Nine Ways to Stretch Your Marketing Dollars

Ask almost any industrial marketer and they will tell you there are never enough marketing resources. According to the research report, “2019 Trends in Industrial Marketing,” the leading marketing challenge is a lack of marketing resources—in terms of dollars, people and time. It was reported as a top three challenge by 37 percent of marketers, and as the single biggest challenge by 21 percent.

Further constraining resources, headcounts, and budgets are staying steady for the majority of industrial companies. Only 25 percent of companies are adding marketing people; just 31 percent are spending more on marketing.

Bemoaning the lack of resources doesn’t help, and subpar marketing performance because of a shortfall of marketing dollars simply isn’t acceptable. It’s up to marketers to find ways to stretch their budget and meet their marketing goals. Here’s what you can do:

1. Always Be Aligned

Your marketing programs should be perfectly aligned with your goals. This is the simplest way to make sure you are making the most efficient use of your resources. Before you invest in any program, always ask the question: Is this the best program for achieving our marketing goals? If not, don’t spend on it.

2. Repurpose Content

Content creation can be a resource drain. Look for efficiencies when creating marketing content. Make it a priority to create content that can be easily adapted for use across multiple channels, in multiple formats, and among different audiences. This offers the additional advantage of delivering a consistent message. Other content hacks include using templates to save on design costs, creating PDFs rather than printed pieces, and recruiting internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to help write technical content.

3. Use Marketing Automation Software

There is a good selection of low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market that can help you increase efficiency and save money. With marketing automation, you can easily segment lists, streamline lead nurturing, quickly access detailed reports and much more. A small investment can pay significant dividends.

4. Be Smart About Search Marketing

Optimize the pages on your website to rise in search results rankings for specific keywords that are important to your business. Keeping content fresh and current will also help. For paid search, focus on narrow search terms that will deliver more qualified traffic to your site. Don’t waste money on expensive keywords that everyone else is bidding on.

5. Focus Your Social Media Efforts

You don’t need to create and maintain profiles on every social media platform. It’s a waste of time and money, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to keep up or attract the attention you’re looking for. Instead, choose the social media channels that work best for you and that engineers are more likely to use. LinkedIn and Facebook are the two most popular channels for engineers. They’re great places to promote that reusable content you’ve been creating.

6. Don’t Purchase Email Lists

Purchased lists are a bad idea. They historically and dramatically under perform a clean in-house list. Plus, are you sure every name on that purchased list is verified as opt-in? Purchased email addresses are expensive and if you’re not careful you can run afoul of data privacy and protection laws.

A better idea is to advertise in a respected industrial email newsletter that you know is opt-in and is targeted to the audience you want to reach. Plus, your media partner will handle all list management functions, helping you to preserve your resources for other projects.

7. Cut Back on Travel

Industrial marketers still find tradeshows an effective marketing channel. But if you exhibit or attend multiple shows every year, the expenses pile up. Can you free up resources by going to one less show this year? If not, can you opt for a more modest presence? Can you negotiate a better sponsorship deal if you also host an educational session of interest to attendees?

8. Conduct Joint Marketing Programs

Work with a partner that offers complementary products and services to a similar target audience as yours. With two companies sharing the costs of a marketing program, your dollars can go a lot further. It’s also a good way to gain access to a potential new customer base.

9. Find a Trusted Media Partner

One way to help alleviate the lack of resources is to find a trusted, expert media partner who can help you optimize your mix and get the most out of your budget, while allowing you to free up some internal resources for other efforts. The right media partner will help you more efficiently reach your target audience and will be nimble enough to help you tweak programs along the way for better performance.

E-Mail Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy

Six Tips to Make the Most of Your Summer Marketing

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Some industrial marketers believe they should scale back on marketing during the summer. They assume that many of their customers and prospects on vacation, and that dollars are wasted trying to connect with an audience that isn’t paying attention.

While many of your customers probably wish they could take a hiatus, in reality, engineers and technical professionals are still working during the summer months. Even if 10 percent of them are out of the office at any given time, that leaves 90 percent still searching for products and services, still researching and gaining exposure to your brand—that is, if you’re still marketing. If you’ve scaled back, your customers might see your competitor who has jumped in to fill the void.

Marketing is an imperative in every season. But summertime does present an opportunity to make some adjustments. Offices do tend to be a little quieter. Not everything you have on your to-do list is fire-drill urgent. So here are six summertime marketing tips, three for connecting with customers and three for your internal marketing operations.

Curate a Summer Reading List for Customers

Plenty of engineers and industrial professionals put aside time during summer months to research favorite ideas, new projects, innovative technologies, and potential suppliers. You could prepare and send them a package of your best content, both original and curated: articles, white papers, interviews, case studies and more.

You could even call such a package “Summer Reading.” Let them know in your introductory letter how easy and useful it would be to pack this folder with them if they take a summer trip. How about including a gift card for a cup of coffee?

Create a Podcast for Car Drives

Podcasts aren’t the most popular marketing channel in the industrial sector, but what a nice touch to have a downloadable podcast your customers could listen to on car rides or during flights. Try an interview with an industry expert on a popular topic. Ask a customer to narrate their case study story. This will take some planning, and you’ll need to write a script, but a ten-minute “news” segment can make for an interesting summer listening experience for your audience. This would be particularly doable if you have existing content that you could repurpose into an audio format.

Host a Subject Matter Expert

Summer is a good time to recruit your subject matter experts to host an online Q&A. Customers and prospects find great satisfaction when interacting with the technical and engineering minds behind your products. Everyone can learn from each other. Live “coffee and breakfast” chats can fill early morning hours. You can also archive the chat for later access, and just like that, you’re creating and repurposing valuable content.

Conduct a Content Audit

Content is the fuel that runs your marketing engine. You can’t afford to run out of or use inferior quality content. And yet, keeping content updated is often one of those important tasks that tends to slip down the list.

Summer is a good time to conduct an audit of marketing content. What do you have in your library? What’s popular and what’s not? What needs to be updated? What holes need to be filled? Don’t forget to include your web pages in the audit.

Once you’ve determined what content you need to produce or update to support your marketing efforts, you should prioritize and combine the tasks, then start recruiting internal and/or external resources to get the job done. Do this now and your fourth quarter marketing will run much smoother.

Analyze Six Months of Marketing Performance

You’ve got half a year of marketing in the books. How well are you doing? Summer is a good time to analyze the performance of all your marketing programs. Pull reports, compare channels, calculate ROI where you can. Work with your media partners to analyze how well you are meeting your goals.

Summer is often the time when budgets get adjusted for the second half of the year, hopefully up, possibly down. Armed with the insight as to how well your programs are doing, and with a second half budget established, you can make adjustments to channels and programs, moving dollars away from underperforming channels and into those that show more promise.

Research New Technologies and Channels

Maybe you’ve been putting off doing some of your own professional homework. Are there marketing channels you’ve heard about or other companies are using that you’re not familiar or comfortable with yet? Now is the time to research further. Media partners can help you here as well.

 

Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

When to Pull the Plug on a Marketing Campaign

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Almost every marketer has experienced the distress of a lackluster marketing campaign. You might get all the fundamentals right—target audience, relevant message, appropriate channel, strong creative, and lead capture—yet the results you expected still aren’t there.

It happens. Despite all the data available on which to base decisions, marketing remains an inexact science. External events and even luck play a part in marketing performance.

If you’re faced with a program that’s not meeting expectations, you might be tempted to cancel the campaign and cut your losses. On the other hand, you might hang in there and hope performance improves. A third option is to make changes to the program midstream and see if that helps.

Which decision is right for your situation?

Continue the campaign

In some ways, this is the easiest decision, because you don’t have to do anything except wait and see what happens. But it’s also difficult to simply hope things get better, especially when you’re reporting on your metrics to other colleagues. It’s natural to want to intervene.

Here are reasons to keep the campaign running in its current form:

  • Your campaign fundamentals are solid and you need to be patient.
  • If you’ve gotten positive results but not to the point you’ve hoped, it could be your expectations and not your campaign that needs adjustment.
  • The campaign has pulled in a new or unexpected type of customer and you’d like to get more of these.
  • An external event has caused a temporary disruption to your marketing flow. This could be anything from big industry news to a national crisis to a major storm.
  • The campaign is entirely new for you and you haven’t been able to accurately estimate the time it takes to see results.

Continue the campaign with changes

This is the most tempting option. If something is broken or not working properly, you want to fix it. Can you do it? Here’s why you should:

  • Some components of the campaign are performing well, while others lag. For example, you might be doing a great job driving prospects to a landing page, but they’re not completing a conversion form. You could tweak the landing page or simplify the form. Another example: Prospects are clicking to watch your video, but dropping off. You might need to edit the video to make it more compelling.
  • You’ve discovered a mistake in the campaign. You’ve used the wrong image, there’s a typo, the offer is misstated, a landing page url has changed, etc. In this case, you make the necessary repairs, keep going, and hope that does the trick.
  • You’ve had feedback from customers or salespeople that something is off about your messaging or channel approach. If this is the case, you could make suggested changes and keep the campaign running.

Cancel the campaign

Pulling the plug on a marketing campaign that isn’t working is a tough decision. You’ve already invested time and money. You hate to think you made a mistake. But sometimes, canceling a campaign is the best choice. Here’s when:

  • You’re far enough into the campaign to know that no matter how much performance improves it won’t cover your costs.
  • A change has created conditions in which your campaign is no longer viable. It could be a strategy change at your company such as the discontinuation of a product line. Or it could be a change in the market, such as a new technology or product that makes your campaign obsolete.
  • You have a better marketing opportunity and decide to take resources off of an underperforming campaign and devote them to another.

If there does comes a time when you must pull the plug on a campaign, think of it as a learning opportunity rather than as a failure. It happens to every marketer, sooner or later. Apply what you’ve learned, and do better next time.

 

 

Marketing Strategy

Can Influencer Marketing Work in the Industrial Sector?

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Influencer marketing is a huge topic in current consumer marketing. Influencer marketing uses advocates, spokespeople and content creators to drive conversations and engagement around a brand or products. These “third-party” voices add authenticity to brand messages and help companies reach and persuade an extended audience.

In the consumer space, you can recruit and utilize many influencers, from everyday consumers to celebrities who talk about your products, most often on social media. Think Instagram posts, Snapchats, blogs or Tweets that show photos of products being used or endorsed.

However, content spread through social media influencers doesn’t easily translate to the industrial space. Social media platforms are not the primary way engineers and other technical professionals discover products and services or advance through their buying process.

The industrial audience uses search tools, email, product directories, supplier websites and other “traditional” digital media for their product research. So, can influencer marketing work for industrial companies?

You might already be doing it

While influencer marketing is not a good fit for every industrial company, some companies are finding success with influencer marketing as a tactic. You might already be using it, but not necessarily applying this label.

For example, if you have relationships with industry thought leaders or analysts who talk about your company or products, or if you have a customer who presents at a conference about how they use your products, this constitutes influencer marketing.

The fact is, engineers are apt to listen to third-party influencers, which means influencer marketing can work in the industrial space. But to be successful, you must make a concerted effort to build an influencer marketing initiative, rather than rely on the occasional analyst comment or customer testimonial to spread your word.

Discover who is influential

The first step is to identify potential influencers. These might be bloggers, consultants, authors, engineers, academics—in short, anyone with a respected point of view in your industry and an audience that listens to them.

How do you find and engage this group of people? You might already have some relationships cultivated, but if you want to dig deeper and discover other influencers, what they are saying and who is listening, you can use a number of tools in your search, including:

These tools help identify influential voices and trending content that is relevant to your message and goals. Each tool has its own capabilities and sweet spot, so you’ll want to look at several to see what’s right for you.

Engage with content

If you approach an influencer and are able to establish a relationship, they may want to use your content or they may create their own using your content as source material and reference. One way to build relevant content to pitch to influencers is to focus on topics that influencers care about and that also intersect with your message and mission. Do some rs, ram posts, Snapchats, blogs ogyresearch about the influencer and their relevance to you and your content to help narrow the focus.

Partner with influencers

Engaging influencers with content is one way to jump into influencer marketing. However, unless a formal relationship with an influencer exists, you can’t control when or how they talk about your products or brand.

To gain more control of the narrative align yourself with a select number of influencers by engaging in tactics such as:

  • Inviting an influencer to write a guest post for your blog
  • Co-authoring a white paper with an influencer
  • Jointly hosting a webinar with an influencer
  • Creating a video interview with an influencer

These types of influencer tactics can work in the B2B space the way that Instagram or Snapchat might work in the consumer space.

How much effort should you put in?

While influencer marketing is certainly a valuable marketing tactic, it’s not time to put all your eggs in that basket. Your budget, time, and resources can only spread so far. That means you should focus most of your marketing energy on proven digital programs that have historically delivered results for you. These might include email, e-newsletter advertising, search engine marketing and product directories.

However, it would be wise to identify key influencers in your specific market sector, engage with them, and better understand their points of view and the types of topics they find important. Then you can decide on launching a concerted influencer marketing program.

Even if you only experiment with influencer marketing, by building some of these new relationships, you’ll raise the visibility of your company, brand, and products. Aligning yourself with key influencers in the industry can only lead to positive results.

 

Market Research Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends

Has Your Marketing Reached its Expiration Date?

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Like fresh produce, meat or seafood, marketing programs have an expiration date after which they become stale or spoiled. For instance, ad fatigue can set in among an audience that has seen the same creative over and over.

No marketing campaign is designed to run indefinitely. While the marketing channels you use will likely remain relevant, the creative itself—content, imagery, messaging, calls-to-action—has a much shorter shelf life.

Here are some signs that it’s time to freshen up your marketing:

  • Declining metrics. Results are the most important signal that you need to make a change. If metrics such as click-throughs, page views, conversions, shares, engagement opportunities or other key performance indicators are showing sagging performance, your creative has likely run its course.
  • New offerings. When your company comes out with a new product or service, it’s definitely time to update your creative to promote the latest offerings.
  • New strategy. Companies shift gears all the time. What was important last quarter might be on the back burner this one, with new priorities coming to the forefront. You need to adjust campaigns and creative to reflect these changes.
  • New customer needs. If your product marketing teams identify new customer needs that can be met by your products or services, you’ll want to update your advertising to take advantage of the situation.
  • Timing-sensitive offers. If you’re advertising an event or tradeshow, make sure to swap out creative as soon as the event ends. Similarly, offers with deadlines should be removed as soon as the deadline passes. Poorly timed advertising is not making the best use of your media buys.

How to Freshen Up Your Marketing

Any one of the above signs could indicate the need for you to perform a complete overhaul of your creative and messaging. However, making smaller tweaks to creative or campaigns can often extend the life of your marketing programs and keep them performing well.

  • Update the headline in an advertisement to focus on a different benefit. This is a relatively minor but often highly successful tweak that can add freshness when products offer more than one significant customer benefit. You’ve already reached everyone you can touting the first benefit. Now extend your reach by extolling another benefit.
  • Replace imagery. You don’t want to start messing with your logo or company brand, but if you’re using stock photography or illustration, swap in something new. If you’re using product photos, show the product from a different angle, in a different setting, or in a different image style. Changing typeface and colors is also an easy way to give creative a fresh look and feel.
  • Change the offer. Maybe you’ve had a white paper offer whose performance has trailed off in terms of conversions. That means it’s time for a new content offer, but you may not have to start from scratch. If the white paper is still relevant in its content and messaging, try re-purposing it into a webinar and change your creative to promote it.
  • Advertise in a different e-newsletter. Media partners such as IEEE GlobalSpec offer dozens of targeted e-newsletters. If you’ve been focusing your media buy on only one e-newsletter, experiment with another, closely-related publication that also reaches your target audience. In this case, you might not be changing your creative, but slightly adjusting your media buy.
  • Exhibit at a different event. If you’ve been attending the same tradeshows year after year, look for a new event where your message can resonate and you can connect with your target audience. There might be boutique events that are targeted but very worthwhile. If your tradeshows are your tradeshows no matter what, come up with a new theme to promote when you exhibit.

To get the most out of your media buys, you not only have to choose the right channels to reach your audience, you also have to adjust your creative strategies to keep your message fresh and relevant and to capture your audience’s interest.

Marketing ROI Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

9 Quick Tips for Content Marketing with Limited Resources

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9 Quick Tips for Content Marketing with Limited Resources

A survey of Marketing Maven readers this summer reported that the biggest content marketing challenge industrial marketers are facing is a lack of resources – time, budget, and people. And yet, content marketing is nothing short of a mandate, with prospects demanding a steady stream of relevant content to help them make a purchasing decision.

If limited resources are putting a squeeze on your content marketing efforts, check out these nine helpful tips.

1. Optimize Two of Three Resources

Operating under scarcity is the reality. No one has all the time, budget or staff they need. But you might be able to optimize two out of three resources in your content marketing efforts. Decide what to prioritize based on your most important goals. For instance:

  • If you need content fast and at a cheap price, you’ll have to be ready to sacrifice some of the content quality that only staff hours can provide.
  • If you need high-quality content fast, be prepared to spend more.
  • If you need high quality content but have limited staff available, you’ll have to wait longer as other staff matters take precedence.

2. Be Smart about Outsourcing

Fifty-six percent of marketers don’t outsource any of their content production, but this can be a great way to save resources. Outsource your weak spots. If you don’t have the time, passion or expertise for writing, hire a freelance writer, and then allocate your time to providing direction and editing. Work with freelance designers if your own design team is backed up with other commitments. Outsource any content marketing services that you don’t use on a regular basis, but only when the need arises.

3. Repurpose Content Whenever Possible

Repurposing content from one format to another can help you gain significant efficiencies. It’s important when first developing a piece of content to consider all the ways in which you can repurpose it. Turning an article into a white paper or webinar is easier to do when you consider each format’s requirements at the beginning. Retrofitting is a more resource-intensive way to repurpose.

4. Use Free Social Media

LinkedIn, the most popular social media channel in the industrial sector, offers many opportunities to start and participate in discussions. Adding comments to relevant discussions started by others is a form of content marketing: you can educate and inform your audience under your brand name. Also, be sure to add content to your company’s profile page for greater exposure. Do the same on all your social media profiles.

5. Free Up Underperforming Resources

Take a close look at the performance of your marketing programs. Consider moving budget or people away from initiatives that are underperforming and into content marketing efforts.

6. Be Targeted When Paying for Content Promotion

Many industrial companies pay to have their content promoted, which can be a good strategy. Optimize your budget and efforts by working with media partners who can guarantee that your content will be seen by your target audience across a variety of channels.

7. Start an Internship Program

Colleges are teeming with talented, motivated, and intelligent young people who are digital-savvy. Take on an intern who can help with social media, design, writing and other production and distribution aspects of your content marketing strategy.

8. Use Marketing Automation

If at all possible, take advantage of the low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market today. They will help you keep much better track of content marketing campaigns, schedules, content distribution, and tracking. You will gain efficiencies and possibly save money.

9. Catch Up on Fundamentals

“Content Marketing for Industrial Marketers” provides solid advice on how you can get more from your content marketing efforts. It offers solutions to common content marketing challenges and recommendations on how you can benefit from content marketing. Download this complimentary report today.

Content Marketing Marketing Strategy Marketing, General Polls

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