1 0 Archive | October, 2010

A Guide to Case Study Interviews: Asking the Right Questions

Customer testimonials occupy an important place in every company’s sales and marketing toolbox. Whether in the form of print or online collateral, videos, or podcasts, a good client case study can help prospects see how they can be successful using your products and services, helping you get one step closer to a sale.

Most testimonials and case studies follow a background-challenge-solution-results structure. It’s a classic storytelling device and it works. You can also use a question & answer format to present the case study more like an interview. Either one can work.

To help you gather all the source material you need to develop a compelling customer case study, follow this interview guide:

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Evaluating Online Media Solutions: An Eight-Point Checklist

Most manufacturers and suppliers have shifted a good portion of their marketing budget to online programs to better connect with the industrial audience. Now the issue is how to evaluate all of the available online media solutions that have appeared in the market, from e-newsletter advertisements, to specialized search engines, to virtual events and more.

As usual, choosing the best solution for your company can be found by performing a fundamental analysis that matches your goals to available marketing options. Use this eight-point checklist to evaluate solutions and potential media partners.

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Benefits of Developing Your Own Content Strategy

It seems content creation is getting a lot of well deserved attention recently – after all 95% of buyers today are online looking for content – you need to be ready to serve this need.
But you may ask: Why should I build a content strategy?
For one, it helps to add value to relationships throughout the life of them – think of the buy cycle and how promoting relevant content to prospects at the certain stage of the buy cycle they’re in can really resonate with them. In other words, you have the ability through your content, to speak to buyers appropriately at each stage of the buy cycle. What does this accomplish?  This allows you to nurture your leads, target content for each type of buyer, and it also allows the buyer to maintain control of the cycle.
An example of this is using white papers at the beginning stages of the buy cycle – as they are great ways to help prospects focus their thought processes – while also establishing your company as thought leader. Later on in the buying cycle, after there have been multiple touches by marketing and even sales, case studies can be enormously effective as a way to aid in the actual purchasing decision.
Also, B2B businesses need a content strategy as the older forms of push marketing are getting less effective. For example, if you build a robust, successful content strategy you’ll find your audience coming to you to access your content.
And, lastly, but no less important, is that you can monitor the effectiveness of your content strategy by measuring file downloads, from your Web Site or emails, for example.

Check out some of our content, from research reports to marketing planning kits, videos and podcasts here: http://bit.ly/dzb2p1 .

Have you developed a content strategy? If so, what types of content are you developing to help turn your prospects into customers?

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Planning for 2011: Three Strategies to Consider (Part 2)

Last month in this two-part article series about planning for 2011, we asked three questions to help you evaluate current marketing practices and next year’s plans (view Part 1 article here). This month, we offer three marketing strategies that will help position you to achieve your goals.

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Survey Results Show Preparation For Growth

The 2010 GlobalSpec Industrial Indicators Survey provided some hopeful data about the industrial sector. 67 percent of industrial professionals stated that their company revenue is above or on target for 2010. The worst of the economic downturn appears to be over, with many companies now focusing on growth-oriented initiatives they were unable to support last year. For example:

  • 18 percent of industrial companies have increased headcount, compared to only five percent a year ago.
  • Almost twice as many companies have increased spending (13 percent) this year compared to a year ago (7 percent).
  • 15 percent of companies are increasing research & development spending, a 50 percent increase over last year.

What areas of business are beneficiaries of this growth-oriented spending? 47 percent of companies are focused on improving production efficiencies, 42 percent on quality and 39 percent on new product development.

In order to support the development of new products and improvement of production processes and quality control, companies will need to spend on components, parts and services in the second half of 2010. 71 percent of survey respondents stated that the component and services spending they directly purchase or influence will increase or remain the same in the second half of 2010 compared to the first half, indicating stable or increasing budgets.

The takeaway for suppliers and manufacturers is to continue to market or ramp up efforts so that their company, products and services can be found by customers and prospects. Be sure to include online marketing as an integral part of your marketing mix, as research has shown that over 90 percent of engineers use the Internet to locate suppliers, components and products.

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Looking for new ways to reach the industrial audience?

How can b2b companies in the industrial space continue to reach their market with print media, direct mail and trade shows hit hard in recent years?

With the continuing migration of engineering, technical, and manufacturing professionals to the internet to get information on products, services, and vendors, virtual events are an option to consider. They can help you to build brand awareness and generate highly qualified leads for your company, while providing many of the same (and even some additional) benefits of traditional tradeshows.

Learn what virtual events can do for your company and how they can be a significant part of your marketing plans - Register for a complimentary Webinar entitled: “Building Brand Exposure, Generating Leads with Virtual Events” on Wed., October 13, at 2:00 pm EST. 

Join us and discover why virtual events are gaining popularity with industrial professional and how you can take established trade show best practices and adapt them for an online audience.

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Free eBook: Online Marketing for the Industrial Sector. Selection of marketing articles compiled from past editions of the Marketing Maven.

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