content marketing.

It is very refreshing then to find an engineering company like Texas Instruments (TI) successfully use content and social marketing to reach and engage with over 10,000 design engineers and customers. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, TI is a global company that develops analog, digital signal processing, RF and DLP® semiconductor technologies used in consumer and industrial electronics products.

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Content Auditing and Mapping it to the Industrial Buy Cycle

These days it is popular to say “Content is marketing currency.” What does it really mean to an industrial marketer, especially if you work for or are a small to mid-size manufacturer or engineering company?

Industrial giants have deep pockets to create marketing content on a daily basis. You don’t have that kind of a marketing budget; smaller as it may be in these tough times, yet a lot is expected of you or your marketing team. How can you use marketing content to generate a decent volume of sales-ready leads at a low(er) cost?

What is effective content marketing?

Content marketing does not mean churning out white papers, case studies, articles, blog posts, podcasts and webinars for the sake of putting out content. Most B2B marketers find it relatively easy to create and use content to gain search engine presence. The big hurdle they face is in engaging and converting readers into prospects, leads and ultimately customers.

Passive reading of your content will not move the prospect along in his/her decision making process. He/she must take a desired action for that to happen. While conversion may be the ultimate goal, building trust, increasing awareness, improving the company’s reputation, expertise and credibility and encouraging social sharing are all worthy content marketing goals too. Read more

The Disconnect Between B2B Content Marketing and Customer Engagement

While B2B content marketing has many purposes, its primary goal is to engage with prospects and customers in order to build trust so that they will want to contact you in order to do business with your company. The majority of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) consider customer engagement as their top priority according to a recent study done by Forbes Insights and George P. Johnson (GPJ).

The New Rules of Engagement: CMOs Rethink Their Marketing Mix is based on a survey of 314 marketing executives at companies with more than $500 million in annual revenue. Fifty-six percent of the participants were primarily B2B marketers and the remaining 44% were B2C. Nearly 97% of the respondents viewed customer engagement as very (67%) or somewhat (30%) important.

Robert G. Vallee Jr., Chairman and CEO of GPJ said, “This report suggests that engagement is now a key dynamic that should be considered when designing big-idea campaigns; without engagement, the message is quickly lost, its power diminished.”

That was the good news part of the study. The bad news — more than a quarter (27%) have no specific strategy for customer engagement, and more than a third (34%) feel their companies do only a fair or poor job engaging their audiences. “They [CMOs] believe they can do a better job at engagement, but often don’t know how,” said Stuart Feil, editorial director of Forbes Insights. Read more