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

Quick Tips to Integrate Your Print and Digital Advertising

If you’re like most industrial marketers, print and digital media can seem like they’re ever at odds, fighting for a share of your budget. Rather than thinking of these two tactics as adversaries, consider the fact that they can be much more effective when they work together rather than separately.

Over the past few years, industrial marketers have been devoting an ever-greater share of their annual marketing budgets to digital channels. Digital is where engineers and other technical professionals turn to first when researching suppliers, products and services. Digital is easy to measure. It offers a wide variety of channels that may appeal to your audience. However, traditional media is still an important information source and a viable channel for industrial marketers.

According to the 2017 Manufacturing Content Marketing report, the top three paid content promotion methods in the B2B sphere in North America were Social Promotion at 85%, Print or Other Offline Promotion at82% and Search Engine Marketing at 73%.

Just because print is one of the top three paid content advertising methods, doesn’t mean it’s making as much of an impact as it can. By taking steps to integrate digital and print, you can get better results from your overall marketing strategy and achieve higher ROI.

Putting it all together
Digital is by nature an interactive medium. Readers are encouraged to click on links, fill out forms to request information, leave comments, and more. On the other hand, a lot of printed marketing material is passive and designed primarily to spread a product offer or raise awareness of a brand.

You can build bridges between print and digital marketing efforts by following these tips:

• First, always include a website address in your print ad. This is a no brainer.
• Next, make sure print and digital ads share the same look and feel. Using similar layouts, colors, graphics, headlines and messages creates a unified, integrated, and easily recognizable campaign. When devising any type of marketing campaign, evaluate all possible digital and print channels where the campaign fits, and create ads that are consistent in content and design across media channels.
• Use printed material to drive traffic to your website. Include a strong call to action in print ads that encourages readers to visit your website or social media page for more information or exclusive offers.
• Make use of hashtags in print that users can search digitally to find more content.
• Use custom URLs to track print to digital conversions. Personalized URLs may represent nothing more than tracking devices or can point to customized page content. Using them can help you measure the effectiveness of your campaign and know exactly who responded and when.
• Conversely, remind visitors to your website or on digital ads to see your print ad in a specific publication. This demonstrates that your brand has a broad and deep presence in the market.
• Promote offline articles through online resources. If your company lands a story or article in a print publication, announce it on your website, banner ads and social media.

Coordinate strategies and departments
One of the main challenges when creating integrated marketing campaigns is internal coordination, especially if print and digital responsibilities reside in different departments or with different people. It’s best to gather your team and begin planning your campaigns well in advance, because print production often takes longer than digital production.

What do you see as your organization’s greatest challenge when it comes to marrying print and digital? Let us know – we may be able to provide some insight.
 

Digital Media Market Research

Five Industrial Marketing Trends that Matter in 2017

With the new year comes a fresh perspective and another chance to improve and optimize your marketing program. To make sure your plan is rock solid, check out the top industrial marketing trends for 2017 from the Marketing Maven and consider how to best implement them into your own strategy.

Trend #1: Media Mix is More Diversified
With so many media channels now in use, marketers have more competition than ever for share of voice, making it harder to capture the attention of your audience. Moving into 2017, we predict that more industrial marketers will incorporate a carefully planned, comprehensive mix of channels into their marketing plans.

According to a Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs survey, marketers use an average of 13 different channels to promote their message to the market. Leading the way are social media content, case studies, blogs and e-newsletters. B2B marketers also use an average of three paid advertising channels. The top three are search engine marketing, print or other offline promotion, and traditional banner ads. It’s not just paid search engine ads anymore.

The Industrial Marketing Trends Survey from IEEE Engineering360 shows that about 80 percent of industrial marketers are diversifying their mix, but the majority say they need to diversify more. If this describes your situation, you might want to work with media partners, agencies and other experts to help you determine the most effective mix for you.

Trend #2: Digital Spend Will Continue to Grow
The statistics are plentiful: At $83 billion, digital B2B spending outweighs all other B2B marketing spending by two times or more (Outsell). Forty-two percent of industrial marketers are growing their online budgets. Online display advertising is up 28 percent, while email spending is up 9.1 percent (Winterberry Group). Overall, 41 percent of marketing budgets will be spent online, a percentage that steadily increases year over year (Industrial Marketing Trends).
Industrial marketers are increasing their spending across a diverse mix of channels. The top areas of increased spending are content creation, search engine marketing, direct mail using in-house lists, social media, online directories/websites, and webinars. With the exception of direct mail, all of these channels are online or directly impact online marketing efforts. Digital is where your peers are focusing more marketing budget, and we expect this focus to continue in the year ahead.

Trend #3: Measuring ROI is a Priority and a Challenge
The pressure continues to rise for marketers to demonstrate ROI on marketing investments. Marketing budgets have gotten tighter, and are often under more scrutiny by executives. Additionally, the growth of digital media channels means an increased ability to measure marketing efforts — making demonstrating ROI no longer the exception, but the rule.

According to The Content Formula by Michael Brenner, 81 percent of B2B marketers say that measuring marketing effectiveness is their greatest challenge. But how is success measured? It depends on what metrics matter.
Salesforce reported that revenue growth is the top metric for digital marketing success. This makes sense, although it is often difficult to attribute a sale to a specific marketing program. A prospect has many touches with a potential supplier and there are often many decision makers and influencers involved before a purchasing decision is made. Hence, it remains a challenge to attach revenue gains to specific marketing initiatives.

After revenue growth, customer satisfaction and retention rates are the most important measures of success. In this way, the industrial space mirrors the overall B2B space. The number one metric of success is sales attributed to marketing campaigns. After that, metrics such as customer acquisition, customer satisfaction, leads and customer retention come into play.

Twelve percent of industrial marketers don’t have a method to measure success. If you fall into this category, consider working with your executive team and media partners to determine what results matter to you, and how you can begin measuring them.

Trend #4: Content is the Kingdom
As marketing expert Lee Odden says, “Content isn’t king. It’s the kingdom.” Content marketing is becoming more evolved, more sophisticated and is driving key performance indicators and measurements. Content is how companies get their message out to the market.

In a recent Content Marketing Institute survey, 88 percent of B2B respondents say they are using content in some way, shape or form. However, effectiveness varies. Only eight percent say they are sophisticated content marketers. Eleven percent say they are just taking first steps and have not yet made content marketing a process. Everyone else falls somewhere between these two extremes.

If you are just getting started with content marketing, you are not alone. Thirty-nine percent of industrial marketers are in the same situation (Industrial Marketing Trends). This means that 2017 presents a big opportunity for improvement and success in this area. Be sure to devote time and resources this year to developing a content strategy, producing engaging content on a consistent basis, and measuring content effectiveness.

Trend #5: Email Marketing Maintains its Value
You may have heard that email is dead, but that simply isn’t true. Email has remained a cornerstone marketing tactic for B2B marketers for almost two decades. With mobile phones and tablets, your audience can connect with email almost anytime, anywhere. And don’t forget that email marketing offers easy to measure metrics like opens, clicks, forwards and conversions.

Data reinforces email’s continued popularity and effectiveness. Salesforce reported that 73 percent of marketers believe email marketing is core to their business, 65 percent say email is an effective marketing channel and 58 percent are increasing their email marketing spend. Newsletters are the most popular email marketing tactic.

As you continue to shape your marketing efforts in 2017, be sure to keep email in your portfolio. If you already publish a newsletter, consider advertising in other industry newsletters to reach a broader yet still targeted audience.

Where do you see 2017 heading for industrial marketers? Comment below and tell us where you’re focusing your efforts in the year ahead.

Digital Media Industrial Marketing and Sales Market Research Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends Marketing, General Thought Leadership

Digital Media is Essential to the Engineer’s Work Process

 Using digital media for work-related purposes is now “business as usual” for engineers and other industrial professionals, according to results from the IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions 2015 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector survey. And as the use of digital resources continues to rise for such activities as finding components, equipment, services, and suppliers; obtaining product specifications; and performing research, the use of traditional media platforms continues to decline.

Year over year, the results of this survey have supported the same conclusion: digital channels are the industrial professional’s preferred resources. For marketers, that means you must continue to adapt to these trends by deploying a multi-channel digital media strategy to connect with your target audience.

Below are some of the highlights of the survey. You can download your own copy of the research report, “2015 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector,” including complete survey results, analysis, and recommendations to improve your marketing results.

Industrial professionals log hours online
Engineers spend a good portion of their time performing work-related tasks online. Fifty-three percent spend at least six hours per week online for work-related purposes. Forty-three percent visit more than 10 work-related websites each week. Online communities have experienced a marked increase in use.

Engineers of all ages use digital
Industrial professionals of all ages use digital media, although patterns vary somewhat based on age. The up-and-coming younger generation of engineers has slightly different preferences. This is important to note because almost half of the engineering workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next few years.

Younger technical professionals use social media more than their older colleagues, and conduct more product searches and read more news and e-newsletters. Thirty-nine percent of the 18-34 age group actively engages with online communities. They also use smartphones more, so be sure your digital content displays well on mobile devices.

Use is consistent throughout buy cycle
Consistency of usage when compared to previous years demonstrates that digital resources are firmly entrenched among industrial buyers, regardless of age, in nearly every facet of their jobs. Throughout all stages of the buy cycle — from needs analysis/research, to comparison/evaluation and purchase — the top digital sources for information are search engines, online catalogs and supplier websites.

The primary uses of the Internet for technical professionals has not changed much either, demonstrating that engineers have established the value of digital media to perform specific work-related tasks in their buy cycle: find components, equipment, services, and suppliers (77%); obtain product specifications (73%); find product availability information (70%); perform research (67%); and compare products across suppliers (66%).

Webinars and digital publications are replacing traditional media
As in-person tradeshows continue to experience decline, webinars have filled the void for interaction between technical professionals and vendors.

More than half of all industrial professionals (53%) attended no in-person tradeshows in 2014, an increase from 49% over the previous year. On the other hand, technical professionals are finding value in attending webinars and other online events. In 2014, two-thirds of industrial professionals attended at least one webinar or online event, and 30% attended four or more. Webinars and online events have proven to be effective marketing platforms, attracting a motivated audience willing to take time out of their busy workdays to attend.

Digital publications trump printed trade magazines as an information resource across all age groups. In 2015, technical professionals are subscribing to an average of 4.4 digital publications, such as e-newsletters and digital trade magazines, versus an average of 1.4 printed trade magazines, a difference of more than three-fold.

The upshot for suppliers and manufacturers
It used to be enough to have a website as your primary digital presence. This is no longer the case. These survey results reinforce the need for suppliers to have a highly visible, multi-channel digital marketing presence that touches influencers and buyers at various stages of their buy cycle. The research shows that no single digital resource is the favorite among industrial professionals. Rather, they use a variety of online sources, from search engines to supplier websites, webinars to online events, and e-newsletters to online catalogs.

The new research report will help you better understand how your customers and prospects use digital media, and how you can optimally incorporate digital channels into your marketing mix in 2016 to gain advantage, remain competitive and win business.

Click here for your complimentary copy of “Digital Use in the Industrial Sector.”

Digital Media Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

Why You Should Consider Display Advertising

 Banner ads that appear across digital networks and highly targeted sites are sometimes overlooked by industrial marketers as an effective marketing tactic. They shouldn’t be. This is a good time to consider whether display advertising can help you develop a stronger 2016 marketing plan.

Digital media has become embedded in the work habits of industrial professionals, and this audience uses a wide variety of digital resources including search engines, websites, online catalogs and more to conduct research, locate suppliers and specify products and services. Display ads appear in many of those places, and your ad can give you exposure to a highly targeted and motivated audience that is actively engaged in their buy cycle.

Display ads are particularly effective for meeting three marketing objectives:

Build brand awareness—When your ad regularly appears across a network of targeted sites, your audience will become familiar with your brand, look and message.
Reach new markets—Display ads can help you reach potential customers in new or hard to reach markets that you otherwise struggle to access.
Launch new products—Many display ads are visual in nature or offer rich media format which can help you get attention when promoting new products.

The Basics of Display Ads
You have two options with display ads. You can choose one or the other, or for maximum effectiveness and visibility, combine the two approaches.

1. Place ads on specific, targeted websites. In this approach, you focus on a single industrial website or destination that is visited extensively for work-related purposes by your target audience. Your ad might appear on a variety of pages within the site, such as alongside a searchable catalog, relevant blog post or news article. With this approach you will reach an audience of highly-targeted, active and motivated searchers.

2. Place your banner ad across a network of sites. Media companies often have a network of targeted sites that have the attention of your audience. This approach allows you to significantly extend your reach into the industry yet still maintain targeting. Ad networks tend to be efficient and affordable in terms of timing, exposure and reach.

Combining these two approaches with a single media buy offers the best of both worlds: the targeting you need with the extensive reach to increase brand awareness across markets.

Other Considerations
Typically you would work with a media partner to purchase display ads. They often have access to the best networks and sites and can package a program to fit your goals and objectives. When speaking to potential partners ask them:

1. Do they reach your target audience? No sense in wasting resources on a broad network of advertising banners if they’re not targeted to the industrial audience you need to reach. Find out what type of sites your ads would appear on and ask for the audience profile. Even for broader branding strategies, you want to stay focused on potential customers and prospects.

2. How do they track and optimize ad performance? You want to know more than impressions and clicks. You want your partner to offer guidance on optimizing the placement of your ad based on where it performs best. You also want robust reporting so that you can see for yourself the performance and include the results in your overall marketing measurements.

3. Do they offer geo-targeting and native-language translations? Many times you will want to reach only a specific geographic market or you may need your ads translated to local languages. Your media partner should offer these capabilities.

4. Do they offer a variety of ad formats and sizes? Display ads come in all shapes, sizes and media. The more options you have available to you, the more creative you can be and the more effective you can make your ad campaign. Skyscrapers, banners, sliders, overlays, rich media ads and more can all be incorporated into your ad portfolio.

Get started today by asking your media partners about their display advertising programs and how they can be seamlessly and effectively integrated into your overall marketing plan for 2016.

Digital Media

2016 Marketing Planning: Five Ideas to Guide You

 Last month we got you jump-started with marketing planning for 2016, offering tips on evaluating your current marketing program and pointing out trends that will affect your strategy moving forward. You can read Part 1 here. This month, as we’re nearing the final quarter of the year, we offer five ideas to help you develop the optimal marketing plan to fit your business needs and meet your marketing goals.

1. Think Digital
When creating your 2016 marketing plan, weigh your channel mix heavily towards digital. Traditional print media and in-person tradeshows continue to decline as digital resources become “business as usual” in the work habits of industrial professionals.

Recent research from IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions demonstrates just how important digital media is to this audience. Sixty-eight percent of technical professionals visit at least six websites each week for work-related purposes. More than half of technical professionals spend six or more hours per week on the Internet for work-related purposes, and one-third spend nine-plus hours (a full day) online.

If you’re not allocating the majority of your marketing budget to digital channels, you’re likely missing out on opportunities to connect with potential customers when they are performing their top online work-related activities: finding components, equipment, services, and suppliers; obtaining product specifications; performing research; and comparing products across suppliers.

2. Prioritize Your Marketing Investments
You’d like to use every possible channel to connect with your target audience, but reality and budgets say that’s not possible. Instead, prioritize your marketing investments according to your audience’s behavior and how well your programs work together. Your goal should be to maximize the visibility of your brand and opportunities for engagement, and to reach prospects and customers at every stage of their buying cycle, particularly early on when they are performing research and forming impressions of potential vendors before contacting them.

Search engines, supplier websites, and online catalogs are all top resources for industrial professionals. In addition, webinars, e-newsletters, and online display ads can help you penetrate new markets and connect with hard-to-reach professionals not in your database.

3. Create a Plan for Content Marketing
Your customers and prospects are constantly looking for content to help them solve problems, understand new technologies, and make more informed buying decisions. Suppliers that can deliver valuable, authoritative content can position their companies as industry experts, build trust with prospects, and ultimately make it easier for sales teams to close deals and drive revenue.

Make content marketing part of your overall marketing plan. Think ahead by creating an editorial calendar of the content you will produce. Match up content to expected events in 2016, such as new product launches or major announcements. Select the channels for distributing content. Here’s where your multichannel strategy pays off. For example, you can promote a webinar in an e-newsletter advertisement or in a display ad and drive prospects to your site to register.

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

4. Make Sure it’s Measurable
If you want full support for your marketing plan, make sure it’s measurable. This is another advantage of digital media. Page views, clicks, downloads, and conversions can all be easily counted.

ROI can be complex to measure, but a good starting point is answering a simple question: For the total marketing dollars you spend, what kind of return do you get in terms of engagement opportunities? Programs such as webinars tend to have high return because prospects have proactively registered for the event, which already indicates their interest. Inquiries on your website from existing customers also offer high return; it’s lower for new customers.

Specialized search engines and searchable catalogs tend to deliver good engagement opportunities because only your target audience would be using them, as opposed to general search engines which are used by the world.

Remember that with an integrated marketing plan, your tactics and channels work together. Most prospects will have multiple touches with your company throughout their buy cycle. Keep track of all touchpoints to prevent the mistake of attributing a sale only to their last interaction with you.

5. Work with Experts
Preparing a comprehensive, integrated marketing plan can be challenging, especially with all the new channels available to you and the wide variety of preferences among your target audience. You don’t have to do this work alone. Now is a good time to consult with an experienced digital media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach. Discuss your marketing objectives and have them show you an integrated, multi-channel media plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives.

2016 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit
IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions has created the Industrial Marketing Planning Kit to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your current marketing choices, calculate the value of existing marketing programs, understand changes in the marketing climate, and plan more effective prospect and client engagement strategies for 2016. Download your complimentary copy.

Digital Media Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

Have One Marketing Strategy, Backed by Many Tactics

As you prepare for 2016, one of the early and important tasks you must fulfill as a marketer is to identify your primary marketing goals, your overall marketing strategy, and your supporting tactics. It’s not always easy because there can be confusion about what the differences are among these three components of your marketing efforts. But it’s essential to get this right: your goals, strategy, and tactics will guide all other decisions and determine your success.

A military analogy can illustrate the differences. For example, your goal is to win the war. Your strategy might be to divide and conquer. And you devise multiple tactics that can support the strategy and help achieve the goal, such as executing a simultaneous attack on two fronts, dropping paratroopers behind the front line, destroying the enemy’s supply line, and so on.

Now translate this analogy to the situation facing an industrial marketer. For example, your goal might be to increase sales by 15% across all product lines. The strategy to achieve this goal could be to create engagement opportunities with potential customers in new markets. That’s a measurable goal and a single, clear, and focused strategy designed to help you achieve your goal.

When it’s time to consider tactics, you don’t want to make the mistake of using one or two, but instead commit to a broader mix of channels that will increase your opportunities for success. Research backs this up and shows that your target audience of engineers and other industrial professionals use a variety of digital resources for work-related purposes. As a marketer, you should align your tactics with the behavior of your audience.

Top Digital Resources
The top digital resources industrial professionals use for information at all stages of their buy cycle are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites, according to the IHS Engineering360 research report “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” In addition, technical professionals are attending more webinars and other online events than ever before. Last year, two-thirds of industrial professionals attended at least one webinar or online event, and 30% attended four or more. Webinars and online events have proven to be effective marketing platforms, attracting a motivated audience willing to take time out of their busy workdays to attend.

Another channel to consider is digital publications, such as e-newsletters and digital trade magazines. Industrial professionals subscribe to an average of 4.4 digital publications, such as e-newsletters and digital trade magazines, versus an average of 1.4 printed trade magazines, a more than three-fold difference.

Cross-Media Multiplier
You’ve heard of the expression that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Evidence is mounting that multichannel marketing is producing the desired results for marketers. The research firm Outsell refers to this phenomenon as the “cross-media multiplier effect” and found that “cross-media campaigns perform much better for advertisers than single media campaigns.”

There are other reasons to use multiple channels. Because industrial professionals use a variety of online resources for work-related purposes, they will be exposed to your company and message more frequently and in more places if you use multiple digital channels. This can help increase brand awareness and affinity among your target audience as well as distinguish your company from competitors.

Finally, no single online channel is the favorite among engineers. They use a variety of resources during their work process and you should do the same to connect with them. It’s the path to success: one strategy, many channels.

Digital Media Marketing Strategy

The Eight Keys to Content Credibility

 During the month of May, the Maven continues to focus on content marketing. This week: credibility. Your audience of technical professionals seeks out content to help them do their jobs better, stay up-to-date on their industry, and make more informed and confident buying decisions. You can help them on their journey—and position your company as a trusted authority and go-to resource—by maintaining a high degree of credibility in your content. Here’s how:

1. Be useful and relevant. This is the most important factor. Give your audience information that’s helpful to them, such as explaining a technical process, comparing approaches to solving a problem, or analyzing a trend in their industry. If you can establish your expertise in specific areas and educate your audience, you will be able to build trust, and customers and prospects will return to you repeatedly.

2. Use three types of content. Thought leadership is content that your company produces, typically educational in nature. Curated content is produced by others that you share with your audience, such as analyst reports or third-party articles or blog posts. And promotional content focuses on your own products and services. Each type of content has its place in your mix. There are no rigid rules about the mix, but we think a balance and appropriate breakdown looks something like this: 30 percent thought leadership content, 50 percent curated content, and 20 percent promotional content.

3. Be objective and professional. You can and should establish a position and point of view in your content, but you should also discuss alternative points of view. Education is all about having a broad and deep 360 degree view of a topic. If other positions and points of view didn’t have validity, no company would take them, so don’t simply dismiss them outright. Instead, acknowledge alternative approaches and demonstrate why your position is the stronger one.

4. Cite sources and references. If you’re producing a white paper or technical article, perform research and use credible third-party sources such as industry experts, analysts, and other publications to support your key themes. Cite sources in footnotes and/or a list of references at the end of the piece.

5. Ensure your content is fresh. Content can get out-of-date quickly. You need to continually produce fresh content and put a publication date on it to show your audience that the information is current. For example, have you clicked on a company’s blog link only to discover the last entry was months ago? What kind of impression did that leave on you? Another thing to watch out for is content containing information that is no longer accurate or relevant given any changes or trends occurring in your industry.

6. Avoid amateur mistakes. Along with out-of-date content, mistakes can hurt your credibility. Typos, grammatical errors, fuzzy imagery, poor rendering on mobile devices, long download times, poor sound, and other mistakes reflect poorly on your credibility. Proofread and test before publishing.

7. Produce content in a variety of formats. Technical professionals have demonstrated an appetite for all types of content: white papers, webinars, videos, technical briefs, data sheets, blog posts, articles, case studies, product catalogs, and more. The company that creates a wide variety of content in different formats gains credibility by giving its audience options. Remember that you can re-purpose content from one format to the next; for example, turning a white paper into a webinar.

8. Distribute and promote through the right channels. Every company publishes content on their website. However, technical professionals use many digital sources in their search for content, including industry websites, directories, e-newsletters, catalogs, and more. When your content appears in respected and widely accessed industry resources, your credibility increases. And when you promote your content using the channels that your audience uses—such as e-mail newsletters, banner ads on industry sites, and directory listings—you will reach a greater number of targeted technical professionals.

IHS Engineering360 offers a portfolio of content marketing services, providing you with a targeted audience and offering high visibility for white papers, technical briefs, articles, and other content. You also can take advantage of solutions to drive your customers and prospects to your content. If credibility is important to you—along with building brand visibility and generating engagement opportunities through content—visit IHS Engineering360 to learn more.

Content Marketing Digital Media

2015 Marketing Planning Part 1: Generating Results in Today’s Digital Environment

Now is the time to begin formulating your marketing strategy and developing plans for 2015. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we’ll look at how you must account for the dramatically changing marketing landscape due to the rise of digital media.

In the early days of digital, industrial companies could get by simply with a company website. This is no longer the case. Today there is an influx of new and relevant digital channels. Technical professionals now have more digital tools and sources of information to do their jobs better and more efficiently. Consider this new reality brought about by the “digital disruption:”

  • Technical professionals are exposed to more companies than ever before—which means more competition for you—because suppliers of every size are building a strong digital presence, giving potential customers more choices in terms of who they do business with.
  • Technical professionals have more personalized preferences and more control in how they choose to interact with suppliers, and often don’t engage with a supplier until later in their buy cycle because they can do so much of their research and evaluation online.
business solution puzzle 2

The takeaway for marketers is that it’s no longer enough to use a limited suite of digital channels to connect with customers and prospects. To be successful today, you need a broad and deep online presence. Expanding your media program to multiple channels will get your name and brand front and center across all stages of the buy cycle, which you need to build awareness and stay competitive. This phenomenon—that you can achieve higher ROI allocating your resources across multiple channels than you can by relying on a single method—is called the Cross Media Multiplier. In essence, it means the whole is great than the sum of its parts.

Of course, you likely don’t have a bottomless budget that will allow you to take advantage of all the digital channels available to you—from online events, webinars and catalogs to newsletters, custom emails, social media, your own website and more. The question is how to allocate your marketing resources in 2015 to optimize results and achieve your marketing goals. Here are three tips to help in your planning:

1. Use the channels your customers use.
Search engines, online catalogs and supplier websites are the three big channels that technical professionals use when researching a work-related purchase. They belong in your mix. But technical professionals also use a variety of other digital channels to keep up with the latest technologies, product news and companies—and these channels and the information technical professionals get from them all influence their buying decisions. E-newsletters, industry websites, online events and webinars are all important channels for your customers and should be considered as part of your marketing suite. Be sure to allocate some of your budget to these channels.

2. Include both creative and directional advertising in your marketing portfolio.
Creative advertising builds awareness for your brand in the marketplace. Creative advertising occurs near the top of the sales funnel and helps your target audience discover who you are, what you have to offer, and how you can provide value. Examples might be an e-newsletter sponsorship, banner ad, online event or social media. Directional advertising is more mid- to end-funnel focused and can lure in technical professionals when they are looking for a specific product or component and need to find the right supplier. Examples are supplier directories, online catalogs and optimizing your website content for search. You need both types of advertising to be 1) recognized by your potential customers, and 2) chosen when the time comes to buy.

3. Work with experts.
Your media partners, including IHS Engineering360, have a wealth of knowledge about the digital media landscape and how it functions. They can offer you guidance in matching your marketing goals and budget with the right mix of digital channels to achieve the results you need. Reach out early to your media partners and get your plans in place for 2015 so you can begin the next year with momentum.

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Digital Media Marketing Strategy Multichannel Marketing

5 Tips to Turn Your Website into a Customer Magnet

Technical professionals use a wide range of digital resources to search for suppliers, products and components. That’s why you need a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that creates a broad and deep online presence to connect with customers and prospects. Online catalogs, e-newsletters, webinars, social media, content marketing, search engine optimization and banner advertising all have a place in your marketing portfolio. At the hub of this interdependent marketing universe is your company website.

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Driving customers and prospects to your website, and keeping them engaged once they get there, will help keep your audience connected to your brand and your company and products top of mind when customers are ready to buy. Here are the top tips for turning your website into a hub of productive customer activity.

1. Provide links to relevant pages
Use your other marketing channels, such as e-newsletter ads, social media or directory listings to drive technical professionals to specific pages on your website. It doesn’t have to be the home page, which is often a general page, but instead a page related directly to the message that motivated the click. It could be a custom landing page or another page that resides deeper in your site. For example, an e-newsletter ad or a directory listing for a specific product should link to a landing page about that product. A social media entry can link to your latest blog post.

2. Give reasons to explore
If a customer lands on a page other than your home page, make it easy to explore related content. You can do this by providing clear and simple navigation options and by grouping related content so that it’s easy to find. Secondary content columns can show related links, such as white papers related to the page topic or links to complementary products or services. From any page a visitor should be no more than one click away from accessing your contact information. A search box can help visitors find exactly what they’re looking for.

3. Offer more
Encourage your audience to stay engaged with your brand. Try these tactics: Offer downloads (with or without registration forms, depending on your strategy), invite customers to follow you on social media or subscribe to your newsletter, add polls or short surveys to solicit their opinions and collect useful data, and prompt technical professionals to view archived webinars or read your latest piece of thought leadership. Try adding live chat functionality or creating a discussion area for customers to interact with each other or your subject matter experts. Some visitors will naturally explore your site once they arrive, but most will need to be encouraged and offered information they find valuable.

4. Keep updating
Why does anyone visit a website on a regular basis? Answer: Because there’s something new to discover. Outdated or stale content will drive your audience away and can even damage your reputation and brand. Make a focused effort to keep content fresh and to add new content on a regular basis. The weekly blog post, the monthly webinar, the new offer—promote these items in e-mails and on social media to entice your customers and prospects back to your site on a regular basis. Also, you should audit your existing website content at least twice a year for accuracy and currency, and purge or update any content that is outdated or no longer relevant.

5. Be responsive
More and more technical professionals are using mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones for work-related purposes, but not all websites render well on mobile devices. If your site is too difficult to use on a mobile device, your customer might click away. The next time you’re refreshing or replacing your website, create a website that is “responsive” in design, which means that navigation and pages will automatically render in a way that optimizes the experience on a mobile device. At the least consider creating responsive landing pages that are tied to marketing campaigns such as e-newsletter ads or white paper offers.

Your company website shouldn’t be your only marketing channel, but it can serve as the hub for your marketing strategy. Your goals should be to drive customers to your site, give them reasons to stay, and motivate them to engage with you.

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What tips would you add to turn a website into a magnet? What advice would you give to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Content Marketing Demand Generation Digital Media Web Sites – Design & Usability