To be effective and deliver value, marketing programs and content must resonate. Customers and prospects must see, hear or read information that interests them, is helpful and is presented with their needs in mind.
But here is the common mistake marketers make: marketing is conceived and created only from within the walls of your organization. Many hands get involved. Multiple points of view and opinions are taken into account—product managers, communications specialists, writers, executives. Yet, the most important point of view, from the perspective of your customers and prospects, has no representation.
If you have time and budget to test your marketing concepts and content on customers and prospects before launching, by all means do it. Your marketing will vastly improve. If not, it’s up to you to take a critical look at your marketing from the point of view of your customers and prospects.
Here are five questions from your customers’ point of view. Use them to help analyze your marketing.
Do your offers fill my need?
Most industrial companies offer how-to videos, technical articles, product specifications, application notes and other content to customers and prospects. The question is whether all of this content fills my need as a customer. Is your content helping me solve a problem? Providing key points to compare different solutions? Giving me unbiased how-to advice? I come to you for one reason only: I need help solving a work-related problem. How does your marketing content help me?
Do you get to the point?
There’s a high probability you could cut the first paragraph of almost any article, data sheet or white paper and I could get to the information I’m looking for faster. You can forget the introductory material about how “Today’s engineers and technical professionals are faced with many pressing challenges . . .” Instead, get to the point: “This article will compare the features and functions of three types of oscillating pumps.” Yes, that’s what I need.
Do you use my language?
There’s a big difference between industry language and jargon. I use industry language in work every day—those generally accepted set of terms, acronyms and phrases that any engineer or technical professional working in my industry will use and understand. On the other hand, I don’t understand marketing jargon you might throw at me. Such as a bunch of words strung together that is an attempt to create a new category of product or process, or to differentiate from competitors, or just to sound important. Or inventing of new acronyms. That wears me down. When you use terms or acronyms that I don’t understand or aren’t familiar with, you’re making me work too hard. I’d rather find a company that makes things easy for me. Keep your language and concepts simple and straightforward.
Do you anticipate and answer my questions?
I engage with your company because I have unanswered questions. Will your products and services meet my needs? Do you have an approach to solving a design problem that will work for me? Does your product do X? Does it have Y? Is it better than Z? Why? This is what I want to know. Build your marketing content around anticipating and answering my questions, and I will consider your company a valuable resource and will be more likely to do business with you. I know marketers have creativity in their blood, but often a “just the facts” approach of providing relevant information works best for us engineers.
Do you market where customers are searching?
You do know that almost all of us engineering and technical types have migrated online to search for suppliers, products and services to meet our needs. If you want to connect with me, you should invest your marketing in those online resources I use. The top online resources for researching work-related purchases are search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites, and GlobalSpec.com. I also read e-newsletters. I attend online events and Webinars. That’s where I am. You may want to be there too.
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Also, you provide your thoughts in the comments section below. Have you looked at your marketing from your target audience’s perspective? What did you find and how did it change the way you market your products and services?