Industrial Content Marketing for Engineers to Make a Buy Decision

Manufacturers want their industrial content marketing for engineers to generate Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and not just Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) from content downloads. There is a big challenge faced by manufacturers of components targeting Design Engineers. These Design Engineers often don’t have the final buying authority but unless the industrial parts are “designed in” by these engineers (Specifiers), the Purchasing Department (Functional Buyers) can’t or won’t issue a Purchase Order or contact you with an RFQ.

Search this blog for my earlier posts on MQL vs SQL and understanding the differences between a specifier and a functional buyer. In this post, I’ll focus on a specific industrial marketing strategy that is an effective sales enabler when targeting engineers.

Read more

Lead Generation for Industrial Companies is a Process not a Campaign

I hear too many manufacturers and industrial companies talking about creating campaigns because they want to pump up their lead generation. That mode of thinking is outdated and simply doesn’t work today where you are dealing with mostly invisible and self-directed industrial buyers.

Buyers are looking for information online and interacting with sales people on their own terms. Your industrial lead generation needs to evolve to meet their needs. Otherwise you are going to struggle generating qualified leads that turn into sales opportunities. That is a virtual certainty.

Evolution of industrial lead generation

The old ways of industrial lead generation have changed. Engineers and technical buyers do most of their research, evaluation and finally selecting a vendor very differently today than in the past. Complicating the process is the fact that the buyers do not usually go on a linear buying journey. There are many stakeholders involved in the buying decision, some of whom may never visit your website and/or meet your sales people.

Now I know you’ve read/heard all this before so what exactly is different about lead generation today? Here’s a handy chart from Marketo that explains the differences between then and now.

Read more

Content Marketing for Manufacturers Isn’t Just Publishing More Content

Content marketing for manufacturersContent marketing for manufacturers has become a staple of industrial marketing with 61 percent using it as a marketing tactic and 54 percent planning to increase their spending on content creation (Source: IHS GlobalSpec Research Report).

However, the same study also found that only nine percent can demonstrate how content marketing contributes to sales (ROI) and only 15 percent align their content with the different phases of their customers’ buy cycle.

In other words just publishing content without a good content marketing strategy isn’t going to move the needle for manufacturers and other industrial companies. That’s the biggest problem I see firsthand when talking to these companies.

The mindset is pretty much that of a one-off marketing campaign instead of content marketing being an overarching marketing strategy to meet their business and sales goals. There is very little time spent, if any on discussing the “Why” of industrial content marketing and the focus is on the “What” as in “what should we write about?”

Read more

Purpose Driven Industrial Blogging

Industrial bloggingWhen I talk to manufacturers and industrial companies about blogging, which is practically every day, I can’t help but notice that these people do understand that blogging is a key component of good industrial content marketing.

What I find lacking most often is a clear understanding of purpose driven benefits from blogging. This gap prevents them from fully harnessing the power of blogs to boost industrial lead generation and drive sales.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of industrial blogging.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Marketers at industrial companies understand the importance of organic SEO. They realize that their sites and blogs need to be at the top of search engine rankings in order for their target audience to find them. The problem is their entire focus is on search engines, trying to find the latest “trick” to beating Google and other search engines.

Read more

Priming Industrial Websites for Content Marketing

Many of my industrial clients are starting to plan and budget for 2014. High on their list of priorities is redesigning their industrial websites. A welcome change in these discussions is that redesigns are now driven by the needs of inbound marketing with content rather than just a cosmetic facelift to the site.

Manufacturers and industrial companies are more willing to accept the fact that their customers and prospects are interacting with them differently and this change in buyer behavior is permanent. They’ve seen how expensive traditional outbound marketing tactics are and how difficult it is to track results from those efforts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that one should abandon outbound marketing. However, the balance has definitely shifted more towards online digital marketing for industrial companies.

Read more

Storytelling in Industrial Content Marketing

Storytelling in industrial content marketingIf storytelling sounds too “Kumbaya” to you for hardcore industrial marketing and sales, then I suggest you read on for a fresh perspective.

There is a very good reason centuries old Aesop’s Fables and others of that genre continue to be popular today for teaching valuable lessons. Their power lies in storytelling. Who doesn’t love a good story, don’t you?

Today’s industrial buyers believe in self-serve in the early stages of their buying journey. S/he wants to read content that will help him or her make a more informed decision. A hard sell would be a total turn off. For engagement to happen, you have to make buyers immerse themselves in your content by the stories you tell to sell your solution.

How do you make that personal connection? You do that by addressing their “What’s in it for me ((WIIFM)” concerns. It’s about them, not you! By telling stories that are unique to you and your company. That’s how you differentiate yourself from others. Your competition may be able to outspend you and easily copy your industrial marketing tactics but they can never steal your stories and make them their own. See my post, “Content Can Differentiate Industrial Companies When There’s Parity in Value Propositions.”

Read more

Industrial Content Marketing is NOT New

Everything old is new again in industrial content marketingManufacturers and industrial companies have been using content marketing for a long time whether they know it or not. What do I mean?

Product Releases have been a staple of industrial marketing long before inbound marketing with content became so popular.

Case studies, application notes, calculators, how-to articles, white papers and frequently asked questions (FAQs) have always been a part of industrial marketing.

Read more

Industrial Content Marketing – Dazed and Confused

How many of you remember the song “Dazed and Confused” from Led Zeppelin’s debut album based on a folk song by Jake Holmes? I am finding industrial content marketing in a similar state of confusion.

Manufacturers and industrial companies are confused by the dizzying array of things they have been advised to do in the name of content marketing. I found this chart from the Content Marketing Institute that shows the usage of various content marketing tactics by manufacturers in North America.

Manufacturing content marketing Usage by manufacturers in North America: CMI

Read more

Creating Relevant Content for Industrial Marketing is a Challenge

I am not referring to the age-old question, “What will we write about?” Creating content that an industrial and technical audience will find relevant is not easy.

An industrial marketer can only create so many application notes and case studies. Case studies are difficult to produce because well-known customers are reluctant to give their permission for fear of violating their corporate and legal guidelines. It is common in industrial content to find customers with generic names such as “A large Tier 2 OEM from the automotive industry” or “A major utility company on the US East Coast.”

Marketing consultants will advise you to address your customers’ pain points. Very good advice but I’m here to tell you that it is not always easy to do that in industrial marketing. Here’s why.

Read more

Content Marketing Must Go Beyond Inbound Marketing in Industrial Sales

There is quite a bit of confusion among my industrial clients about the terms Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing. For many, the two are synonymous and it is just a matter of semantics. IMO, Content Marketing goes well beyond Inbound Marketing.

The classic definition of Inbound Marketing focuses on the top of the sales funnel (ToFU) and is built on the principle of being found in search engines and social media, attracting traffic and converting visitors into leads with relevant content. All worthwhile goals and takes a lot of hard work to accomplish them. However, you are likely to be very disappointed if your industrial marketing stayed focused only on ToFU.

I prefer the broader definition of Content Marketing because it addresses every phase of the buyer’s journey, both before and after the sale. I found a very fitting football analogy by Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe) – the Founder of the Content Marketing Institute and the author of the books Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers, in a blog post Joe wrote, “If content marketing were a football field, inbound marketing would get you to the 35-yard line. Definitely critical, but hard to score from that distance.”

Read more

Is it Time for Your Industrial Website to Sing Auld Lang Syne?

As 2012 ends and we look forward to 2013, it is a good time to review your current industrial website. In keeping with the tradition of celebrating the start of the New Year by singing “Auld Lang Syne,” it may be time for you to say farewell to the old site and greet the New Year with a redesigned website.

There are many reasons for redesigning your industrial website, mainly because it is outdated or it is underperforming or not producing any results at all. However, before you dive into the deep end of a site redesign, you need to first plan your content. By content, I don’t mean just the text on your web pages.

Based on my experience in developing successful sites for manufacturing and industrial companies, I suggest you spend a lot of time on the following tasks before beginning the redesign:

Read more

Are Manufacturers Turning a Deaf Ear to Content Marketing?

Despite all the published reports about the great results that businesses are deriving from content marketing, it seems manufacturers and industrial companies are still stuck in their old ways of marketing. According to a recent commissioned study done by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Act-On Software, SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) prefer the more personal touch of face-to-face marketing tactics for customer acquisition.

Marketing Tactics Used by SMBs

Even though the study included 208 SMB decision makers, it is very relevant to manufacturers and industrial companies because 40% of the respondents were Manufacturers from various industries.

Read more

Content Marketing is Not More Content Output

It used to be that the biggest challenge faced by B2B content marketers was “What will we write about?” At least that was what I heard most often from many of the industrial companies that I talked to.

Producing enough content is now the #1 challenge faced by B2B content marketers. That was one of the findings from the recent survey, 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks–North America conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs.

Challenges that B2B Content Marketers face

Read more

News Releases in Industrial Content Marketing — Part II

Think of this post as an extension of my previous article “Why Industrial News Releases Make Good Blog Posts.” Let me start with some findings and statistics from different B2B content marketing studies that I have downloaded and read in the past couple of weeks.

First up is 2012 B2B Content Marketing Trends by Holger Schulze (@holgerschulze) who is the author of the syndicated blog “Everything Technology Marketing.” He recently surveyed the 30,000+ members B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn on various issues related to B2B content marketing.

Among B2B Technology Marketers, the leading content marketing tactics are case studies (62 percent) followed by white papers/ebooks (61 percent) and press releases (58 percent). Those are the results in response to the question, “What content marketing tactics do you actively use?” The chart below shows the complete breakdown of answers.

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

Content Can Differentiate Industrial Companies When There’s Parity in Value Propositions

A Value Proposition plays an important role in differentiation, which in turn affects lead generation. Yet, if you read the content on most industrial websites, they tend to sound similar within each industry. Most manufacturers and industrial companies make generic claims that are often copied by their competition and lack validation.

How do you rise above the noise when there is so much parity in Value Propositions?

There are experts who are more qualified than I am in crafting a Value Proposition that is so unique to a company that it cannot be easily duplicated by others. However, my clients look to me for answers for overcoming their lead generation challenges using my knowledge and experience in industrial marketing.

One strategy that has consistently produced good results for my industrial clients is using the power of industrial content marketing. You’ve probably heard that before so what’s different about what I’ve just said?

Let me answer that by giving you some specifics:

Read more

Can Digital Marketing Make the Phone Ring for Industrial Companies?

Generating leads is always the central theme in my daily conversations with manufacturing, engineering and industrial companies. However, a qualified lead means different things to different people and it is rare for me to find too many of these companies to have a clear definition of what a lead means to them.

Truth be told, lead generation is a catchall for “We want our phones to ring.”

I wish it were that easy. Then again, I had better be careful about what I wish for because if it were that easy, my clients wouldn’t need my help solving their industrial lead generation problems.

Let me make it clear from the outset, this post is not about sales vs. marketing. I firmly believe that complex industrial sales require both sales and marketing to work together. I advise my clients to embrace that philosophy and not to think of industrial marketing as mere sales support.

How can digital marketing help create more qualified opportunities for industrial sales?

Read more

Do You Know the Cost of Maintaining Your Industrial Digital Marketing Status Quo?

For the past six years, more than two thirds of manufacturers and industrial companies have said that lead generation or customer acquisition is their top marketing priority according to the latest industrial marketing survey released by GlobalSpec.

The same survey also found that 42 percent of these companies have increased their budgets for digital marketing in 2012 and 47 percent of the respondents spend more than a third of their overall marketing budgets online.

Despite all the encouraging findings about the use of digital marketing within the industrial sector, it is common to find websites that are several years old. I have talked to owners and marketers from manufacturing and industrial companies of various sizes that sounded enthusiastic about launching an industrial blog and moving forward with inbound marketing with content but it seems easier for them to do nothing and maintain their digital marketing status quo. They are hoping that their lead generation problem will somehow solve itself if they continue to do business as usual.

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

Industrial Content Marketing is Not Just for SEO

Content marketing is a central topic in most of my recent conversations with industrial companies. The primary goal is to generate better quality leads from their websites. That is the good news.

The not so good news is that they have a mistaken belief that content marketing is for search engine optimization (SEO). They’ve heard/read that Google loves fresh content, therefore all they need to do is publish lots of content and they’ll be on the first page of Google’s search results.

I agree that SEO is a very important goal of content marketing; after all, your website needs to be found by the right people when they are searching for industrial products and services that you provide. However, your industrial marketing content must do a lot more than just SEO.

Read more

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Marketing Matters Newsletters

Marketing Matters is our monthly newsletter which is usually emailed during the last week of the month.

Wait, before you leave!

Get the latest articles on industrial marketing delivered to your inbox every month. Join thousands of your peers from around the globe and stay informed.