How to Create Better Content & Market it Better to Engineers!
Image Credit CMI
Create Better Content & Market it Better!
We've been advocates for content marketing by industrial suppliers (and the inbound marketing it supports) for a long time and it's very good news to see all the achieved benefits to US manufacturing industry companies in the bar chart above! That chart comes from one of the new research reports below. Please read the reports for yourself because they will help you:
- Create better content in 2019
- Prepare better content marketing plans for 2019
- Benchmark your 2018 performance against the manufacturing industry averages.
But here are the insights that struck us as most interesting as we read these excellent reports.
1. Content Marketing Institute (CMI) Report
CMI's "Manufacturing Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends" report is a US manufacturing industry cut of the data from their generic multi-industry study conducted June/July 2018. This 'cut' consists of 146 respondents who work for US manufacturing companies and have been using content marketing for at least one year. The majority of respondents were B2B manufacturers based in North America. It's useful for comparing content marketing progress in this sample and for comparing manufacturing to other industries.
The CMI insights that struck us most are:
- Success So Far? - With nearly everyone now starting their product searches online, your products and content about them (such as part detail pages, CAD models and configurators) must be online. Last year's CMI study showed that 86% of manufacturing organizations were already using content marketing so it's no longer a question of whether to use it but rather how to be most successful with it. This year 64% of manufacturing marketers rate their organization’s content marketing success as 'much more' or 'somewhat more' successful than a year ago and 33% rate it about the same.
- Follow The Money - With 64% being more successful with content marketing than last year it's not too surprising that 44% of manufacturing marketers expect their content marketing budget to increase in 2019. What will they spend it on? In 2018, 56% increased their spending on 'content creation', 35% on 'paid content distribution', 32% on 'content marketing staff' and 28% on 'content marketing outsourcing.' 2019 increases may be similar.
- Types of Content Used? - Audio/Visual content, written content (more on that in the next study below) and images are getting the most increased use. An implication of CMI's generic approach is not asking about industry specific content types - like 2D CAD drawings and 3D CAD models in manufacturing. We guess those content types are captured in the generic "Images" category because 2D drawings and 3D models appear like images. The point is that CAD models and drawings likely rank highly and we already know they can convert to sales up to 50% of the time.
- Top Learnings for Next Year?
- 51% of respondents said they always or frequently prioritizes their sales/promotional message over the audience’s informational needs. Obviously that's what a product brochure should do but other content must put the target audiences' needs front-and-center.
- With sales cycles full of multiple decision makers, marketers top challenge is "creating content that appeals to multi-level roles." 39% of respondents already use personas for content marketing purposes, and another 27% said they planned to begin doing so in 2018 (so an estimated 66% by the end of 2018). This should help manufacturers with this challenge.
2. TREW/GlobalSpec Report
IEEE Globalspec and TREW Marketing's 2019 Smart Marketing for Engineers Research Report produced this report from a survey of hundreds of engineering and technical professionals who make or influence buying decisions.
The TREW/Globalspec insights that struck us most are:
- Engineers most preferred content types are 'product datasheets', 'case studies', and 'product/how-to videos'. [We'd add that in our experience online 'product datasheets' should be interactive with configurators and/or viewable/downloadable CAD models.]
- Engineers value vendor websites, and a company’s website has a significant impact on brand perception.
- Engineers are more likely to complete these specific fields on lead forms: 'email address', 'company', 'first name', and 'last name'.
- Most engineers have 3-4 interactions with a vendor before communicating with them directly, and say that close to 60% of the buying process is completed when the first sales interaction occurs.
As a reference, our take on the same reports last year is here in case you want to compare the annual results.
Lastly, we can say that online digital marketing for industrial suppliers is what we, our software products and services do. It's our specialist expertise developed over more than a decade so we read new research avidly and are continuously thinking about the implication for ourselves and our customers. If you'd like our opinion on your particular content marketing situation please call or click either button below: