Is Inbound Marketing Shifting the Balance of Power for Industrial Marketers?

blogging equals more leadsI believe inbound marketing will begin a shift in the balance of power for many industrial companies.

Most industrial companies have built their success on the backs of their sales organizations or their distribution partners.  Many times B2B manufacturers can point to their sales success to their strongest distribution partners…typically the ones with the best sales machine.

Put another way, in terms of value, the sales department was considered much more valuable than the marketing department.  Of course, as most of you know, many industrial companies don’t even have a marketing department.   If they do, it is the IT guy, an intern or part time marketing person.

I believe we are at a tipping point where marketing departments are becoming as valuable as sales departments.

If you are a dedicated industrial marketer and spend time on the web you know the “buzz” about content marketing and inbound marketing. (There is a difference between content marketing and inbound marketing.  No much, but there is a difference.  I will explore the differences in my next blog post)

As an industrial marketing professional you have read the case studies of B2B manufacturers using multiple blogs (i.e. content) to attract keyword-specific readers to your web site. You are fascinated by the results and want to know more.

As an industrial supplier or industrial sales rep, looking for new ways to market your unique services, and not just products, you have read case studies about firms using content marketing to achieve dramatic improvements in web site traffic, more leads and more sales.

Let’s keep this simple and real.

Take our own experience at my former company. I realize we are not selling industrial products or services, but we are an industrial marketer and our prospects do have similar persona as your customers.

We generated leads the old way.  We used traditional direct mail.  We worked with purchased mailing lists.  We created our own lists. Of course, we optimized our web site for the search engines. And…we did the dreaded cold call as well. All the value was in the hands of the sales group.  Yea….we used basic marketing techniques to generate interest, but it was largely a sales-driven enterprise.

Now…fast forward 12 months.

Google moved our cheese. They told us that the SEO techniques we had used in the past were no longer effective.  Google told us we must now “earn” our ranking by producing content that attracts prospects to our web site.

Using good content, primarily consistent blogging focused on long-tail keywords, we have doubled our traffic at my former company and now consistently generate 20, qualified leads, for our business per month. The blogging is also supported by regular e-mail blasts to segmented lists and also occasional press releases focused on specific, long-tail keywords.

The inbound marketing effort is supported by highly visible calls-to-action on our web site and very topic-specific and keyword-specific landing page with a form to capture a prospect’s name and e-mail address.

If the prospect comes back to our web site for more information we continue to “nurture” the lead until it is “sales ready” and handed off to sales.  What is interesting, we have found when a prospect touches our web site around 20 times, they are highly motivated to talk.  When we do talk with the prospect we know exactly where their “pain” is because of the content they showed interest in.

Do you have any idea of the joy we have when a prospect chases us instead of the other way around?

Any industrial marketer can have similar success where marketing takes some of the power from the sales group and helps sales generate quality leads by leveraging The Age of Google.  Google calls it the Zero Moment of Truth: