Leveraging B2C Concepts for Engaging B2B Campaigns
Manufacturing is at the heart of American commerce. From stand-alone products like the commodities we use every day to integrated products like packaging and line equipment, virtually everything we interact with on a daily basis has been manufactured by someone using something that’s been manufactured. The truth is, many manufacturers fly completely under the radar for the average American consumer, focusing their marketing efforts on business to business (B2B) initiatives rather than general consumer awareness. But is there something to be learned from business to consumer (B2C) marketing techniques? Can B2B marketers leverage the power of content marketing to capture potential clients in the buying cycle? With over 15 years working with manufacturers, large and small, we say yes.
Content Marketing for Manufacturers
According to the Manufacturing Content Marketing 2019 – Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report put out earlier this year, fewer than one in four manufacturing marketers report that their organization has a documented content marketing strategy. While many B2C agencies and companies have quickly adopted content marketing to target varying market segments with tailored messaging, manufacturers have been slow to adapt. This wary approach is likely based on the assumption that longer sales cycles, purchase decisions made by multiple stakeholders, and a difference between the specifier and the functional buyer make decision makers hard to target and harder to reach. We’ve learned, however, that developing personas for key players in the buying cycle and leveraging channels suited to their lifestyle with tailored messaging can make a lasting impact.
Successful Strategies for Developing Target Audiences
As a manufacturer, developing your target audiences and creating persona profiles is an important foundational step in implementing effective content marketing. You cannot tailor a message that strikes a chord with a project engineer or plant manager without first understanding their needs and buying habits. Through market research and a series of interviews with your sales staff, you can nail down the main points of contact for purchase and contract negotiations. This information should become the foundation for your targeted messaging. Given that only about 34 percent of manufacturers use personas for content marketing (Content Marketing Institute), this is a perfect opportunity to get ahead of the competition and connect with your key buyers in ways others in your industry simply are not.
Building Better Marketing Messages for Manufacturers
But tailoring the right message, that may not explicitly promote your product but does stimulate interest in your brand, isn’t always that easy. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many manufacturers to face barriers in writing content that is both appealing and accurate to the product and its function. Engineers and operators are busy with their daily activities and getting them to sit down and write a thousand words on the technical applications of your particular product is no easy feat. Assuming you can get that write up, there’s still a matter of optimizing it for varying channels, ensuring it is engaging and sharable while being technically accurate, and has that tailored marketing spin to draw attention from different personas.
Many marketing directors and coordinators for manufacturers face these challenges every day. Because reliable and relatable content is another important foundational component for content marketing, we recommend taking over the content writing process. Rather than relying on your technical teams to build content, make the process more efficient by interviewing them about your products for 15 to 30 minutes. Record the interview and take pictures and notes if they have visual aids. Use this information to curate blog articles, social media posts, and even video content and ask your technical teams for a quick review. This will speed up the process and give you resources for further development later on. When writing blogs, white papers, or even social media posts, consider using Google tools for keyword research. Find the terms your audience is searching for and make sure to utilize these phrases throughout your content. Remember, create a series of messages about the same subject, written or displayed differently to make an impact on your varying personas!
Finding the Right Marketing Channels
The last step in laying a strong foundation for a successful content marketing campaign for your manufacturing business is to learn where your target audiences spend time on the internet for both work and leisure purposes. Are they using desktops and search engines at work? What social media channels do they frequent? Are they part of professional online organizations? Take your advertising budget and allocate based on these factors. Consider using a combination of channels to enhance your brand exposure and increase the likelihood that your tailored message lands in front of a potential customer as they are seeking products like yours. As Loni Stark, Sr. Director of Strategy & Product Marketing at Adobe notes “As a content marketer, if you’re just thinking about one channel, you’re very much behind.” (Forbes)
Getting Ahead of Generational Change
According to the Chicago Tribune, the youngest baby boomers are around 55 years old while the oldest are already in their 70s. The generation that saw the golden age of production is aging out of the workforce and manufacturing companies need to prepare for their eventual replacement. Getting ahead of this generational change and targeting your content marketing strategies to Gen Xers and Millennials will help reinforce brand loyalty among a new generation of industrial planners. According to Forbes, “Millennials spend an average of 11 hours per day engaging with digital content compared to the US average of 8.8 hours.” It’s time to take a future-focused approach to marketing and start building brand awareness with the manufacturing buyers of tomorrow.
For more information on specialized content marketing plans, specifically tailored for manufacturers, contact Ocreative today!
Ocreative is a Milwaukee marketing agency, with expertise and broad experience in developing digital marketing strategies, and growing their online presence, for their clients. The company’s core values include offering the highest level of customer service, award-worthy quality, and performance that surpasses client expectations. Ocreative is located just outside Milwaukee, and works with clients locally, nationally, and globally. Their clients have access to some of the most fun and knowledgeable professionals around – ones who inspire, educate, and problem solve. The agency provides marketing and brand strategy, advertising and design, website design and social media, and video expertise to their clients, fulfilling their desire for business growth, and their aspiration to make a mark on their industry.