MM 059 – Global Manufacturing and Content Marketing

Global Manufacturing and Content Marketing

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Guest: Pam Didner, Global Content Marketing Strategist

Highlights:

  • The global manufacturing marketing strategy and tactics will depend a lot on the product type and the way the audience uses the products. Sometimes it is homogeneous, like bulldozers and sometimes it is not, like food products. Pam shares a couple of interesting examples. [5:45]
  • Pam shares her definition of content and content marketing. It’s about sharing relevant useful information with the purpose of acquiring new customers or engaging with existing customers. You have to find a balance between making the content useful for the audience and also selling your product. [10:00]

  • Instead of focusing on the differences around the world, Pam suggests we focus on how the people in your target audience are similar. [19:20]
  • Before expanding your content marketing effort to another country or culture, talk to your sales and marketing team on the ground in that country about the idea. Ask them what they thing about the idea and the specific topics. This also helps get the local regional team on board.  And, make sure you allocate budget. Give it time. [26:05]

Interview Questions:

Question 1 – In this modern, global, internet age, it is easy to conclude that the markets around the world are pretty much homogeneous.  After all, go to market for a CAT bulldozer in Nashville is pretty much the same as go to market for a bulldozer in Shanghai isn’t it?  Or is it?

Question 2 – Whenever I have a guest on the show talking about content marketing, I always like to take a few minutes and level set by asking, what is your definition of content marketing?

Question 3 –  How is global content marketing different from, let’ say content marketing in the United States?

Question 4 – Let’s talk about the structure of a global marketing team. In your experience, at Intel or working with global clients, what works best, a centralized marketing function at the headquarters dictating to the regional marketers around the globe? Or decentralized marketing groups responsible for their own strategy and tactics in their respective regions.

Question 5 – (if time allows)  Suppose there is a VP Marketing of a global manufacturing company out there listening to this podcast.  Let’ say he is a pretty good content marketer and has had success in the US market with strong engagement and growth.  He wants to expand to Mexico and wants to lead his go to market with content marketing.  What would you advise?  I know it’s a complex question, so just a few highlights.

Challenge Question –  This week our challenge question comes from an owner of a company that manufactures of cooling towers in northern Illinois. Here it is, “We sell cooling towers to industrial manufacturing plants mostly in the US.  Our market share has been slipping over the past few years.  We’ve tried adding sales people, adjusting our prices and a heavy magazine advertising program. I came across your podcast and I’m intrigued by the idea of TOMA, credibility and reciprocity created with education.  I just don’t know where to start. What are my first 3 steps to getting started?”

  • First, understand how your company fits into the total available market (TAM). Why is your market share shrinking? Is it just your company or is it the entire market. Understand your global manufacturing business environment first.
  • Understand your target audience, their pain points, and why your product is better than the competition.
  • First understand their problems, choose a topic that resonates, build out some content around that problem and then start distributing it.

Takeaways:

  1. Content marketing takes time, resources and budget. Be patient with the expectation of results.
  2. Digital marketing is very important for content marketing and sharing knowledge and expertise.

Transcript

Bruce:
Welcome to Manufacturing Marketing Matters, a podcast produced by the Manufacturing Marketing Institute, the center of excellence for manufacturing marketers. I’m Bruce McDuffee, thank you for listening.

Hello, manufacturing marketers. Before we get started today, I’d like to announce a new service we’re offering here at MMI. It’s an email marketing package designed with the small business in mind. Check it out. It’s at MM Matters dot com slash email. It’s a great price point for small business, actually fantastic price point for small businesses. On to the show. Our guest expert today is Pam Didner, and Pam runs her own consulting firm where she specializes in global content marketing. Welcome, Pam.
Pam:
Thank you. Thank you for inviting me to be part of your podcast.
Bruce:
You bet. It’s going to be a great conversation. Folks, prior to starting her own firm, Pam worked for Intel for nearly, I think, 20 years.
Pam:
Yes, that is true.
Bruce:
Is that right, Pam? Yeah? About 10 of it was for in marketing, is that right?
Pam:
Yes. I was very fortunate that I joined Intel when the company actually welcomed or encouraged employees to move around. I was actually on the manufacturing floor, and I did purchasing for several years before I moved to marketing.
Bruce:
Great. That should be a perfect background for this discussion. Folks, Pam as she just mentioned, she has unique experience as a global content marketer with an enterprise-size manufacturer, so that’s why she’s here. Our topic today is global content marketing for manufacturers. Pam, before we get started in the discussion, maybe you could give our audience a little summary of your experience and your passion when it comes to content marketing on a global scale.
Pam:
Yeah, certainly, Bruce. First of all, content marketing is nothing new. A lot of brands have been doing it for a long period of time. For example, Campbell’s Soup. Rather than showcasing a can of soup, which is not very appealing, Campbell creates recipes and shows everybody how to make a delicious meal using their products. That in a way is a form of content marketing, and they have been doing that for a long period of time.

Of course, if Campbell wants to sell their soup overseas, they may need to localize their recipes for local needs and possibly localize their ingredients for local flavors. In a way, when your products are localized, the content that you created associated with that product needs to change as well. That’s the connection between the content marketing, in terms of how that will scale to different regions.

That’s of course an example for B2C on the B2B side of Salesforce. For example, they have a Salesforce 101, which is a form of content marketing for people who pique their interests on Salesforce type of products. Given that their products are fairly standard, it really doesn’t change much if you will, say from country to country. If they created Salesforce 101 as a form of content marketing, say in the video format, they may need just to add subtitles for the video. If that Sales 101 is actually training materials in a PDF format, they probably have to translate to different languages. That’s another example I would like to share with everybody in terms of content marketing that, on a global scale, were scaled to different regions.

In a way, if you think about it, content marketing is just using content as a means to provide helpful, useful and educational information to your target audiences. Sales is important, I get it, but it’s secondary in the context of the content marketing effort. Is that helpful?
Bruce:
Yeah. Thanks for providing that background, Pam, and let’s talk a little more about that as far as, in this modern global internet age, it’s pretty easy for, I know, a lot of our manufacturers out there to conclude that everything’s pretty homogenous. An example is, let’s say the go-to-market for a CAT bulldozer in Nashville. Isn’t it pretty much the same as the go-to-market for a bulldozer in Shanghai? Or is it?
Pam:
Yeah. You know, that’s actually a very good question from a perspective that … I would like to advise or just share a thought with everyone who is listening. Your marketing efforts, not necessarily content per se, your marketing effort a lot of times depends on your products and also the usage of the users. If the products are fairly standard and homogenous, and a customer’s intention across different regions is the same, therefore your value propositions and your messaging, and your marketing possibly can be pretty similar. However, if your products are customized, for example, McDonald’s. McDonald’s in the US, McDonald’s in, say, Malaysia which is a Muslim country, or McDonald’s in India which is, a lot of Indians are vegetarians. Obviously the different McDonald’s in different countries, they have different sets of menus tailored for local flavors, and if that’s the case, then your marketing effort or your message will need to change, because the products are essentially different.

Another thing I want to share with you is, also it’s probably a B2C example, but take it as a grain of salt, is the shampoo and conditioner. The PMG sell different shampoo and conditioners’ different brands in the US, and those brands also sell in multiple different countries worldwide. When I travel overseas, and I’m pretty sure a lot of you who are listening you have experience travelling overseas to your oversea plants, you will notice that the PMG’s shampoo and conditioner related type of product, they have different packages. They have different packages possibly due to focus group testing. They possibly have a different name that they’ve been translated, that specific name to local languages, and different packages a lot of time, it’s just appealing because of how the package is designed. Also the hair care, how often people wash their hair and what’s important, some countries value the shininess of the hair, some people value the colors of it, because the different value, how we see our hair, we might choose different products, then the company needs to position their products slightly differently.

To answer your question, I would come back to the products. If the products are fairly homogenous, it’s very likely your marketing communication can be fairly standard, but if your products are not and also the usage models are very very different, then your market effort, you need to change that and tailor that for different regions’ needs.
Bruce:
Got it. It depends really on two things. It depends on your product, and then even maybe more important is, depends on actually understanding your audience where that product is going to land.
Pam:
You hit the core.
Bruce:
Yeah, okay. Got it. Pam, one step back, maybe. Whenever I have a guest on this podcast talking about content marketing, I always ask, what is your definition of content marketing?
Pam:
Yeah. If you actually Google just “definition of content marketing”, there’s probably over 100 of them. They all come from who are you asking. If you are asking an agency, if you are asking a publisher, if you are asking a client, and also even on the client side, depending on what this person’s title or what he or she does. Everybody comes up with slight different definition. Here is actually mine, and I think it’s broad enough, not generic, but I would say broad enough that people can relate.

I start it with content. What is the definition of content to start with? Everybody use content differently, but for the sake of content marketing, the way I define content, I cannot take credit for it. This is actually from Erin Kissane. Anything that conveys meaningful information to humans is called content. It’s just anything that can be meaningful information. Like I said, I emphasize the world “meaningful”. It’s called content, it can be online, it can be offline.

Then let’s expand that. What is the definition of content marketing? I like this definition very much, and I think a lot of manufacturing marketers can relate to the following definition, and again I cannot take credit for it. This is by Amanda Moxley. The process of developing and sharing relevant, valuable and engaging content to target audience with the goal of acquiring new customers or increasing business from existing customers. The things I want to emphasize here is, “sharing relevant, valuable and engaging content to your target customers”, and you are not doing that for the sake of sharing. You’re doing that with a purpose of acquiring new customers or customer retention.

As a B2B marketer, or whoever is listening, you probably can relate to this, in terms of we don’t create content for the sake of creating content. It has to be helpful to your customers, at the same time drive sales, and you have to find a balance of the two. I can give two examples really quickly. I was reading a blog post on REI dot com. REI is actually a retail store that sell a lot of good quality outdoor gear. Bruce, are you aware [crosstalk 00:12:14]?
Bruce:
I haven’t heard of that brand.
Pam:
REI, yeah.
Bruce:
Oh, REI. Yeah, REI, sure.
Pam:
REI. Sorry, I talk too fast.
Bruce:
That’s okay.
Pam:
They actually have a blog post, and I think that one’s very very good. Listen to just the title of the blog post. “Tips for last minute camping for the Fourth of July.” They created that post on the second of July, and so this is really tips for people, very targeted for people who are actually thinking about doing camping on the Fourth of July, but it’s last minute. It’s very much timely, it’s also action-oriented. They published this post on the second of July, 48 hours before the Fourth of July, and tried to reach to the people who decided to do camping last minute. If they want to do it, okay, here’s a couple of tips, and of course they drive the traffic to REI dot com. That’s very timely, very helpful, at the same time it does drive sales.

Another one, this is a B2B, and this can be timely and also relevant, at the same time drive sales. The title can be, “10 reasons to upgrade your connector tooling now”, or “10 reasons to upgrade your product’s [inaudible 00:13:52] now”. Again, you give people a reason that they should look into the product that they have purchased from you or from your competitors, and then you give them something to think about. Maybe they should upgrade, and why they should upgrade, and then you end it with “now”, and that will add a sense of urgency that they should look into it at this minute. Does that make sense?

When you are looking into a content, you need to think about what you can do to actually provide something that’s helpful, at the same time that also help your sales team. That’s an art, and it’s hard to find a balance. Sometimes you will just decide to focus on, “I want to be helpful to my customer, it’s not necessarily driving sales.” That’s actually okay, and you should do that, but over a period of time, when you create content you need to have a mix of both. Some of the content you focus on the top of the purchase funnel, which is driving awareness and is more helpful, educational driven, but there are some content you need to also create, it’s more on the bottom of the purchase funnel that’s actually a little bit more sales-centric. You need to actually find a balance of the two.
Bruce:
Exactly. Yeah, that’s a great description of content marketing, and thanks for those two examples too, Pam.
Pam:
You’re welcome.
Bruce:
Very helpful. Let’s expand a little bit on the global idea.
Pam:
Certainly.
Bruce:
How is global content marketing different from let’s say, we’ll call it local content marketing?
Pam:
Okay.
Bruce:
How are they different? When I say local, I mean, let’s say United States versus another country and culture.
Pam:
Okay. I think I would like to address that maybe from two different perspectives. The first one I would like to address is, it’s more or less the headquarter versus local. Let’s assume it’s a headquarter in the United States, and how you are supporting other geography from the US. That can be one way to define your question, if you will.
Bruce:
Sure.
Pam:
If that’s the case, it’s basically if you are in the headquarter, you really need to understand what the other geographies’ needs are before you create content. From time to time, you need to think about is it possible to actually incorporate their needs and their requirement when you’re producing content. I’m not saying you have to satisfy all their needs all the time. That’s not my point. My point is, when you are creating content, anticipating that will be used, that will be leveraged to other geography, is it possible that you can share your thoughts with them and also get their feedback and incorporate that feedback into your content when you create it. That’s one way to address your question.

The other way how I define your question, is not necessarily headquarter versus local. It’s more or less local versus local. Just like you said, “Hey, how do you define global content marketing, and how is that different than if you decide to do content marketing in other countries and then in the US?” If you think about it, we are all very different in a way that can be cultural differences, the languages that we speak, or religious or value beliefs, the laws and regulation can be different from country to country. The usage model, which I mentioned earlier, can be different from country to country, and also the marketing channels can be different from country to country. When you are thinking about local versus local, and how is US different from the other places, there are a lot of differences that I can call them out, and you’ve probably seen on the media all the time, even between just the two neighboring countries, they have a totally different belief. That’s the cultural differences, language barriers, religious belief, and even sometimes when you sell products that’s actually defense-related, which is weapons or the military, laws and regulation plays a huge role on that.

With that being said, there’s a lot of things that we are different. When you create content, you need to take into consideration in terms of cultural differences, language barriers, and sometimes especially on the B2B side, the laws and regulation, and for manufacturing specifically, different size, different parameters, and also the marketing channel fragmentation.

Now I say all this, it probably overwhelm all of you, but the thing is, the way I see to scale, especially on the global front, instead of focusing on what we are different, is it possible we can focus on what we are similar? I’m going to use a B2B example. For example, if you target IT managers, let’s assume that you sell software or hardware, and you target IT managers. The IT managers around the world, they are similar in the way that they need to keep their internal customer happy. All the IT managers, nobody wants to make their internal customer upset, and they want to avoid downtime. Can you imagine the server is down?
Bruce:
Doesn’t matter, the country or the culture.
Pam:
Yeah, it doesn’t matter. You are down just because you need maintenance. Well, do the maintenance at 3 a.m., right? They all care that they want to make their internal customer happy. They all care, they don’t want any downtime. They all care that their IT environment needs to be very secure. They all care about privacy and also low compliances. When you are doing the content marketing, when you are thinking about how to market to them, is it possible to focus on the similar things, so the common goals of your target audiences across different regions. Does that make sense? Don’t focus on the difference.
Bruce:
That’s a great way to look at it.
Pam:
Yes, you should to some extent, but is it possible that you can focus something that they are common? That’s the point I feel that people need to pay attention to in terms of trying to scale their marketing effort. The geographies, the local team will always come to tell you, “My country is very different, and my target audience is very different, their needs are unique.” I agree, but it is possible you can work with them or educate them and ask them, “Can we find some common ground?” Otherwise it’s very hard to scale content.
Bruce:
That’s a great way to look at it. What are you seeing, Pam, I know you travel around the world, and go back to the definition of content marketing you shared in the previous question. Are you seeing that type of educational marketing working in Japan, in China, in Europe and all over the place? Or just certain countries?
Pam:
I think it does help. I think in general, people want to learn. People want to grow. People want to have fun. There’s a certain element that we are all very very similar. If you come with good intention or if the content you created is from really educational and try to be helpful perspective, not [sell-sy 00:22:19]. When they don’t know your product, don’t try to sell them your product. At least try to educate them about your product to start with. Exactly. Start it from that mindset, to create your content instead of, “I’m going to sell, sell, sell my product.” I think it will be a whole lot more successful, if you will.

I think that does apply to especially business professionals around the world. If you’re talking to procurement managers, their pain points are very similar. There’s one advantage for manufacturing marketers is you guys tend to target B2B, which is business professionals instead of consumers. Consumers are a whole lot more complicated. Millennials in Germany, millennials in China, millennials in Tokyo, millennials in Chicago. There might be some little things that are totally different but if you target the business professional, like I said procurement managers of a large enterprise, IT managers, or the quality engineers, because they do their jobs day in and do out, their pain point, their challenges are fairly similar. Is it possible you can find what that is when you create a content?

Also educate your geographies in terms of how you determine your value proposition and the messaging, and tell them that this is common, have data to support that of course, across all the geos for your target audience, and you will have actually better communication and also success with your target audience and also with your internal team.
Bruce:
Pam, suppose there’s a VP of marketing of a global manufacturer out there listening to this podcast. Let’s say he’s gotten pretty good at content marketing like we’re talking about here today, pretty good at it in the US market, and he’s getting engagement, he’s getting growth, but he says, “I want to expand and grow my business in Mexico. I want to lead this, I’ve been so good at content marketing in the US, I want to use content marketing in Mexico.” What would you advise? I know you couldn’t go into the details, but kind of a high level, what are some things he should be paying attention to with that kind of effort?
Pam:
That’s actually a very good scenario. Thank you for putting it out there for your listeners. I would like to address that in two fronts. One is external, the other one is internal. Before this VP of marketing started obviously having great success in the US, yay, that means he’s doing something right.
Bruce:
Exactly.
Pam:
Good for him, kudos to him, but he wants to actually try to take the best practice to Mexico, which is a different country, that’s totally the right approach, but before he does it, this is what I would suggest him to do. I call it external front. He needs to talk to his on-the-ground sales team and understand their target accounts especially, because ultimately if you do any content marketing, your job is to increase sales. That means the sales team should be your BFFs. You talk to your on-ground sales team, and accompany him to a couple of the customer meetings and listen first-hand from the customers, in terms of what their needs are. Also, possibly ask them, “I’m planning to do this type of effort, from a communications perspective, do you find it useful?” Try to get the feedback from the customer first hand. Does that makes sense?
Bruce:
Yeah.
Pam:
Gather information before you even do marketing. Try to understand your customers’ needs before you even do it. That’s why I call it external. Talk to them.
Bruce:
Before you do any kind of marketing, content or [crosstalk 00:26:40].
Pam:
Exactly, exactly.
Bruce:
That’s exactly right.
Pam:
Internal. Explain what content marketing is to the internal team, especially the people on the ground. You need to explain to your sales team what content marketing is, you need to explain to your marketing people if you have marketing people on the ground, what content marketing is and what your plans are. It’s very important to get internal team’s buy-in first, because if they actually understand what you want to do and they also understand the benefit of it, all the sudden they are your allies. If you want to implement your content marketing efforts, you’ve got partners. Internally, get the internal team’s buy-in and say, “Yes, I am on board, I will support you,” and that will go a long way.

Second thing, allocate budget to do it. Content marketing is not free.
Bruce:
There you go, that’s an important one. Absolutely.
Pam:
That’s the important one. If you’re actually have been very successful in content marketing in the US, well, don’t skim on the budget. Right? You probably put some money into it, you probably put some resources into it. That same type of effort needs to be applied to Mexico as well. Another thing I do want to call out, if you have done content marketing, you know what I’m talking about. It does take time to see the results, and chances are it’s going to take 12 to 24 months. This is especially true. Your product’s purchasing cycle is long. For a lot of manufacturing marketers out there, when I say this, you understand, that your purchasing cycle tend to be pretty long. If your purchasing cycle is 8 to 12 months, or 8 to 24 months, then expect your content marketing to be that long. Don’t have this anxious, that, “I have to see results tomorrow,” and sometimes it doesn’t happen.
Bruce:
That’s a tough one for manufacturers.
Pam:
Yeah, especially that for a lot of markets in the manufacturing segment, because I understand. The sales, they actually have a quota they have to meet every single quarter. Why should they give marketing leeway for a long period of time to receive results? I get it. Then, it’s the marketer’s job to actually find a balance. There are some low-hanging fruits that you have to do every month to drive leads, to make your sales team happy. Do that. You need to do that, you need to show results just like the sales team, but you also need to allocate budget and time to do something that’s long-term that your company can benefit. It’s also your job to educate your senior management and let them understand why you are doing that.
Bruce:
Exactly, and that’s a great point to make, is that content marketing that does take 12, 24 months to bear fruit, you’re not replacing everything else with that.
Pam:
You are not.
Bruce:
You’ve still got your …
Pam:
You’re still doing your email campaigns.
Bruce:
Exactly. You’re still doing your other stuff, whether it’s trade shows or advertising, you’re still doing that.
Pam:
That’s totally right.
Bruce:
Because if you don’t do that, you’re right. Your management’s going to freak out.
Pam:
Totally.
Bruce:
Yeah, great. That’s great background, thanks Pam.
Pam:
You’re welcome.
Bruce:
That brings us to the second part of our podcast, which is the challenge question, and folks send in the challenge questions. If you have something you’re facing that’s a hurdle or something that’s preventing you from excelling at anything in marketing and manufacturing, send in the question here to the podcast, and I’ll pose it to our guest expert. You can email it to me. It’s Bruce at MM Matters dot com, or you can hashtag it on Twitter. It’s MFG Marketing.

Pam, this week our challenge question comes from an owner of a company that manufactures cooling towers in Northern Illinois. Here it is. “We sell cooling towers to industrial manufacturing plants, mostly in the US. Our market share has been slipping over the past few years. We’ve tried adding sales people, adjusting our prices, and a heavy magazine advertising program. I came across your podcast and I’m intrigued at the idea of top-of-mind awareness, credibility and reciprocity created through education. I don’t know where to start. What are my first three steps to getting started?” I think he means with educational-type marketing. Pam? What would you say?
Pam:
Can I answer that question before educational type of marketing?
Bruce:
Answer it however you want to, Pam. Go for it.
Pam:
All right. I’m going to answer that from two different perspectives. Have you noticed, Bruce, I answer questions from multiple different angles?
Bruce:
I love that. Yeah, that’s good.
Pam:
Okay. If you are listening, these are the couple thoughts that comes to my mind. Listen with a grain of salt. It may not 100% apply to you, or if I totally misunderstand a question or your intention, feel free to reach out to me as well.

When you read the statements, there’s a couple of things that pop into my mind. [Selled 00:32:03] to industrial manufacturer plants mostly in the US. Okay, that’s one. Second thing, market share has been slipping. Okay, that’s two. Interest in doing marketing differently, that’s three. I’ve got that. All those are good. Before I share with you my thoughts in terms of what kind of marketing you should do, I really want this owner or listener to actually asking yourself a couple of questions.

This is from product and sales side. If you are telling me the sales has been declined, a couple question that pop into my mind is, is it overall TAM, when I say TAM, it’s T-A-M, total available market, shrinking? You are selling cooling towers. My question to you is, what is the total available market, total TAM, of cooling tower in the US? Okay? Is it shrinking? Because a lot of manufacturing plants are moving overseas? Or is it shrinking because people are using different alternatives? If it’s shrinking and people are moving overseas, then you need to think about, is it possible you can expand your total TAM outside the US? That’s the first question you need to think about. I’m not talking about marketing, I’m talking about your business model right now.

If the total TAM, total available market is not shrinking, the people are buying alternative, then you need to look at your product. Is your product that you’ve been producing the same over year to year? Do you actually have a new product that are coming out on a regular basis, so people can actually buy if they are using the same product? I would ask the owner to look into the TAM. That’s the first.

Then the next things you have to look is your MSS, which is the market segment share. Let’s assume you are not a huge player, your market segment share is actually shrinking. Bruce, I’m trying to say total available market and now market segment share, you know what I’m talking about, right? If you look at the market segment share, if your TAM is really stable but your sale is declining, that means your market segment share is shrinking. Then who is eating your lunch? Find out who they are and go to their website. Check out what they do for their sales and marketing. I’m not saying you should copy them, but see what they are doing different. Also see how their products are different than yours.

Does that make sense? To answer this question is not a marketing question. This is the business model and a product question, and you need to look at your overall industry, the total TAM. You also need to look at your product. I would do that first before I do any marketing.

Okay, fine. Let’s assume this specific owner or listener have done all that. Then on the marketing side, if your TAM is shrinking, your total available market is shrinking, that means in the US it’s shrinking, then you have to ask yourself, do I need to expand? Do I need to market outside the US? Again, that’s also a business discussion. If you do, then you need to start thinking about what is the type of marketing that you should do if you decide to marketing outside the US. If your TAM is shrinking and you still decide to stay in the US, then you have to ask yourself, does it make any sense to do marketing if your TAM, total available market, is in decline?

That is some of the question I want to pose to the listener or the person who submitted the question. Another thing is, can you actually just go out there and talk to your customers and why they are not buying? Say they’ve been buying the cooling towers but they are not buying anymore. Find out why they are not buying. Well, maybe it’s not broken, but there’s got to be, is there anyway to get them to purchase? It started with your existing customers first. Second thing, if they are targeted leads, which is potential new leads that you are going after, is it possible that you can accompany your sales team and go talk to them and understand what their needs are and see what are some of the pain points that you can solve for them, and possibly get them interest in your products. Again, come back to the pain points. What are some of the pain points that you can solve to them?

If you did all that and you still want to create educational-related content, comes back to what are some of the challenges your customers are facing? How can you solve those challenges for them? Why are your products better? Is it possible you can have certain kind of claims to substantiate that? I’m not sure if those answers helped, I’m not sure if I’m all over the place, but these are some thoughts that I just want to share.
Bruce:
Yeah, and that’s the way these questions are, Pam. We know that we can’t do an in-depth solution, but just some tips, just like you did. That was great, a lot of good stuff in there. For the question, I would add that assuming you’d covered the business parts like Pam just went over, I believe you can get an edge on your competition and start to take their market share with an effective educational content program. To get started with that, I would say, I’d give you four things. The fourth one is a bonus, here.
Pam:
Yay, we love bonuses.
Bruce:
Number one, got to know your audience, and you’ve got to go beyond knowing them, you’ve got to understand them just like Pam just said. Understand that they’re struggling with, their problems, even outside of the actual product, and help them. Help them solve it. Know what their problem is, choose a topic that resonates, talk to them about something that vexes them everyday. If it’s cooling tower, maybe they’re just so frustrated with the scale that builds up on the internal part of the cooling tower. I don’t know what it is, but find that topic that vexes them and that you can help them with.

Then three, just build out some content around the solution to that problem, and then start distributing it. I know that’s kind of a simplistic thing, but those are the things to think about to get started with educational content.
Pam:
I think that’s a very easy and simple process to do, and Bruce you pretty much summarized it, and I guess I made my answer way too complicated, yeah?
Bruce:
No, no, you were fine, Pam. I love it that you brought up the business part of that question, because the business part has to come first before the marketing, absolutely.
Pam:
I 100% agree. Based on my experience working with a lot of clients, they always want to dive into tactics. “We need to do Twitter.”
Bruce:
Exactly.
Pam:
Seriously? We don’t need to do Twitter, because your audience are not on Twitter.
Bruce:
They’re not there, that’s right.
Pam:
They want to dive into the tactic, and my take on this is a lot of the time it’s really a business model and also a product discussion, more than anything else. I’ve come to realize, products and the business model are so important, actually more important than marketing.
Bruce:
Yeah, those have to come first, I agree.
Pam:
That product needs to come first before you do any marketing.
Bruce:
That’s right, because if you have a lousy product or you’re missing your market, it doesn’t matter what you say. Not going to sell it.
Pam:
That’s right.
Bruce:
Good points, Pam. That brings us to the final part of the show, Pam, the takeaways. I always ask our guest expert to share one or two takeaways. It can be a summary of something you want to emphasize from our discussion, or it can be a couple of things you’d like folks to go and take action on going forward. What do you have for our audience?
Pam:
Certainly. First of all, content market isn’t free, I say that twice and I want to say that a third time. If you want to do it right, and I hate saying this, it does take time, resources and budget. Also, it does take time to see results and you need to be patient. When I say patient, it’s not necessary doing it day in and day out, but when you do it, you also have to optimize it. You produce content and some content will get a lot of traffic, and some it won’t. You will need to look into it and understand, internalize it, why some clicks and some don’t. You need to do some analysis and also optimization. It’s kind of like a never-ending journey, if you will. That’s one.

Second thing is, the way that we do marketing nowadays in changing, and I’m pretty sure a lot of listeners agree with me. The way that your target customers are getting information, they tend to get a lot of information online by doing search. You need to think about, what can you do to share your knowledge and expertise digitally? I’m not saying that not to do any kind of offline program, that’s not what I’m saying. You should still do trade shows, you still do events, that’s where your target audience are, great. You still should do print if your target audience still read magazines. You just need to think in parallel that all the traditional marketing you are doing, what can you do to share your knowledge and expertise digitally? That question, you should ask it every year when you do your marketing plan. That’s all.
Bruce:
Excellent. Both excellent takeaways. With that, Pam, let’s go ahead and before we wrap up, do you have anything you’d like to share with our audience about yourself or your company?
Pam:
Yeah. If you have any questions [inaudible 00:43:19] global content marketing and even marketing strategy and planning, feel free to reach out. You can reach out [inaudible 00:43:29] WWW dot Pam Didner dot com, or you can just Google me, Pam Didner. There’s always contact information that will come up, and you can also reach me via Twitter, LinkedIn, any social media channels out there. That’s pretty much it, so if there’s anything I can provide any assistance, just let me know.
Bruce:
Okay, and folks, we’ll put Pam’s contact info in the show notes. Pam, thank you so much for being a guest today on Manufacturing Marketing Matters and sharing that fantastic knowledge and wisdom with our audience of manufacturing marketers.
Pam:
It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for inviting me.
Bruce:
That was Pam Didner, global content marketing strategist. For more information about Pam and her consulting business, and all of the great stuff we talked about on the show today, I’ll put notes in the show notes and Pam’s guest bio on the bio page. It’s at MM Matters dot com.
Pam:
Thanks a lot.
Bruce:
Thanks for listening to Manufacturing Marketing Matters. If you find this podcast helpful and useful, please subscribe at iTunes or Stitcher dot com. You can download this episode of MM Matters and get the show notes and learn more about the podcast at MM Matters dot com. I’m Bruce McDuffee, now let’s go out and advance the practice of marketing and manufacturing today.

 

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