How Manufacturers Really Feel About Content Marketing

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Content marketing has become an essential and effective marketing tactic for many manufacturers. It fits so perfectly with potential customers’ needs for reliable, relevant information through all phases of the buy cycle.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 86 percent of manufacturers now use content marketing, but only 22 percent would say their organizations are mature or sophisticated in their efforts.

The Marketing Maven also recently conducted a brief, five-question survey of its readers to ask how their organizations are handling content marketing. Here are some of the key findings:

The Success of Content Marketing

On average, manufacturers give themselves a success score of 2.95 out of 5 for their content marketing efforts. That’s not bad, but it’s not great, either.

The majority (64 percent) gave themselves a 3 or a 4. If you’re in this group, it means you’re likely finding some success in your efforts and are seeing positive results. There’s plenty of room for improvement, however, most likely in the “big three” areas of efficient content creation, more precise distribution, and improved tracking.

There’s nothing but improvement awaiting the 30 percent who scored themselves at 1 or 2. If you’re one of these low scorers, you likely need to regroup or accelerate your content marketing. Re-state your goals for content marketing. Get caught up on the latest strategy, tips, and tactics by reading “Content Marketing for Industrial Marketers.”

Types of Content Produced

Emails, videos, articles, and case studies are the top types of content that industrial marketers produce. Newsletters, white papers, and infographics are also popular. When producing content, marketers should try to find efficiencies by repurposing content from one format to another. For example, a how-to video that can also be made into an article.

Outsourcing Content Production

Fifty-six percent of marketers don’t outsource any of their content production. This majority is either incredibly self-reliant or they are taking on too much. Think about all of the heavy lifting involved in content production: generating ideas, writing, layout and design, editing and proofreading, landing pages and conversion forms, and more.

It’s hard to be an expert every step of the way. Plus, although you might think you’re saving money, there’s an opportunity cost involved. A good question to ask is whether outsourcing some production aspects could free up time and resources for other marketing responsibilities.

Paid Content Promotion

The majority of marketers (56 percent) use paid promotion methods with the goal of exposing their content to a larger audience. These methods might include newsletter advertisements, banner ads, and sponsored posts, among others.

The key is to only invest in promotional methods that do an effective job of reaching your specific target audience. When you work with media partners, make sure they have deep knowledge of your audience and how to get their attention. For those who aren’t using paid promotion, if you’re not getting the results or reach you expect from content marketing, you could begin experimenting with paid promotional methods through your media partners.

Greatest Content Marketing Challenge

Forty-one percent said that their greatest content marketing challenge is that they have too few resources (budget, time, staffing). That could be one reason that most industrial marketers are trying to do all the work themselves and not outsource content production, although that strategy definitely eats up a lot of time.

Twenty-eight percent said their greatest challenge was being unable to pinpoint how content marketing contributes to sales. Since most prospects will consume multiple pieces of content on their buying journey, it can be difficult to know what content works best and what doesn’t. This Marketing Maven article, “5 Tips for Measuring Marketing ROI,” can be of help.

One aspect of content marketing that industrial marketers have a firm control on is knowing what content resonates with their audience. Only 9 percent said it was their greatest content marketing challenge. Good job. There’s no substitute for having a keen understanding of the needs of your target audience.

Tell us – what challenges do you face when it comes to content marketing, and what do you have a good handle on?

Content Marketing Marketing, General

Multichannel Marketing: Are You Doing It Right?

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Most industrial marketers have adopted a multichannel marketing strategy. They’ve realized it’s not enough to just have a website or to exhibit at a trade show every year to achieve their marketing goals.

These marketers have recognized and adapted to the three key trends that drive multichannel marketing:

  1. Industrial professionals have many tools to choose from when sourcing products, requiring marketers to broaden and deepen their reach to engage prospects in ways that match their searching and sourcing preferences.
  2. Engineers prefer to search independently and wait to contact vendors until later in their buy cycle, so suppliers must be seen early and often in the buy cycle to have a chance at the sale.
  3. The internet has leveled the playing field and increased competition as more companies allocate more marketing dollars to various digital media channels.

The analyst firm Outsell reported that 63 percent of large companies and 17 percent of small companies used more than five tools in the marketing stack in 2017. In addition, according to  “Trends in Industrial Marketing: How Manufacturers are Marketing Today”, 50 percent of marketers use a mix of push/ outbound (email, tradeshows) and pull/inbound marketing tactics (corporate website, online catalogs).

But multichannel marketing can be a complex undertaking, and blindly adding more channels to your marketing mix is not a viable strategy—and may in fact be a waste of resources. Follow these tips to ensure your company can successfully compete in a multichannel marketing environment:

Maintain consistency

Across all the channels you use, maintain a consistent presence and make sure your messages complement one another in order to reinforce your brand and value propositions. Use the same colors, brand imagery and fonts. Hone in on core messages and differentiators. If you start mixing messages or varying your look and feel, your audience can become confused. They might not know what your brand represents.

Don’t try to be everywhere

Multichannel doesn’t mean you need to be everywhere at once. That would be a futile strategy and blow away your budget. Instead, as you expand, start out small. Experiment. Use the channels that your customers use.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels for technical professionals are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. Those should be on every marketer’s list.

But in reality, your audience uses many other channels to keep up with the latest technologies, product news, companies and brands—all of which influence buying decisions. E-newsletters, industry sites, social media, webinars, email, in-person tradeshows, conferences, and industry publications are all important industry information sources for your customers. Try a few new channels in Q4 this year and see which ones work best for you.

Coordinate your team and resources

Make sure that your entire team, from employees to vendors to partners to agencies, are all on the same page in terms of strategy, messaging and responsibilities. It helps to have a single, secure location for storing, accessing and editing marketing assets. Content version control becomes essential when you are using the same or similar content across multiple channels.

Don’t forget to engage your sales team. They should be aware of, and on board with, every program and channel you have in place. They are the ones likely fielding inquiries from prospects who noticed your marketing.

Manage better with marketing automation

You can still manage, track and measure using spreadsheets, but the task is manual and will be cumbersome once you are juggling multiple channels and programs. If possible, use one of the low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market today. Marketing automation will help you keep much better track of campaigns and prospect activity through their buy cycle. Your overall marketing efforts will be much more efficient.

Prepare for more complex ROI measurement

Here’s another area where marketing automation can help. As prospects connect with your company through multiple channels, the influence of each of those channels on a purchase decision becomes harder to calculate. Some companies place too much emphasis on the first touch with a prospect, others on the “last click” before purchase.

The fact is that every touch contributes to a sale. To find out more about measuring marketing ROI, check out this Marketing Maven article from earlier this year: “Tips for Measuring Marketing ROI.”

Rely on trusted media partners

The right media partner, one with expertise in your industry and the ability to reach your target audience, can help you develop, execute and measure a multichannel marketing campaign that is specifically designed to meet your marketing goals.

Your partner can help you select the appropriate channels and optimize your marketing mix, so that your entire program runs in an efficient, coordinated fashion.

Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing

Five Tips for Growing Your Email Marketing List

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How to repair your email list in the wake of GDPR.

Email remains one of the top marketing strategies for manufacturers. Ninety-five percent of manufacturers use email to distribute information for content marketing purposes, according to the 2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America, conducted by the Content Marketing Institute in partnership with IEEE GlobalSpec.

Manufacturers also reported that email is the most effective format for content marketing, with their top three email types being event emails, promotional emails and newsletters.

Clearly, email in the industrial sector is a powerful marketing engine. But many marketers have stalled when it comes to growing their opt-in email marketing database. The implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is designed to protect the data and privacy of anyone living in Europe, has made list-building that much more challenging.

If you’re looking for fresh ideas on how to grow a targeted, opt-in email marketing list using legal and ethical tactics, try these tips.

1. Lead with your best content offer

Enticing a targeted prospect to opt-in to your emails is a transaction: they provide you with their email address and give permission for you to email them, and in return you give something they find valuable.

That something of value should be the most compelling, relevant content you have. It could be a white paper, a how-to, a webinar, an ROI calculator, a product comparison—there are many possibilities. The key is that the value of your offer has to be so good and recognizable that your prospects are willing to opt-in to your email list.

2. Place your offer everywhere

That great content that you’re using as bait? Cast it across all your marketing channels. Make the offer clear on multiple pages of your website. Promote it on your social media channels. Add it to company directory pages on sites such as GlobalSpec. Tease it with banner ads. Make the offer at the end of a video.

You get the idea. You want your audience to be exposed to your offer and act upon it.

3. Direct people back to your website

All those channels where you’re promoting your content should lead back to a landing page on your website where you reinforce the offer and provide a form for the user to complete in order to access your content.

Keep your opt-in forms simple. It’s tempting to collect as much information on a user as possible right away, but adding too many fields to fill out will scare people off. Reduce the length of your forms to just two to three fields: name, email address, company. You can collect more information from them once you start a conversation.

4. Add share and forward buttons

Add links that allow users to share/forward your marketing emails and social media posts to their colleagues or others. Include calls-to-action in your emails that make sharing an obvious choice for recipients. If your content and message are compelling enough, you’ll find this to be an effective strategy for growing your list.

5. Work with media partners

A media partner with expertise in your industry and access to your target audience may have an email list rental product for email marketing purposes. This can help you greatly expand your reach to targeted prospects.

Make sure that the list is opt-in and that  subscribers have agreed to receive relevant offers from the vendor’s network of partners. While you won’t actually get the list of email addresses, you can of course drive recipients to a landing page where they can convert and become prospects in your system as a part of your house list.

One tactic you should never use

Never buy an email list. A purchased list is one that you could import into your system and use as many times as you want, just as you would an organically developed house list. But the names on a purchased list have not given you permission to market to them. You run a much higher risk of being reported as a spammer by the recipients.

You can also run afoul of GDPR laws. This can permanently damage your sender reputation and cause legal issues. Also, these lists for sale are often poorly maintained and may have many bad email addresses that bounce.

The only legitimate way to build your email list is through opt-in tactics. Be a responsible email marketer and your targeted list should grow and perform well for you.

Marketing, General

How to Integrate Video into Your Marketing Mix

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Manufacturing marketers have embraced video over the past few years. Eighty percent say they use pre-produced video for content marketing purposes, and 52 percent say video is one of their top three most effective content types. (2018 Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America.)

Whether you’ve been using video for some time or are just getting started, here are some useful tips to help ensure that video is a successful component of your marketing mix.

General Video Guidelines

  • Before producing any video, make sure you define the message you want to convey. Your video should have a single, focused message. There’s no time to ramble and meander.
  • Make videos snappy and short, usually two minutes or less. A lot of B2B companies are keeping their videos to about one minute in length. These time constraints, rather than being limiting, offer lots of opportunity for creativity. Short videos work well on social media channels and on mobile devices. Video offers a good format to be entertaining and memorable. Give your brand a little personality.
  • Tap into the emotions of your viewer, not just the rational and logical side. Research from the Harvard Business Review reports that emotional motivators such as a sense of belonging, feeling secure, succeeding in life, and feeling confident can drive customer behavior. Video—as opposed to a white paper or data sheet, for instance— is a great medium for creating that emotional connection.
  • Consider adding captions to your video for viewers who play it without sound. If you embed the video on a web page, include a written script below the frame, which gives you an opportunity to use relevant keywords on the page.

Video Subject Matter

  • Humanize and showcase your staff and your brand story. Keep the tone casual and light. Show the people behind your products.
  • Let your customers do the talking. Solicit brief testimonials from satisfied customers. They can talk about your products, of course, but also service, support, or even an anecdote about an interaction with your company.
  • Use videos to explain technical or complex concepts in a visual way.
  • Create product demos or walkthroughs. Show the product in action. Use a host or narrator to add interest—don’t just show “things.”
  • Produce videos at industry events to help keep your audience up to date about what’s going on. Find a thought leader and ask them a few questions. Have your “reporter” on the scene do a quick recap of the day’s events.

Video Metrics

  • View Count—this is the umbrella metric that reveals how many people began watching your video. Note the word ‘began.’ It doesn’t mean the viewer finished watching. View count is a measure of reach and initial interest. Factors that affect this metric include what channels you use to distribute the video, where it’s placed on a page, the copy surrounding and promoting it, even the image you’ve chosen for the video thumbnail.
  • Engagement—can be measured by tracking the amount of time a viewer spends watching your video. If you have a high drop-off rate, it means you’re losing your viewer’s attention, most likely to a lack of relevance. If you find a lot of viewers are leaving your video around the same spot, it means you have a boring part. Fix it.
  • Click-through—measures the effectiveness of your call to action. Often placed at the end of the video, a call to action asks your viewer to take the next step, such as watching another video, downloading a piece of content, registering for an event or more. You also can experiment with placing a call to action somewhere in the middle of the video.
  • Sharing—including share buttons on social media or web pages gives you a sense of relevancy and engagement. If your video is shared, it’s got something special going for it.

The use of video for content marketing purposes is likely to continue growing in the industrial sector. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll likely see greater success with your video efforts.

 

 

Marketing, General Video

Five Tips for Launching a Second-Half Marketing Push

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The second half of the marketing year is well underway, which means it’s time to set your sights on the finish line and make any necessary adjustments to ensure you meet or exceed your marketing goals for the year.

Here are five things you can get started on right now to make your second-half marketing programs shine.

1. Assess Progress to Date

In order to know what adjustments you need to make, you must first find out what’s working and what’s not:

  • For each marketing program or tactic, compare your initial goals to your results so far. Are you more than halfway to your stated goals? Ahead or behind? Invariably, some programs will be performing better than expected, others not as well as you’d hoped.
  • For those programs that are going strong, consider adding more resources to further their momentum. For those that are lagging, try figuring out the reason(s) behind the lacking performance. Typically, a program doesn’t meet expectations because it was not designed properly, not targeted clearly for an audience, or has operational errors such as poor lead attribution, not enough content, weak conversion forms on a website, etc.
  • Decide whether the problems are worth fixing in order keep the program going or if those resources are better deployed elsewhere.

2. Redefine Your Objectives

The business climate is dynamic and your marketing objectives can often change during the course of a year, for any number of reasons:

  • A product line is dropped or a new product added
  • Sales targets change
  • Marketing priorities change
  • A merger or acquisition takes place
  • A new executive with a different vision comes on board

If objectives change, marketing programs often must change as well. Make sure your programs and objectives are fully aligned for the second half of the year. Also, if objectives change, budgets will likely be impacted. You might have to shift resources. Make sure the most important programs are funded and that they clearly support the most important objectives.

3. Develop New Marketing Content

You may need new marketing content for the second half of the year. Content development—whether you create it, acquire it or curate it—is an ongoing process for most marketing organizations, and one that requires planning:

  • Review your marketing calendar and make sure you will be able to fill any content gaps.
  • Brainstorm with team members and sales people to generate new content ideas.
  • Evaluate existing content for repurposing; for example, that popular article could become a hot new webinar or widely-read white paper in the coming months.
  • Line up writers, designers and other production resources you need before they are committed elsewhere.

4. Launch a New Initiative

Maybe there’s a new marketing program you’ve learned about that wasn’t part of your original plan but fits well with your marketing objectives. For instance:

  • A new industry e-newsletter that targets your audience and has advertising space to help you generate engagement opportunities
  • The opportunity to build thought leadership by sponsoring a third-party webinar in a subject matter where you have expertise

Maybe you’re accustomed to new opportunities popping up midyear and you’ve been smart enough to stash a little budget on the side for just this purpose. If not, you might have to reallocate budget from underperforming programs (see point #1 above) to fund a new initiative.

5. Talk to your Media Partners

Your media partners often have data on the performance of your programs that can help assess your progress so far. They likely also have fresh ideas if you want to try a new tactic. They can also offer insight on how to boost underperforming programs.

The right media partner is your ally, has expertise in your industry and has a vested interest in helping you succeed. Take advantage of their expertise for your second-half marketing push.

 

 

 

Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

How to Freshen Up Your Social Media Marketing

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Social media has solidified its place as an established marketing channel in the industrial sector. Social media posts are the leading type of content that manufacturing marketers rely on for content marketing purposes, with a 92 percent adoption rate.

Social media is also the second leading channel and second most effective channel for distributing content, after email. LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook are the top three channels marketers say are most effective for achieving their objectives.

At the same time, many companies are stuck in the social media doldrums. Not much is happening. Engagement is low. They’re not sure what to do to freshen up their efforts and get more from social media. Here are some ideas to help you get results.

Revisit Your Strategy

You don’t use social media just because your competitors do, right? You use it to achieve specific objectives. Document those objectives and use them to make all other social media decisions. Most industrial companies use social media to expand brand awareness, educate their followers or to build a thought leadership position. You can also generate engagement opportunities, but there are more effective marketing tactics to do that.

Cut or Cultivate

When social media momentum began to pick up, many marketers created profiles on every new social media that came along. If this happened at your company, it’s time to make decisions. Cut out the channels that you don’t use or that your audience doesn’t use. Commit to cultivating a stronger presence on the ones that you do use—or want to make better use of going forward.

Optimize Your Profiles

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

Find the Passion

Social media often becomes one more item on the marketer’s to-do list. Maybe it’s time to turn over your social media efforts to a colleague or even a college intern that has a real passion for social media and the skills to make the most out of your company’s social media presence. If that’s not an option, remember to take the time to put that excitement back into your social media updates. If you’re bored, your followers will be, too.

Update Your Content Approach

If you use social media simply to promote your products and services, you won’t get much traction. Instead, focus on the content that’s of interest to your audience. Most of your content should be curated—shares and reposts by influencers and thought leaders in your industry that will help keep your audience up on trends. A smaller percentage of posts should be original educational content that you create. The smallest percentage should be promotional content.

Develop a Personality

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

Follow your Customers and Prospects

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

Enlist Your Employees

A great way to expand your reach is to create pre-approved content and encourage your company’s employees to share the content on their personal social media profiles. People by nature pay more attention to what their friends post than what a company posts. Make sure you provide guidelines to employees about sharing the content and responding to any comments they might get.

Focus on Relevant Measurement

Measurement is the only way you can intelligently manage social media initiatives and make improvements to your program. It’s not that difficult, as long as you understand your goals for using social media and pay attention to the metrics that matter. These are the four metrics that matter most:

  • Reach—Followers, likes, mentions. It’s easy to measure reach, which is good for your brand. But the quality of reach is important: a mention from an industry analyst has more value than a photo that someone likes.
  • Engagement— Twitter re-tweets, Facebook wall posts or shares, blog responses, comments on LinkedIn discussions, length of video views, etc. Engagement measures the relevancy of your content.
  • Sentiment—Are you getting positive, negative or neutral reactions to your content? Sentiment measures the qualitative, emotional reaction to your content and company on social media channels.
  • Conversions— To measure conversions, your social media content must include a call to action: register for a webinar, download a white paper, watch a video, etc. Tracking social media conversions not only gives you straight numbers, it gives you data for comparison purposes across integrated programs. What resulted in more conversions: your tweet or your e-newsletter advertisement?

What other ways have you tried to reinvigorate your social media channels? Let us know!

Marketing, General Social Media

5 Ways to Give Your Content Marketing A Boost

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

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

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

1. Gather data about what your audience likes

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

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

2. Answer five common questions

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

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

3. Hit the refresh button

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

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

4. Write and pitch an educational article

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

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

5. Answer the “How to ” question

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

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

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

Bonus idea: Create dedicated landing pages

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

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

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

Content Marketing Marketing, General

Here’s Your Summer Marketing Plan

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“Summertime and the livin’ is easy,” the song goes. While many people associated summer with vacations and a slower pace, the engine of business continues to rumble.

Many companies use the summer months to gear up marketing programs for a second half revenue push. They’re generating new engagement opportunities, nurturing existing leads and creating new content.

It’s a good season to tune-up your lead engagement practices to make sure you have no glitches in your systems and processes, and to adhere with current best practices. Here are tips to keep you going strong.

1. Give compelling reasons to engage

Whether your goal is generating new engagement opportunities or nurturing leads through the funnel, you must put forth a compelling reason for prospects to interact with you.

With potential new prospects, focus on the primary goal of exchanging information with them. You’re likely asking them to fill out a form with their name, email address, company and perhaps more. Everyone is wary these days. No one gives out their information easily. Therefore, you must have a compelling, benefit-oriented offer stated up front in the headline of your marketing pitch. Make sure your offers are focused on solving a customer problem, saving customers time or reducing their costs.

2. Go step by step

A nurturing campaign is in some ways like a course in school, with you as the professor. You start by providing a foundation of knowledge and information to your audience, and then slowly add more detailed and complex concepts. With step-by-step campaigns, you may offer more educational and higher-level content first, followed by a deep technical dive once you have prospects engaged.

Take a close look at your nurturing campaigns. Do you have clear step-by-step processes based on the behavior of your customers and prospects? Does each step along the way build on what came before and move prospects through your marketing and sales funnel?

3. Make a smooth handoff

Another way to tune up nurturing campaigns is to make sure the handoff of leads to your sales team is based on mutual agreement between marketing and sales. Document what constitutes a sales-ready lead. Make sure the handoff takes place by building checks and balances into your processes. For examples, sales must update a record after receiving a lead and marketing must develop a system that scores leads based on their behavior.

4. Be compliant with GDPR

If you have any customers or prospects from the European Union, you must be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a new law that defines a framework for collecting and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union.

While compliance with GDPR may seem like just one more task to take on, it actually will help you adhere to best practices in lead engagement. GDPR forces you to focus on building relationships on marketing and selling to people who want to hear from you. You’ll be dealing with prospects much more engaged and ready to buy. Because you’ll be concentrating on quality prospects over a quantity of prospects, in the long run you should benefit.

Last month the Maven ran an article about gearing up for GDPR. You can read it here. Another point: make sure the media partners you work with are in compliance with GDPR. IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions is.

5. Automate

No matter what your company size, you should strongly consider marketing automation software if you aren’t using it yet. There are a number of competitive, lower cost solutions on the market that have important features for lead engagement and nurturing.

Most systems will offer analytics, campaign and lead management, lead scoring, segmentation, landing page creation and visitor tracking. With marketing automation, you will be able to save time, better manage your marketing efforts and increase the likelihood of having successful marketing campaigns.

Let us know – what are you summer marketing plans?

Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

Market Research: Why You Need It and How to Use It

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It’s a given that  knowledge and insight into your audience is vital to a successful marketing plan. While experience can provide a lot of this knowledge, you also need to keep up with how markets are changing, technologies are advancing, and the emergence of new customers.

To make sure your marketing plan keeps pace, give it an injection of market research.

According to research conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions, industrial marketers conduct market research for three primary reasons:

  1. To gain knowledge about the marketplace/target audience (76 percent)
  2. To develop competitive analyses (70 percent)
  3. To understand existing customers (68 percent)

Entering a new market is the top reason industrial marketers use (or would potentially invest in) market research. The results of market research can help you prioritize marketing investments, improve products, create more effective content, fend off competitors and more.  If you have goals or challenges in any of these areas, you likely want to invest in market research.

Primary and Secondary Research

Primary research is conducted by you, or by a research firm you hire for the project. Examples of primary research include focus groups, surveys, interviews and observations. With primary research, you are trying to answer questions or find out information specifically relevant to your company and situation.

Secondary research is the use of previously completed studies, such as analyst reports, scientific studies and other third-party research and content. Marketers must interpret the findings of secondary research to apply to their own situations. It’s relatively easy to find free or low cost secondary research using the internet or research journals.

Both primary and secondary research are useful and important in shaping your marketing plan. Which type of research you rely on first or most depends on a number of factors, including the specificity of your goals and your budget.

The Budget Issue

While many industrial marketers understand the value of market research, it’s no surprise that budgets don’t always line up with desires. Of those industrial marketers that use market research, 63 percent invest less than ten percent of their budget in primary or secondary market research. Of those that don’t use research, 57 percent say budgetary constraints prevent them from using primary research.

Do-it-Yourself or Work with a Vendor?

Sixty-four percent of marketers take the do-it-yourself approach when it comes to conducting primary research. That means taking responsibility for setting research goals, designing and sending out surveys, making calls, conducting focus groups, etc.—and also compiling and analyzing the data you collect. Conducting research yourself can help with budget constraints, but it can also be difficult to accomplish if you’re short on time and manpower.

Forty-six percent hire an outside vendor to conduct primary market research. Industrial marketers state they want a market research provider that has:

  • Experience working in my industry (56 percent)
  • Research specific to my industry (49 percent)
  • Depth of knowledge in my industry (42 percent)

The takeaway is that if you’re going to hire an outside firm, make sure they know your specific industry and have experience conducting research among its audience.

When it comes to obtaining secondary research, 85 percent of marketers search the internet, with some positive results: 30 percent of their secondary research comes from internet searches.

Often, a company will start by compiling secondary research and then fill in missing intelligence by conducting primary research.

Make More Informed Decisions

With the insight you gain through both primary and secondary market research, you can make more informed and  confident decisions about which markets to enter, products to develop, and how to market to customers and prospects.

For a quick, one-page guide on this topic, download the infographic “How Industrial Marketers Use Market Research.”

 

Market Research Marketing, General

What Separates Electronics Engineers From Their Peers

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In its fourth annual research report—“The Pulse of Engineering”— IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions took a fresh approach by segmenting survey responses from electronics engineers. These engineers represent a significant part of IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions’ audience and are a frequently targeted population for manufacturers.

The survey revealed what engineers think about the resources available to them, their competition, how their performance is measured, and the climate at their current company. It also delved into an engineers’ work style, along with their motivations and career path.

When looking at these findings, a number of differences between electronics engineers and those engineers working in other industries are evident. For manufacturers that market to this sector, the findings should shape how you communicate with this audience.

Larger Companies and Design Teams

Electronics engineers are more likely to work for larger companies that employ 500 or more engineers. They are also more likely to work in design teams of 100 or more engineers and in teams that have a greater number of design team participants from other countries.

These results indicate that you may need to reach out to a greater number of engineers who have a variety of perspectives and interest areas. Some may be focused on how well a product works, others on how well a product fits into their existing environment, and still others on the economic payback of a product. When marketing to electronics companies, you may need to create content and messaging that resonates with different areas of focus and that can appeal to a variety of team members and decision makers.

Conditions at Electronics Companies

As with engineers across every industry, many electronics engineers report that the pace of engineering is constantly increasing, the pressure to meet deadlines is putting product quality/rework at risk, and they are required to do more with less.

However, electronics engineers are less likely to say that their companies are losing specialized knowledge and senior expertise faster than they can gain it. If you are a contributor to that specialized knowledge and expertise in a company through your products or services, then you’ve proven yourself to be a valuable ally to these engineers.

Other research findings specific to the electronics industry include:

  • Electronics engineers are more likely to consider software and development tools, coding resources and design kits as essential to completing projects.
  • Electronics engineers are more likely to say that the competitive landscape is global and competes 24×7, that new technologies and companies disrupt markets and products faster, and that competitors are quick to adapt and take away business—all findings that reinforce the turbulent and fast-changing nature of the electronics industry.
  • Workforces are more likely to be increasing in electronics than in other industries. At the same time, layoffs are a bigger reason for electronics engineers to leave their company than it is in other industries. The top reason to leave a current role or company is in order to pursue advancement opportunities.
  • In terms of upgrading their career skills, electronics engineers are most interested in learning programming languages, new and emerging standards such as 5G and how to implement artificial intelligence. If you can help educate electronics engineers in any of these areas, you should produce focused messaging and content to support the initiative.

No matter what industries you market to, connecting with engineers requires understanding their needs and motivations, and producing technical and educational content to help them succeed at their jobs.

For a more complete understanding of engineers and their work environment, download a complimentary copy of “2018 Pulse of Engineering.” This valuable resource includes all research results along with analysis and marketing recommendations for industrial marketers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Relationships Electronics Marketing, General