Industrial content marketing can be very effective in solving two common problems that many manufacturers and distributors face. They are:
- Lack of awareness about them among engineers and industrial buyers
- Inability to differentiate themselves from the competition
Given the fact that today’s industrial buyers prefer to do their own research and rely more on a variety of digital tools, it is critical for these industrial companies to address these two problems because they have a negative impact on their sales. The second problem is more acute among distributors because more often than not, their website content is mainly copy and pasted text from their principal manufacturer’s site.
Industrial content marketing usage and effectiveness
Needless to say, these industrial companies are eager for marketing solutions. They are aware of industrial content marketing and want to implement it, but I’m not sure they understand its full impact and are struggling to use it effectively to meet their goals. I say that based on my daily conversations with manufacturers and distributors from various industries.
That is not just my opinion, take a look at these two charts from 2016 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends Report from the Content Marketing Institute.
Changing the mindset of industrial content marketing
They say “Recognizing you have a problem is half the solution.” However, it’s not so easy in the real world. In my earlier post, Industrial Content Marketing Boosts Sales for Distributors, I had talked about how defining the problem was a problem unto itself. I’ll take that a step further with an example from one of my recent conversations with a distributor.
Distributor: “Our sales are slow. We need help with content marketing to boost our sales quickly.”
Me: “How are you generating sales now?”
Distributor: “We do lot of cold calling and send out cold emails to engineers from a mailing list for new projects.”
Me: “How is that working?”
Distributor: “Hmmm, not very well. Our success rate is 70% to 80% when we do get to quote because we are very technically oriented and provide a lot of details.”
Me: “So what is the problem?”
Distributor: “Not too many engineering companies know about us so we are not getting many opportunities to quote. Our sales people can’t seem to get in front of the right people to quote on good projects. We don’t like to compete on price but want an opportunity to demonstrate our expertise and experience in solving customer problems.”
Do you see the problem with this scenario? It is a mindset that’s the real problem. What do I mean by that?
- You can’t raise awareness about your company if your website content is mainly product-centric. Don’t get me wrong, product features and benefits are important, but they come at a later stage
- The distributor doesn’t want leads. He wants RFQs/RFPs. Qualifying and nurturing leads who are not ready to buy now are a waste of his time
- He wants to talk about his years of experience and expertise at the Procurement stage (RFQ/RFP). That’s the final stage of the industrial buy cycle. It is too late by then because the customer now only cares about your price and lead time or you are spreadsheet fodder for competitive bids
- Unrealistic expectations on how long it takes to go from raising awareness to conversion into qualified sales opportunities (This leads to sticker shock on how much it costs)
Industrial content marketing is not a quick fix for generating sales. It is a process that takes time and expertise to produce results. Marketing miracles if they exist don’t come cheap whether it is done by an in-house marketing department or an outside industrial marketing consultant.
Let me suggest a few of my earlier posts to get you started in the right direction with industrial content marketing:
- How Industrial Marketing Influences Buyers
- Industrial Content Marketing’s Role in Sales
- How Manufacturing Content Marketing Sets the Table for Sales
- Digital Marketing for Manufacturers: Making a Business Case
- How Industrial Content Marketing Builds Stronger Relationships Based on Trust
- Content Can Differentiate Industrial Companies When There’s Parity in Value Propositions