Is Inbound Marketing Right For The Industrial Marketer? [A Review of Jay Baer’s YOUTILITY?]

To be competitive in the Age of Google, industrial marketers must embrace the inbound marketing mind set. Jay Baer’s book Youtility is a great place to start.

jay_baer-youtilityMarcus Sheridan was recently in Kalamazoo and I was able to corral the well-known evangelist for inbound marketing and HubSpot and do a short interview focused on industrial markets. Before my, on-camera, interview with Marcus we chatted briefly about Jay Baer’s book titled Youtility, Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype. Marcus had done the forward in Jay’s, NY Times best seller and #1 Amazon best seller, book and our conversation reminded me about the essence of Jay’s book.

“It is not about changing your marketing…it is about changing your mindset.”

So…does Jay’s YOUTILITY concept of deploying helpful content rather than pitching products work for the typical industrial market? Is a total mindset change really required?


I had read Baer’s book earlier but after my conversation with Marcus, I decided to download it on my Nexus 7 and read it again while on vacation and do a review on my blog and focus on Jay’s inbound marketing concepts and apply them to the industrial market.

For you industrial marketers not familiar with Jay Baer’s work let me just say, it truly is ground-breaking. Especially for the industrial market versus typical consumer markets.

The sub-title of the book gives the industrial marketer a pretty good clue why this is ground-breaking for the industrial marketer…”why smart marketing is about help, not hype”

See…industrial marketers have built their business on hype…mostly pitching products. If they wanted to increase sales they would put more feet on the street. They would increase their budget for trade shows. They would improve their brand message, typically focused on the “best quality” or the “best customer service”. They would improve consistency with the trade journals. Features and benefits…aaahh yea! “Let’s improve the marketing for our fantastic features and benefits.” Hype, hype, hype.

Don’t get me wrong, all that is still important, but at the right time…and your customers are now determining the right time.

I know industrial owners well. Most are my age and without exception they all have good instincts. They all sense that the balance of power is shifting from sales hype to something quite different on the web.

The problem is, very few industrial marketers are equipped to handle the radical shift. Most are not terribly computer savvy. Very few are web savvy and even fewer are content savvy. They have never needed those skills when it used to be (and still is, to a large extent) sell, sell, sell. Pitch, pitch, pitch.

So, as I said earlier, a change in mindset is required for the industrial marketing to stay competitive in a changing marketplace.

Jay Baer’s book is one of the best places to start for the industrial marketer interested in leveraging all the opportunity the web has to offer.

What I have discovered the last several years is industrial buyers now expect to find answers on your web site, not hype. Industrial marketers that deploy the most helpful and engaging content will be the winners moving forward. Industrial marketers that create great content will establish trust and create top-of-mind awareness in respective industries. For the industrial companies that already have great trust, great reputation and top-of-mind awareness…the web is simply the extension of this, well-earned, marketing asset. Again, the problem is most industrial marketers are ill-equipped the take advantage of this radical shift.

Before the industrial marketer can acquire the skill sets to compete on the web, there must first be a fundamental change in the way they think about sales and marketing.

Baer’s book is a great place to start.

I have read and suggested other books on this blog to industrial marketers such as David Meerman Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing and PR and Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman’s Content Rules. These two books are great for tactics and exploring unique ways of creating and deploying content, but Baer’s book starts at a little higher level. A level best suited for the industrial business owner/marketer.

Before you explore the tactics of content marketing or inbound marketing, fundamental attitude adjustment must take place. (Go ahead…have an adult beverage if you wish) Jay’s book will nudge those great instincts you already have and get you to understand how your customer has changed and what you must do to compete.

If you have read this far I suspect that your curiosity has the best of you and you just might purchase Jay’s book.

So…let me expand Jay’s concepts a step further and tell you why they are an incredible opportunity…especially for the astute industrial marketer.

Jay’s whole concept is built around engaging more buyers with helpful content. As your industrial buyer becomes more demanding and impatient, they want more useful (“Youtility”) content. As they consume more of your company’s content a trust pattern starts to build. So does a pattern of awareness.

But how do you get your buyers to your web site in the first place to consume all this great and engaging content?

Aahhhh…here is the unique advantage that industrial marketers have over many other businesses.

Notice over the past few years how your search queries have changed from “stereo receivers” to “yamaha receivers rx-575 reviews”. Of course, Google in their mission of “understanding exactly what you mean and giving back exactly what you want” have trained us to dig deeper for our answers.

In the Age of Google, if your web site is not there to answer those questions…you lose.

And…here lies the opportunity for industrial marketers. Industrial companies and their products are some of the most documented products (and services) in the world. Yet, much of that content remains in file cabinets, in the heads of your staff or in the hands for your sales group. Hardly visible on your most customer-facing sales asset…your web site.

In today’s world your industrial buyer will search for “Limitorque linear hydraulic actuator repair” versus “hydraulic actuator”. Your buyers will dig deeper and they expect answers…right now.

In this specific example a Limitorque dealer will have plenty of content that will answer the buyers’ question. Those answers are in your employees heads and the file cabinets behind you. They just need a strategy and the creative will to produce the content either in a blog post, e-mail newsletter, white paper or e-book that can attract and engage a customer.

(HINT: A blog is the best place to start.)

Once engaged with “Youtility”, as Baer describes it, you have earned a fair amount of trust and top-of-mind awareness from your buyer.

Another key advantage, and I do mean KEY advantage, is our competitors are probably not well equipped to develop such a strategy. (There are only 19 pages on the entire web that feature “Limitorque actuator repair”) Therefore the amount of content deployed on the web concerning your specific product is very low and gives your company a, first mover, advantage in terms of content strategy.

Take almost any industrial product and this unique advantage is available. In the Age of Google, this is the formula for success for industrial marketers:

Specific customer demand/requests via search engines +

Your company’s available content to answer those demands/requests +

A “Youtility”/Helpful strategy +

Low content saturation from your competitors =


Get Jay Baer’s book and change your attitude about your sales and marketing and make a successful transition to inbound marketing and market realities.

YOU CAN ALSO GET STARTED BY DOWNLOADING: An Introduction to Business Blogging from my friends at HubSpot

Maybe you are ready to raise your hand and say “Help”. Click the graphic below for a COMPLIMENTARY 30 minute consultation.

Author: Tom Repp

A traditional industrial a passionate evangelist for leveraging the digital channel for lead generation.

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