I was talking the President of a local B2B manufacturer the other day. He cited some statistics he read about the effectiveness of content marketing in the B2B space. He said, “Tom, I noticed in a marketing blog that engagement rates for content are really dropping. Does that dampen your enthusiasm for content marketing for industrial?”
My response, “To the contrary. Tell you what, I have some thoughts about that issue and let me post a blog about that subject this coming week.”
True, there are some dismal stats concerning B2B content marketing & content marketing for industrial that takes the bloom off the rose. For example TrackMaven tells us that we are producing more content than ever, but engagement has fallen dramatically.
Content Marketing Institute tells us in 2016-B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing that overall effectiveness of content marketing has lowered this past year.
Here is why I think these stats spell opportunity for the the savvy industrial marketer. My conclusions are based on my own opinions, anecdotal evidence from my knowledge in the industry and research from some of the resources cited above.
Quality vs Quantity:
Frankly…content engagement has fallen because there is so much crap out there and the crap continues to pile up. If this trend continues, then engagement rates will continue to fall.
Yet, the opportunity for savvy industrial marketers has never been better.
Do your research. Find out what your customers want in terms of content that will make their daily jobs easier. Then, find outside help from an experienced agency that knows how to differentiate commodity items. Then, get on with beating your competitors to your prospects roaming on the web with great content.
Lack of a Brand Theme:
I believe B2B engagement rates are falling because a lack of awareness about brand themes. Many industrial marketers have never thought about their brand theme. Yet, in the age of search, mobile and social, brand consistency is more important than ever. An industrial marketer that develops a strong brand theme across all content formats and all media channels will surely benefit from engagement and top-of-mind-awareness.
Sprint vs Marathon:
Content marketing is a long-term commitment. It is unlikely industrial marketers will see a financial benefit in the first year so many marketers lose interest and quit or they continue producing the same ‘ol content without improving their game. This helps drive down engagement rates in the industry, yet opens opportunities for the industrial marketers that stick to it and continually improve their game.
From my experience, many industrial marketers have cobbled together a content marketing strategy without real documentation or specific goals. Further, they cobble together a website, landing pages, blog posts, calls-to-action, social media, without connecting any of their valuable marketing assets. The results of their marketing efforts are difficult to measure even using marketing automation, such as HubSpot. Without marketing automation it is next to impossible.
Not measuring your marketing efforts will, ultimately, lower your engagement opportunities.
Again, this is an unseen benefit for industrial marketers that embrace a robust marketing automation platform and leverage all its capabilities.
Content Saturation in the Industrial Market:
Most industrial marketers are really bad at producing content. Therefore, there is little competition for topics such as “quench oil coolers”, “custom-built hydraulic manifolds” or “severe duty electric motors”.
I have written extensively about this topic and believe it is one of the most significant opportunities for industrial marketers in a generation.
So, as word gets out that some industrial marketers at not doing well with content marketing, engagement stats drop. Yet, market realities tell me there is more opportunity than ever for the savvy industrial marketer to establish a competitive advantage.
Innovation & Creativity:
As I said earlier, the crap piles up and the engagement numbers fall. Moving forward with a successful content marketing strategy requires change, creativity & innovation in marketing. Most industrial marketers are new to the digital marketing arena, let alone the content marketing arena.
So again, this leaves large gapping opportunities for the industrial marketers that take advantage of their competitors’ lack of marketing innovation and creativity.
Get outside help if you need it, but raise your game when it comes to marketing innovation & creativity.
Optimism about Content Marketing for Industrial:
So…the bottom line.
There is no doubt that engagement will continue to fall for content deployed on the web as more & more amateurs deploy poor quality. However, for the industrial marketers that want to raise their content game, embrace market realities, the opportunities have never been better.
Enjoy, Mr. President
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