Marketing to Engineers Requires Accurate and Truthful Content Presented Logically

Marketing to engineers is challenging, but manufacturers, distributors and engineering services companies cannot shy away from it because engineers make up the bulk of their target audience.

Engineers regardless of their experience are concerned with keeping their skills current and their technology knowledge up to date. They are actively looking for reliable information about advancements and innovations. This extends beyond content marketing for engineers; many of these industrial professionals are motivated to attend trade shows and conferences to learn about something they don’t know. (See Why Manufacturers Need a Multichannel Industrial Marketing Strategy).

The irony is that engineers are hungry for information, but industrial marketers are struggling to provide them the right content and engage with them in a meaningful way. Marketing people at these companies need to work with in-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for creating content that their target audience will find helpful and is technically accurate.

There are two key challenges when it comes to marketing to engineers with content – time and trust.

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Industrial Marketing Plan: A 3-Phase Approach

Industrial marketing plan

As we go deeper into Q4 with the holidays right around the corner, most industrial companies start to think about their industrial marketing plan for the next year. As an industrial marketing consultant, I’m often asked by clients the best way to approach this important planning task.

My preferred way is what I call the 3-phase industrial marketing plan approach. I refer to them as phases instead of steps because each phase consists of several smaller steps.

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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.

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Webinar: Digital Marketing Road Map for Manufacturers and Industrial Companies

Success with Digital Marketing - a Road Map for Manufacturers

I will be co-hosting a webinar with John Hayes of ENGINEERING.com on August 5 at 10am PST / 1pm EST. The webinar is called Success with Digital Marketing – a Road Map for Manufacturers.

We plan on covering a lot of ground on digital marketing as it relates to manufacturers and other industrial companies. You’ll walk away with key takeaways for creating your own digital marketing road map.

In case you are not familiar with John (@JackHayes), he is the CEO of ENGINEERING.com and the author of Digital Marketing for Engineers. He and his team publish a lot of helpful content on their Digital Marketing for Engineers blog.

Our presentation will include:

  • What is digital marketing and why is it right for an engineering and industrial audience
  • Defining the road map to digital marketing
  • Steps to create a road map and measuring ROI
  • Why marketing to engineers is a big challenge
  • How to make a business case for digital marketing with content
  • How to win the engineer’s mindshare and working with SMEs

This webinar will be held on August 5, 2015 at 10am PST/1pm EST. Of course it is free to attend.

I hope to see you there.

Register Now

 

SEO Must Complement Conversion Optimization for an Effective Industrial Marketing Strategy

I find too many manufacturers and industrial companies still hung up on individual keyword rankings and getting to the top in Google and other major search engines. I’m not trying to minimize the time, effort and the expertise needed for search engine optimization (SEO) of industrial websites. After all, traffic is the lifeblood of online marketing and you can’t get traffic if your site is invisible in search engines.

The problem is that traffic by itself means nothing if you fail to convert it into qualified leads and sales opportunities. The old assumption that visitors will call after finding you in Google and visiting your site is not working anymore. Industrial buyers do their own research and usually complete 60-70% of their buying journey before contacting your sales team.

I understand most industrial companies tend to define a qualified lead as an RFQ or RFP but it is too late if that is the first contact you have with the buyer. You are either one of three competitive bids or competing on price alone. Your potential customers will turn a deaf ear to your spiel about differentiation and expertise at this stage of their buying decision. All they care about is your price and lead time.

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Why are Manufacturers Still Struggling with Content Marketing?

Last week, I received an advance copy of the research study, 2015 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends—North America thanks to Amanda Subler of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). There may be slight differences between my draft copy and the final version that was published by CMI recently.

Even though there has been a slight decline this year in the number of manufacturers who said they use content marketing (82% vs. 86% last year), far more manufacturing marketers cited sales as a goal this year than they did last year (85% vs. 56%). Content marketing for driving sales has now become an accepted industrial marketing strategy.

Content marketing for manufacturers

That’s the good news.

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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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How Unqualified Leads Bog Down Sales Pipelines for Industrial Companies

I have yet to come across a manufacturer, a distributor or an engineering firm that didn’t ask for more leads. No surprise there!

The more I probe, the clearer it becomes what they really want are more requests for quotes or proposals. This is understandable since the sales pipeline needs to be full and active at all times because of the long sales cycles that’s typical for industrial companies.

However, this singular focus is causing a lot of frustrations because not enough leads generated by marketing are converting into sales opportunities. If you haven’t already heard or read about this problem, here are two stats that will make you sit up and think.

  • 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

I can cite many reasons for this disconnect. Based on my experience as an industrial marketing consultant working with clients, the root of the problem is the lack of understanding and/or spending enough time to understand the differences between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). As a result, Sales continues to blame Marketing for generating “crappy” leads that never turn into sales.

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Better Industrial Marketing Doesn’t Mean More Technology

Marketing Automation vendors have done a great job of spreading the message about the benefits of technology in marketing. Industrial companies are paying attention. I’ve been asked several times about using Marketing Automation (MA) in industrial marketing. I should be excited and jumping up and down with joy, right? Not so fast! Why do I say that?

Unless you get your marketing house in order first, technology alone isn’t going to solve all your industrial lead generation problems. A popular quote by Bill Gates sums it up nicely. He said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

How Marketing Automation Works

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Industrial Marketing for Engaging with Engineers

It’s a myth that engineers hate marketing. What they definitely don’t want is more meaningless marketing fluff. Those two statements are based on my personal experience of working with and marketing to engineers for the past 25+ years. I’m a Mechanical Engineer myself and passionate about marketing. Over the years I’ve met and worked with many engineers who feel the same way and some are very good at creating their own marketing content.

As a manufacturer or an industrial company, your marketing must target and communicate with engineers and technical buyers. So what do you have to do to make that happen?

If I had to summarize the answer in one sentence, it would be, “Industrial marketing must be from one engineer to another.” That is by far the most effective strategy for marketing to engineers.

One of the recommendations for industrial marketers that came from the 2012 survey, Mind of the Engineer released by UBM Electronics was, “Engineers communicate with and trust other engineers. Leverage this collaborative ethos.”
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