5 Ways to Give Your Content Marketing A Boost

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Content marketing is one of the most effective and essential tactics in industrial marketing. In fact, eighty-six percent of manufacturers  use content marketing.

On average, marketers in the manufacturing sapce use five types of content. The most popular are social media posts, videos, illustrations/photos, case studies and eBooks/white papers.

However, despite the popularity of content marketing, many marketers struggle to continually come up with fresh content to fuel their efforts. That’s why we’ve put together this list of five ideas that could spark your imagination and give a boost to your content marketing.

1. Gather data about what your audience likes

Look through your website, email stats and other data you collect to find out what types of content your audience gravitates toward. What pages do they read the most? Which videos are most popular? What gets clicked on? What keywords do prospects use to find your site?

You might discover that specific posts, pages or white papers are responsible for a lot of your qualified leads. That’s like striking a content marketing goldmine. You’ve found a topic that resonates with your audience. Go broader and deeper into that topic by developing new content around it.

2. Answer five common questions

Work with your sales team to find out the most common questions they get from customers and prospects. Use the answers to create a helpful guide for your target audience.

This can be a valuable piece of content because it is relevant to what your audience is thinking. You can answer the questions as a straightforward Q&A, an article, an infographic or in another content format.

3. Hit the refresh button

Even the best content gets old and stale. Maybe you’ve changed your positioning or upgraded products or embraced new technology. Take a look through older content and refresh what’s out of date to reflect your current situation. Often this will require only minimal resources.

Refreshed content can rise in search engine rankings, helping to extend its useful life.

4. Write and pitch an educational article

Focus on a common customer problem and write an educational article that provides a solution. Target the article toward a specific publication or industry website and pitch the editor with your idea.

An educational article that appears in a respected industry publication or is published on an industry website is an excellent way to build credibility and trust and to demonstrate thought leadership. Include a customer story if possible, with quotes from several sources. Remember to remain objective and focused on the problem-solution approach. Don’t be promotional.

5. Answer the “How to ” question

When your target audience is trying to solve a problem or seek a solution, they are much more likely to begin a search query with “How to . . .” than they are to type your company or product name into a search engine.

You can create a lot of powerful and persuasive content by focusing on the “How to.” For example, each of these topic areas can follow the “How to” model:

  • Problem solving guides
  • Needs assessments
  • Building a solutions budget
  • Analyzing potential pitfalls
  • Vendor selection
  • Readiness assessments
  • ROI calculators

Bonus idea: Create dedicated landing pages

To really measure the effectiveness of your content, you should create dedicated landing pages for each of your content campaigns. The pages should be simple and focused on the action you want your prospect to take, whether it’s to complete a form, download a guide, watch a video, register for a webinar or other action.

You’ll find that a well-designed, dedicated landing page can boost the effectiveness of your content by increasing conversions.

Content marketing is going to remain high on the list of marketing tactics. Thirty-eight percent of manufacturers expect their organization’s content marketing budget to increase over the next 12 months. Get those ideas rolling and make sure your budget is well spent.

Content Marketing Marketing, General

How to Keep Up with Engineers on the Move

 

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Only 37 percent of engineers say they are very likely or completely likely to be employed by the same company five years from now.

Of those engineers who might leave their current role, 32 percent stated that moving to another company would be the reason they leave their current role. That percentage rises to 37 percent of those in the Electronics industry and 51 percent for millennials.

These results, from the “2018 Pulse of Engineering” survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions, point to the conclusion that engineers are on the move—and the impact on manufacturers and their marketing strategies can be significant. You may have invested significant time and resources toward building relationships with these engineers, only to have them move to another company.

Your goal, then, must be to make sure that when engineers move, they take you with them. How can you do this? By making your company so valuable to them that they couldn’t imagine starting a new job without your company as their ally.

Manufacturers Can Be Trusted Providers of Content

You might gain an advantage if your company can play a role in helping engineers advance along their learning curve. One of the keys is to produce content valued by engineers.

When asked how they systematically or formally maintain, educate and advance their professional skills, engineers answered books, colleagues, online training courses and webinars. Next most popular were technical white papers by vendors. And to complete projects they are working on, engineers turn to technical documentations, software and development tools, and product specification datasheets.

It may be a good time to review and possibly upgrade your company’s online training, webinars, technical documents and white papers.

Engineers May Leave, But You Can Stay

If you establish strong enough relationships with engineers, they may recommend you in their new positions when they change companies. Additionally, you still want to remain entrenched in their previous company, and the way to do that is to be an indispensable knowledge resource.

Engineers admit that knowledge or information loss is moderately (28 percent), very (31 percent) or extremely important (16 percent) as employees left their company. Yet 55 percent of companies surveyed don’t have formal practices in place to identify senior-level and specialized experts to train, transfer, mentor, manage or retain their knowledge among others in the organization. On average, engineers gave a 5.2 out of 10 satisfaction score for their company’s talent or knowledge management processes.

A significant gap exists between where companies are and where they should be in terms of maintaining, managing and transferring knowledge internally. That gap creates an opportunity for manufacturers to step in and provide customized content and training that will benefit these companies as well as embed the manufacturer within the company because of their expertise. Forty-four percent say that design involvement from external partners and vendors is increasing.

Whether engineers are moving to other companies or trying to retain knowledge when others have left, manufacturers can step up by providing the important content that can make them an invaluable resource to their present and future customers.

 

 

 

 

 

Content Marketing Customer Relationships Marketing, General

Engineers Are Facing an Information Shortage – Here’s How You Can Help

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Most marketers know that engineers and technical professionals consume a lot of content. Various forms of content are necessary to help them stay informed, perform their jobs better, and to aid their buying decisions. Good content from vendors helps educate engineers and increases their confidence in the products and services they purchase or recommend.

However, many engineers are facing an information shortage or having trouble managing information- they don’t have easy access to the amount of technical, relevant and educational content they are looking for. The IEEE GlobalSpec “Pulse of Engineering” survey reports that 44 percent of engineers are dealing with constraints in accessing/managing information. Sixty-six percent of engineers are constrained by a lack of specialized knowledge in their organizations.

Here’s how to help your current and prospective clients by satisfying their need for knowledge.

Get Technical with Your Audience

If engineers are constrained by an information shortage, the impact can be significant due to their reliance on technical content. When asked what the three most essential systems or tools they use to complete their projects are, 69 percent said technical documentation and 67 percent said software and development tools. The next most important tools were product specification data and datasheets.

These results offer a message to manufacturers: your customers need technical content. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and get into the weeds on the specifics of your products and services, and how they compare to others in the industry. If you can supply this content, you will likely be in a better position to win business and become an essential ally to your customers.

Get Information in Their Hands

For manufacturers like you to meet the information needs of their audience, they need an effective content marketing strategy. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

The good news is that the vast majority of manufacturers (86 percent) use content marketing, according to an annual research report — “2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing” — conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, and sponsored in by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.

However, only 22 percent of manufacturers describe their content marketing efforts as mature or sophisticated and only 19 percent have a documented content marketing strategy. Fifty-five percent consider their organization’s content marketing approach to be moderately successful. That leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Among the content types, distribution formats, and social media platforms that respondents use, videos (pre-produced), email, and LinkedIn were rated by content marketers as most effective in helping their organizations achieve specific objectives. The top six types of content produced by manufacturers are social media posts, pre-produced video, illustrations/photos, case studies, eBooks/white papers, and infographics. In creating and refining your content marketing strategy, learn from your peers and consider adding these types of content that have proven effective.

What Engineers Will Exchange for Content

Your audience is willing to exchange a range of things for the information they want. The Pulse of Engineering report found that 53 percent of engineers are willing to register on a website for access to specific documents. Twenty-six percent said they were willing to pay for access to premium content and prefer to pay one set rate for access to all of an organization’s documentation. Twenty-three percent prefer to pay for access to documents as they are needed.

As far as content used to advance their professional skills, engineers mainly use books, colleagues, online training courses, and webinars.

These two research reports provide clear takeaways for manufacturers: Become the vendor that meets your audience’s information needs. Improve your content marketing efforts. Don’t be afraid to take a deep dive into your products and services, offering the technical, in-depth knowledge that engineers and technical professionals are looking for. They will thank you with their business.

Content Marketing Customer Relationships Marketing, General

How to Rise Above Your Competitors

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The three biggest challenges that industrial marketers face: Limited marketing resources, generating enough high quality leads for sales and increased competition. The first two are perennial challenges, the third a more recent trend.

These findings were reported in the “2017 Industrial Marketing Trends” research survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.

One of the major reasons competition has increased and become more of a challenge is the predominance of digital media and its many channels. Engineers and other technical professionals have more discovery resources at their disposal than ever before. They are exposed to more suppliers in their search for products, services, and information.

That makes your job harder, but you can rise above your competitors. Here’s how.

Diversify Your Spending

The most successful marketers use a mix of push/outbound (email, tradeshows) and pull/inbound marketing tactics (corporate website, online catalogs).

An optimized mix of channels and tactics is crucial for reaching out to and connecting with technical professionals. The broader your presence, the more likely potential customers will see you and not your competitors.

Past research demonstrates the performance benefits of diversifying your marketing spend across multiple digital media channels rather than relying on a single platform. Consider shifting a portion of your budget to other online channels such as online directories/websites, e-newsletters, webinars, and video.

Maintain Marketing Momentum

A common mistake some marketers make is to execute a campaign and then take their foot off the gas. Don’t do this. Your mantra should be “never stop marketing.”

If you disappear for a while, customers might forget about your company and your products and services, leaving an opening for competitors to fill the void. Even if your budget is modest, you can maintain marketing momentum by staying committed to those channels that work best for you.

Differentiate Your Offerings

Whether you market and sell commodity products or complex, customized systems, you need to differentiate your offerings from those of your competitors. What’s special about your products and services?

Fifty-four percent of industrial marketers say their key differentiator is the quality of their products and services. If quality is what sets you apart, then highlight quality over and over again in your messaging. If it’s something else—low cost, superior customer support, warranties, etc.—then play those attributes up.

Produce Exceptional Content

Your audience is clamoring for relevant, educational content that can help them navigate through their buying cycle and make the right purchasing decisions.

Focus on improving your content marketing skills by better understanding customer needs and challenges, and producing content that they trust, which in turn helps them to trust you. Use webinars, white papers, articles, newsletters, videos and other content to show potential customers how to solve a problem, how a technology or product works, or how to perform a task.

Put your energy and time into educating potential customers, while leaving the hard sell to your competitors, and see who wins more business.

Cultivate a Visual Brand Identity

One way to separate yourself from the competition is to be immediately recognizable to potential customers. This means you should cultivate a consistent look and feel in advertisements, webinars, white papers and other marketing content.

For example, choose a color palette and stick with it. Use the same fonts. Create a unique style of imagery. Arrange elements in the same manner. Put your logo in the same place. While these may seem like small touches, they take on significance when your audience is repeatedly exposed to them. They’ll remember you instead of your competition.

Perform Competitive Research

If you want to rise above your competitors you have to know where they stand. This doesn’t mean you must commission an extensive competitive research project. But you must be familiar with your competitor’s offerings and how they position their company, products, and services.

Scour their websites, download their content, study their marketing tendencies. You can create competitive “cheat sheets” that counter the value propositions your competitors make. Salespeople will thank you.

Partner Up

If competitors are getting in your way, find a way around them. A trusted, expert media partner that understands and has the attention of your audience and is knowledgeable about market trends, can help you optimize your marketing mix and laser target the customers you need to reach.

The right media partner is your essential ally in a competitive environment. They often have ideas and strategies you may not have thought of and can help put your company in the best possible position to succeed.

Now go beat your competition.

 

Content Marketing Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

Is Your Online Presence Helping or Hurting Your Brand?

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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?

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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.

Content Marketing Market Research

Five Marketing Myths Debunked

We’ve all heard “facts” about B2B marketing that are based on misconceptions or assumptions. You might have read or heard that something is true when in fact research data or your own analysis can prove that it’s not.

Basing your marketing decisions on myths can lead to subpar results. To help you improve your marketing effectiveness, here are five common marketing myths, debunked.

Myth #1: People don’t attend webinars on Mondays or Fridays

Research conducted by HubSpot found that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1 or 2 pm EST are the best times to host webinars, but the best time can vary widely based on your time zone, your audience’s time zone, their schedule, and more.

ClickDimensions Marketing, after experimenting with different times to hold webinars, offers this advice: “If you can offer a variety of times, you will get a great turn out and appeal to viewers in other countries for having made the effort. If you think about the average webinar, the majority of the effort goes into promoting it and assembling the content. Thus, if you’re going to go to all the effort, why not run the live webinar a few times during the day?”

Another issue with following the midweek trend for webinars is that you face more competition for your audience’s attention. Other companies are also hosting webinars on those days. It’s worth experimenting with a Monday or Friday webinar to find out what your draw is like.

Again, testing different times and days of the week is your best approach. Every business is unique—as is your audience—and what works for one company may not for another.

Myth #2: Tuesday through Thursday mornings are the best times to send email

It’s been common knowledge throughout the industry that people tend to open their email in the mornings and that Mondays and Fridays are days to avoid sending email. But as customers are becoming more and more mobile, email opens occur at all hours, on all days, and on all devices.

According to Entrepreneur, for B2B emails aimed at entrepreneurs and workaholics, the weekend is the best time to send emails. Saturdays yield the highest open and click-through rates. For those who work regular hours and don’t check email outside of work, the most opens and clicks occur Tuesday through Thursday.

Even though the weekend was not the most popular time to send emails, those who opened were much more likely to engage with the emails they received, and click through or purchase.

Again, experiment with different sending times and days, and track results to see what works best. Perform an A/B test using only the day or time as the variable to provide some insight.

Myth #3: When it comes to content, more is always better

Though it feels like the general advice about content marketing is “create as much content as possible,” the truth is that it’s better to have targeted, relevant content than simply more of it. The Content Marketing Institute reported that although the majority (88 percent) of B2B marketers use content marketing as a strategy, the median time people spend on an article is 37 seconds. That means your 3,000-word article is skimmed for a few seconds and then dismissed.

The solution is to focus on content quality that will keep your readers engaged.  Understand your audience’s information needs and content consumption habits, and create content that fits those needs. That way, your content efforts won’t be wasted.

Myth #4: Engineers don’t make B2B purchasing decisions

Not true. The 2016 Industrial Buy Cycle survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions found that purchasing is a collaborative effort, with staff engineers and engineering managers having the majority of influence. Budget authority resides throughout the organization—not just with senior managers.

For marketers, this means you must communicate with the entire engineering team, including operations, corporate management, and purchasing. In addition to your overall marketing message, develop a strategy to communicate with each of these different personas, make a connection with them, and address their key concerns.

Myth #5: Social media results aren’t measurable

Like most things digital, social media is immensely measurable. Social media analytics and marketing automation platforms can surface meaningful numbers and benchmarks to guide your practice.

The key is to align your B2B objectives with your social metrics. Most industrial marketers use social media to increase brand awareness and distribute content. Shares, mentions, comments and likes can all provide brand awareness measurement. Clicks and download of content can demonstrate the effectiveness of content marketing. But if you’re expecting to measure new customers gained exclusively through social media outreach, you will be disappointed. Social media is only one of multiple tactics and touches that must work within an integrated plan designed to win new business.

That’s it for this edition of marketing myth busting. What other fallacies have you uncovered through your own data and analysis? Let us know!

Content Marketing E-Mail Marketing Social Media Webinars

How to Succeed with Limited Marketing Resources

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Marketers report that their biggest challenge is a lack of marketing resources—dollars, people and time. This is one of the key findings in the upcoming 2017 Industrial Marketing Trends survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.

Not only are marketers struggling in the face of limited marketing resources, and with budgets that have remained mostly steady over the past few years, they are operating in an era of increasing marketing complexity. Technical professionals use more channels than ever to research information and aid their buying process, forcing marketers to allocate limited resources across an array of marketing channels and programs.

No marketer has an unlimited budget, or the time to do everything on their list. Yet many industrial marketers are still achieving their goals and objectives. How do they do it? Here are a number of tips to help you solve the marketing resource challenge.

Make Content Marketing More Efficient

Many marketers are increasing their content marketing spend, but make sure you spend smartly. Developing fresh content on a regular basis can drain resources quickly. Follow these tips to alleviate some of this stress:

  • Re-purpose content from one format to another. For example, a white paper can become an article as well as a series of social media posts, a webinar can become a video, and a support page on your website can become a how-to tutorial. In addition to having more content, your audience will be able to access content in their preferred formats, since preferences vary.
  • Conduct a content audit. You might find you have old content no longer used that can be easily updated. Or, you may decide to purge and stop updating content that no longer serves an appropriate purpose.
  • Curate third-party content. Provide links (and attribution) to content that others produce and will be of interest to your target audience. Curated content is often less salesy because it doesn’t come directly from your company.
  • Rather than always focusing on producing and distributing original content, try commenting via social media or in comments sections on third party content. You can still create brand visibility and focus on your company’s positioning and messaging while providing thoughtful, helpful responses.

Double-Dip On Your Marketing Programs

Most marketers use a combination of programs, some intended to generate engagement opportunities, others to increase brand awareness. Try choosing programs that can serve both masters. Tactics such as sponsored listings on product directories/online catalogs, webinars, e-newsletter advertising and display advertising can highlight your brand while including a call-to-action to create engagement opportunities with prospects.

Work Incrementally On Your Website

Marketers should continually invest in their websites. While a complete overhaul can be cost prohibitive, you may be able to make incremental changes to your website that still create impact. Focus on the home page or on specific landing pages associated with campaigns.  Consider outsourcing a searchable product catalog to a media partner with expertise. Add short video clips—interviews, presentation snippets, tutorials and more—which you can create on a limited budget using a smartphone.

Be Smart on Social Media

Social media, with its array of platforms, can eat up resources. Accounts must be regularly updated and monitored. Rather than spread yourself thin trying to keep up with multiple social media channels, choose one or two (LinkedIn and Facebook are most popular with technical professionals) and focus your efforts on those. If you post interesting information regularly, respond to comments, and comment on postings you follow, you will end up being more effective than you would by having a limited presence on multiple social media platforms.

Find a Trusted Media Partner

This an ideal time to find a trusted, expert media partner who can help alleviate your marketing resources challenges. The right partner can help you optimize your marketing mix, laser-target your audience of engineers and technical professionals and get the most out of your budget, while allowing you to free up some internal resources for other efforts.

Some media companies offer extensive solutions and partnering, including content marketing, co-sponsored white papers and webinars, targeted email marketing, and extensive reporting on program performance. Keep in mind that the right media partner is your essential ally, not only during strategic planning and budgeting, but while you are in the midst of executing and measuring campaign results.

 

 

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Content Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy

Eight Ways to Transform Your Technical Content

For some engineers, component specifications and technical details are all they need to make a buying decision. But as purchases become more complex and the risk associated with making the wrong decision increases, a greater number of decision makers, recommenders and influencers get involved. Technical content on its own is no longer enough to sway buyers. You have to articulate benefits and demonstrate value.

Here are eight ways you can build the bridge from technical content to business value in your marketing:

1. Group features under benefit headings —Take all the key features of your products and map them to a core set of benefits. For example, “Increased safety” or “lower cost of ownership” might be benefits associated with your products. Which features prove those benefits out? You can create headings that announce and describe the benefit and/or value and then list the features that support the benefit claim.

2. Discuss benefits one step at a time —A staple of industrial marketing content is the step-by-step tutorial that demonstrates how to use a product or explains a highly-technical process. You might find that each step along the way has associated benefits. Why not mention it with each step as a way to reinforce your value-propositions?

3. Answer the question: So what? — If you’re only talking about the marvelous technology that goes into your products, busy skeptics will wonder “So what?” Your product’s benefits and value will help you answer.

4. Spin a story —Every good story has a hero—why not make it your customer? The hero faces a problem which is costing money and time, and you step in with the solution to save the day. Corny? Not really. Customer testimonials and case studies are sought after by prospects and highly effective in helping make technical concepts relatable and win business.

5. Use visuals —Use charts, graphs and infographics to display quantitative data, explain technical ideas and support your marketing claims. These types of visuals can be quickly understood by your audience and make great additions to white papers, web pages and marketing collateral.

6. Make it move and talk —Video is an important medium for educating your customers and prospects, and many busy engineers and executives prefer to watch a short video over reading text. Video is ideal for showing a technical product in action, animating complex processes or ideas, or showing customer testimonials.

7. Choose a classic pattern of development —When writing white papers or technical articles, choose a pattern of content development that is proven to work for making technical content easier to understand. Step-by-step is one example, as mentioned above. The problem-and-solution approach works well for case studies. Cause-and-effect can help persuade readers, for example, why using old products or technology can be detrimental, or to help readers understand the effect of increased water flow on pump performance. In this case you are describing a situation that has a cause (increased water flow) and an effect (pump performance).

8. Create content for three types of buyers —Some industrial marketers create content only for the technical buyer—the engineer whose primary focus is whether a product meets their specification requirements. There are two other types of buyers: the analytical buyer and the economic buyer. Analytical buyers want to know they will be able to solve a problem using your products or technology. Economic buyers want to know the financial impact in terms of return on investment. Be sure to create marketing messages and content that speaks to all three types of buyers.

Content Marketing

Video and the Industrial Marketing Star

 

Two-thirds of engineers now use YouTube or other video-sharing websites for work-related purposes, as reported in the upcoming “2017 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector” survey.

If video isn’t yet part of your marketing campaigns, now’s the time to get the camera rolling. According to the “B2B Content Marketing” research report published by the Content Marketing Institute, 79 percent of B2B marketers used video as a content marketing tactic in 2016 and 62 percent rate it as an effective tactic.

Consider these other statistics compiled by the marketing firm Hubspot:
• 90 percent of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process.
• Video can dramatically increase conversion rates. Video in an email increases click-through rates 200-300 percent. Including video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80 percent.
• 59 percent of executives would rather watch video than read text.

How to Get Started
If you’ve read the Maven for any length of time, you already know the first step in getting started with a new marketing tactic or campaign: establish your goals.
Stating your marketing goals will not only help you create a more concise, compelling video, it will guide you toward the metrics you need to track in order to measure your results. Your goal might be to:

• Generate an engagement opportunity
• Build brand awareness
• Educate the market about a trend or new technology
• Demonstrate a product or technical concept
• Entertain your audience

Whatever your purpose, there are a group of metrics that can help you determine how successful your video is. Some metrics you might consider include:

• Number of follow-throughs on your call-to-action
• Number of views
• Length of view (it’s important to know how many viewers dropped off before the video reaches the end)
• Number of shares via social media or email
• Number of comments/questions from viewers
Choose the metrics that are aligned with your goals, and track them for as long as your video is part of your campaign.

What Engineers Are Watching
Engineers and technical professionals have a strong preference for specific types of videos. According to the “2016 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector,” survey, how-to videos/tutorials (86 percent), product demos (85 percent) and training videos (71 percent) are the three most popular types of content to watch on video-sharing websites such as YouTube.

Purpose Drives Production Values
If you’re creating a corporate or investor presentation for your company, you might want to hire a professional video production company and go for all the bells and whistles. But if you’re demonstrating how to use a product or interviewing an expert, the video capabilities on your smartphone should do the trick. The two most important production values are lighting and sound. Make sure your video can be clearly seen and heard.

Short videos are more effective than longer ones. Your video should be between to be 1-3 minutes long and highly targeted. Focus on a single topic, such as a brief product demo, or three questions with an expert. Short videos with targeted keywords rank better for search optimization than do broad, general videos.
Other videos might be longer, such as recorded webinars or speeches. Whether short or long, you must capture and hold viewer interest. The best way to do that is to be relevant to your audience. They will watch what matters to them.

Channels to Post Video
Your video, no matter how great, is nothing if it’s not widely shared. In addition to YouTube, embed the video onto your website and your email sends.
Finally, digital marketing partners such as IEEE GlobalSpec offer marketers the opportunity to showcase videos on company profile pages and in e-newsletters, helping to further engage their audience and generate interest in their company, products and services.

Content Marketing Demand Generation Digital Media Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends Marketing, General Video