How to Match Content to Stages of the Buy Cycle

Through research and direct experience, we’ve learned a lot about the engineering buy cycle. According to the IEEE GlobalSpecIndustrial Buy Cycle Study,” a buy cycle averages 12 weeks in length, is continuously beginning anew, and consists broadly of three stages: Research & Analysis, Comparison & Evaluation, and Purchase.

Here’s what else we know:
• Supplier websites, general search engines, online catalogs and colleagues are among the most popular sources of information during all stages of the buy cycle. But in reality, there is no single “go-to” resource preferred by industrial professionals at any stage of the buy cycle, which reinforces the importance of having a multi-channel marketing strategy to connect with potential customers.

• Engineers prefer to search independently for products and services, and make contact with a supplier only later in their buy cycle. This illustrates the importance of providing high-quality, educational, and easily accessible content to your audience so that you are not passed by.

• Purchasing is a collaborative effort, with influence from engineers, management, operations, purchasing and more. As a result, industrial marketers need to have a consistent overall message to market, but they also need to ensure that they are communicating with these different personas, addressing their key concerns and making a connection.

• When evaluating a potential purchase, an engineering team will typically get quotes from three different suppliers. The challenge for suppliers is to make the final three, and to be the supplier chosen. Most of them are using content marketing to attract prospects and move them toward purchase, but not everyone is matching content to the different stages of the engineering buy cycle.
It’s not only important that you reach engineers and provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision – you need to tailor what you provide them to where they are in the buy cycle. Here’s how:

Research & Analysis
Blogs, newsletters and articles help engineers keep up on trends and technologies, and become aware of innovative companies and new products. They learn possible approaches to solving problems and may even discover needs they didn’t know they had.

This is a good stage for offering thought leadership content that showcases your unique approach to solving problems or that distinguishes your company in the market. Webinars, white papers and articles are also good content marketing options.

Comparison & Evaluation
Powerful and persuasive content to provide for this stage includes easy-to-read specifications, data sheets and infographics; “how-to” tutorials or videos that show products in use; and customer success stories or testimonials.
Comparison & Evaluation is also the stage at which engineers are most likely to contact a supplier’s sales team or technical staff. At this point your customers likely have some knowledge of your company and a potential purchase in mind. Make sure your team has the content they need to answer questions from customers.

It’s time to make a decision. It could go several ways. If you’re ready with the right content, it’s more likely to go your way. At this stage, you’re more likely to see financial and procurement professionals also be involved.

A customer obviously wants to know about pricing, but also terms of the purchase. Are you selling an annually renewable license or contract? Are any product upgrades included? What is the warranty? What is the technical support? In addition to providing this content, you can gain an advantage if you can offer an ROI calculator or other tool to help customers understand the financial impact of their decision.

Provide the information and the resources that engineers require—at the time they need it—to drive preference for your brand and create loyalty for your products. For a deeper understanding of this topic, download the complimentary white paper “The Industrial Buy Cycle Study” from IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.


Buy Cycle

Five Essential Thought Leadership Guidelines


Establishing your company as a thought leader provides benefits beyond what a marketing or advertising program can deliver on its own. As a thought leader, your company will gain credibility in the market and become a trusted adviser and partner. Potential customers will gravitate toward your products and services. Journalists will seek you out for quotes. Analysts will call you for your expert opinion. Industry websites will link to you. 

Thought leadership requires a substantial portfolio of content to support your leadership position, and therefore thought leadership is realized through content marketing efforts.

Follow these five guidelines to give your company an opportunity to earn a successful thought leadership position in your market.

1. Develop a point of view

What is happening in the market today and why? What is the best approach to overcoming challenges? What changes or advancements can we expect over the next 3-5 years? Answers to these questions represent your possible points of view.
Another way to approach point of view is to think of a Venn diagram. One circle represents what your audience cares about. The other circle represents your unique expertise. The overlapping area—where you have knowledge and expertise that your audience cares about— is likely to inform your point of view.
Your point of view needs to be original, but nothing too extreme. It must be respected and you must back it up.

2. Follow the thought leadership hierarchy
The hierarchy of thought leadership marketing looks something like this: Point of view>Themes> Stories. You embrace only one point of view, but may use a number of themes that reflect it.

For example, if your point of view is that your market is moving toward deeper collaboration between suppliers and customers, the supporting themes might be trust, transparency, and technology sharing. Each theme should represent an area of value you bring to your audience.

Stories are the content you create to support your point of view and themes: the white papers, articles, webinars, videos and more that you distribute to your audience.

3. Choose a thought leader
An individual or a company can be a thought leader. Furthermore, any company can become a thought leader; you don’t need to be big.

If there’s an executive who has the passion and the ability to articulate your thought leadership point of view, have them become your spokesperson. Conversely, you can position your entire company as a thought leader by instilling your point of view and themes in all of your content and messaging.

4. Focus on your audience
Recently, a contributor to the Marketing Maven participated in a webinar hosted jointly by two companies partnering in a thought leadership initiative to help customers solve problems. However, fifteen minutes into the webinar, they were still talking about themselves, with each company getting time for introductions and for sharing their successful histories.

What came after in the webinar remains unknown, since the Maven contributor dropped off. The mistake these companies made? The webinar was about them, not their audience. Always spark interest and relevancy from the beginning by diving into what the audience cares about.

This is an important guideline to follow when developing thought leadership content: make it first and foremost about your audience. That alone demonstrates real leadership.

5. Be patient
Positioning your company as a thought leader requires a long-term commitment. Unlike marketing campaigns that often have an established beginning and end, thought leadership is an ongoing process. It takes time for the word to spread and your reputation to grow.

However, the results of your thought leadership strategy can and should be regularly measured—especially your online efforts, which easily lend themselves to measurement.

You can track whitepaper downloads, web page visit, video views, and webinar engagement, blog post comments, social media mentions, and more. You can use tools such as Google Alerts to notify you when online media mentions your company.

By tracking the results of your efforts, you will discover what type of thought leadership content your audience finds most relevant. What is downloaded the most? What gets clicked on most often? You can use this data to help guide future content creation and media choices.

Thought Leadership

Why You Should Take Time for a Mid-Year Marketing Checkup

Believe it or not, you’ve been executing your 2017 marketing plan for six months. How’s it going? Whether you’re floundering or charging full steam ahead, we recommend you perform a mid-year marketing checkup.

A mid-year checkup will help you take steps to keep your marketing plan healthy and on course. You’ll discover what’s working, what’s not, and what you can do to improve results (there’s always opportunity for improvement). This post offers you several ways to approach the checkup and how to take action based on what you find.

Analyze Quantitative Data

If measurable marketing objectives are part of your plan, you can compare a snapshot of current marketing data against those benchmarks. Gather up reports from your online media partners, social platforms, and web analytics programs, as well as your in house reporting tools. Take a good look at your click-through rates on e-newsletter ads, attendees and engagement opportunities from webinars, video views and time spent viewing videos, and white paper downloads.

Are you halfway to your goals? Are there any surprises—pleasant or unpleasant?

A challenge arises if you didn’t set up measurable goals at the beginning of the year, are using programs that are difficult to measure, or established only general objectives such as “increase brand awareness in our target markets” or “generate leads for sales” or “increase customer satisfaction.”

If this is your situation, take time now to determine what metrics are important, re-allocate resources to measurable programs, and commit to tracking performance for the remainder of the year.

Collect Qualitative Data

Talk to sales people about their volume and quality of engagement opportunities. Ask if they have any feedback on your marketing programs. Ask if any of their customers have said anything (positive or negative) about your company’s marketing presence or messaging.

Speak to customer service managers to find out what customers are saying. Ask your company’s executives what they’re hearing in the market. Perhaps the best strategy would be talking to a few customers or prospects and asking them what they find engaging about your market presence.

If you work with partners or distributors, make sure you check in with them. Are they aware of your marketing programs? Have they noticed anything about your company’s presence in the market?

Look for common themes in the anecdotal information you compile. What story does it tell? Between quantitative data and qualitative data, you’ll have a great understanding of how marketing is performing.

Look ahead

If you’re halfway to or ahead of year-end goals, you deserve congratulations. But if the metrics and anecdotal evidence show that your marketing is not as healthy as it needs to be, now is the time to make adjustments. If your business is dependent on the seasons or if the fourth quarter is always your biggest, you should account for those variations before drawing conclusions and jumping to make changes.

When deciding where to make changes for the second half of the year, follow these tips:

• Take resources from programs that aren’t working or whose performance you can’t measure, and put them into measurable programs that are more specifically aligned with your goals.

• Add more resource to programs that are working well. Keep in mind that at some point a program could be “saturated” and you’ll experience diminishing returns.

• Diversify your marketing spending across a greater variety of programs—as long as each one can laser target your audience and the programs work together as a cohesive whole.

• Share your results with your media partners and/or your marketing agency to get their recommendations.

• Change your marketing goals. This isn’t the cover-up it might sound like. If your industry or the economic climate has changed, or if something occurs beyond your control (budget reduction, acquisition, elimination of product line), you may need to change your plans for the second half of the year.

• Pick one or two new or revised objectives you want to achieve over the rest of the year, determine the measurements of success, and adjust your marketing resources to achieve them.

Most of all, stay optimistic, make decisions based on data whenever possible, work hard, and keep marketing. You’re halfway there.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI Marketing, General

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

Eight Ways to Transform Your Technical Content

For some engineers, component specifications and technical details are all they need to make a buying decision. But as purchases become more complex and the risk associated with making the wrong decision increases, a greater number of decision makers, recommenders and influencers get involved. Technical content on its own is no longer enough to sway buyers. You have to articulate benefits and demonstrate value.

Here are five ways you can build the bridge from technical content to business value in your marketing:

1. Group features under benefit headings —Take all the key features of your products and map them to a core set of benefits. For example, “Increased safety” or “lower cost of ownership” might be benefits associated with your products. Which features prove those benefits out? You can create headings that announce and describe the benefit and/or value and then list the features that support the benefit claim.

2. Discuss benefits one step at a time —A staple of industrial marketing content is the step-by-step tutorial that demonstrates how to use a product or explains a highly-technical process. You might find that each step along the way has associated benefits. Why not mention it with each step as a way to reinforce your value-propositions?

3. Answer the question: So what? — If you’re only talking about the marvelous technology that goes into your products, busy skeptics will wonder “So what?” Your product’s benefits and value will help you answer.

4. Spin a story —Every good story has a hero—why not make it your customer? The hero faces a problem which is costing money and time, and you step in with the solution to save the day. Corny? Not really. Customer testimonials and case studies are sought after by prospects and highly effective in helping make technical concepts relatable and win business.

5. Use visuals —Use charts, graphs and infographics to display quantitative data, explain technical ideas and support your marketing claims. These types of visuals can be quickly understood by your audience and make great additions to white papers, web pages and marketing collateral.

6. Make it move and talk —Video is an important medium for educating your customers and prospects, and many busy engineers and executives prefer to watch a short video over reading text. Video is ideal for showing a technical product in action, animating complex processes or ideas, or showing customer testimonials.

7. Choose a classic pattern of development —When writing white papers or technical articles, choose a pattern of content development that is proven to work for making technical content easier to understand. Step-by-step is one example, as mentioned above. The problem-and-solution approach works well for case studies. Cause-and-effect can help persuade readers, for example, why using old products or technology can be detrimental, or to help readers understand the effect of increased water flow on pump performance. In this case you are describing a situation that has a cause (increased water flow) and an effect (pump performance).

8. Create content for three types of buyers —Some industrial marketers create content only for the technical buyer—the engineer whose primary focus is whether a product meets their specification requirements. There are two other types of buyers: the analytical buyer and the economic buyer. Analytical buyers want to know they will be able to solve a problem using your products or technology. Economic buyers want to know the financial impact in terms of return on investment. Be sure to create marketing messages and content that speaks to all three types of buyers.

Content Marketing

How to Take Advantage of Mobile Trends in the Industrial Sector

While engineers still do the majority of their heavy-lifting work on desktop computers, their mobile usage is increasing, especially for reading emails and articles, and conducting product searches. This trend has real implications for industrial marketers, who must build and maintain a persistent digital presence.

According to the “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector” survey by IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions, engineers are using their mobile devices more often to search products, read news article, access work-related email, view supplier websites, and read e-newsletters. Smartphones are used more often than tablets for all work-related purposes.

Here are some tips you can follow to make sure that customers interacting with you on mobile get what they’re looking for.

Use a responsive design for your website and email.
A responsive design allows a website to be more easily viewed on smartphones and other mobile devices. According to Gorilla Group, 50% of all B2B companies have implemented a responsive design for their websites. That was almost double the percentage of sites with a responsive design in 2015 (26%). That trend will likely continue in 2017.

Research from Google shows that 57 percent of people say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed site. Forty percent have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.

If your business doesn’t have the time or resources for a website redesign, you can still make progress in the mobile arena. Seek out professionals to create campaign landing pages that are responsive in design, or choose a few key pages on your site that you can convert to responsive design. Work incrementally until it’s time for your next website overhaul.

The same holds true for making email responsive. If you are working with an email service provider, they probably offer responsive design email templates. Take advantage of them. Users are much more likely to delete an email that does not look good on their mobile device—and a lot more email is being read on mobile devices these days.

Create mobile-friendly content
Your marketing content should make an instant splash and be quickly understood by your audience. This is especially true on mobile devices where the screen real estate is so small.

Use strong headlines, scalable images and clear text. PDF content is notoriously difficult to read on mobile devices. Consider creating HTML versions of PDFs.
Videos tend to be mobile friendly and are popular with an engineering audience. Put them near the top of pages and emails so they are noticed right away on mobile devices.

Add click-to-call and click-to-chat features
What could be more user friendly than having a convenient click-to-call button on your website? It’s a great feature that allows you to take full advantage of the device in your customer’s hand at a specific moment in time. Click-to-chat is also an effective feature for mobile device users.

Take advantage of text marketing
While it’s not always easy getting customers and prospects to hand over their mobile numbers (think of using incentives and other value-added offers), marketing via text can be extremely effective.

According to SlickText, 99 percent of text messages are opened, and the average text marketing click-through rate is 36 percent, compared to 6-7 percent for email. You can do many of the same things through text as you can through email, as long as you keep your message short. Offer white papers, videos and other content that your audience is interested in.

If you want to improve your mobile marketing game, start by having a discussion with your media partners. Ask them in what ways they can help your marketing become more mobile friendly and help you take advantage of your audience’s growing use of mobile devices.

Mobile Marketing Web Sites – Design & Usability

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

Are You Generating the Right Kind of Leads?

For most marketers, generating leads is their number one priority. Without leads, there won’t be many sales, and without sales . . . well, you know what happens next.

However, it’s not enough to simply produce an impressive volume of leads and toss them over to your sales team. Any seasoned salesperson will tell you that quality is preferable to quantity. Moreover, if marketing efforts focus solely on quantity rather than quality, fewer opportunities will convert, sales people will distrust these opportunities, and your marketing team may lose credibility in your organization.

Is your company generating the right kind of leads, or just a bucketful of the wrong kind? Here are some tips on how to weed through them to see which are right for your organization.

Attributes that signal lead quality
Timeliness: Engagement opportunities that arrive in real time, as they are generated from marketing programs, are more likely to convert to a sale than those that are weeks or even days old. Therefore, your actions play a role in determining the quality of a lead. If you don’t respond to inquiries quickly, potential buyers will move to find other vendors who are responsive to their needs.

Lead source: Leads from general search engines or unknown sources are unlikely to be as valuable as a lead from a website or publication that is directly targeted to your audience and industry. Leads from targeted sources have already met some qualification criteria as soon as they are generated.

Details: The more detail you can capture from a prospect, the more quickly you can determine if you have the right kind of lead. That doesn’t mean you should present prospects with long, cumbersome forms to fill out. Instead, capture just enough information to know whether continued dialog is worthwhile.

Buyer profiles: If a prospect shares attributes—such as similar titles, company sizes, industries, and specified needs— with some of your best or most recent customers, you likely have the right kind of lead on your hands, and your products and services are probably a good fit.

Social Engagement: You should be regularly monitoring your brands for mentions on social media. Jump on any opportunities by responding to those mentions and trying to cultivate new relationships. You may end up with a good lead, or, if the mention was negative, you may have an opportunity to repair any brand damage.

Tell us – what are your tried and true markers for a quality lead? How do you generate these leads?

Demand Generation Lead Management Marketing, General

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

Quick Tips to Integrate Your Print and Digital Advertising

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital Media Market Research