Seven Tips to Make Customer Case Studies More Effective


Case studies are an important asset of almost every industrial marketer’s content portfolio. Potential buyers often read or view customer case studies in the later stages of their buy cycle, when they’re ready to hear the voice of other customers who use your company’s products or services.

Successful case studies can be tricky to get right. Customers are often hesitant to participate, and when they do, the results can be disappointing if you don’t tell a compelling story.

To make your case studies more effective, follow these seven tips.

1. Choose the right targets

It might be difficult to produce case studies for every market segment you sell to, and if you can, that’s great. If not, you need to prioritize:

  • Approach customers in the verticals where you have special initiatives or selling goals.
  • Try to interview customers who have similar roles and responsibilities as those you market to.
  • Ask your sales team and account managers for case study recommendations. They’re close to their customers and know who might be willing to participate.

2. Demonstrate value to your customer

To overcome a reluctant customer, demonstrate how their participation will benefit their company. If you promote the case study on your website and social media with links back to their website, you can provide positive exposure for their company. The same is true if you use the case study to pitch stories to media outlets. It’s free publicity for your customer.

There are other ways to motivate customers to participate, such as offering purchasing discounts, early peeks at new products, passes to events or other incentives.

3. Research your customer before the interview

Don’t waste precious interview time asking your customer questions you can answer yourself. Make sure you know as much as you can about your customer before you conduct your case study interview. Review their website to understand their business: its size, office locations, products, positioning, markets, etc.

You can also speak to the account rep to find out more about your customer’s business and their relationship with your company.

4. Plan your interview questions and case study format in advance

Most customer case studies follow the format of Problem>Solution>Results. Develop your questions around these three areas. What business problem was your customer trying to solve or what objective were they trying to achieve? How did the problem impact their business? How did they search for a solution? Why did they choose your company? How does the solution work for them? What were the results?

5. Record your interview

Whether your interview takes place in person, over the phone, or via Skype, you should record the entire interview. This not only gives you a record of what was said so you can accurately write the story and quote the customer, it also frees you to listen more closely and easily ask side questions based on the direction of your conversation. If you’re trying to take notes during the interview, you could lose track of your thoughts and what your customer is saying.

6. Always ask about quantifiable benefits

The real meat of a customer case study is the measurable benefits of using your solution. Hours of time saved. Percent productivity improved. Money saved. Reliability improvements.

The challenge is that your customer might not have this information readily at hand during your interview. That’s why it’s a good idea to submit your questions beforehand so that your customer can prepare and have the information you need.

7. Make your customer the hero

All winning stories feature heroes overcoming obstacles. A case study is a perfect way to present your customer as the hero of their own story. Faced with market pressures, desire for growth, low production rates or other obstacles, your customer took on the business problem and chose your solution to defeat the villain. That’s heroic. People love those kinds of stories.

Bonus tip: don’t forget to send your customer a personalized thank you note or small gift to show your appreciation for their participation in your case study.


Marketing, General

SEO Basics All Marketers Should Know


Every company wants to rank high on search engines. Appearing on the first page of search results for important keywords is an effective way to drive motivated traffic to your website and attract quality leads.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your rankings on organic search results for a specific set of keywords. However, “organic” doesn’t mean free. Like any marketing initiative, SEO requires budget, resources and expertise. Still, there are some basic SEO tactics that almost every industrial company should deploy to help improve their rankings. Let’s look at each one of these in turn and how they can help improve your SEO rankings.

1.      Identify targeted keywords.

Before you can perform any search engine optimization, you need to know which set of keywords you want to target for improved search results rankings.

To identify the most relevant keywords:

  • Evaluate your existing content for the words you use to talk about your products and services.
  • Ask salespeople or customers to describe your products or services.
  • Analyze your competitors’ content for keywords.
  • Use one or more of the many available keyword discovery and analysis tools to identify those words most relevant to your offerings.

You may not be able to rank well for the most popular keywords in your sector. Instead, focus on more specific keywords that may not have as much search volume but are more targeted to your offerings.

Once you have identified your keywords, you can use them to write content, optimize web pages and build links.

2.      Write great content for your audience

Fresh content – new and updated web pages, articles and blog posts – is the foundation of a successful SEO strategy. Search engines use software programs called spiders that roam the web and index content. Fresh content is considered more relevant than old content.

Use keywords in your content, but don’t stuff pages with keywords. Write for your target audience, not for search engines. Users will quickly spot content that overuses keywords and is designed for search engines rather than user needs. Such content is annoying and typically doesn’t read well, and users that come across these overstuffed web pages through search are likely to go elsewhere.

Instead, produce and post a continual flow of fresh content for your users: how to solve problems, how things work, etc. Your audience will appreciate it, increasing your chances of improved search results.

3.      Optimize web pages for search engines

If stuffing keywords onto web pages isn’t the right approach, then how do you optimize web pages for search engines? The process is called “on-page” optimization. There are a number of tactics you can use:

  • Use the title and description tags as places for keywords. If you are responsible for your website, you can do this yourself. If an IT or web development department manages your website, you will need to collaborate with them. The title and description appear in the search engine results for users to read. This is also a good place to mention your brand name.
  • Make the URL simple and include keywords. Separate words by dashes. If possible, avoid URLS that have long strings of search parameters.
  • Use alt-tags on images and video. The alt-tag is a brief text description that search engines will pick up. It also provides context for users who block images.
  • For video or audio content, you can include text transcription, which will give more detailed content for search engines to pick up.

4.      Build reputable links

Within your site, linking is relatively straightforward. Use keyword-based text links within your content to link to related pages within your site. Search engines rank pages that are connected to other pages higher than those that are isolated.

Getting external links back to your web site is called “off-page” optimization. The theory is that if you have relevant and reputable websites linking back to your site, your pages increase in importance and can rise in rankings. For example, IEEE GlobalSpec clients can link back to their websites from their listings on, a well-respected and popular site in the industrial sector. Additionally, seek out links from partners. Try to publish content such as articles or blog posts on other industry sites that will link back to pages on your website. Comment on industry blogs and be active on industry forums where you can link back to your website.

Next Steps

These are the four broad categories of SEO you need to familiarize yourself with to improve your search rankings. If you perform the basics, you should see improvement in your organic search engine results for your targeted keywords. If you want to take the next step, you will probably need to enlist the help of an expert well-versed in SEO practices.

There are many firms and consultants offering SEO services. Be sure to ask the agency how they approach SEO to make sure they only use reputable tactics, and try to work with a firm that has experience and satisfied customers in your industry.



Marketing, General SEO

Five Guidelines for Nurturing Leads


Studies show that 70 percent of new business can come from prospects that are in the early stages of their buy cycles when they first come in contact with your company, but are not yet ready to engage with sales or make a purchase decision.

We call these longer-term prospects nurture-ready contacts. One definition of nurture is “to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development.” Another is “to feed and protect.”

As a marketer, that’s exactly what you need to do: “support and encourage” nurture-ready leads to take the next steps in their buy cycle, “feed” them valuable information that will help them make the right buying decision, and “protect” them from being stolen by your competitors. You can do all this through lead nurturing campaigns.

Lead nurturing campaigns are designed to:

  • Provide nurture-ready contacts with relevant information related to their area of interest
  • Maintain their interest so they don’t abandon you for another supplier
  • Keep in regular contact with prospects, always ready to meet their needs
  • Give prospects appropriate offers to help them move forward toward a buying decision

To create successful lead nurturing campaigns, follow these guidelines:

1. Create the foundation for successful campaigns

Before you can launch a lead-nurturing campaign, you need infrastructure and processes to support the program. Assemble your team and perform the following tasks:

  • Develop guidelines for how sales and marketing teams will work together, including at what point in the nurturing cycle you should hand leads off to sales.
  • Input nurture-ready contacts into your system.
  • Score and segment contacts so you can determine what type of leads you have and what campaigns they belong in.
  • Establish response rules based on your contacts’ behavior at points during the campaign.

2. Plan campaigns for each group of prospects

If your company has only one product and one type of customer, you can skip this step and instead plan a “one size fits all” lead-nurturing campaign. But most companies have an eclectic customer base with different areas of interest.

This requires you to segment your contacts by interest and plan different campaigns according to relevant criteria. Segmentation criteria could be by product, status (according to lead scoring or position in the buy cycle, for example), geography, or other expressed interest. The more you can segment nurture-ready contacts into distinct groups, the more closely you can target their interests and needs, and in doing so be more relevant and attractive to them.

3. Develop and organize your content for distribution

Content is the fuel that keeps lead nurturing campaigns running. It’s what persuades nurture-ready contacts to trust a supplier and to take the next step in their buy cycle.

You probably already have a lot of content on hand that you can use in your lead nurturing campaigns, but there may be some missing pieces. The time to create content is now, while you’re segmenting your contacts and planning campaigns.

New contacts in early buy-cycle stages might be interested in educational content such as infographics, blog posts, articles, white papers and webinars. Prospects that score higher or are further along in their buy cycle could be looking for demos, product overviews and technical specs. The next level might include buying guides, customer case studies, ROI calculators and competitive differentiators.

4. Move prospects to the next step

With every touch-point, include a call to action by giving your prospects something to do. It could be downloading a white paper, reading an article, registering for a demonstration or webinar, filling out a survey or any other type of action.

These actions enable you to track the digital behavior of your prospects, as well as determine what type of content is appealing and what isn’t.

You also need to develop response rules based on what your prospects do. For example, if someone responds to an offer by downloading a white paper, you will send them a related article. Or if a prospect engages in X number of activities, you consider them sales-ready.

Your response rules are like a flow chart, with decision points and actions along the way. You can apply logic and even branching (if they do this, then we do that, otherwise something else) in order to optimize your campaign’s flow and effectiveness—and to get high-potential leads into the hands of sales reps at the right time.

5. Measure and improve

A lead nurturing campaign provides a trove of valuable data based on your contacts’ behavior. Track what works and what doesn’t. Get rid of offers and content that don’t perform well, while building on what’s most popular by creating similar offers. Continually refine your campaign and you should see improved results.

Demand Generation Lead Management Marketing, General

5 Tips for Measuring Marketing ROI


Marketers of all kinds agree that they’re under pressure to demonstrate ROI on their investments. While this is necessary to avoid wasting resources, marketing ROI can be difficult to measure, even in today’s digital-centric world.

To improve your ability to measure ROI—and to gain the insight you need to make meaningful adjustments to your marketing programs—follow these tips:

Define what marketing ROI means to your organization

Every marketing organization has its own unique vision for and definition of success. The first thing you must do is agree upon and document your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Even within your organization,  definitions of success may vary. For example, the chief marketing officer may be interested in cost-per-qualified-lead, whereas a content manager might define success by the number of downloads or shares of content. When having the ROI discussion, make sure multiple stakeholders have their voices heard.

Use marketing automation

If at all possible, take advantage of the low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market today. They will help you keep much better track of campaigns and prospect activity, making ROI measurement a lot easier and your overall marketing efforts more efficient.

You can still get the ROI job done with spreadsheets if you keep your definition of success and metrics simple. However, your task will be more manual and cumbersome and your results perhaps less accurate.

Beware of the single attribution methodology

The simplest and easiest way to measure ROI is to assign the revenue from a deal to the first point of contact a customer had with your company, and then calculate ROI from there Here is an example of single attribution: A prospect downloads a white paper and you add that lead source to their record. Eventually they purchase. The sale is then attributed to the white paper campaign.

Another method is to attribute revenue to the “last click” a customer has or the last action they took before buying, under the reasoning that this is what finally motivated them to buy. But single attribution, whether it’s first touch or last touch, has severe shortcomings, including:

  • It doesn’t account for the way most engineers and technical professionals engage in the buying process. Engineers typically have multiple contacts with a company over a period of time, with each touchpoint helping the buyer move closer to making a buying decision.
  • Single attribution gives too much credit to lead generation programs and not enough to lead nurturing touches or individual contributions from your sales team.
  • Results can be skewed by deal size or time. A particularly large deal would make the attributed source appear wildly successful. A long sales cycle might diminish the importance of the single source.

Account for multiple touches

A more accurate and defensible method of measuring marketing ROI is to account for multiple touches with a prospect over what could be multiple different campaigns. Here’s where your marketing automation helps a lot, as complexity of measurement increases.

In multi-touch attribution, you track every touch made with a prospect along their buying journey. For example, Prospect A from Company X may have attended a webinar, clicked on an e-newsletter ad, watched a video, and downloaded a spec sheet. That’s four distinct touchpoints before a purchasing decision was made.

You could attribute one-quarter of the revenue to each of these four campaign tactics. More likely, you might choose to weight some touches over others based on when they occurred in relation to the sale or the action that delivered value—but beware the “last click” mistake.

You also might give more weight to programs that touched the key decision maker than programs that affected other influencers.  Or you might choose to weight certain types of touches more heavily than others based on the level of engagement. For example, attending an hour-long seminar may have more impact than a simple website visit. How you weight touches is entirely up to you.

Multi-touch attribution for calculating ROI offers a number of benefits:

  • Accounts for longer-term nurturing touches as well as lead generation.
  • Especially useful for long buying cycles that include multiple prospects and many touchpoints.
  • Focuses on all contacts and touchpoints associated with a deal, not just the first or last.

While multi-touch attribution for calculating ROI has significant advantages over single attribution, you should be aware of potential pitfalls and how your findings might be challenged:

  • You have to make assumptions based on weighting touches, and your assumptions could be wrong. On the other hand, if you weight all touches equally, you run the risk of over-crediting low impact touchpoints.
  • It’s still difficult to account for “hidden” contributors, including sales activity and unattributed online activity.

Accept a learning curve

It’s a challenging task to measure marketing ROI, but you must do it in order to justify budgets and optimize expenditures. It will likely take time to get good at ROI measurement, but you are not alone. According to a MMA/Forrester/ANA study, 87 percent of senior marketers did not feel confident in their ability to impact the sales forecast of their programs.

The most important aspect of measuring ROI is to get everyone on the same page in terms of how you define success and what measurements contribute to determining your level of success. From there, move forward as your skills and tools allow, always focusing on improving your methodologies, increasing your confidence in your results, and adjusting programs based on data.





Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI Marketing, General

Give Your 2018 Marketing Plan a Final Tune-Up


Whatever point you’re at in your 2018 marketing planning, the “2018 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit” can help. This guide offers advice, tools and tips to efficiently target your audience of engineers and technical professionals and get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Download your complimentary copy of the kit.

Using the planning kit, you will be able to answer the tough questions that every marketer faces:

1. How do you get more out of your marketing investments, and measure and account for marketing decisions in today’s economic climate?

Industrial marketers are under unprecedented pressure to demonstrate return on marketing investment (ROMI) for their initiatives. At the same time, due to the nature of the industrial buy cycle, and an engineer’s preference for multiple sources of information and multiple touches with your company, it’s difficult to make a one-to-one correlation between a specific marketing program and revenue earned.

By tracking every interaction between your company and a prospect you can better measure ROMI and account for your marketing decisions. In this planning kit, you will find out how to avoid the “last click” measurement trap, which attributes a sale to the last marketing-related touch-point a customer has with your company before making a buying decision.

2. Do you have a balanced mix of media channels to maximize your reach and effectiveness?

Your audience uses a variety of digital and traditional channels to discover and learn about suppliers, products and services. You can use the Media Choices table in the kit to find out which channels your customers prefer and how to balance your investments in order to optimize the performance of your marketing program.

3. Are your marketing programs delivering highly qualified contacts and inquiries to your sales team?

It always comes down to this: marketing must generate good leads for your sales team. The first step in measuring the quality of leads is to know what a high-quality customer looks like. The planning kit includes tools to help you create the ideal customer profile.

Prospects who most closely fit your ideal customer profile and demonstrate interest through active engagement with your company and content are most likely to be sales-ready leads. You can increase the amount of prospect activity by pushing content across multiple channels to your target audience, and by nurturing interested prospects with marketing automation.

4. How do you meet the incessant and growing demand among your audience for quality content that supports their buying cycle?

If you are like most industrial marketers, content marketing is going to play a role in your 2018 plan. Producing and distributing valuable and authoritative content positions your company as an expert, builds trust with prospects, and ultimately makes it easier to sell products and services.

However, marketers face a multitude of content marketing challenges: lack of resources to produce quality, engaging content on a consistent basis; a lack of content ideas; knowing which channels are best for distributing content; and integrating content marketing with your overall marketing plan.

We’ve included a special section on the content marketing challenge in the “2018 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit,” containing tips and advice on how to become an efficient and effective content marketer.

5. How do you avoid making common marketing mistakes?

Manufacturers, distributors and service providers in the industrial sector have more marketing choices than ever before, making it easier to maximize marketing budgets. However, even the most seasoned professionals sometimes fall prey to mistakes that are easily avoidable.

Our kit includes a list of the top ten marketing mistakes and how to avoid them. Number 10 on the list: Moving into the year ahead without a plan. If you still haven’t developed a road map for 2018, the first thing you should do is download your complimentary copy of the “2018 Industrial Planning Marketing Kit.”

Explore this handy guide, set aside time to brainstorm your goals and objectives, and plan your tactics for the year ahead, including marketing channels that align with your plans. Even if your plan is already in place, the kit offers checks and balances to keep you on the right track.

Marketing Strategy

Three Industrial Marketing Predictions for 2018


There might be as many marketing predictions out there for 2018 as there are marketing gurus. Everyone has their crystal ball out this time of year. Here at the Maven, we focus exclusively on the industrial sector. Our top three predictions for 2018 are all about you and what we expect you’ll be doing in the upcoming year.

1. Industrial Marketers Will Expand Multichannel Capabilities

Recent data from a survey sponsored by IEEE GlobalSpec and conducted by the Content Marketing Institute reveals that B2B marketers are using eight different marketing tactics in the development of content. Social media content (83 percent), blogs (80 percent) and email newsletters (77 percent) rise to the top as the most frequent tactics used.

The most successful marketers in 2018 will use a mix of push/outbound (email, tradeshows) and pull/inbound marketing tactics (corporate website, online catalogs). Currently, 50 percent of industrial marketers are using such a mix. Only 26 percent are satisfied with their marketing mix and only 25 percent are satisfied with their online marketing efforts (with 50 percent neutral).

These results indicate an opportunity for marketers to expand and diversify their mix more, especially in online channels, to better connect with their audience.  Past research about the “Cross-Media Multiplier” demonstrates the performance benefits of diversifying your marketing spend across multiple digital media channels rather than relying on a single platform

2. Industrial Marketers Will Document their Strategies

Forty-one percent of B2B marketers have a content strategy but it’s not documented, compared to 19 percent who have a documented strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute survey.

It’s great to have a concept or general idea of where you want to go and what you want to achieve, but that’s not always enough to succeed. It’s all about having a clear and concise strategy that is documented, reviewed, and shared company-wide with all active participants so that everyone is aligned and aware of your marketing goals. Too many companies are starting from scratch every year, which is inefficient and can waste resources, but this will be the year that industrial marketers document their strategies to serve as signposts as well as a measuring stick of performance against expectations.

3. Industrial Marketers Will Work with Partners for Content Marketing

If you are like most industrial marketers, content marketing is going to play a role in your 2018 plan. However, content marketing, while an essential marketing strategy, presents a number of challenges you must overcome. Industrial marketers cite a lack of internal resources, difficulty in producing engaging content on a regular basis, and distributing content to their target audience as three of their more pressing challenges.

To overcome these challenges, more industrial marketers will turn to partners for help. The right partner will have deep knowledge and expertise in your technical field so they can help you create targeted, relevant content without having to take a long time to get up to speed. The right partner will also be able to create a variety of content types, including white papers, native advertising, technical briefs, e-books, webinars, infographics, and more.

A trusted media partner will also be able to turn your goals and objectives into action by designing effective campaigns to get your content in front of your target audience. Make sure you work with a partner that has the capabilities to offer comprehensive reports about the performance of your content and the ability to identify who is accessing it.


Marketing Trends Marketing, General

Five Marketing Resolutions for 2018

As marketers we tend to start off each new year with a mix of excitement and concern. We’re excited because the marketing canvas is clean, our plans are plentiful, and success lies just ahead. But we’re also concerned— we’re starting from scratch, we have to choose among many marketing ideas, and there’s always the chance we don’t meet expectations.

To stay confident in 2018, adopt some marketing resolutions. Here are five specific strategies and tactics you can resolve to adopt to help you have a successful year in marketing.

1. Stick with the channels your customers use

In this era of digital media, there is a proliferation of channels commanding attention from engineers. Technical professionals have more digital tools and sources of information that help them to do their jobs better and more efficiently. They are also exposed to more companies and have many options when ready to buy. This leaves marketers having to choose among many possible channels for their marketing investments.

Resolve to use the channels that your customers use. This will give you the greatest opportunity to connect with your target audience.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels for technical professionals are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. However, your audience uses many other channels to keep up with the latest technologies and product news. In addition to the top three, continue to invest in e-newsletters, webinars, in-person tradeshows, and industry websites and publications. These are all important industry information sources for your customers.

2. Use both creative and directional advertising

Creative advertising generates awareness for your brand in the marketplace, helping your target audience understand who you are and what you have to offer. Banner ads, webinars, technical articles—these are good vehicles for creating awareness.

Directional advertising is where professionals turn to find a business like yours. They know exactly what they are looking for and simply need to find the right supplier. Online catalogs, e-newsletters, and search engines are marketing tactics often used to capture potential buyers. Your company website can serve as both an awareness and lead generation machine.

By implementing both creative and directional strategies, you will build awareness among the potential customers you want to reach—and be there when they are researching or making a purchasing decision.

3. Deliver the content potential buyers need

Content is critical to the buying process. According to the IEEE GlobalSpec Industrial Buy Cycle Survey, 70 percent of buyers review four or more pieces of content prior to purchases greater than $10,000. Being a provider of valuable, authoritative content positions your company as an expert in your industry; builds trust with your prospects; and ultimately makes it easier to sell your products and services, and drive revenue.

It’s important that your marketing collateral and website are up-to-date. If you choose to enter new markets, you may need to revise some messaging and re-purpose existing case studies, white papers and other materials. Create an inventory of content assets and determine what else is needed to move your customers through the buy cycle. Do it now to avoid long lead times.

4. Be mindful of measurement

You’re likely under pressure to justify marketing expenditures and show a return on marketing investment. You also might need to change marketing plans mid-journey if you are not getting the results you expected. Measurement is the key to supporting marketing decisions and justifying budgets.

Today, the most effective marketing programs are ones that demonstrate branding, awareness and engagement opportunities for your company. Online channels, which easily lend themselves to measurement (views, clicks, conversions, etc.), let you easily see what is working in order to focus marketing dollars on the most successful programs.

5. Work with new media partners

You shouldn’t have to navigate the complexities of industrial marketing alone. The beginning of the year is a good time to consult with an experienced media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach.

Discuss your marketing objectives with your media partners and have them show you an integrated, multichannel media plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives. Remember that media partners are your allies—they want you to succeed as much as you do.

Marketing, General

Your Favorite Articles of the Year


In 2017, you showed us that you like numbers: the top article offered “five” marketing myths that we debunked. Your next favorite was “three” marketing mistakes to avoid. If you read the Maven regularly you know you’ll get this type of quick-hitting, yet well-researched and practical marketing advice. The third most popular article was about sustaining and growing your email marketing list.

Take a look – we believe you’ll still find them valuable on a second reading. In the coming year, we look forward to offering you more marketing expertise. All of us at the Marketing Maven wish you the best both personally and professionally in 2018.

1. “Five Marketing Myths Debunked”

We’ve all heard “facts” about B2B marketing that are founded on misconceptions or assumptions. Basing your marketing decisions on myths can lead to subpar results. To help you improve your marketing effectiveness, here are five common marketing myths. Don’t believe them.

Read: “Five Marketing Myths Debunked.”


2. “Don’t Make These Three Marketing Mistakes”

As if there were only three possible mistakes! But these are big ones. Marketing in the industrial sector is increasingly complex. You must allocate a limited budget across multiple channels in order to best connect with customers and prospects. It can be a daunting process, and errors are often made. Here’s how to avoid three of the biggest mistakes.

Read: “Don’t Make These Three Marketing Mistakes.”


3. “List Health Practices for Maintaining an Engaged Audience”

Your house email list can be gold or fool’s gold, depending on how you mine it. IEEE GlobalSpec’s own Linda Uslaner, Director of Product Management, was interviewed for eMarketer’s latest report “Email Marketing Benchmarks 2017.” She points out several ways IEEE GlobalSpec is strengthening its lists to drive performance and  improve metrics. You can too.

Read: “List Health Practices for Maintaining an Engaged Audience.”

Marketing Roundup

Is Your Online Presence Helping or Hurting Your Brand?


Next to search engines, supplier and vendor websites are the sources engineers use most when seeking information on the latest engineering technologies, industry trends and products. This is just one revelation from a new survey from IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing, “Smart Marketing for Engineers.”

It’s hard to overstate the importance of your online presence when you are competing for business. For the majority of engineers (52 percent), a company’s website has considerable impact on their perceptions of them as a credible, technically competent vendor.

Here are three ways to make sure your online presence helps, not hurts, your brand.

Carefully choose fields in website forms

Engineers and technical professionals are willing to share some information about themselves in exchange for content, but no one wants to jump through unnecessary hoops to get content.

The four fields engineers are most likely to complete in a form on a company’s website are work email address (66 percent), company name (54 percent) and first and last names (48 percent and 45 percent, respectively). The fields they are least likely to complete are purchase time frame (10 percent) and mobile phone number (18 percent).

A good rule of thumb is to ask only for basic information, especially from new contacts. You can collect additional information, such as purchase time frame, budget, and purchasing authority as you further qualify your prospect and help them along their buying journey. Another good rule of thumb is to use dynamic forms, so that prospects don’t have to reenter information they’ve already provided.

Respond to inquiries in internet time

Forty-two percent of engineers expect to be contacted by a vendor within 24 hours, and 22 percent expect to be contacted within 48 hours.

This means you need a reliable process for responding to submitted forms. At a minimum, send an autoresponder that promises a personal follow-up, which lets a prospect know that you have acknowledged them. Better yet is a response from a named individual. Go one step further in your response and include links to content related to what your prospect has registered for.

Every gesture you make that shows you are listening and ready to help will be appreciated—and the faster the response, the more likely the payoff to you in terms of winning business. Eighty-four percent of engineers and technical professionals are more likely to do business with companies that engage with them after indicating interest. Younger engineers in particular are more likely to do business with companies that thank them for their interest and offer further related resources.

Keep the content on your website fresh

A whopping ninety-two percent of engineers are more likely to do business with companies that regularly produce new and current content. So keep your content machine rolling.

The content can be new or updated web pages; download offers of white papers, articles or application notes; videos; webinar invitations; blog posts; infographics and posters—anything useful in helping engineers and technical professionals make informed buying decisions.

The takeaway here is to pay close attention to your website and the impression it creates on customers. Use it as a relationship building engine for your marketing and sales team. For more marketing recommendations and the complete survey results, download your complimentary copy of the latest research, “Smart Marketing for Engineers.”




Content Marketing

Does Good Content = New Business?


Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard that engineers and technical professionals rely heavily on content to make informed purchasing decisions. New research underscores this fact: 92 percent of engineers responding to an IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing survey said they are more likely to do business with companies that regularly produce new and current content.

Succeeding in content marketing and attracting customers, however, is no easy task. You must create a diverse portfolio of content that engineers and technical professionals find valuable, distribute the content to them, track their interaction with the content, and follow up with them to be their ally during their buying journey.

What Types of Content?

The survey found that engineers find significant value in case studies/application notes, with 81 percent of respondents ranking this type of content as either very or moderately valuable.

The next most valuable is longer-copy content such as e-books (75 percent find them valuable), white papers (74 percent) and books (73 percent). Videos also have a strong showing, regardless of length, with both how-to and product demos performing well.

Webinars are an established content type for this audience as well, with nearly all respondents (91 percent) ranking them at least “somewhat valuable.” In fact, very few engineers rated any content type as “not very valuable”, which demonstrates that you should focus on building a broad portfolio.

Distributing Content

The IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing survey reinforces previous research that shows that the top three content sources that engineers find most valuable are all online: search engines (43 percent), supplier/vendor websites (37 percent), and trade publication websites (29 percent).

YouTube is a valuable channel for distributing video content. Email, including your own e-newsletters and those of third parties, are effective vehicles for promoting content as well.

Among offline/traditional media, engineers and technical professionals value trade shows and trade print publications, with about a third of respondents finding each source very valuable. Social media channels – including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter – are not viewed by respondents as exceptionally valuable sources for work-related information.

Trustworthy Content

While engineers and technical professionals are thirsty for content, the level of trust they have in content types vary. However, content written by an engineering expert at a vendor company is regarded as most trusted by respondents (4.5/6 on a scale of trustworthiness). This is great news for industrial marketers who might worry about how their content will be perceived.

Consider choosing one or more engineering experts at your company to promote as thought leaders. You can create content for them, such as white papers, articles, application notes, e-books and more. Your audience will learn to recognize the names of your experts and trust the content that is produced in their names. You can also partner with other respected experts in your field to produce content.

Integrate Content into Campaigns

Creating and distributing valuable, trusted content is only part of the content marketing equation.  Your goal should be to plan campaigns that help engineers and technical professionals make confident, informed buying decisions.

In the early stages of their buy cycle, engineers are seeking educational content that informs and generates trust. As they interact with your content and make contact with your company, offer additional content that can help them make a final decision, such as ROI calculators, competitive comparisons, detailed specifications, and support and warranty information.

If possible, you should track every interaction a prospect has with your content so you know where they are in their buying process. This enables you to respond appropriately with the next piece of content or to pass qualified prospects on to your sales team.

To find out more about how you can more effectively and successfully target technical audiences through your marketing efforts, download your complimentary copy of the latest research from IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing, “Smart Marketing for Engineers.” This is one tool you’ll want on hand as you finalize your 2018 marketing plans.

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