Here’s why manufacturing marketers should skip the sales pitch and create content that prioritizes the needs of their target audience.


Highlights:

  • Research indicates that only about half of manufacturing marketers are prioritizing their audience’s needs when creating content.
  • Inbound marketing (like content marketing) is more effective than outbound marketing for B2B businesses.
  • A documented strategy will help you get started creating focused, quality content.

One statistic is sticking out to me in the Content Marketing Institute’s Manufacturing Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. According to the research, half (51%) of manufacturing marketers reported that they always or frequently prioritize their sales/promotional message over their audience’s informational needs when creating content for content marketing purposes.

Let’s think about that for a second.

A preponderance of manufacturing content marketers are, unfortunately, missing the point.

We’ve written before about why inbound marketing, like content marketing, is more effective for the supply chain than more traditional outbound marketing techniques. And while it’s true that “the supply chain is increasingly seeing the value of moving to an inbound marketing strategy,” the CMI’s research suggests that it’s taking some marketers a long time.

Why you should be putting your audience’s informational needs first

Why should you be emphasizing your audience’s informational needs over your promotional goals when creating content?

One of the basic premises of content marketing is the recognition that, increasingly, your customers want much more from you than your product. Click To Tweet

The short answer is: because your audience prefers it. One of the basic premises of content marketing is the recognition that, increasingly, your customers want much more from you than your product. For manufacturing marketers, this means that customers want value separate from and outside of the sales funnel.

Enter content marketing. Creating effective marketing content relies on accepting that your business has much more to offer than its primary products and services. In fact, your most valuable commodity, as we’ve often said before, isn’t any material or service — it’s the knowledge, expertise, and informed, unique perspectives you have to offer.

Strategize to put customers first

To successfully adjust your content marketing efforts to put your customers’ informational needs first, the first step is having a well-defined, measurable strategy — and documenting it. This means defining precisely who you’re trying to reach and developing a complete target buyer persona(s).

Once you’ve defined exactly who you’re trying to reach, it’s time to identify the unique questions, needs, and challenges this target buyer faces. Chances are, your business has not only the products to meet those needs, but also the information to answer question and offer valuable insights.

One of the benefits of a documented strategy, with clearly stated objectives, is that it allows you to set up metrics and evaluate your successes and shortfalls. This is where you can start listening to your target buyers. You can even solicit responses from them via email and social media that will allow you to target and hone your efforts in the future.

Meeting manufacturing marketers’ challenges

The CMI’s research reinforces the fact that manufacturing marketers face unique challenges. The top reported challenge was “creating content that appeals to multi-level roles within the target audience.”

According to Achinta Mitra, founder of Tiecas, an industrial marketing consultancy, “Buying decisions are made by a committee and very rarely, if ever, by an individual. Some of these stakeholders may never interact with your content or visit your site.”

Essentially, there are various types of buyers with various needs — meaning their content needs are different. Mitra advises bringing “subject matter experts to the forefront, and letting marketing do the heavy lifting in the background.” He bases his advice on the belief that “one engineer to another is a powerful concept for earning trust, gaining credibility, and winning the mindshare of engineers and industrial professionals.”

If you’re thinking beyond downloads when creating content, and truly prioritizing quality information, your content will function broadly throughout the complex manufacturing buyer’s journey.

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