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

neonbrand-258972.jpg

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 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.

Download This Complimentary Resource

The 2017 Industrial Marketing Trends white paper analyzes and presents the results of the latest survey, and offers recommendations to industrial marketers to help them allocate their budgets, develop a sound marketing strategy and plan effective programs and campaigns. Download your copy today.

 

Content Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy Uncategorized

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 five 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

The Story of Content Marketing in Five Statistics

The results are in! Content Marketing Institute recently released the research report, “Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America.”

Sponsored by IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions, the report proclaims: “In the four years we’ve been reporting on how manufacturers use content marketing, this year’s results reveal the most progress they’ve made thus far. The fact that we see a 72 percent increase over last year in the percentage of manufacturing marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy indicates they’ve taken one of the most important steps toward achieving content marketing success: putting their strategy in writing.”

Not all of the research results point to success, however, and manufacturers must still overcome a number of content marketing challenges. The following five statistics, taken directly from the report, shed light on the state of content marketing today in the manufacturing sector.

1. Eighty-five percent of manufacturers are using content marketing
Manufacturers get it: content marketing is important. Done right, content marketing increases brand awareness and engagement opportunities with motivated prospects. Successful marketers set content marketing goals, establish metrics, and measure results.

Unfortunately, not all manufacturers are experts at content marketing. Only 19 percent would rate their content marketing maturity level as sophisticated or mature. That’s okay, for now. Almost all manufacturers are in the game, and should become more sophisticated as they gain more experience.
You still have to wonder about the 15 percent not using content marketing. What’s their story? It’s all in the report.

2. Forty-nine percent are extremely or very committed to content marketing
Look a little further and you’ll find that 74 percent of companies that say they’re successful at content marketing also indicate that they are extremely or very committed to content marketing. Only 23 percent of the least successful companies say they are committed to content marketing.

No surprise there – commitment and success go hand-in-hand. Overall, marketers are improving: 59 percent are much more or somewhat more successful with content marketing than they were a year ago.

Increased success in content marketing was attributed to factors including: content creation (higher quality, more efficient); strategy (development or adjustment); content marketing has become a greater priority; spending more time on content marketing; and content distribution (better targeting, identification of what works)

3. Seventy-eight percent of manufacturing marketers use email newsletters
Email is the top content marketing tactic, and was also rated as the most important tactic to overall content marketing success, further reinforcing email’s importance to industrial marketing efforts.

The next most popular content marketing tactics are, in order: social media content, video, in-person events, print magazines, and blogs. Ebooks/white papers are also in the top 10, with 49 percent of respondents using that tactic. The average number of tactics used is eight.

In terms of paid content promotion, manufacturing marketers use an average of four methods, with social promotion, print, search engine marketing, banner ads, and native advertising rounding out the top five.

4. Eighty-two percent say that brand awareness is their top content marketing goal
While lead generation is often a marketers’ top goal, this isn’t the case when it comes to content marketing campaigns. Why? Content marketing can’t and shouldn’t stand alone. Rather, it should be included as part of an integrated program – to gain the attention of a target audience, educate and inform them, demonstrate thought leadership, and build brand awareness. And yes—generate leads.

Other content marketing goals include lead generation (71 percent), engagement (70 percent), sales (62 percent), lead nurturing (58 percent) and customer retention/loyalty (53 percent).

5. Sixty-seven percent don’t have enough time to devote to content marketing
Like economics, marketing can be considered a science of scarcity: how to allocate limited time, budget, and resources to what seems like an unlimited amount of marketing that must be done.

Lack of time was cited as the number one factor that resulted in stagnant content marketing success in the past year. Other leading factors included content creation challenges—62 percent; and strategy issues (lack of strategy, developing/adjusting strategy)—51 percent.

The reality is that content marketing can be a huge undertaking. You need to develop a coherent and integrated content marketing strategy, define measurable goals, create and distribute content, track performance and more.

And yet, 57 percent of industrial companies are limited to a one person marketing/content marketing team that serves the entire organization. That’s a lot of pressure.

Companies strapped for content marketing resources—yet still committed to content marketing because of its proven value—should consider using content marketing services from their media partners. IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions offers expert content marketing services to help you develop compelling content, get it into the hands of your target audience, and generate engagement opportunities. You can find out more here.

And don’t forget to download your complimentary copy of the research report: “Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America.”
 

Content Marketing E-Mail Marketing Market Research Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends Marketing, General

Native Advertising: How to Do it Right

Although nearly everyone with an internet connection has seen a native ad, not everyone knows what they are. As an industrial marketer, you probably already know that native advertising is a company-sponsored article that is designed to look just like the other content of the publication in which it’s featured.

Native advertising is proven to be highly effective. It isn’t disruptive and doesn’t interfere with the flow of the user experience. It’s also much less vulnerable to ad blockers than other types of display advertising.

According to Business Insider, native advertising will make up 74 percent of all display ad revenue by 2021. Additionally, research from marketing firm Contently indicates that consumers who read native ads that they identified as high quality reported a significantly higher level of trust for the sponsoring brand.

Despite the high potential for success, native advertising is not without its challenges. Let’s discuss potential hurdles and how to overcome them.

A perfect fit for the industrial market.
Native advertising is an excellent vehicle to give engineers and technical professionals what they’re constantly seeking out during their buy cycle: reasoned, educational, and informative content.

However, you want to make sure that your native advertising program continues to uphold your reputation as a trusted provider of your products, goods, and services. The Contently research found that there is significant confusion on the part of readers as to what constitutes an article and what constitutes an ad, and consumers often have a difficult time identifying the brand associated with a piece of native advertising. Forty-eight percent have felt deceived upon realizing a piece of content was sponsored by a brand.

The key to success with native advertising is to make sure you work with a reputable publisher that has experience in native advertising and will ensure that your ad follows FTC guidelines. According to the FTC, “Advertising and promotional messages that are not identifiable as advertising to consumers are deceptive if they mislead consumers into believing they are independent, impartial, or not from the sponsoring advertiser itself.”

The FTC guidelines are anchored less on what type of content is acceptable in native ads and more on displaying and labeling them as advertisements. For example, native advertising should be clearly labeled as sponsored content. The use of the advertiser’s logo also helps clarify the publisher-advertiser dynamic, as well as helps build brand awareness and visibility for the advertiser.

Media partners can help guide you
The benefits of native advertising definitely outweigh any risks—especially if you execute properly. One recommendation is to work with a media partner and publisher that knows and adheres to FTC guidelines for native advertising. Whether your ad is native or not, you want your content displayed to your target audience and only on those sites or pages that are relevant to them. That might seem obvious, but some publishers don’t offer careful targeting—or clear labeling— of native advertising.

The content of a native ad remains up to you. It’s your chance to connect with your audience to demonstrate expertise, thought leadership, or other value propositions. A savvy and experienced media partner should also be able to assist you with content, which will add another layer of confidence that you’re not creating a deceptive or misleading ad.

Native advertising is one tactic that IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions offers in its comprehensive portfolio of content marketing solutions targeted exclusively to your audience of engineers and technical buyers. Learn more about native advertising opportunities.

Content Marketing

Three Big Reasons Why Engineers Need You

You need engineers and technical professionals. They are your customers and therefore the lifeblood of your company. But the relationship is mutual: Engineers need you as well.

Leveraging this mutual need is the key to building and maintaining long-term, loyal relationships with your customers.

The recent “2017 Pulse of Engineering” survey revealed three key areas where suppliers can focus their marketing efforts to provide more value to engineers and technical professionals. Let’s discuss your customer’s pain points and how to help them:

1. Provide Design and Project Assistance
The majority of engineers and technical professionals surveyed agreed that designs are becoming more complex at the same time that design cycles are shrinking and time-to-market pressures are increasing. Fifty-five percent of engineers are being required to do more with less; 68 percent are working on three or more projects simultaneously. Yet team size is not increasing. Seventy-six percent said the average size of the teams they work on has decreased or stayed the same.

Due to these pressures, many companies are looking outside for help. Thirty-eight percent said that design involvement from external partners, vendors and customers has increased. This represents a golden opportunity for suppliers to educate their customers and become more involved in their work processes.

However, expect engineers to choose their outside influences judiciously. You can demonstrate your expertise and get closer to customers by marketing your brand and value propositions across the channels that engineers use to locate suppliers, products, and services. Online catalogs, webinars, technical articles and white papers are all good vehicles to showcase your company’s expertise, and to demonstrate how you can add value in the design phase of projects.

2. Fill the Knowledge Gap
Forty-seven percent of engineers have 30 or more years of service, and many are nearing retirement. Thirty-six percent of industrial companies are experiencing increased losses of senior employees to retirement. Twenty-seven percent of technical professionals said they were only slightly or not at all likely to be employed by their current company in five years.

One result of changing demographics and worker mobility is a knowledge drain. Forty-five percent of survey respondents said that knowledge and/or information loss as employees left the company was very or extremely important. Yet only 36 percent of companies 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.

As a supplier in the industrial sector, you can help preserve and grow your customers’ knowledge by educating and training them on trends and technologies, and serving as a trusted information resource. Engineers and technical professionals primarily maintain and advance their professional skills through colleagues, books, and technical white papers and training provided by vendors.

Make customer education, training and thought leadership cornerstone initiatives in your marketing strategy. By becoming more valuable to your customers you can become more entrenched in their work processes and serve as a primary source that they will turn to for technical and industry knowledge.

3. Help Engineers Do More with Less
While the pace of engineering continues to increase and engineers are asked to do more with less, 47 percent of survey respondents say that technology is helping to improve productivity. Embedded in these findings is a valuable question for suppliers to answer: How do your offerings help engineers improve their efficiency?

Research such as “2017 Pulse of Engineering” allows you to identify the challenges and concerns of your customers, and to align your messaging and solutions in a way that resonates with your audience. For example, the survey reveals that engineers often must meet aggressive launch dates for products that meet high standards for customer satisfaction. How do your products/services help engineers do more with less? Or shorten design cycles? Or increase efficiency? How are your technologies at the forefront of innovation or sustainable for long periods of time? Craft marketing messages in a way that positions your offerings to help engineers overcome their challenges.

The “2017 Pulse of Engineering” research report from IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions can help guide your marketing efforts. Results tell you exactly what engineers and technical professionals in the industrial sector think about the pace of engineering, work environment, competition, challenges, performance management and knowledge management practices.
 

Content Marketing Customer Relationships Market Research Marketing Trends

Three Ways to Connect with Content

The recent “2017 Pulse of Engineering Survey” reveals how engineers and technical professionals work, the pace of engineering, their work environment, what they look for in a supplier and more.

The upcoming survey makes it clear that it’s more important than ever for suppliers to ramp up their content marketing efforts. Why? Engineers are being forced to do more with less, and are turning to outside vendors more and more for design input and technical information. Content marketing is a great way to provide this experience and demonstrate value to your customers and prospects.

But what kind of content are engineers looking for? And how do suppliers ramp up their content marketing efforts? The survey results help shine a light on the answers.

1. Seventy-one percent of engineers and technical professionals say that designs are more complex/sophisticated, 63 percent say there are more time-to-market pressures, and 61 percent say that design cycles are shrinking.

Your customers are looking to you for expertise. Thirty-eight percent of engineers and technical professionals said that design involvement from external partners, vendors and customers has increased. However, expect engineers to choose their outside influences judiciously. You can increase your opportunities to get closer to customers by creating content that markets your value proposition and approach to partnering on design. Why should customers consider partnering with you? White papers, webinars or technical articles can help get your message across.

2. Forty-five percent of engineers said that knowledge/information loss was very important or extremely important as employees left the company. But only 36 percent of companies have formal practices in place to preserve knowledge by leveraging senior-level and specialized experts.

What types of content can you produce that will align with your customers’ needs to preserve, protect and pass on knowledge? Approach customers and offer to form a partnership to develop a technical knowledge base or a library of articles. With many seasoned engineers nearing retirement age, it makes sense to reach out to a younger generation of technical professionals through articles, white papers, technical briefs and more to help them fill in knowledge gaps. Highlight your point of view on major industry trends and position your company as a thought leader and knowledgeable authority.

3. Colleagues, books, and technical white papers and training provided by vendors are the four most effective ways that engineers maintain and advance their professional skills.

The message here is pretty clear—offer technical content and training to educate engineers and help them advance their professional skills. Develop a series of training webinars or educational white papers that will help engineers grow their skills and knowledge as well as perform better in their jobs. If you can become a go-to resource for engineers to learn and improve, you will build a stable base of long-term, loyal customers. Engineers are asking for help. Give them the content they need.

I’m Ready to Create and Connect – Now What?

You may embrace the idea of ramping up your content marketing, but just don’t have the time and resources to do it. If you really want to overcome content marketing challenges, gain back time and earn a return on investment, you should probably consider turnkey content marketing services from a trusted media partner.

Content development and content marketing are just two of many services available from IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions. Check out all the advantages here. Also, to further advance your content marketing efforts, download the complimentary white paper: “Content Marketing for Industrial Marketers: Establish Thought Leadership, Build Brand Awareness, and Drive Engagement Opportunities.”
 

Content Marketing Marketing Strategy

Are You Keeping Up with Content Marketing Trends?

Content is a valuable currency in the relationship between industrial marketers and their target audience of engineers and technical professionals. As marketers, you must work to acquire the contact information of prospects, and the way to get your audience to provide their contact details is to offer them something of value in return: relevant, helpful content.

As an essential part of their buying journey, engineers seek content to help educate them and to make more informed, intelligent decisions. By providing high quality content such as white papers, how-to guides, infographics, e-books, technical articles and more, your company can become a trusted resource to potential customers and be in better position to win of their business.

The vast majority use content marketing
Marketers in the B2B space already know the importance of content marketing—88% are already using it, according to joint research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs. These marketers use an average of 13 content marketing tactics. Their top tactics are social media, case studies, blogs and e-newsletters.
Industrial marketers are slightly behind other B2B marketers: 63% of industrial marketers use content marketing, as reported by the IEEE Engineering 360 Industrial Marketing Trends Survey. If content marketing isn’t part of your marketing plan, you should add it for 2017.

Content marketing goals and budgets
While lead generation (85%) and sales (84%) top the list of content marketing goals, objectives are varied and also focus on awareness and engagement (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs). Seventy-eight percent state that lead nurturing is a content marketing goal, 77% seek brand awareness and 76% want to increase engagement. Few other marketing tactics have the power to help marketers achieve such a broad range of goals.

On average, 28% of an organization’s total marketing budget (not including staff) is being spent on content marketing. Fifty-four percent of industrial marketers are planning to increase their spending in content marketing.

Content challenges remain
Content marketing is a popular and proven tactic, but it is not without challenges. Marketers report struggling with producing a variety of engaging content on a consistent basis and measuring the effectiveness of their content. A lack of resources is also cited as a challenge.

Content creation tends to be resource intensive, requiring planners, writers, editors, designers and production specialists. Plus, you constantly have to come up with fresh ideas for content and you must understand what your audience will find interesting, helpful and relevant. Add these challenges to all of your other marketing responsibilities and you might consider seeking outside help for your content marketing efforts.

Are content marketing services right for you?
Many agencies, media companies and freelance consultants offer content marketing services. Some only write. Others design. Others strategize. But if you really want to overcome content marketing challenges, gain time back and earn a return on investment, you should probably consider turnkey content marketing services from a trusted media partner.

Make sure that your partner offers the following:

• Deep knowledge of your target audience and experience in your technical field. If you have to allocate too much time and energy getting a partner up to speed on your market, products and services, you might as well do the work yourself.
• A full stable of experienced writers, editors, designers and production experts that can produce compelling content in any format, from videos and e-books to white papers and infographics.
• The knowledge and expertise to develop an effective content marketing plan, distribute the content so that it gets into the hands of your target audience and provide reports showing the effectiveness of your content and marketing efforts.

To further advance your content marketing efforts, download the complimentary white paper: “Content Marketing for Industrial Marketers: Establish Thought Leadership, Build Brand Awareness, and Drive Engagement Opportunities.”

Content Marketing Uncategorized

The Simple Solution for Overcoming Content Marketing Challenges

Content is an important tool to help industrial professionals make the right buying decisions. For purchases under $1,000, buyers review up to three pieces of content related to their purchase decision (Engineering360 Industrial Buy Cycle Survey). For purchases over $10,000, that number climbs to four or more pieces of content reviewed for 70% of buyers.

Marketers understand the need to produce and distribute valuable and authoritative content that positions their company as experts, builds trust with prospects, and ultimately makes it easier to sell products and services. Sixty-three percent of industrial marketers now use content marketing as a channel, and 54% are planning to increase spending on content creation (Engineering360 Industrial Marketing Trends Survey).

However, content marketing, while an essential marketing strategy, presents a number of pesky challenges that you must overcome to be successful. These challenges include:

• Lack of internal resources. Content creation is resource intensive, requiring planners, writers, editors, designers, and production specialists.
• Producing content consistently. Related to a lack of resources, and perhaps a shortage of ideas, it’s difficult to put out a steady stream of compelling, educational content while also fulfilling all of your other marketing responsibilities.
• Producing engaging content. Knowing what will interest and move the needle for prospects requires research and experience. You may need to analyze your audience, conduct interviews, and tap into the knowledge of your sales and customer service teams.
• Distributing content to the right audience. You have to know your audience and what channels they use to search for and access content.
There are a multitude of channels to choose from, including your company and industry websites, search engines, social media, email, video, online events, and more.
• Lack of marketing integration. Content marketing is just one strategy within your overall marketing plan. You must be able to integrate content marketing with other efforts and track the performance of your content in terms of views, downloads, conversions, and other metrics.

Content marketing services to the rescue
Ask your media partners about content marketing services that can help you overcome these challenges and deliver a return on your investment in content marketing. Some media companies in the industrial sector have expertise in content marketing and a strong portfolio of end-to-end services.

Before signing on with a partner, make sure they offer the following five content marketing services:

1. Assistance in creating compelling content. There are two parts to this service. First, you want to know if your potential partner has a stable of writers, editors, designers, and production experts that can make up for any lack of resources on your part. Second, do they have deep knowledge and experience in your technical field?
2. Expertise across a spectrum of content types. Your partner should be able to identify the best content format based on your audience preferences and your marketing goals. They should be able to produce white papers, advertorials, technical briefs, e-books, webinars, infographics, and more.
3. Ability to promote your content to your target audience. Does your media partner have the attention of your audience and the channels to reach them? Whether it’s through banner ads and targeted e-newsletters, or dedicated landing pages and visible spots on websites, your media partner must make your content highly visible to the buying audience you are trying to reach.
4. A persistent presence for your content. A one-and-done campaign or the posting of your content for only a limited time period likely isn’t enough to draw the attention and traction you’re looking for. Media partners should offer flexible options in terms of how long and where your content will be visible and available to potential customers.
5. Delivery of intelligent data in support of content marketing. Make sure your media partner can offer comprehensive reports about the performance of your content and the ability to identify who is accessing it. Media sites that require user registration on their sites should be able to provide this level of detail, including contact information for prospects who have expressed interest in your content.

Is it time for you to optimize your content marketing efforts by engaging with a partner for content marketing services? To further support your content marketing efforts, download the complimentary white paper: “Content Marketing for Industrial Marketers: Establish Thought Leadership, Build Brand Awareness, and Drive Engagement Opportunities.”

Content Marketing Uncategorized