2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit – Part 2

Last month in Part 1 of our 2020 Marketing Planning series, we offered advice on how to assess the performance of your current marketing program, account for industry trends that will affect your strategy moving forward, and align your marketing plan with your company’s overall business goals and objectives. Read Part 1 here.

This month, in Part 2, we are offering tips to help you develop the optimal marketing plan that fits your budget, provides measurable results, and targets your audience of engineers and industrial professionals.

Focus on the channels your target audience uses.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels that engineers use are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. These channels are foundational elements in your marketing mix.

E-newsletters, industry websites, social media, email, webinars, and trade shows are all important information sources for your customers and have influence on their buying decisions. At the same time, your audience relies on other channels to keep up with the latest technologies, including industry news, products, and companies.

Of course, you can’t use every possible marketing channel available to you, since resources are always limited, but you also can’t focus solely on only one or two channels. Instead, try to diversify your marketing spend across multiple channels to generate the results you need.

Seek efficiency and integration across channels.

The marketing channels where you allocate budget should work together to reach your audience at every stage of their buy cycle. Early buy-stage resources such as search engines and websites should point the way to useful, educational content that you can distribute through email, social media, webinars, and other channels.

Plan to use multiple channels for important events such as new product launches, updates, or technology announcements. Make sure each channel upholds a consistent brand message and contributes to your stated marketing goals. When your marketing efforts are integrated across channels, you will experience a spike in efficiency and will likely achieve better results.

Plan your cornerstone content.

Engineers and technical professionals are constantly in search of content to help them solve problems, understand new technologies, and make more informed buying decisions. Being a provider of valuable, authoritative content helps position your company as an industry expert, builds trust with prospects, and ultimately makes it easier to sell your products and services to drive revenue.

While impromptu content needs will pop up throughout the year, you should plan several cornerstone pieces of content. What key white papers, webinars, or articles will you need to support your goals in 2020? By planning now, you can avoid the long lead times that producing quality content requires.

In addition, plan what channels you will use for distributing content. Here’s where your multichannel strategy pays off. For example, you can promote a webinar in an e-newsletter advertisement or on social media and drive prospects to your site to register.

Set aside budget for new markets.

Given the almost instant worldwide reach of digital marketing channels, you should plan to explore new, untapped sectors where your products and services may be a good fit. Manufacturers that can display their products and services simultaneously across multiple markets will have the best opportunity to gain new customers.

You may need to tweak your content or messaging in order to appeal to customers across different sectors. Focus on your core value propositions. Ad networks and targeted e-newsletter advertising are effective ways to reach specific customers in new markets.

Determine your measurement strategy.

Everyone knows the saying that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. How will you measure your marketing ROI?

Many manufacturers are allocating a greater percentage of their marketing budget to digital programs, which your audience turns to first for researching work-related purchases and are easily measurable.  Views, opens, clicks, shares, downloads, and conversions are all trackable data points.

Marketing automation is growing in popularity as a way to measure results, as well as to manage campaigns and content distribution. Marketing automation makes it easier to track the multiple touches that a prospect will typically have with your company throughout their buy cycle, helping you understand the contribution of each channel. There are a number of low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market.

Work with media partners.

Preparing an integrated, multichannel marketing plan is challenging, which is why it’s best to start now. But you shouldn’t have to do it alone. As you begin, consult with an experienced media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach. Discuss your marketing objectives and have your media partners show you an integrated, multichannel media plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives.

2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit

IEEE GlobalSpec created the 2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit to help you develop an effective marketing plan that targets your audience of engineering and technical professionals. Get a jump on 2020 and add this valuable resource to your planning efforts today. Click here to download.

Content Marketing E-Mail Marketing Marketing ROI Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing

Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Industrial Marketers

Industrial marketers have embraced social media marketing over the past few years and the trend is likely to continue. Seventy percent of manufacturers said they increased their use of social media for content marketing purposes compared to just one year ago, according to the 2019 Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs.

Engineers and technical professionals are also embracing social media. Forty-nine percent report they have used social media to find product reviews, 43 percent have used it to keep abreast of product news and technologies, and 40 percent have used it to find expertise, according to 2019 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector: IEEE GlobalSpec.

However, for many industrial marketers, social media is a challenging territory without clear guideposts to build strategy and tactics. How much emphasis should you place on social media? What channels should be used? What content should be posted? How often should you post?

To help you better navigate social media and to become a successful social media marketer, we’ve put together this list of social media dos and don’ts.

DO

Do: Establish and measure objectives

The underpinning of any marketing program is your objectives, and social media is no exception. Most industrial marketers use social media to increase the visibility and improve the perceptions of their brands, establish their companies and executives as thought leaders in their industries. Lead generation is secondary.

You can use a variety of measurements to track the success of your social media efforts. Views, comments, shares and downloads are popular metrics. If those numbers are trending up, you’re likely achieving your goals.

Do: Use the platforms your audience uses

It seems like every week a new social media channel appears on the scene, and it may be tempting to get on board. However, if you understand the engineering audience, you’ll know these professionals are not early adopters of the next great social media platform.

LinkedIn and Facebook have held steady as the most popular social media platforms among technical professionals, with 81 percent and 80 percent having accounts on those platforms, respectively 2019 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector. YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram also have some penetration among the engineering audience. Aside from these examples, no other social media platform appears to be highly relevant to engineers.

Do: Show the human side of your company

Social media content should be more informal and conversational than other marketing content. Use a human touch. Create an interesting voice or perspective. Tell stories, appeal to emotions. Don’t be afraid to use “We” and “Our” to demonstrate there are people behind the posts.

Show the people who work at your company by posting videos and photos. Be humorous while still being helpful with the content you share. In other words, let your hair down a little on social media—without violating any of your company policies or social media guidelines.

Do: Keep social media profiles up to date

Once you decide which social media channels to keep or invest in, make sure you completely and consistently fill out the profiles. Your brand and what you stand for should be clear. Your company description should be consistent across channels. Use important keywords in your profiles. Fill out every available field the profile offers. Outdated or missing information reflects poorly on your brand and company.

Do: Follow your customers and prospects

Not only can you gain insight and intelligence by following your customers and prospects on social media, you can engage in conversations with them. Comment on their posts. Offer occasional advice. If you follow them, chances are high that they will follow you in return. Next thing you know a relevant community is forming.

Do: Integrate social media with other marketing channels

You should integrate social with other marketing by using social icons on your website and emails, linking from social media posts to additional content on your website, sharing and repurposing content across marketing channels, and using social media to promote other marketing programs such as tradeshows and webinars.

DON’T

Don’t: Heavily self-promote

Engineers can smell a sales pitch a mile away and they will stop following you on social media if all you are doing is promoting your own products and services. A good rule of thumb for posting content is the 40-40-20 rule. Forty-percent of your posts should be original, educational content; 40 percent should be curated content from other relevant and respected sources; and 20 percent can be promotional.

Don’t: Argue or engage with haters or trolls

You’re bound to receive negative comments on social media posts. Some you will want to respond to if you need to clarify a point.

However, don’t get into arguments with the individuals who are simply out there to draw blood. You won’t be able to win. You’ll end up saying things you’ll later regret. Other members of your audience will be witness and be turned off by such back-and-forth juvenile behavior. You should block or ignore commentators who are repeatedly and excessively negative.

Don’t: Let social media accounts languish

A blog that hasn’t had a new entry in over a year. The LinkedIn account that hasn’t been updated in months. These are bad looks for your company because they indicate you don’t care.

To use social media successfully, make sure that you are posting regularly to your accounts. Whether that rate is once a week or once a day depends on your objectives and resources.

Don’t: Automate everything

Many marketers are using marketing automation to create social media content in advance and schedule automatic postings. This helps save time and ensures your accounts are active.

But don’t automate everything. You still need eyes on your accounts and fingers on keyboards to post that quick, newsy announcement or to respond to customer questions. Remember to be human and socialize.

Don’t: Give up too easily

Social media is a long game that doesn’t offer immediate payback. You must stick to your goals and slowly work toward growing your presence and building your audience. If you do, eventually social media will become an integrated, effective component of your overall marketing program.

Marketing, General Social Media

How Webinars Will Change in 2020

Historically, webinars have provided strong demand opportunities, brand building, and the ability to engage your target audience and establish thought leadership in the industry.

Seventy-three percent of B2B marketers and sales leaders say webinars are the best way to generate high-quality leads, and 57 percent of marketers say they will create more webinars next year, according to GoToWebinar. Engineers and technical professionals find great value in webinars.

In the most recent IEEE GlobalSpec “Pulse of Engineering Survey,” engineers ranked webinars near the top of the list of ways to maintain, educate, and advance their professional skills. According to the “2019 Smart Marketing for Engineers” survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec and TREW Marketing, 84 percent of engineers said webinars were valuable for researching the latest engineering technologies, industry trends, and products and services.

Webinars remain one of the most important marketing tactics in the manufacturing sector, and your target audience has high expectations for such events. In 2020, you will need to up your game in the following ways to create an effective and memorable audience experience and to continue driving results.

1. Align content with audience needs

Although engineers believe in webinars, they are extremely selective in what type of webinars they attend. Fluffy sales pitches will attract no one; however, training and education will draw them in.

Webinar attendees indicate that they value training and improving their skills above all else, followed closely by insight and industry trends, how-to explanations, and case studies, according to 2019 Benchmarks, BrightTALK.

When planning webinars for next year, make sure you take these audience preferences into account. Design content to educate and train your audience on what matters to them, and you will likely attract more attendees.

2. Pick a day, any day

One trend we’ve noticed is the rising popularity of Friday webinars. It has been a long-held marketing belief that webinars should be scheduled only for the middle of the week, but registration data shows that almost any day works for drawing in live audiences. Don’t be hesitant to schedule webinars on Fridays or Mondays as well as the other days of the week.

3. Webinars must be available on demand

Everyone who has ever produced, marketed, and hosted a webinar knows that not everyone who registers for a webinar shows up for the live event. It’s not unusual for only 50 percent of registrants to attend the live webinar. Last-minute meetings come up. Pressing deadlines take precedent.

It’s also true that many people might be interested in the webinar content but are not available for when the webinar is scheduled, or didn’t know about the webinar. IEEE GlobalSpec webinar data is consistent with industry standards, which report that 84 percent of B2B audiences opt for replays over live webinars.

For these reasons, it’s essential that you make webinars available to audiences on demand following the live event. This way, you will be able to capture many more viewers, generate more demand opportunities, and increase the visibility of your brand.

You also shouldn’t measure the success of your webinars based only on live day attendance. With many engineers opting for on demand viewing after the event, you shouldn’t measure the success of a webinar until 90 days after the event, when the number of attendees is expected to level off.

4. Variety and interactivity will increase

It’s no longer enough to spend 45 minutes or an hour displaying and talking over static slides for a webinar. To drive deeper and meaningful engagement, you must interact more with your audience. Today’s webinar platforms offer a number of interactive features. Consider adding the following to your webinars:

  • Live polls: Asking your audience polling questions offers a number of benefits. First, you are able to solicit your viewers’ opinions to understand how they are thinking. Second, when you display results, your audience can see how their answers compare to their peers. Finally, the results of poll questions can be used to help tailor your content and to shape future webinars or other marketing content.
  • Interactive Q&A: This is a great way to get your audience involved and to find out exactly what’s on their minds. The Q&A isn’t exclusively a tack-on to the end of a webinar. If you’re covering several topics, after each section you can solicit a question or two from the audience. As with polls, Q&As can help shape future content. If you’re not comfortable with spontaneous Q&A, you can solicit questions ahead of time, such as during registration or on social media, and answer them during the event.
  • Video and animation: Webinar platforms and ubiquitous broadband connections give you the option to add video and animation that can help increase engagement. You could include an animated sequence showing how something works or how to do something. Or include a snippet of an interview video or an industry presentation.
  • Have more than one speaker: Pass the speaking duties back and forth based on each speaker’s area of expertise or segments of the webinar. Or include a brief interview with an expert as part of the webinar. If you can have both male and female speakers, the differences in their voices can add a measure of variety to the presentation.

5. Work with partners

Many industrial marketers are choosing to work with a media partner such as IEEE GlobalSpec to add webinars to their marketing mix. Whatever your marketing objectives, we have a webinar package to meet your needs, from providing industry speakers and additional target audience to handling all aspects of event production and marketing, freeing you to focus on other marketing responsibilities. Learn more about IEEE GlobalSpec webinar solutions here.

Marketing, General Webinars

2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit – Part 1

Many industrial marketers are deep into planning for 2020. If you haven’t started yet, now is the time, and we’ve got resources to help you.

By beginning your planning process now, you can gather evidence to justify your expected expenditures, receive executive endorsement for your budget, and be ready to launch when the calendar changes. Companies getting an early start on their marketing plan can get a jump on competitors and be better positioned to win business going into the new year.

This two-part series (Part 2 is coming in October) will help you create an effective marketing plan for 2020 that aligns with market and customer trends, fits your budget and capabilities, and helps achieve your marketing goals.

Part 1 focuses on evaluating your current program and understanding the industrial marketing trends that will affect your strategy for 2020. Part 2 will offer tips to help you develop the optimal marketing plan.

Assess the performance of your current plan

How are your current marketing programs performing? The complimentary IEEE GlobalSpec “2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit” offers a number of tools to help you measure the performance of your marketing. The kit includes a chart to plot the engagement and branding capabilities of your current programs and to identify gaps, a grid to compare the quality of your leads to your ideal customer profile, and a matrix to help you analyze the effectiveness of your expenditures across various media channels.

Access your complimentary copy of the “2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit” here.

The foundation of any performance assessment of your current marketing is the ability to measure marketing results. Measurability is just one of many reasons why industrial marketers are increasing their use of digital media, along with the engineering audience’s preference to seek information through digital channels.

Digital marketing programs offer the inherent advantage of measurement through page views, clicks, downloads, shares, conversions, and other trackable metrics. If your current channel mix is not mostly digital, then you should consider allocating more budget towards online in 2020.

Account for all channels

Keep in mind when evaluating current programs that your customers typically have multiple interactions with your company and content before they make a final purchasing decision. They might meet you at a trade show, visit your website, click on an e-newsletter advertisement, watch a video, and attend a webinar all as part of their buying journey.

Each of these marketing touches contributes to the eventual sale—not just the first action they took to connect with you or last action they took before making a purchase decision. Be sure to track all of these activities to properly evaluate marketing performance.

Five trends that can influence your plan

Before you begin to plan 2020 marketing programs and choose channels, you should familiarize yourself with industrial marketing trends that will influence your decisions. These include:

  1. According to the most recent IEEE GlobalSpec Industrial Marketing Trends survey, 60 percent of industrial marketers rely on email marketing and 43 percent expect to spend more on email in the year ahead. The trend in 2020 will be toward personalization, from connecting to email recipients by name, to providing email content based on their preferences and behaviors.
  2. More industrial marketers will invest in marketing automation software to help segment audiences more precisely, guide prospects through the buy cycle, and deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time.
  3. Industrial marketers will improve ROI measurement by not only counting leads but also tracking all prospect engagement and marketing touches through the sales cycle. In addition, definitions of marketing success will become agreed upon across the organization, particularly with sales and executive teams, to ensure collective buy-in on the metrics that matter most to an organization.
  4. More than half of buyers complete at least 60 percent of their buying process online before speaking to someone at a company. This trend announces an imperative that industrial marketers continue to produce high quality content. In 2020, expect more industrial marketers to create content marketing strategies based on achieving specific, measurable objectives and to produce content designed for specific stages of the customers’ buy cycle. To avoid long lead times, now is the time to audit your content and determine what content you will need to create, refine or re-purpose to support your 2020 marketing plan and goals. Also make sure your marketing collateral and website are up-to-date with current messaging and the latest product versions.
  5. Digital and traditional channels will be more closely integrated. For example, many industrial marketers will continue to include traditional tradeshows in their marketing portfolio. However, now they will rely on digital channels before, during, and after the show to gain momentum, increase engagement, and build relationships.

Study your company’s 2020 business plan

If your company is planning to introduce new products, expand to new markets or customer segments, or launch other strategic initiatives in 2020, you will need to build your marketing plan and create content to account for these initiatives.

Meet with executives to learn about the timing of new plans. You should also meet with sales leaders to understand revenue growth objectives. This will not only give you information you need to create your marketing plan, it will demonstrate that you are proactive about developing a plan that supports your company’s goals and objectives.

2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit

IEEE GlobalSpec created the 2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit to help you develop an effective marketing plan that targets your audience of engineering and technical professionals. Add this valuable resource to your 2020 planning efforts today. Click here to download.

Content Marketing Digital Media E-Mail Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

Ten Quick Tips for Sales and Marketing Alignment

Engine misfires reduce gas mileage and performance, and can cause damage to other engine parts, such as oxygen sensors or the catalytic converter. Similar poor outcomes occur when your sales and marketing teams are not in alignment, leading to wasted resources, under performance, and unnecessary problems.

That’s why sales and marketing alignment is so critical in the industrial sector.

Alignment ensures that sales and marketing are communicating clearly and working toward shared goals in an efficient and effective manner. Here are 10 ways to get and keep your sales and marketing operations in alignment.

1. Develop shared accountability

This first suggestion starts at the top, with the leaders of sales and marketing (if it’s only one person, this part should be easy). Leadership must agree on what goals you will work on together to achieve, how you will measure results, and where the path of accountability leads. There’s nothing like both teams having skin in the game to improve performance.

2. Use the same language

Work together to define terms that you will use jointly, such as what constitutes a “sales-ready lead” or a “marketing lead” or a “prospect.” You will likely use specific scoring criteria to help determine the definitions.

Among others, some terms that are useful to define include program, campaign, branding, ROI, and account. In addition, define titles, roles and responsibilities of team members so everyone knows who is responsible for each activity.

3. Begin at the onboarding stage

New hires—whether in sales or marketing—should be introduced to how the teams align during their onboarding processes. Some cross-training between the two departments can help establish communication channels and shared goals from the beginning.

4. Give cross-functional teams deliverables

Lots of companies create cross-functional sales and marketing teams, but the most effective teams have deliverables, whether that be creating training or customer presentations, developing lead-scoring criteria, or fielding tradeshow teams.

5. Collaborate on customer personas

Creating customer personas, which are detailed fictional representations of your different types of customers, should be a collaborative effort between sales and marketing. Sales is closest to the customer; marketing has a target in mind. Bring the two points of view together.

6. Keep sales enablement resources together

Use a single shared platform to manage, audit, and update marketing and sales content. Make sure both teams have access to the latest content at all times: articles, presentations, data sheets, white papers, videos, shared documents, links to web pages and social posts. All of it.

7. Have marketing team members join sales calls

One of the best things a marketing person can do is get on the phone (or go to a meeting) when a salesperson is speaking with a customer or prospect. You can learn how customers talk about their challenges and objections. You can learn how account executives position your company’s solutions in different scenarios. This will improve your content creation and marketing messaging.

8. Allow the sales team to offer campaign input

During the campaign development stage, meet with salespeople to introduce a proposed campaign: the audience, offer, timing, and goals. This exercise can result in useful feedback and ideas from your sales team that will help you shape a better campaign that the sales team fully supports.

9. Share a communication channel

Whether it’s an email group, intranet site, or online collaboration tool, choose a communication channel where marketing and sales can share updates with each other, ask questions, get support, and more.

10. Do things together

The more time sales and marketing spends together, the closer the teams will be and the more they will be able to empathize with each other. Lunch n’ Learns, team building, and other shared activities help build a sense of cohesion and allow team members to cultivate strong relationships with each other.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

The Latest SEO Tips for Industrial Marketers

Google regularly updates its SEO algorithm, which means industrial marketers must stay on top of their SEO tactics to perform better on search engine result pages for their chosen keywords. SEO practices that worked a couple years ago may now be ineffective.

One SEO practice that never changes is optimizing your content for search. Quality content is the foundation of SEO. This makes perfect sense. Google’s goal in regularly updating their algorithm is to always deliver the best, most relevant results to user queries, and every user query is basically a request for relevant content.

Keeping the requirement for quality content always top of mind in your SEO practices, here are the latest tips to help you improve SEO results.

One page, one keyword

For any given page or post you are trying to optimize for SEO, focus on only one keyword (or keyword phrase). If you use additional keywords in the page content, you dilute the strength of all of them. If you use the same keyword on multiple pages, you end up with pages that compete with themselves for rankings.

Don’t overuse your target keyword in the text. The content needs to flow, be clear, and be helpful to the user—that’s the number one rule. Use keywords in page titles, meta descriptions, H1-H5 tags (headings, subheadings), URL names, and within the text of the page.

Use related words in page content

While each page should focus on one keyword, you should use related phrases and synonyms to that keyword to show a breadth of understanding about the topic. Google uses latent semantic indexing (LSI), which means it understands how words relate to each other. In addition, using similar phrases and synonyms will make your content sound more natural, as opposed to the awkward results of trying to stuff the keyword all over the page.

Create long-form content

Long-form content (in the range of 2,000 words), gives you the opportunity to explore your keyword topic in depth and to position yourself as an expert on that topic. Long-form content increases the likelihood of shares and back links from other sites, because your content becomes the authoritative word on a subject.

Users won’t read a long page of content? Not true. If it’s relevant, length doesn’t matter. But you can make the content easy to read by using appropriate subheadings, short paragraphs, lists, and other techniques to make the content more visually appealing.

Focus on pages that already rank

You might have important pages on your site that rank, but just not as high as you would like. Work on these pages. Add more detail, anticipate and answer user questions, add images and video, include statistic and examples, create an infographic, and include anything else that will make the page stronger. Keep the content fresh through regular editing—including both additions and subtractions. Your best pages can get even better.

Develop a linking strategy

Search algorithms love links. Incoming links from external sites are extremely valuable because they indicate your content is important, but only if the links are from relevant sites. You can get incoming links by working with your business partners in complementary fields, guest blogging, participating in interviews and roundups, and through respected industry directories.

Internal linking is equally important. These links can help maximize user engagement by pointing the way to related content. They can also help reduce bounce rates, which are a factor in SEO.

Have a fully responsive website

Many searches are performed on mobile devices and Google most often uses a mobile site for indexing and ranking. This means you need a fully responsive website with content that renders well across all devices.

A responsive website changes the layout to offer an experience based on the device being used, especially ideal for mobile viewing. If you don’t have a fully responsive website, you may need to allocate budget and resources for this important initiative. Without a fully responsive website, your page rankings will suffer.

Optimize for “position zero”

You’ve seen featured snippets on search results pages that show up on search engine results pages. They appear after the ads but before the ranked results. This is called position zero, and it’s coveted. Featured snippets usually appear alongside an image, list, or a video, making them stand out even more and putting them in an even better position to get clicks.

Often, featured snippets show up in results for queries that include “How” or “What” or “Why” and are an answer to that question. Try optimizing a page to answer this type of question. Include a short 40-60-word paragraph and a list, table, or image. To optimize for position zero means to optimize for user intent, and in this case, that means answering their question.

Marketing, General SEO
improve seo industrial marketers

The Marketing Metrics That Really Matter

improve seo industrial marketers

Industrial marketers track a variety of metrics in order to measure the success of their marketing programs and calculate marketing ROI.

According to the “2019 Trends in Industrial Marketing survey,” 57 percent of marketers use leads to measure the success of their marketing initiatives. Forty-eight percent use customer acquisition; 48 percent use sales attributed to marketing programs.

All three of these measurements can be summed up in a single statement: marketing’s mission is to implement programs that generate leads who become customers. It sounds simple.

But in the digital age, marketers have a trove of data and a myriad of metrics they can analyze and track to determine if they are fulfilling their mission. There are many ways to determine the results and value of each campaign, as well as the overall marketing program.

The task of measuring can seem overwhelming. What do you really need to track? Here are four areas that deserve your attention and that can help you make marketing decisions.

Website Traffic

Your company’s website is your face to the market and your most important marketing asset. Sixty-two percent of industrial marketers currently measure website traffic. Website measurement offers plenty of insight for marketers:

  • Steady growth in website traffic indicates a strengthening brand and the ability to drive traffic through marketing programs. Any decline in traffic is reason to be concerned.
  • Popularity of pages and time spent on page provide insight into what content your audience is looking for and what is engaging them.
  • Internal click paths and page drop offs reveal how your audience journeys through your site and where they leave. You can get a sense of how your audience thinks and discovers, which can help you make improvements to your content hierarchy.

Email Metrics

Email campaigns are the most common type of marketing program in the industrial sector. Email offers a few important measurements:

  • You can measure your list quality by tracking deliverability, bounces, and spam reports. Deliverability should be increasing over time, while bounces and spam reports should shrink. If that’s not the case, it may be time to clean your list.
  • Measure engagement with your message and content by tracking the open rate, click-through rate, and forwards.
  • On your landing page, measure conversions (such as downloads/forms completed).

Account for All Touches

Most engineers and technical professionals engage in a methodical buying process. They typically have multiple contacts with a company over a period of time, with each touch-point helping the buyer move closer to making a buying decision.

That’s why it’s seldom accurate to attribute a customer sale to single marketing program, whether it’s the first touch a prospect has with your company (such as downloading a white paper) or the last touch (such as attending a webinar).

What’s important is to track every touch a prospect has with your company on their way to becoming a customer. Each touch is a contributor to the eventual sale. You can give each touch equal weight, or you can come up with your own system that assigns different levels of importance to each touch.

Marketing automation software makes this complex, but important, task a lot easier. If you’re not already using marketing automation, there are a number of low-cost solutions available for any sized marketing budget.

Measure Branding and Visibility

When deciding what to measure, many marketers focus on leads, which are obviously important. But before you land any leads, branding and visibility must smooth out the runway.

The vast majority of people want to do business with companies they have heard about and can trust. This is where campaigns such as display ads, tradeshows and directory listings come into play. Measuring views and visits can tell you how visible and noticed your brand is.

If leads are falling off, you might want to work on building awareness. Some campaigns, such as advertising in industrial e-newsletters, offer the benefit of raising visibility by connecting with an audience you might otherwise find hard to reach, and also lead generation benefits if you make an offer in your ad.

Do you want to know what other industrial marketers are doing to measure ROI? Access the latest Marketing Maven research for the answer.

Marketing Measurement Marketing, General

Key Statistics Reveal the State of Content Marketing

Content marketing might be the single most important marketing activity in the industrial sector. Notoriously wary of sales pitches and promotions, engineers and technical professionals seek relevant, educational content to help them make smart, informed buying decisions. They gravitate toward manufacturers and suppliers who can provide this content.

White papers, videos, articles, webinars, case studies, spec sheets—your audience is out there searching for content. Are you connecting with your audience and delivering the content they’re looking for? Could you be doing a better job?

The answers can be found in the results of the recent IEEE GlobalSpec survey, “2019 Trends in Industrial Marketing.”  The online survey addressed the marketing trends, challenges, and expenditures within the engineering, technical, manufacturing and industrial communities, including specific questions about content marketing.

The results show the state of content marketing in the industrial sector—what manufacturers are doing well, and what they must do better.

Sixty-one Percent Engage in Content Marketing

A definite majority of industrial marketers are using content marketing in their portfolio of tactics. That’s the positive spin. But given the importance of content to the engineering audience, what are the other 39 percent of manufacturers doing? They’re missing out on one of the most effective marketing strategies. The 61 percent should be a lot closer to 100 percent. Get on board, everyone. It’s the content marketing era.

Thirty-seven Percent Have a Content Marketing Strategy

A content marketing strategy should include your mission and objectives, an audience analysis, key performance indicators, measurement strategies, marketing channels, content types and anything else that will help ensure your content marketing efforts stay on track and produce desired results. You also might add in team members and roles, along with your content publishing schedule. If you’re engaged in content marketing, you should have a documented strategy.

Fifty-two Percent are Increasing Spending on Content Creation and Distribution

Most industrial marketing budgets are flat, but a greater percentage of available budget is being funneled to content marketing. Marketers are realizing the importance of content marketing—and also the resources required. Content marketing will be the second biggest area of emphasis for marketing teams over the next five years, after focus on the customer.

Forty-five Percent Repurpose Content

This percentage should be much higher. Repurposing content to use in other formats across other channels helps to save resources and to maintain consistent messaging. Examples include the article that becomes a blog post, the white paper that becomes a webinar, or the case study that becomes a video. Before you create content, consider all the ways you might repurpose it.

Only Twenty-seven Percent are Satisfied with their Content Marketing Efforts

This leaves plenty of room here for marketers to increase their level of satisfaction with their content marketing efforts. Here are some tips that might help move the needle up: document a content marketing strategy, create a content publishing calendar, repurpose content for other formats and channels, and use marketing automation to help schedule, coordinate and track your content.

Twenty-one Percent Produce Content for All Stages of the Buy Cycle

Producing content for all stages of the buy cycle is a significant undertaking, which may be why the percentage of marketers doing it is so low. It requires that you understand your customers’ information needs at each buy cycle stage, from early needs awareness; to research, consideration and comparison; to purchase decision.

It also requires knowing what stage of the cycle a customer is in, based on their behavior. Finally, you must know your customer well. Creating customer personas, which are fictional descriptions of your different buyer types, can help in that regard.

Now that you know where your colleagues and competitors stand, where do you fit in with other industrial marketers as a content marketer? What can you do better in the second half of the year?

Content Marketing Marketing, General

Nine Ways to Stretch Your Marketing Dollars

Ask almost any industrial marketer and they will tell you there are never enough marketing resources. According to the research report, “2019 Trends in Industrial Marketing,” the leading marketing challenge is a lack of marketing resources—in terms of dollars, people and time. It was reported as a top three challenge by 37 percent of marketers, and as the single biggest challenge by 21 percent.

Further constraining resources, headcounts, and budgets are staying steady for the majority of industrial companies. Only 25 percent of companies are adding marketing people; just 31 percent are spending more on marketing.

Bemoaning the lack of resources doesn’t help, and subpar marketing performance because of a shortfall of marketing dollars simply isn’t acceptable. It’s up to marketers to find ways to stretch their budget and meet their marketing goals. Here’s what you can do:

1. Always Be Aligned

Your marketing programs should be perfectly aligned with your goals. This is the simplest way to make sure you are making the most efficient use of your resources. Before you invest in any program, always ask the question: Is this the best program for achieving our marketing goals? If not, don’t spend on it.

2. Repurpose Content

Content creation can be a resource drain. Look for efficiencies when creating marketing content. Make it a priority to create content that can be easily adapted for use across multiple channels, in multiple formats, and among different audiences. This offers the additional advantage of delivering a consistent message. Other content hacks include using templates to save on design costs, creating PDFs rather than printed pieces, and recruiting internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to help write technical content.

3. Use Marketing Automation Software

There is a good selection of low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market that can help you increase efficiency and save money. With marketing automation, you can easily segment lists, streamline lead nurturing, quickly access detailed reports and much more. A small investment can pay significant dividends.

4. Be Smart About Search Marketing

Optimize the pages on your website to rise in search results rankings for specific keywords that are important to your business. Keeping content fresh and current will also help. For paid search, focus on narrow search terms that will deliver more qualified traffic to your site. Don’t waste money on expensive keywords that everyone else is bidding on.

5. Focus Your Social Media Efforts

You don’t need to create and maintain profiles on every social media platform. It’s a waste of time and money, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to keep up or attract the attention you’re looking for. Instead, choose the social media channels that work best for you and that engineers are more likely to use. LinkedIn and Facebook are the two most popular channels for engineers. They’re great places to promote that reusable content you’ve been creating.

6. Don’t Purchase Email Lists

Purchased lists are a bad idea. They historically and dramatically under perform a clean in-house list. Plus, are you sure every name on that purchased list is verified as opt-in? Purchased email addresses are expensive and if you’re not careful you can run afoul of data privacy and protection laws.

A better idea is to advertise in a respected industrial email newsletter that you know is opt-in and is targeted to the audience you want to reach. Plus, your media partner will handle all list management functions, helping you to preserve your resources for other projects.

7. Cut Back on Travel

Industrial marketers still find tradeshows an effective marketing channel. But if you exhibit or attend multiple shows every year, the expenses pile up. Can you free up resources by going to one less show this year? If not, can you opt for a more modest presence? Can you negotiate a better sponsorship deal if you also host an educational session of interest to attendees?

8. Conduct Joint Marketing Programs

Work with a partner that offers complementary products and services to a similar target audience as yours. With two companies sharing the costs of a marketing program, your dollars can go a lot further. It’s also a good way to gain access to a potential new customer base.

9. Find a Trusted Media Partner

One way to help alleviate the lack of resources is to find a trusted, expert media partner who can help you optimize your mix and get the most out of your budget, while allowing you to free up some internal resources for other efforts. The right media partner will help you more efficiently reach your target audience and will be nimble enough to help you tweak programs along the way for better performance.

E-Mail Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy

UX for Industrial Marketing: Your Top Questions Answered

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The concept of the user experience (UX) dominates the world of product design, but its reach has expanded much further. UX has an important role in industrial marketing. If you’re not familiar with UX and how it applies to your marketing efforts, this article will introduce you to the main ideas and how to incorporate UX in marketing.

What is UX?

There are many ways to define UX. Most definitions agree that UX is the process of designing products (digital or physical) that are useful, easy to use, and satisfying to the user. Because UX affects the user’s overall feelings or reactions to your company, a good UX can help to increase the value and desirability of your products, strengthen your brand, and build customer loyalty.

Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” That’s the essence of UX.

What is the relationship between UX and marketing?

There is a tight and natural bond between UX and marketing. Consider that product design often entails market research, focus groups, customer surveys, analytics, competitive research and other tasks that enable us to better understand user needs and desires.

Those same functions apply to marketing. We perform market research, conduct surveys, create customer personas, analyze data—all in the name of creating effective and targeted marketing that improves our audience’s experience with our message and content, and helps move them more smoothly along the path to conversion.

For example, a good UX that leads up to a clear call to action can result in greater conversion, while a bad UX may mean that the user never finds the call to action at all or drops off somewhere along the conversion path.

Why use UX concepts in marketing?

The goals of UX and the goals of marketing are very much the same: delight the customer to the point that they will purchase, and even advocate for, your products.

When applying UX concepts to marketing, these three goals stand out as the most important to pursue:

Get discovered—the user experience begins when a prospect discovers you. No discovery means no chance of a relationship. Marketers must pay attention to how engineers and technical professionals prefer to search for products, services and suppliers.

Engineers do most of their research up front and on their own, before contacting a supplier, using favorite channels such as search engines, websites, online directories, email and social media. Marketers must allocate their budgets to the appropriate channels in order to be discovered and initiate the user experience.

Offer a superb and intuitive visual experience—when users find you, do you make it easy for them to access the information they want? An intuitive visual experience can easily guide them. This can encompass everything from a clear and properly placed headline, to obvious places to click, to web pages and other content that can be quickly scanned, to conversion forms that are painless to fill out, and more.

Drive brand loyalty— UX affects a user’s overall attitude and response to your company and your products. A user who has a positive experience with your marketing and content is much more likely to convert, become a customer, and remain loyal. Your goal in tending to UX concepts is to always make it easy for them to like you.

Where should I apply UX principles in marketing?

The short answer is that UX should inform all your marketing decisions. But here are a few areas to pay special attention to and that should bring you the most benefit:

  • Targeting—The right message at the right place at the right time goes a long way toward creating an exceptional UX. Use your market research, customer personas and media partners to help choose appropriate channels to connect with your target audience. The first step of UX is finding the user.
  • Words—UX is not only visual; it touches other senses as well. Write copy for your customers, not for your company. Focus on what your audience needs and wants to know, provide all essential information, and use as few words as possible to get your points across. Explain any concepts that might not be familiar to them.
  • Layout—Display ads, spec sheets, web pages, forms, emails—everything you create and put in front of your audience must have a pleasing and functional layout that captures a user’s attention, directs them to what you want them to see, and persuades them to take action, whether that action is simply to click to download or to place an order. How we layout our pages and utilize on-page elements is central to our marketing efforts (and our success). A frustrated user who can’t find what they are looking for is unlikely to convert.
  • Accuracy—mistakes and errors can ruin the UX. If your content doesn’t project quality and attention to detail, a user will have a negative impression of your company and products, and will be unlikely to do business with you.

These are just a few of the factors that contribute to UX. If your company has UX product designers, you should consider forming a cross-functional team that shares insight into users and contributes to the produced product (think of marketing campaigns as products). You can improve the user experience through your marketing; it’s imperative that you do so.

Marketing Trends Marketing, General