Many industrial companies and manufacturers struggle with content marketing. It is not because marketers and decision-makers in these organizations don’t understand the value of inbound marketing but implementing an effective content marketing strategy is proving to be quite a challenge for them.
Usually the problem stems from three possible scenarios that I’ve come across. I’m going to make some suggestions in this post to help you solve the problem if you are an industrial marketer stuck in one of these scenarios.
Scenario #1: Founders of most small to mid-sized manufacturing and fabrication shops are hands-on people who have built their businesses from the ground up. Over the years, they’ve relied heavily on their personal contacts, business networks, sales reps and traditional outbound marketing to generate new leads and sales. These decision-makers are not going to change their mindset easily and overnight, adopt a philosophy of “think like a publisher.”
If you are the Sales & Marketing Director or the Marketing Specialist in one of these companies, you need to:
- Sift through the volumes of online information about content marketing
- Assimilate all that knowledge
- Present it to the owner(s) in bite-size chunks of actionable items
- Take baby steps and provide proof of results even if they are small
- Over time convert him/her/them into believers and supporters of content marketing
Scenario #2: The industrial company is 100% dependent on its inside/outside sales team for leads and sales. There is tremendous amount of resistance from the sales team to any kind of change that is perceived as affecting their livelihood, feeling of being relegated to the very end of the buying cycle and the loss of control over the way they have been doing their jobs.
As the in-house industrial marketer, you need to:
- Get sales involved in the discussion from the very beginning and don’t ask or expect them to accept your content marketing strategy in one fell swoop
- Show them how, with their help (lead scoring, qualifying, feedback), you can refine the process and deliver higher quality leads that improve their closing rate
- Make a business case for content marketing being a sales enabler and that sales and marketing can work together as a team
- Prove to them that lead nurturing with relevant content will help in building stronger long-term relationships and not push salespeople to the very end of the conversation
- Assure them that they will retain ownership of their contacts list and you won’t abuse their permission (bombard contacts with irrelevant emails)
Scenario #3: It is not uncommon in smaller industrial companies for the entire marketing department to consist of one person. It is overwhelming to create a constant flow of relevant content with a single individual carrying the entire load. Usually the marketing budgets tend to be equally small in such a scenario.
If you are in this situation, help yourself by:
- Creating thought leadership content from technical articles (See my post, Thought Leadership: Marketing Engineering Services with Technical Articles)
- Repurposing existing product collateral and breathing new life into them (See my post, How Manufacturers can Resurrect Product Content from the Dead Zone)
- Curating content from industry sources (See my post, Is Content Curation an Easy Way for Content Marketers to Do More With Less?)
- Interviewing in-house engineers and technical experts to create new content (See my post, How to Coax Content Out of Engineers)
- Inviting guest bloggers to post on your company blog if you have one
- Hiring an outside content creator. Take the time to find a qualified content creator who is knowledgeable about writing optimized copy, experienced in industrial marketing and knows your industry well enough to write in a consistent voice and tone that will resonate with your target audience
Regardless of the situation you are in, your number one job as an industrial marketer is to help sell more of your company’s products and services. Not just publish content for the sake of content marketing. (See my post, Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher, Act Like an Investor)
My suggestions in this post should help you as an industrial marketer to get over the content marketing hump.
Share your thoughts here if you have come up with your own content marketing solutions.