The State of Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020

Manufacturing Content Marketing

Manufacturing content marketing has come a long way since it is early years. There are many positive trends as seen in the latest research report, Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020, Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends published by the Content Marketing Institute. Yet, challenges remain as the survey shows and the reality that I see with my manufacturing clients. Reading Time: 3 minutes

I just finished reading the research report, Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020, Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends published by the Content Marketing Institute. This is CMI/MarketingProf’s annual report on manufacturing content marketing and I have read every one of their past reports.

I’ll summarize my thoughts here and talk about how some of the findings compare to what I see on the ground by working regularly with manufacturers.

To better understand these findings, here is the methodology and the demographics of the survey.

The 2020 survey is based on a total of 1,798 recipients from around the globe—representing a full range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes who replied to the survey during June/July 2019. This report presents the findings from the 108 respondents who indicated:

  • Their organization is a for-profit manufacturing company
  • Their organization has used content marketing for at least one year
  • They are a content marketer, involved with the content marketing function, and/or someone to whom content marketing reports.

The majority of the respondents were B2B manufacturers based in North America.

Manufacturing content marketing research demographics

Manufacturing content marketing strategy

There has been a significant improvement in the number of manufacturers who reported they have a documented content marketing strategy, 41% this year as compared to only 21% last year.

Manufacturing content marketing strategy

Keep in mind that a To-do List is not the same as a manufacturing content marketing strategy, even if it is an elaborate Excel spreadsheet with lots of details. Such lists tend to focus on “What to do” rather than “Why are we doing it?”

Manufacturing content marketing activities: In-house vs. Outsourced

Nearly half (48%) of manufacturers operate with a small marketing or content marketing team, typically it is one person who is responsible for the content needs of the entire company.

Manufacturing content marketing teams

Now take a look at what manufacturing content marketing activity companies outsource vs. do them in-house. It will put everything in context for you.

64% of manufacturing marketers outsource at least one content marketing activity; content creation is the activity they’re most likely to outsource (87%).

Manufacturing content marketing activities

The problem I’m seeing is that too many manufacturers are ready to jump into content creation without spending any time or thought given to strategy. I have said this before and it is worth repeating, content creation is not the same as content marketing. Just pumping out content for the sake of manufacturing content marketing, won’t help you achieve your goals.

Manufacturing content creation and distribution

Manufacturing content marketing is challenging, there is no doubt about it. I see too many manufacturers still have a campaign mindset. They still think of it as a one-off campaign to fix slow sales. They are not willing to listen or believe that content marketing is a process that takes time to gel before it can produce measurable and repeatable results.

Decisionmakers put too much pressure on their in-house teams or outside consultants to prove ROI quickly. As a result, these manufacturing marketers concentrate on relatively easy results to produce by focusing on top of the funnel activities. My observations and experiences are backed by the results of this survey.

50% of the content produced is for the early stages of the buyer’s journey (top-of-the-funnel).

Manufacturing content marketing type of content used

What channels are manufacturers using to distribute their content? A majority of manufacturers use both non-paid and paid channels for content distribution. That is a very positive sign, but they are also ignoring a few other valuable channels such as speaking/presenting at trade events and publishing guest posts or articles in industry portals that have a large captive audience of engineers and technical professionals.

Non-paid channels used for distributing manufacturing content marketing content

Paid channels used for distributing manufacturing content marketing content

Manufacturing content marketing budgets for 2020

There is some good news here and it matches with what I’m hearing from my clients. They are willing to invest more in manufacturing content marketing but want to see results as quickly as possible. Patience and budgets seem to be polar opposites.

43% of manufacturing marketers expect their 2020 content marketing budget to be higher than it was in 2019.

Manufacturing content marketing budgets

More than half (53%) of the manufacturers still use paid traditional advertising (TV, radio, billboards, print ads etc.). However, 40% of those have also said that they have shifted paid advertising dollars to content marketing in the past 12 months.

Stay tuned, I’ll be publishing more posts about manufacturing content marketing where I’ll dig deeper into some of the survey findings.

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