Industrial Marketers’ “Age of Distrust” Opportunity

industrial marketing and the age of distrust

Let’s face it, there is a lot of fake everything out there…not just fake news. There is a ton of fake marketing. Lying marketers. Lying politicians. Unwanted robo calls. Pop-up ads on your phone you must fight through to get to content you really want to view. Many call it the Age of Distrust.

I saw a recent article at Market Watch that stated robocalls are the number one source of complaints at the Federal Trade Commission.  And…as we all know many of those robocalls are scammers, not just aggressive, “legitimate” businesses breaking the law by ignoring the Do-Not-Call list.

Politics seems to be on the minds of many Americans. No matter your political stance, the behavior of our political leaders is disgusting. Clearly an absence of trust.

Face it, many marketers, many politicians, many salesmen, many others are out to bamboozle you.

Most Americans, and your customers, can recognize the filth. I believe Americans are pretty good at separating the truth from the bamboozlers.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that all industrial marketers are taking liberties with their sales and marketing tactics.  But, I am saying that sales and marketing as an extension of our whole culture is filled with bamboozlers, opening opportunities for the “good guys” to trumpet a brand message of honesty & transparency and stand above their competitors.

In the final analysis…in an Age of Distrust…you only have one thing to sell and that is your company’s trust & transparency.

Enter the web & technology.

In the age of search, mobile, social, video and AI (artificial intelligence) trust & transparency is the foundational currency that will propel your industrial company to new heights and give your industrial company a competitive advantage.

I realize that to build trust you need more than a great web marketing strategy. You need great people, great products, great culture, etc.

We all know that building a culture of trust is extremely difficult. But in my mind, it is the foundation for growth in a changing, and increasingly distrustful, economy.

In today’s environment building a web strategy around trust is simply “table stakes”.

My friend, Marcus Sheridan calls it the Honest Economy at a TEDx talk.

As Marcus did with his pool company, ANY industrial company can build a culture of trust and transparency by following Marcus’s basic formula of:

They Ask.  You Answer

By providing answers to all the questions your sales team and engineers get on a daily basis you begin to build a culture of trust and transparency…now required for top-line growth.

Answer all these questions with the most far-reaching, cost-effective sales & marketing channel you can find. Your website.

Sounds great, right?

For those of you buying into the opportunity of differentiating your brand message and sticking your head above the fake marketing crowd, the very first place to begin is using your website and the web to develop content that answers the most pressing questions your prospects have. You do this by developing blogs, premium e-books, white papers, YouTube videos, webinars, podcasts that address your prospects’ most pressing questions…honestly.

Again…sounds awesome and it is.

If you can execute?

Ahhh…there is that word. Execute. Always the hardest part of any strategy. Execute.

From my experience, here are the SIX CRITICAL REQUIREMENTS if you are to leverage and execute your web strategy to take advantage of the “Age of Distrust” for competitive advantage.

First, your management must buy into a strategy that can produce content that will, honestly, answer your prospects’ questions. Do not doubt me.  If the top-level decision makers are not on board this strategy will never work.

Second, your employees must support a culture that creates content that helps build your company’s trust. If your employees have not bought in, then it is clear there is lack of leadership at the top.

Third, someone in your organization must own the change in strategy.  They need to be a crazed evangelist.  They need to OWN IT.

Fourth, you need a coherent and measurable strategy. It needs to be documented. If you want to exploit the Age of Distrust for competitive advantage using great content you need to measure marketing assets such as unique visits to your web site, bounce rate on each landing page, conversion rates on all your content, number of marketing qualified leads (MQL), number of sales from downloaded content, etc., etc.

By the way, you should also want to do this because it is the right thing to do.

Fifth, there needs to be coordination between sales and marketing. Many times, I see both departments (especially sales in the industrial sector) doing a great job but they are not communicating with each other. For example, marketing is doing a good job of generating quality leads, but then sales drops the follow-up ball.

Sixth, you need the tools to execute your strategy.  Much in the same way your accounting software manages your financial assets, marketing automation is very capable of managing your marketing assets, both online and offline. For example, a good marketing automation platform can easily manage your email marketing campaigns, your social media promotions, your online forms, your online calls-to-action (CTAs) as well as our print ads in industrial publications, display ads in online directories like GlobalSpec & ThomasNet…all in one neat little dashboard.

Many industrial marketers have spent a lifetime building businesses that have a foundation of trust and transparency.  Use the formula, “They Ask. You Answer” to create content that continues to build your trust and transparency. Your new prospects are so jaded by the Age of Distrust they will reward you handsomely.

Likewise, industrial marketers wishing to change the trajectory of their brand in the marketplace can leverage the Age of Distrust in a similar manner to stand above the distasteful tactics in the marketplace.

Take the challenge.  RISE ABOVE!