Every industrial marketer should sit up and take notice of some of the preliminary findings from a recent survey called the Engineering Marketers 2017 Survey conducted by ENGINEERING.COM. As you read through this article, pay close attention to the prediction and the recommendations for achieving success with industrial content marketing to engineers.
This post is a departure from my usual ones. It is a guest post written by John Hayes exclusively for my blog. In case you are not familiar with him (check him out on LinkedIn), he is the CEO of ENGINEERING.COM.
Take it away John!
Welcome to 2017. Engineering marketers are now well versed in content marketing. In a recent survey, 89% of engineering marketers said that they were using content marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.
And most of them are having success. In fact, 75% of the marketers who use content marketing say that it is working.
Now for the bad news. I predict that content marketing for industrial marketers is going to get tougher in 2017. In this post, I’ll outline what marketers say they are going to do with content in 2017, why it’s going to get tougher to build your audience, and finally, what you can do about it.
When we surveyed engineering marketers about their budgets for this year, they told us that they were planning to spend more on content marketing.
The following chart breaks it down by type of content. The orange columns indicate the percentage of marketers who are planning to spend more on webinars, case studies, blogging and video. These orange columns are at least 4X larger in every case than those columns indicating marketers who are planning to spend less (the blue columns).
Here’s the data in a table format for those of you who prefer to read it that way:
|Type of content
|Marketers Spending More
|Marketers Spending Less
So what does that mean for engineering marketers? It means that your colleagues are doubling down on content marketing. By a factor of 9:1, more marketers are planning to increase their spending on blogging, for example, than are planning to decrease their blogging budgets. The same is true, only more so, for video budgets.
These increases are in the same range as engineering marketers committed last year when asked about their plans for 2016. For example, that makes at least two years running that marketers committed to increasing their video budgets by 37%. Two times 37% is a 74% increase in budget (if we don’t count compounding). That’s a big deal. Other line items show similar growth trajectories.
In a word, content marketing works. When we asked marketers specifically whether content marketing was helping to deliver more qualified leads to their sales teams, 75% of marketers who use content marketing said “yes”.
75% of engineering marketers say that content marketing is helping them deliver more qualified leads to their sales teams.
And here’s a weird thing. There were a bunch of marketers who said No, content marketing was not helping them deliver more leads. Of those marketers who report that it is not working, most of them plan to keep investing the same or more in 2017 anyway, in hopes of making it successful. Here’s the breakdown:
That means there is going to be a staggering volume of content coming from industrial marketers in 2017. Even the ones who are doing it poorly plan to keep on spending money to churn out more and more content. And that content is all targeting the same audience.
In a survey of 1,003 engineers a few months ago we asked whether engineers are open to reading stories that are written by content marketers. More specifically, we asked, “How do you treat engineering stories that are sponsored by vendors?” More than half of all respondents (58%) said that they read the stories with the same level of skepticism that they read all engineering editorial, while 35% said that they read with more skepticism, but they still read it. Only 7% said that they ignore, or don’t read sponsored stories.
This is an excellent reason why engineering marketers are continuing to invest in content marketing – engineers are reading the stories. So why do I predict that content marketing is going to get tougher?
I read recently that there are approximately 2M blog posts published every day. 2M! Mind boggled. That statistic is in keeping with the plans for industrial marketers pointed out above. Everyone is in the content game.
Try typing “engineering blog” into Google and see how many results you get. (I got 124,000,000). You can see where I’m heading with this. There is incredible competition for the attention of engineers, and they don’t have time to consume all the content that marketers want them to read.
The chances of Google finding and ranking your blog for any of the keywords that you are targeting is very slim, unless your company already has a huge following and excellent page rank.
A few short years ago, when content marketing was relatively fresh and new, you could write pretty much any old dreck and rank for the keywords you were targeting. And so that is exactly what happened. The Internet was flooded with tons of blog posts that were of pretty poor quality. And so the ante went up. Now to get any traffic at all you have to:
But creating better content is expensive, isn’t it? You bet. And that’s a big reason why engineering marketers say that creating engaging content is the single biggest challenge they face in content marketing. Here are the rest of the “biggest” challenges in order, according to the 2017 engineering marketers survey. BTW – I’ll be hosting a webinar to share all the results on Feb 2nd.
So what is an engineering marketer to do?
The Internet is deluged with ways to improve your content marketing success, so I’m going to highlight just three that even some of the savviest industrial marketers won’t know.
So that’s my bit of a rant on content marketing for engineers in 2017. If you found this post useful, please click one of the sharing buttons. If you disagree or agree with any of this, please say so in the comments on the blog or on Linkedin.
It’s not too late to complete the engineering marketers 2017 survey – I would love to have your input. And if you want to see all of the results, please consider joining us for the webinar on Feb 2nd.
A one-hour live (online) consulting session with Achinta Mitra to discuss your industrial marketing challenges. I’ll try to provide general guidance that you can apply right away.
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Industrial Marketing Today is an integral part of Tiecas, Inc., a Houston-based industrial marketing agency. We’ve been in business since 1987, serving the marketing needs of manufacturers, distributors, and engineering companies from various industries.