Posts

Digital Marketing for Manufacturers: Making a Business Case

Imagine this all too common scenario if you are a manufacturer, distributor or an engineering company. Sales are slow; you need to do something right now to make the phones ring. The directive comes from the top – add more sales people, start working the phones and drop those prices just to book orders.

Uh oh, that isn’t working, something ain’t right! It has always worked in the past but not anymore. Why is that?

Digital marketing for manufacturers identifies invisible buyers

Invisibe industrial buyersToday’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 sale team only when they are ready.

Hounding them with cold calls or unwanted spammy emails is not going to help them make a more informed decision of selecting your industrial product and/or solution.

Some of the key findings from a research study done by IHS GlobaSpec were:

  • 48% of industrial professionals spend at least six hours per week online for work-related purposes.
  • 42% percent visit more than ten work-related websites each week.
  • The primary uses of the Internet for technical professionals are to find components, equipment, services and suppliers (74 percent); obtain product specifications (73 percent); compare products across suppliers (69 percent); find pricing information (68 percent); and perform research (66 percent).

You need to be where engineers and industrial buyers are actively searching for answers to their problems. You need to be online with digital marketing.

Read more

Understanding the Age Gap is Important in Digital Marketing for Industrial Companies

If you are using digital marketing (You are, aren’t you?) to market your industrial company, its products and services, then you need to understand the importance of the age gap and its impact on digital media usage.

I’m sure you have read many of the dire headlines about the critical skills gap in the industrial sector and how it could threaten the competitiveness of manufacturing in the U.S. If you read between the lines, the underlying cause of this problem is the age gap. Here are a few recent headlines and direct quotes to drive home my point:

  • New talent needed as baby boomers age and jobs continue growing in the industry. (U.S. News & World Report)
  • “The senior geologists will soon retire and there is no one to take over except much more junior geologists. The age demographics among geologists has resulted in a skills, mentorship and leadership gap, which is becoming a concern.” (Deloitte)
  • The demographic age gap is expanding at an alarming rate because the aging workforce will be retiring within the next 5 – 10 years and not enough young people are finding the industry attractive enough to join. (World Petroleum Council)
  • Oil field workers are retiring in huge numbers, leaving a workforce that’s younger and — more importantly — less experienced. (NPR)
  • “When the Deepwater Horizon exploded, no one in the BP engineering team had been on the job for more than six months.” (John Konrad, author, ‘Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster’)
  • Put simply, we are experiencing a growing age gap in engineering-focused fields. (Boston.com)
  • The reasons for the dearth of qualified job candidates are varied. Both Mercer and Manpower cited age, disruptive technology like hydraulic fracturing and education as key drivers of the problem. (NBC News)

I don’t want to get into a debate about all this being just a ploy for companies to ship jobs overseas for cheaper labor. The fact is we have a problem. Enough said!

Read more

Two Controversies That May Disrupt Industrial Digital Marketing Plans

In the past week, I have read several blog posts about two content marketing controversies that have set the blog world on fire. Mind you, these bold predictions are not put forth by some obscure blogger looking for his/her 15 minutes of fame by publishing something controversial.

First up is “Content Shock” by Mark Schaefer. Mark is a highly respected and accomplished marketing consultant. I read his blog posts often. Here’s the graphic from his post that summarizes his theory.

Definition fo Content Shock by Mark Schaefer

As I said before, this is not a post written purely for the purpose of shocking his readers. Mark has given this a lot of thought and has provided strong points to support his point of view. Do take the time to read his complete post, “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy.” There are over 300 comments that provide even more insights from both sides of the argument. The people commenting read like a “Who’s Who” of the content marketing world.

I found three very well thought out rebuttals to Mark’s position. They are:

Read more

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.

Survey Question: Will your 2014 budget for the following activities be smaller, larger or about the same? Bar length indicates respondents who chose “larger”

Digital marketing for engineers 2014 budget increases

Read more

Industrial Marketing in the Age of the Customer

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!

Read more

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.

Read more

Is Blogging Right for Every Industrial Company?

The fact that you found this industrial marketing blog and are reading my post, tells me that you have asked yourself that very question and are curious about the answer. There are literally millions of articles written on why you should be blogging and they are easy to find in Google. I see no point in rehashing the same ideas here.

Instead, let me share my experiences in helping manufacturers, engineering and industrial companies launch successful blogs, produce results from them and in some instances, flat out advised them not to start one.

In this post, I’ll talk about some of the more difficult questions you should be asking yourself before jumping on the blogging bandwagon. Otherwise, you may be joining the ranks of countless other industrial blogs that were launched with a great deal of enthusiasm and expectations but were abandoned after only a few months.

Let’s dig a little deeper to understand what it really takes to achieve the four major benefits of blogging.

Read more

Digital Marketing Can Increase Industrial Sales

Call it digital marketing or inbound marketing with content, the fact is marketing is now playing a much more active role in complex industrial sales. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to it as digital marketing in this post and state that content is what drives this engine for generating qualified leads and creating sales opportunities.

Manufacturers and industrial companies often use solutions or consultative selling to add value for their customers and transform themselves from suppliers into trusted partners. This has worked great in the past but the Internet and digital marketing have changed how that process works today.

Here are three quotes from well-known sources to validate my claim in case you have doubts about my statement.

Read more

What You Ought to Know About Inbound Marketing

Confused about Inbound Marketing? Never heard of it? View this hilarious and entertaining video from HubSpot and it will tell you everything you ought to know about inbound marketing.

[youtube width=”480″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-lGe5MnBlY[/youtube]

In the past I’ve written about manufacturers such as Indium Corporation and Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. and their success stories of inbound marketing with content. However, overall adoption rate of Inbound Marketing and Marketing Automation (MA) is still low among smaller manufacturers and industrial companies. This is slowly changing and I am finding many of these companies are now more willing to listen to me talk about it.

Read more

Content – The Biggest Hurdle in Digital Marketing for Manufacturers

Most manufacturers of industrial products agree that digital marketing is essential for their success now and going forward. Yet, many of these industrial companies are struggling to implement digital marketing because of  lack of relevant content.

At first glance, that may sound like an oversimplification of a bigger problem.

I talk to small and mid-sized manufacturers on a regular basis. What I have learned is that these companies need help with content in digital marketing at many levels.

This is not a new problem. You can read some of my earlier posts on inbound and content marketing for manufacturers and industrial companies.

Manufacturers are dealing with some big issues when it comes to content for digital marketing. Here are the ones that I have discovered:

Read more