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?

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