Show Me the $: Industrial Content Marketing & Your ROI

show me the ROI of industrial content marketingMany times, I get the question, “Can you show me the ROI of improving our digital presence”?

To be frank…probably not.  Sure, larger organizations with tons of capital can afford to have great software and great talent to build a measurable online strategy that will, in the end, render a real ROI figure.

But to be honest, it is not reasonable to expect that kind of culture change and granular metrics from a mid-size industrial company.

It can be done, and I have seen it done. But it is a rare leader that can pull it off.

Given the following three market dynamics, I think a better question is, “What happens to my business if we don’t pursue a more aggressive digital presence…more specifically, industrial content marketing?”  

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Are Your Industrial Eyes Wide Open to Opportunity?

industrial marketing strategy and eyes wide openI am sorry, but I am beating the drum again.

While I was at the company I founded, Market Pipeline, I started to notice alarming trends when Google continued to make changes to their algorithm to improve the search experience. These changes would have profound effects on our customers’ industrial marketing strategies.

First, Google was improving the search experience at a daunting pace.  My industrial friends & buyers were now relying on Google as “gospel” for all things related to industrial…products, services, specifications, technical data, etc.

It was clear to me that if our Market Pipeline customers did not greet their customers with the information their buyers wanted…then, our customers were missing out on their buyers’ with specific intent, (i.e. A great lead). Our customers were also missing a great opportunity for top-of-mind awareness. (i.e. Industrial branding)

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Use the Web to Build Your Industrial Franchise

industry marketing strategy, industrial franchiseYou say, “What’s an industrial franchise?”

Allow me to continue.

Before we continue let’s define “franchise” from Merriam-Webster:

Franchise: “a special privilege granted to an individual or group

Here’s why your industrial company can build “special privilege” or a “franchise” in your industrial niche pumping up your industrial marketing strategy using the web as your branding megaphone .

First, let’s agree your industrial buyers’ behavior has changed dramatically in the last few years. For information about your products or services they will always check Google first.  After all, you checked the web for your next vacation, didn’t you?

If you are like most industrial marketers, your branded sales materials are not there to greet your buyers that have specific intent when searching for your products. They want quality information in a format and time frame of their choosing.

Just this morning I had coffee with a prospective customer and he told me about a particular project they stole from a competitor because their competitor did not have the technical expertise to complete the project to perfection. This prospect’s brand revolves around completing highly technical systems, where many of their competitors do not have the technical expertise.

So, I came back to my office and checked several of the technical keywords phrases associated with the engineered materials and project mentioned above.

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Industrial Marketing Strategy: 10 Concepts to Grow By

Many of you that follow my blog know that I am a big fan of David Meerman Scott. David is a real thought-leader in the age of search, social and mobile. He is also a best-selling author when it comes to marketing, sales and service. David understands the fast changing marketing landscape better than anyone.

(David was kind enough to endorse my recent book, The Essentials of Industrial Marketing,..The Inbound Way)

I am often approached by B2B industrial owners that truly struggle with the web and the effects the digital channel has on their industrial marketing strategy & sales strategy going forward.

They know things have to change, they are just not sure where to begin.

I recently had the President of a 30-million-dollar machine builder tell me, “Tom, I don’t even know the right questions to ask.”

So…when I came across one of the David Meerman’s Scott’s recent blog posts, I thought it was ideal for the CEO strategist trying to wrap his sales & marketing mind around the alien digital channel.

David outlines 10 concepts that ALL industrial owners need to embrace before they develop a new industrial marketing & sales strategy. David’s 10 concepts are a great place to start.

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Is it Time to Give Up On Industrial “Marketing”?

frustrated industrial marketingIt is clear that marketing on the Web is moving the revenue needle for tons of businesses. Call it digital marketing, call it content marketing, call it inbound marketing, call it new media marketing.

Call it whatever…just don’t call it “marketing” to an industrial CEO, President or CFO. To these guys “marketing” is an expense and therefore has little relevance to top-line growth or sales.

In the early days of the web, when I founded Market Pipeline, we could get away with saying “SEO marketing” or “web marketing”. Both a web presence and SEO were seen as necessary.  After all, their competitors were all doing it….so, “What the heck, let’s launch a web site”.

Very little top line growth came from our search engine optimization and web development efforts. Oh yea…occasionally we would get a few “attaboys” because one of our industrial clients did a quote from a previously unknown customer that found them on the web.

Did our SEO or web development efforts really contribute to top-line growth?  Some, but not enough to get CEO’s excited.

Our “marketing” efforts reminded me of a large expense, like a new roof on your home. Lots of expense, but adds no value to the property. So, when an owner of an industrial company turns his nose up at any kind of marketing, especially online marketing, I certainly understand. That is why I started The Repp Group, to render better results.

So…is it time to give up on industrial “marketing” on the web?

Not by a long-shot.

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Industrial Content Marketing: Is it Time to Stop?

should you stop industrial content marketingLet’s keep it brief & refer to the authorities at my ol’ stand by for great marketing information, Search Engine Journal.

I have done several industrial content marketing campaigns and have struggled with every element listed in this blog article from Search Engine Journal; 5 Signs It’s Time to Stop Your Content Marketing Campaign.

Based on my experience in the industrial market, Aaron Agius’s “5 Signs” are dead on.

Bottom line…

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Does Social Media Help Your Industrial Marketing Strategy?

industrial marketing strategy and SEOTom, do I really need to get involved with social media to market on the web? 

I get this question all the time. So, I thought that I would address that thorny subject head-on and also support it with a recent article from the authorities, Search Engine Journal.

The short answer is “Yes”!

As briefly as possible, let me explain by making a basic assumption.

If you are to dominate your online industrial niche, you must be ranked on the first page of Google for your company’ specific keywords…right?

Right.

Of course, we call this search engine optimization or SEO.

Although Google’s algorithm is one of the most closely guarded secrets in the world, SEO authorities keep tabs on what Google’s techies say at conferences and also perform many case studies that give industrial marketing folks some pretty good signals on the importance of social media for the savvy industrial marketer.

The bottom line…

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Be an Industrial Content Marketing Machine & Own Your Niche

Many industrial marketers can relate to using mobile apps to find the best local pizza, or the best Chinese carry-out. You use your smartphone to find a Holiday Inn Express while traveling.

How do the local businesses get noticed on the smartphone?

By becoming an content marketing machine.

The more content they publish, in the right places, the more their businesses get noticed…with revenue that follows.

I could not help but notice this blog post in Search Engine Journal, one of my standbys when it comes to online marketing resources. The title of the blog post is, How to Be a Local Content Machine & Build a Successful Business.

For the industrial marketer that would like to own his industrial niche, I recommend he read this article and substitute “local” with “industrial”.  Then you become an industrial content marketing machine.

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50% of Your Industrial Lead Generation is Worthless

industrial lead generationBased on my experience in industrial marketing, I have found that a great deal of your online industrial lead generation is worthless.

So, when industrial owners or industrial marketers ask me about online marketing, I do my best to manage expectations and let them know that their online marketing efforts are similar to their offline, traditional marketing efforts.

Mr. Owner, how many of your direct mail pieces produce great leads?

How are those cold calls working for your sales group lately?

Did you get a good return on our trade show investment, in terms of lead generation?

I think we all know the answers to those questions, given the industrial buyers’ changing behavior.

I am not sure if it is because most industrial owners are digital immigrants, but they expect their online marketing efforts to render different results than their traditional marketing and lead generation efforts.

I often remind them of John Wanamaker’s famous quote about advertising: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is, I don’t know which half.

So…when I found this marketing research from my fellow marketing friends at Straight North  in Chicago concerning B2B leads, I thought I would pass it along to my readers.

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Increase B2B Lead Generation by 700%-Because No One is Doing It

B2B lead generation-new customersI often talk about the lack of online content for the industrial market & what a terrific opportunity it is for B2B lead generation.

That is, most industrial owners and B2B owners are between 45 and 70 years old and not up to speed with the digital channel.  Many industrial owners and marketers lack the skills to create online content to attract leads…a skill that Google, and your buyers, now require.

Need proof?

Although out of the industrial market a bit, here is a podcast from my friend Bruce McDuffee about a niche construction company in St. Louis that increase their online leads…”because no one is doing it”

The approach described in the podcast mimics the same process we use at The Repp Group.

Listen to Bruce McDuffee from Manufacturing Marketing Institute and his guest and find out how to increased online leads by 700%…

BECAUSE NO ONE IS DOING IT!

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