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

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

How to Rise Above Your Competitors

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

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

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

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

Diversify Your Spending

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

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

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

Maintain Marketing Momentum

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

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

Differentiate Your Offerings

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

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

Produce Exceptional Content

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

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

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

Cultivate a Visual Brand Identity

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

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

Perform Competitive Research

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

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

Partner Up

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

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

Now go beat your competition.

 

Content Marketing Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

Give Your 2018 Marketing Plan a Final Tune-Up

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Whatever point you’re at in your 2018 marketing planning, the “2018 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit” can help. This guide offers advice, tools and tips to efficiently target your audience of engineers and technical professionals and get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Download your complimentary copy of the kit.

Using the planning kit, you will be able to answer the tough questions that every marketer faces:

1. How do you get more out of your marketing investments, and measure and account for marketing decisions in today’s economic climate?

Industrial marketers are under unprecedented pressure to demonstrate return on marketing investment (ROMI) for their initiatives. At the same time, due to the nature of the industrial buy cycle, and an engineer’s preference for multiple sources of information and multiple touches with your company, it’s difficult to make a one-to-one correlation between a specific marketing program and revenue earned.

By tracking every interaction between your company and a prospect you can better measure ROMI and account for your marketing decisions. In this planning kit, you will find out how to avoid the “last click” measurement trap, which attributes a sale to the last marketing-related touch-point a customer has with your company before making a buying decision.

2. Do you have a balanced mix of media channels to maximize your reach and effectiveness?

Your audience uses a variety of digital and traditional channels to discover and learn about suppliers, products and services. You can use the Media Choices table in the kit to find out which channels your customers prefer and how to balance your investments in order to optimize the performance of your marketing program.

3. Are your marketing programs delivering highly qualified contacts and inquiries to your sales team?

It always comes down to this: marketing must generate good leads for your sales team. The first step in measuring the quality of leads is to know what a high-quality customer looks like. The planning kit includes tools to help you create the ideal customer profile.

Prospects who most closely fit your ideal customer profile and demonstrate interest through active engagement with your company and content are most likely to be sales-ready leads. You can increase the amount of prospect activity by pushing content across multiple channels to your target audience, and by nurturing interested prospects with marketing automation.

4. How do you meet the incessant and growing demand among your audience for quality content that supports their buying cycle?

If you are like most industrial marketers, content marketing is going to play a role in your 2018 plan. Producing and distributing valuable and authoritative content positions your company as an expert, builds trust with prospects, and ultimately makes it easier to sell products and services.

However, marketers face a multitude of content marketing challenges: lack of resources to produce quality, engaging content on a consistent basis; a lack of content ideas; knowing which channels are best for distributing content; and integrating content marketing with your overall marketing plan.

We’ve included a special section on the content marketing challenge in the “2018 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit,” containing tips and advice on how to become an efficient and effective content marketer.

5. How do you avoid making common marketing mistakes?

Manufacturers, distributors and service providers in the industrial sector have more marketing choices than ever before, making it easier to maximize marketing budgets. However, even the most seasoned professionals sometimes fall prey to mistakes that are easily avoidable.

Our kit includes a list of the top ten marketing mistakes and how to avoid them. Number 10 on the list: Moving into the year ahead without a plan. If you still haven’t developed a road map for 2018, the first thing you should do is download your complimentary copy of the “2018 Industrial Planning Marketing Kit.”

Explore this handy guide, set aside time to brainstorm your goals and objectives, and plan your tactics for the year ahead, including marketing channels that align with your plans. Even if your plan is already in place, the kit offers checks and balances to keep you on the right track.

Marketing Strategy

How to Succeed with Limited Marketing Resources

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

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

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

Make Content Marketing More Efficient

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

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

Double-Dip On Your Marketing Programs

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

Work Incrementally On Your Website

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

Be Smart on Social Media

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

Find a Trusted Media Partner

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

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

 

 

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Content Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy

5 Lead Nurturing Staples to Drive Sales

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Studies have shown that 70 percent of new business can come from long term leads.

To have a high rate of success at converting long term leads, companies must be able to optimize these five important lead nurturing processes.

1. Align marketing and sales teams

Lead nurturing requires buy-in from both your sales and marketing teams. You must come to agreement on your lead nurturing processes, including:

  • What type of leads are sales-ready and what type belong in marketing’s lead nurturing programs?
  • Who is responsible for responding to and routing leads? This can be an individual or a cross-functional team.
  • Who is responsible for updating and tracking leads through the marketing and sales process?
  • What tools and/or software will be used to manage leads?

2. Segment and score leads

Segmenting and scoring leads allows you to provide prospects with relevant information that will help them through their buy cycle.

  • Develop a lead scoring system based on prospect demographics, industry, buying time frame, product interest, digital behavior or other attributes. The relevant attributes are different for every company, so choose what works for you.
  • Apply weights to different lead attributes to come up with a lead score.
  • Determine what to do with a lead based on their score. Example: low-scoring leads stay with marketing while higher-scoring leads are ready for the sales team.
  • Your prospect’s digital behavior should count toward their lead score. Example: if they are actively downloading content or otherwise engaging with your company, their score goes up.

3. Execute disciplined campaigns

Long term leads require long term attention to ensure your company stays top of mind.

  • Develop measurable goals for your lead nurturing campaigns. This could be number of qualified leads passed to sales, new business closed, duration of sales cycle, or other objectives.
  • For each segment of leads, plan a campaign that offers your prospects value, as opposed to sales pitches. Start by sending educational content such as white papers, webinars, articles and videos. Move on to demos, product overviews, and technical specs. Bring them closer to a buying decision with ROI calculators, pricing quotes and special offers.
  • Develop a schedule for when and how often you reach out to prospects. Define the entire campaign in advance, so you will know how to phase your content and messaging.
  • Establish response rules for your campaign. Example: if a prospect downloads a white paper and attends a webinar, their score goes up, or they get a follow-up call, or they are considered sales-ready. Or if a prospect watches a certain video, you send them a topic-specific article. It’s up to you and your sales team to define the rules of the campaign.

4. Measure and improve

When you establish goals, create offers, and define campaign rules, you can track what does and doesn’t work in a lead nurturing program.

  • Eliminate content that doesn’t perform well.
  • Leverage successful content by creating similar offers and re-purposing valuable content into other formats, such as a white paper to a webinar, or an infographic to a video.
  • Follow-up with those responsible for tracking leads throughout the campaign to make sure none have fallen through the cracks. Fix any processes that are flawed.

5. Use marketing automation

While it’s possible to develop and execute a lead nurturing program using only spreadsheets or manual processes, marketing automation is becoming a common tool and an investment in a system might make economic sense.

  • Marketing automation can track your prospect’s digital behavior across websites, social media, blogs and more, helping you improve segmentation, scoring and response.
  • Use marketing automation to score leads, create landing pages, track prospect actions, trigger automatic emails and report on the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Marketing automation vastly improves your ability to report on the effectiveness of various content, can produce analytics and sophisticated reports, and much more.

The IEEE GlobalSpec Tool Kit “The Industrial Marketer’s Guide to Lead Nurturing” has other recommended best practices along with tips for following up on inquiries and creating successful lead nurturing campaigns. Click here to download your complimentary copy.

 

 

 

Lead Management Marketing Strategy

How to Connect with Younger Engineers

As a marketer, you likely have long-term relationships with many seasoned engineers who are in leadership roles and in a position to influence decisions and make purchases. You’re probably comfortable communicating with this engineer. They are likely comfortable with your brand and know what you stand for.

These engineers are the strongest advocates for your products, services, brand, and company. Additionally, they can pass their preferences to younger engineers or to colleagues at other companies if they change jobs. Clearly, you should continue to focus on nurturing these technical professionals in your marketing efforts.

At the same time, many older engineers are nearing retirement. Forty-seven percent have been in the engineering field for 30 or more years, and 22 percent for 20-29 years, according to the “2017 Pulse of the Engineer Survey” from IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions. Younger engineers, many of them millennials, are beginning to step into positions of authority. This requires you to cultivate new relationships with the next generation of customers.

While many aspects of marketing to engineers hold true regardless of your customer’s age, younger technical professionals have their own preferences that vary slightly from the habits of their older colleagues. Follow these tips to make stronger connections with the next generation of engineers:

Make digital your primary focus.

According to the “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector” research report from IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions, millennials use a variety of channels in their buying process and there is no single channel preferred. They use social media more than their older colleagues, conduct more product searches , read more news and more e-newsletters. The three most popular channels to research a work-related purchase are general search engines, supplier websites, and online catalogs. You can connect with engineers young and old by having a broad and consistent online.

Build a presence in online forums.

Online forums have seen a significant growth among younger engineers, with 39 percent now using them. The top three activities in online forums are finding technical support (57 percent), searching for product information (52 percent) and viewing videos (40 percent).

Use content to build trust.

Younger engineers may not be familiar with your brand or value propositions.. It’s important that you provide relevant, educational information to them to help build trust for your brand and to increase your younger prospect’s confidence in choosing to work with your company. You can also build trust through Customer case studies that demonstrate ROI, clear warranty and support policies, as well as white papers and articles. Consider working with an industry analyst or respected media partner to sponsor a white paper or research. You can also sponsor a webinar hosted by a trusted third party.

Develop quick-hitting content that is easily consumed.

Sometimes your younger audience wants to dig deep with a 3,000-word white paper. But often, they prefer nuggets of valuable content. This can include a few charts and graphs showing industry trends or product performance, or A two-minute video that explains a technical process or how your product works. You can usually parse longer content such as white papers and webinars into smaller, discrete chunks that can easily be consumed and shared.

Update your website regularly.

Engineers of any age want the latest information, whether it comes from their news feeds or your website. Make sure the content on your site is fresh and reflects your most recent positioning and product portfolio. Purge the old and outdated. If you work with media partners to publish an online catalog or gain industry exposure, make sure your catalog, featured products and banner ads represent and highlight your newest offerings.

Optimize for mobile devices.

While engineers still do the majority of their heavy-lifting work on desktop computers, their mobile usage is increasing. This is especially true for younger engineers, who use their phones for reading email and articles, and conducting product searches. Websites and email should adhere to responsive design standards, so that they can easily be scanned, read and searched on mobile devices. Make sure that media partners and other vendors you work with are mobile friendly and follow best practices for displaying websites on mobile devices. It’s frustrating to users when they have trouble viewing content on their mobile devices. Younger technical professionals might quickly turn elsewhere.

What do you think? Have you struggled to connect with the next generation, or do you already have a strategy in place?

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy Marketing, General Thought Leadership

Should Marketing Take a Summer Vacation?

 If you’re marketing sunglasses, beer, or barbecue grills, this question is a no-brainer. But if you work in the industrial sector and your prospects are engineers and technical professionals, you might pause. Are your customers on vacation? If they’re in the office, are they too distracted to pay attention to your email, read your whitepaper, or register for your webinar?

In reality, summer is not the time to take a break from marketing. In fact, this is the perfect time to push aside competitors who mistakenly scale back marketing efforts during summer. Here are five reasons why marketing is for all seasons:

 

1. Numbers support continued marketing. Even though we know it’s not reasonable, let’s assume for argument’s sake that every technical professional takes a vacation in summer. Summer lasts for approximately 13 weeks. That averages out to less than 8% of engineers being on vacation in any given week (if everyone takes a summer vacation, and not everyone does). So you might ask: Can you afford to spend on marketing programs when 8% of your prospects might not get your message during the week it arrives? A better question is this: Can you afford not to market when 92% of your target audience is working and likely to receive your message? By the way, your marketers will miss 100% of the messages you don’t send.

2. The pressure on engineers doesn’t let up. Engineers are working on an average of five projects at any given time, according to buy cycle research from IEEE Engineering360. The work pressure on technical professionals doesn’t ease up just because summer has arrived, which means your customers are still searching for products, components and suppliers. Engineers are still busy seeking information and knowledge, preparing to wrap up their projects in Q4 and looking ahead to their plans for next year. It’s a good time for you to connect with your audience.

3. Frequency, Consistency. Because you’ve been regularly marketing to engineers all winter and spring—building brand awareness, cultivating relationships, generating engagement opportunities, filling the pipeline—if you stop or slow down in the summer months, you’ll feel the negative impact later in your customers’ buy cycle. They can and will forget about your company, products and services if you stop keeping in touch.

4. End of year planning. For many companies, summer is the season when they plan a push to finish the year strong. They might start new projects or pounce on short-term opportunities. If you’re in front of customers and prospects now, they’re more likely to remember that you can solve a problem they’re struggling with, increasing the chances they’ll include an investment in your products and services. In fact, summer is a good time to remind them to do just that.

5. Always connected. Sure, we all take vacations, but we also all have our jobs to do. For better or worse, more and more technical professionals are staying connected to work during vacation to keep projects moving along. Many of them might take along a work version of summer reading to stay up-to-date on recent news, industry trends, hot new technologies and other information they seek, but may not have time to interact with when in the office. This is a good time to send out valuable content, such as a key white paper or important article, maybe even labeled “Summer Reading.”

Before you head out on your summer vacation, let us know – what’s your summer marketing push?

Marketing Strategy

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