OK…there are a few more than one, but in my mind, there is one key element of success when it comes to small & mid-size industrials attempting to leverage the web for branding, lead generation, etc. In other words, industrial content marketing.
The one universal truth is this:
If the leader is not FULLY on board with content marketing, it is doomed.
Sorry to be so dystopian (the opposite of utopia).
However, if the leader fully understands the full implications of industrial content marketing there can be shades of utopia in his future.
I speak from, up-close & personal, experience in the mid-size industrial marketing. I guess my 10,000 hours of dedication to the craft of industrial content marketing makes me an expert, according to bestselling author, Malcolm Gladwell.
Most owners of mid-size industrials understand there needs to be a change in the way they go to market. The web is literally “eating their lunch” as buyers use the web to source just about everything.
If the leader’s branded sales materials are not there to greet a new, demanding, web-enabled buyer, then his company lost any hope of expanding his prospect and customer base for the purpose of lead generation and top-of-mind awareness…via his largest pool for prospects…the web.
So, the leader needs to embrace the change and as Jack Welch (former CEO of GE) says, “Change before you have to”. And from Peter Drucker, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence (the web has clearly created turbulence) is not the turbulence…it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
So, how does a business keep up with with all the web turbulence?
As I said, it all starts with leader’s attitude about growth.
If the leader is committed to growth and understands the turbulence the web has created in his channels to market, then his formerly detached attitude concerning the web will be displaced by an unbounding love of the opportunities the web has created for his company and employees.
NOW…he is ready to lead an industrial content marketing initiative.
Along with his changing attitude about the web and change, comes four other KEY elements a leader must understand for online success.
Understanding your corporate brand…your online foundation
First, if you are an industrial supplier and your brand mentions something like “best service”, “expert service”, “finest products”, “we represent premier brands”, etc… you are following…not leading. If these examples are similar to your brand message…in today’s world of search, social, mobile & AI, you may be dressed for the big game, but not competitive.
I am not even going to attempt a long discussion about industrial branding. It is a broad and deep subject and has as many facets as branding practitioners. However, I will voice my opinion. You need a brand message that tells a story…a story that connects with your buyers and bypasses the typical pablum about “best service”, “best price”, etc.
Your brand needs to connect in a more human way.
If you have decided to join the ranks of early adapters for industrial content marketing, start with your brand first.
Typically, I suggest my customers talk to Greg Miller at Maxwell and Miller agency in Kalamazoo. If you want, you can start with a publication we collaborated on, A Branding Road Map for Industrial Marketers. This e-book will give you a flavor of the best way to create a fresh brand for our industrial company. If nothing else, it helps get the creative juices going so that you can look at your company from a fresh perspective. A more human perspective, that connects beyond the typical price/service/quality ad copy.
Find a trusted marketing partner
I have often said that in the age of search, social, mobile & AI it is difficult for a mid-size industrial to afford a quality web marketing effort.
If the leader has bought into the industrial content marketing concept, typically there are two conventional roads to follow…neither expressways to success.
- Hire additional market personnel
- Hire an outside agency to specializes in industrial content marketing
The first alternative typically does not work because the industrial owner/manager does not even know the right questions to ask a potential marketing hire. Because this discipline is so new the employer is thinking old marketing versus new media marketing. These are two difference disciplines. I have seen on multiple occasions…the new hire does not last 6 months. Primarily because the employer did not know what to look for.
If you are going to hire a marketing specialist to guide your new marketing effort, then hire a more experienced marketing person who comes from a traditional marketing background, yet has adapted well to new media marketing. Typically this individual comes with a bigger price tag.
Then, I also see industrial owners hire the kids with marketing degrees and they don’t really understand the human aspects of marketing & industrial sales. They know the high-tech stuff, but not the high-touch, human stuff.
There are a hand full of agencies that are experienced in the industrial content marketing. They tend to be very expensive and even if your budget can afford that approach, it is difficult to budget and maintain a sustainable content marketing effort…which is required for online success.
With a shameless plug, I suggest hiring an independent marketing guru (I just happen to know one) that can align your company with the necessary contractors to get the job done. See…to compete in today’s online world you need to have a branding expert, a web developer, a graphics specialist, a SEO specialist, a data analyst, a social media expert and a great technical writer.
The typical mid-size industrial company simply cannot afford all these skills sets. So, it makes sense to have an “Executive Producer” that hires top talent on an as-needed basis. This is just about the only way a small or mid-size company can compete…in a quality way…online.
Get involved with an online marketing automation platform
Online success requires you deploy tons of marketing assets and track all of it…much in the same way your accounting or ERP software manages and tracks your physical & financial assets. I have written previously about this subject and believe, more than ever, online success requires a great marketing automation platform.
Get Your Sales Group Involved
This a very broad & deep subject as well. Do your best to understand the relationship between your fresh marketing efforts and your more traditional sales efforts. Make sure your sales team is involved and they know you have their best interest at heart.
It is critical.
Rather, than writing at length on this subject, I suggest you read a nine-minute blog post from HubSpot titled, How to Integrate Sales Development with Inbound Marketing to Multiply SQLs. HubSpot is not only the leader in mid-size marketing automation software, but they are also leaders in the relationship between marketing and sales. Base on HubSpot’s financial success they know this subject as well as anyone.
Below is an example of a client that has successfully outmaneuvered larger, national competitors in terms of visibility on the web. The owner is fully engaged and understands each key element of success outlined above. His great content and improved positions on the search engines has translated into improved top-of-mind awareness, lead generation and even improved hires for my client.
This graph is from SEMrush, a leading tool for digital marketers. This graph clearly demonstrates the superior position of my client (in Green circle) for multiple keywords related to their industry. Two of the domains in this graph are two of the largest companies in my client’s industry and the purple domain is the leading non-profit organization for this industry…a site visited by thousands of practitioners in the industry for updates, specifications, certifications, guidelines, etc.
We are currently working with this client to dramatically improve their search positions using a concept called topic cluster or pillar pages.
Once we launch the pillar pages on my client’s site, I fully expect this graph to show even greater distance between my client and competitors.
I will follow up and show you the results in another post in a couple months…sort of a before & after
Are you a leader?
For more info on what The Repp Group can do for your industrial marketing & lead generation…CLICK BELOW