MM 058 –Top 5 Industrial Marketing Trends for 2017

Top 5 Industrial Marketing Trends for 2017


industrial marketing trends
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Guest: Amber Cooleen, Director, Marketing Communications, IEEE GlobalSpec, Engineering 360

Highlights:

  • Listen to the entire IEEE GlobalSpec webinar, Top 5 Industrial Marketing Trends for 2017.  (registration is required)
  • The 5 industrial marketing trends are; diversification of media mix, continued growth of digital spend, increased focus on measurement and ROI, the continued growth of content marketing and email marketing growth/value. [3:15]
  • Amber shares her ideas about digital marketing as a way to gain competitive advantage in your competitive market space. [9:20]

  • The combination of content and digital marketing, you can position your firm as the go-to expert in your space. [12:20]
  • To avoid being labeled as a spammer, communicate with your list about how often they will receive an email or give them a chance to self-select the frequency. And, make sure the content of the email is relevant and useful. [15:15]
  • Opt-in email is the gold standard. You’re list will not be as extensive, but your engagement will be much better. It’s just not a good practice to send emails to people who haven’t said they want to receive it. [19:40]
  • Consider using net contribution as a benchmark for marketing ROI. [23:30]
  • To get meaningful ROI, collaborate with your stakeholders and identify the objectives that are really important to the business and align it with your ROI metrics. [24:30]
  • When it comes to ROI, the first step is to just start shifting the mindset to pay attention to ROI. [28:10]

Interview Questions:

Question 1 – In summary, what are the 5 trends?

Question 2 – Let’s talk about the digital marketing trend towards increasing budgets and increasing effectiveness.  First, Amber, would you tell our audience what the term “digital marketing” refers to in the context of your predictions? And a few examples? Do you think digital marketing is table stakes for industrial companies these days, or is there still an opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage with digital marketing?

Question 3 –  Let’s talk about email marketing, which is a specific type of digital marketing is it not? You cited statistics that 73% of B2B Marketers believe email is core to their business and 65% feel that email is ‘very effective’ or ‘effective’.  I think a lot of the manufacturing marketers out there are a little fearful of being labeled a spammer. How does a marketer balance damaging their reputation with email with effective use of email to engage with the audience? One last email question, do you have a feel for the use of batch and blast enewsletters versus opt-in enewsletters?

Question 4 – Finally, I think it’s interesting that one of the top 5 trends is measurement. Determining true marketing ROI is difficult because it is next to impossible because of multiple campaigns influencing and multiple influencers in the decision process. In fact, you cited research stating that ROI was the #1 objective for B2B marketers in 2016. Why do you think there is a trend towards measuring ROI? Is ROI achievable in a believable way or is it more of a pipe dream?

Challenge Question –  This week our challenge question comes from a Marketing Director at an optical measurement instrument company in Colorado. Here it is “Love the podcast and I finally got up the nerve to send in a challenge questions. We’re a medium size electronic instrument manufacturer with a direct sales team of 6. We’re getting killed by overseas competition who are able to produce pretty good instruments at a lower price. Our features and benefits advertising isn’t enough any more and our leads have dried up.  Help! How do I get started sharing expertise to engage and regain competitive advantage?

  • Lowest price is cited as important or very important, price is not in the top 5 of most critical aspects in choosing a supplier. Take a look at the other characteristics and how your company can differentiate based on the top concerns like reliability and post sales support.
  • Position yourself as a valued resource to your target audience with relevant content to build that relationship on trust and reliability.
  • Know your audience, choose a topic that they care about, build some content around that topic and then distribute it liberally to your target audience.

 

Takeaways:

  • Devoting more budget to online or digital marketing can really give you an big advantage.
  • Start thinking about return on marketing investment means at your organization. Work with a cross section of teams at your company. Go to engineering360.com/advertising for a bunch of great industrial marketing resources.

Transcript

Bruce :
Welcome to the 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. Our guest expert today is Amber Cooleen. Amber is the director of marketing communications at IEEE Global Spec. Welcome Amber.
Amber:
Thank you for having me.
Bruce :
You bet. It’s great to have you on the podcast. This is your second time around.
Amber:
It is.
Bruce :
It’s great to have you back. Folks, our topic today is the top five industrial marketing trends for 2017. This is based on a recent webinar from IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions. It was a webinar that was produced and talked about exactly this, the top five industrial marketing trends for 2017. Before we get started into the discussion Amber, could you please provide our audience with some details about why you decided to hold that webinar?
Amber:
Of course, well, for more than a decade, our company, really we’ve been very focused on producing everything from white papers to research reports, newsletters, webinars, really all sorts of content focused on online marketing for the industrial sector. As a result over the years, we’ve really grown to become a trusted resource for the manufacturers, distributors and service providers that we work with, who are really interested in things like industry trends, best practices and really just that overall guidance to help them be more successful in their marketing efforts and reach their goals.

Given our history of providing this sort of content to an audience of industrial marketers, we often receive questions from our account executives, our product managers and other employees who hear from their clients, things like what’s on the horizon for industrial marketing or what should I be thinking about now to make sure I’m really staying one step head of the competition? As a result, we decided to develop and host this webinar to share with industrial marketers really our key insights on what we expect to be areas of focus for 2017 and really beyond.
Bruce :
Really Amber, what they’re wanting to know is what are my colleagues doing? What are my competitors doing out there for marketing? Is that the case?
Amber:
Exactly. Exactly. It’s what’s going on in the industry and really what do I need to be focused on moving forward to make sure that I am more successful.
Bruce :
Make sure that they keep up.
Amber:
Absolutely.
Bruce :
Okay. Good. This will be interesting. Let’s just go summarize to begin with, what are the five trends?
Amber:
Well, we’ve identified five trends that we feel really are what we call the ones to watch for 2017. Really going down the list, number one is diversification in the media mix. Basically what this is, is it’s the concept of relying on a well-thought-out and comprehensive suite of media sources to incorporate those in your marketing strategies as a way to both reach your audience where they’re looking for information, not only on a time to purchase but at all stages of the buy cycle and also to be able to cut through that, increase the competition for share of voice. Both really, really, really big challenges among the industrial marketers that we talk to.

Second is that continued growth of digital spend. As we all know, digital marketing is nothing new and spending budget on digital is nothing new. We really do expect that to continue its upward growth in the year ahead. After that, what we consider to be our third trend is really an increased focus on measurement in B2B marketing. Believe me, I know it’s every marketer’s favorite topic but we really expect to see industrial marketers giving even more attention to both defining and measuring their ROI in 2017. Our fourth trend was related to something I know is popular among your audience and that’s content marketing. Specifically, how do we expect to see it continue to grow in the year ahead and that’s something we definitely are anticipating to be a huge trend in 2017.

Then, really finally, kind of going back to one of our tried-and-true digital marketing methods, we expect to see the value of email marketing in the industrial space to continue. You might hear sometimes that email is dead. We feel that email is far from dead and it’s going to continue to remain a core component of the industrial marketer’s play book in 2017.
Bruce :
Great, yeah. I agree, all very important trends coming up here. You really can’t miss anyone of them, can you? You got to be hitting all five.
Amber:
Yeah, yeah, I think so.
Bruce :
Folks, I’ll put a link in the show notes to the full webinar, that Amber did on these trends because obviously we can’t dig into all of these during this podcast so I’ll put that link and you can watch it in depth. I’m going to pick a few of them Amber to talk about and first, I’d like to talk about digital marketing, that trend towards increasing budgets and increasing effectiveness so I guess to level set here, Amber could you give our audience a definition of digital marketing as it’s referred to in the context of your predictions?
Amber:
Sure. Really quite simply by the term digital marketing, I’m talking about every channel, every tactic and every bucket of spend that an industrial marketer will employ to reach their target audience online.
Bruce :
Okay, so the offline or non-digital would be things like an ad in a print magazine or a trade show for example?
Amber:
Yeah, print, trade show, direct mail, things like that would be considered offline and really digital encompasses so much. It’s everything from your website, SEO, SEM, social media, online advertising and then things like email marketing and E-newsletters. One of the most compelling examples of really illustrating the digital marketing universe is a piece that Gartner created and it’s called the digital marketing trends map. It does such a good job of illustrating really the challenge that we’re up against. It’s the dozens and dozens of marketing channels, tactics and tools that make up your digital budget. It’s things like I mentioned, like social and search but really, when you look at the piece of the pie that you’re allocating to digital, it can even be things like strategy analytics, creative mobile. I mean, there is just so many different potential components to your digital spend.
Bruce :
Yeah. Yeah and I guess you could even argue or one could argue that everything is digital now, really.
Amber:
Yeah. I mean …
Bruce :
Ultimately, right?
Amber:
I think so. I think so. I mean, it’s funny because even with your traditional channels, when you look at something like a trade show or a direct mail piece that you might be doing, often times, you’re surrounding that traditional spend with digital. If you’re exhibiting at a show, you might send out email or advertise it in newsletters or websites. Same with direct mail. You might do follow up email. I mean, digital really just touches everything.
Bruce :
Yeah, I agree. I still talk to some manufacturers, B2B manufacturers out there who are still primarily doing trade shows and print ads and what do you think about the industrial sector? Do you think digital marketing is table stakes, like you got to be there for industrial companies or is there still a chance to really get a competitive advantage just through digital marketing?
Amber:
Well, can I say both?
Bruce :
Sure, yeah. That’s okay.
Amber:
I really think that industrial marketers need to be online because that’s where their audience is spending a lot of their time, looking for work related content and information. However, I also think there is absolutely a way for companies to gain a competitive advantage. Really, I think digital marketing is really great because it’s so good at leveling the playing field, where every company has an equal shot to be seen and to have their voice heard more so than our more traditional offline channels. I would highly recommend for someone who is looking to incorporate more channels, digital channels into their marketing mix, really putting together a strategy that includes both frequency and reach.

If you can put together a plan that gives you exposure, not just in one channel because that’s not going to help you build a successful strategy but really using multiple channels that your audience looks to throughout the buy cycle and then you not only do that but you also consistently maintain that exposure. You’re really putting yourself in a position to gain a competitive advantage.
Bruce :
Yeah, I agree and that goes back, I think your first trend was using multiple channels or media diversification.
Amber:
Yeah. It really all ties so closely together and just with the evolution of the digital landscape in recent years, it used to be … you could have a website and maybe run a banner here and there and that could be the extent of your digital mix and it was successful. It’s not really the case anymore with the amount of channels that are out there and the amount of channels that engineers are really relying on to find work related content, you have to increase that exposure beyond just a limited set of channels to ensure that you’re getting your name and your message out there in so many different ways.
Bruce :
Yeah, it’s hard. You harken back to the old … in the 1990s, right, where there was a banner. I think I read the other day, a banner ad, the first one got like a 74% click-through rate.
Amber:
Yes. Yes and now …
Bruce :
Now, you have banner blindness, right?
Amber:
Right, right, yeah. If you get any sort of click-through rate, that’s above like, I think it’s, what, 0.08% is now the average. Anything above that.
Bruce :
That’s right. Happy to get a 10 above percent, yeah.
Amber:
Yeah, you’re doing great.
Bruce :
Yeah, that’s the world. Yeah, I agree. I think, I would say both as well as far as the answer to the question so I’m glad you said that. It is table stakes but the good news for manufacturers is that there is still room to edge out your competition with a comprehensive well-thought-out strategic digital marketing plan.
Amber:
Definitely and I really just want to mention, I think the other critical component for that is content. You really want to be able to create content that draws your audience in and that it does … that go so far in terms of giving you that competitive advantage because you can position yourself really as an industry expert and thought leader so you’re just someone to buy product from but you’re someone who can be there as a partner and as a guide to help you with any sort of work related challenges you may have.
Bruce :
Absolutely. Absolutely, and specially for manufacturers because most manufacturers are … if they’re doing digital marketing, they’re saying, here is my product, here is my company, here is my features, which is fine. That’s okay but you can do so much better with what Amber just said. You can do so much better by sharing useful, helpful content about your audience. Great point Amber.
Amber:
Thank you.
Bruce :
Well, let’s talk a little about email marketing and I’ve heard that too. I’ve heard that email is dead and I don’t believe it but of course email is a specific type of digital marketing and the research or in the prediction you cited statistics that said 73% of B2B marketers believe email is core to their business and 65% said it’s either very effective or effective. I think a lot of manufacturing marketers out there, that I’ve talked to anyways, marketers are kind of afraid of email because they don’t want to be labeled as a spammer, which is the … I call it the old style batch and blast emails. How does a marketer do that? How do you balance that probability or possibility of damaging your reputation by becoming a spammer? How do you balance that with using email effectively to engage with your target audience?
Amber:
Well, I think that’s a really, really, really good question and before I answer that, I do want to say, when I talk about email marketing, I don’t just mean the emails you send to your own house list but it can even be things like list rental or E-newsletters because I feel like those all kind of fell underneath that overall email umbrella. I do understand, it really is a balancing act because you want to use email to build relationships with potential buyers and do that and be in front of them and get their attention while at the same time you don’t want to annoy them and have you be seen as a spammer like you said. I really think there is just a few things you can do. First of all, I think the most important thing is to really understand from your audience, the frequency of communication that they’re looking for. There is a couple of ways you can do this.

You can ask your subscribers or your clients, their preferred frequency so when you receive an email address from someone, get some insight into how often they want to be communicated with or at the get-go once you collect their email address, give them parameters on how often you will communicate with them because you’re setting expectations right up front and making less likely that people are going to be surprised or blindsided by the frequency in which you’re communicating with them. If that’s not an option, another thing that we’ve actually done in the past to be … and it’s proven to be very successful for us is we’ve done a lot of testing and data analysis.

We’ve taken a look, we’ve taken a very, very detailed look at our historical email data so that the timing of the email, the time of day and how the emails were spaced apart and then, we look at things like opens, click-through rate, and unsubscribes. To be able to determine that sweet spot where we get maximum engagement, so we see a strong open and click through rate number, while at the same time, we’re not seeing very many unsubscribes because that ensures that you’re communicating with them at the pace and the frequency that they’re looking for. Then, I think the other piece of that really is giving them content that matters to them. It all goes back to content, really.

If you’re sending your audience content that they find to be useful and relevant to them, they’re going to be far more likely to open and engage with your emails and less likely to think, “Oh this is junk. I don’t want to read this, I’m going to unsubscribe.” On the other hand, if you’re really just barraging them with sales focused content every turn, your email marketing efforts aren’t going to go far with building your reputation. Then, I think it goes without saying finally to prevent yourself from being labeled as spammer, make sure you aren’t spamming your audience. Really, is your list opt in? Are you processing unsubscribes in a timely manner so you’re not hitting people who don’t want your communications?

Even things like if you have an email service provider, are you following their guidelines and best practices for email? I mean, there is a lot you can do to make sure that your communications are on the up and up to begin with and then, with frequency and content, you can ensure that you’re really giving them what they’re looking for.
Bruce :
Yeah, that’s all great advice, great advice and I remember when, it was probably seven years ago and I was working for a company and we just brought in Eloqua for the marketing automation and before that, we were doing big time batch and blast. Didn’t even keep track of our unsubscribes. It was horrible.
Amber:
Yeah.
Bruce :
I asked the Eloqua, the account manage, I said, “Okay, we want to be better at email and how often should we send emails?” He came back and said, “Well, the only thing you really have to worry about is that your emails are relevant. As long as they’re relevant to your audience, you can send as many as you want.” Now, I don’t know, about as many as you want.
Amber:
Right.
Bruce :
I think that’s true, don’t you Amber? That as long as … think about on the receiving end, if I’m getting emails and I’ve opted in and they’re relevant, if I get them once a day, or once a week, I’m glad to get them.
Amber:
Absolutely, absolutely. I think relevance is huge like I had mentioned just content that matters. I think that there are certain emails that we all look forward to receiving even if they are in a daily basis because they have something that we find to be useful and valuable to us. I think there is also a lot of people that you’re like, “Ah, not again,” and you’re deleting them out.
Bruce :
Yeah. Yeah, we all see them both. An example that I have, I’m an avid road biker and I opted into a site called Performance Bike. I get those emails everyday and I am happy to get them because it’s a hobby.
Amber:
There you go.
Bruce :
Yeah. It’s relevant. Once last question about email, Amber. I know there is still some marketers out there in manufacturing who do blast their whole list and let’s talk about that a little bit, the power or the difference between batch and blast to your whole house list versus asking them to opt in. In other words, not sending an email unless they do opt in.
Amber:
Yeah, I mean, I really think obviously opt in E-newsletters are what I consider to be the gold standard, right? I mean, whether it’s your own in-house email newsletter, communications that you want to send to your clients and prospects or if you’re looking to advertise in a third party E-newsletter, you want to make sure that you’re communicating with someone who actually wants to get what you have to offer and that they’re interested in your message because really, your list might not be as extensive in going through an opt in process versus a batch and blast but at least, you’re going to have more success and more results from that communication. Really, I mean, I would highly, highly recommend that opt in is the way to go. Really, that’s what see is being most successful for us and there is no use in sending communication to someone who doesn’t want to receive it.
Bruce :
Absolutely and I’ve tested it over and over with clients and anytime we send a batch email, even if it’s relevant content, we might get two or three percent click-through rate but same email to people who have opted in as long as again, it’s relevant, we get a click-through rate of 15 to 20 percent and I think that’s pretty consistent between batch and blast and opt in. Well, finally Amber, I think it’s interesting that one of the top five trends is measurement because determining return on investment, it’s tricky and some would even say, it’s impossible because you’ve got multiple campaigns influencing, you’ve got multiple influences in the decision process.

In fact, in the research, you cited that ROI was the number one objective for B2B marketers in 2016. Why do you think there is trend towards measuring ROI? I would think there might be more people saying, I just can’t do it than there is people moving towards it. What are your thoughts on that?
Amber:
Yeah. ROI really, really is a huge priority for industrial B2B marketers and quite frankly, I think of huge source of many headaches for industrial B2B marketers and there is a number of reasons for that. I mean, marketing budgets overall and really overall company budgets have gotten tighter. What you’re spending is often under more scrutiny by the C-suite than it was in the past. You as a marketer want to show the value of the marketing dollars that you’re spending. Then, the other part is that double edged sword of the growth in digital media. Really with the influx of online channels, what comes with that is an increased stability to really measure your efforts. Being able to demonstrate and show metrics and analytics for your campaigns is no longer the exception but the rule. Both of those key pieces have really pushed the envelope more and more toward identifying and measuring and calculating and communicating ROI.
Bruce :
Yeah, ROI can be tricky and I think a lot of times, marketers take it a lot further than it needs to go, as far as the attribution models and all those things and one idea I’ll offer up to the audience is kind of a quick and dirty way to measure your ROI is to look at your net contribution so if you take your total revenue number, you subtract your cost of marketing and divide it by your total revenue number, I think that’s it. It gives you a net contribution number. It’s not a two contribution granted but what you can do is look for trends because it takes into account the revenue and the cost of the marketing and you can look at that trend and you want to see that increasing overall.

It’s kind of an easy way to get a trend on your ROI. Last question about ROI Amber, can you get ROI in a believable meaningful way or is it still like a pipe dream, like John Wanamaker said in 1890s that I know I’m wasting half my marketing budget, I don’t know which half, where are we?
Amber:
Well, I really think ROI is absolutely achievable but it does take some work and I think there is a couple of pieces to that. First of all, you really need to define what marketing success means to you and to your organization. I would recommend that instead of this being done in a bubble, you really want to work hand in hand with your sales leaders, your customer care leaders and your marketing leaders to come up to an agreed upon standard in terms of what measures marketing success, where are you looking to be when it comes to return on investment? What do you care about most for your marketing efforts? Kind of hand in hand with this, you want to make sure that your efforts to measure ROI really align with the overall goals of your company. What is your company looking to achieve?

What are your overall organizational goals and then make sure that what you’re measuring goes hand in hand with that. Then, the second piece of that is defining ROI in a way that aligns with the capabilities of your business. I know that there was a study connected by Salesforce and they showed the top five metrics for digital marketing success. At the top of the list was revenue growth. Of course, don’t we all want to be able to tie the work we’re doing into revenue growth? I mean, it’s a very, very, very good thing. It’s also not always very easy to do and there is a number of reasons for that. I mean, sometimes you have system limitations. Sometimes because the person who may recommend or evaluate a product is not the person who purchased it.

Sometimes your buy cycle might be very, very long and it’s just hard to keep track of the marketing engagement throughout it. It’s a challenge. It’s a real challenge and I think you can even add into that that there are certain pieces tied to revenue growth that have nothing to do with marketing and you can generate the leads and the opportunities but really the second piece of it is once you have that hand off, what happens to them. It really ensure, I think you can make great strides towards measuring your return on investment by determining what are my overall goals of the company and what am I capable of measuring and I think that that can help build the foundation for an ROI program.
Bruce :
Interesting. Yeah, I think it’s definitely doable too and I bet there is a question amongst our audience. I bet they’re wondering, well, I don’t have fancy tools and I don’t have a marketing automation or a CRM, can I still do ROI? What do you think about that Amber?
Amber:
I think so. I mean, I do agree that not everything … I mean, not everyone has a marketing automation system. I agree with you or other systems or IT resources in place to help you get to that but it could even be something as simple as tracking through a spreadsheet that if you bring in a lead and if you’re communicating well with sales, you might be able work with them to track the progress of that lead and that can help … it might not give you the complete picture but it can at least give you a start in terms of determining what your ROI is.
Bruce :
Yeah, I agree. I think the important point what you just said, in my opinion Amber is to get started. Just start thinking about it. That’s really the first step, right? Just thinking about when you spend money on a marketing activity, how are you going to measure the effectiveness or the return?
Amber:
Right, absolutely and I did focus a lot on revenue growth but it doesn’t necessarily have to be solely about revenue growth, you might want to look at things like customer retention or awareness in the marketplace. Again, going back to your company’s overall goals, what matters to your organization as a whole. That can really help to drive what you’re going to be focused on in your marketing efforts.
Bruce :
That was a great discussion about those trends. Thanks for sharing that Amber.
Amber:
Sure my pleasure.
Bruce :
That brings us to the second part of our show, our challenge question. Folks if you want to send in a question for our guest expert, you can just email it to me. It’s bruce@mmmatters.com or you can hashtag it on Twitter at mfgmarketing but send them in. I’m always happy to share your questions with our guest expert and we usually get some really good insight for you. This week, our challenge question comes from a marketing director at an optical measurement instrument company in Colorado. By the way folks, usually these are anonymous so you don’t have to worry about embarrassing your CEO or your company. We make them anonymous. Here is the question Amber.

Love the podcast and I finally got up the nerve to send in a challenge question. We are a medium sized electronic instrument manufacturer, with a direct sales team of six, we’re getting killed by overseas competition who are able to produce pretty good instruments at a lower price. Our features and benefits advertising isn’t enough anymore and our leads have dried up. Help! How do I get started sharing expertise to engage and regain competitive advantage? What do you think Amber?
Amber:
That is a good question. I’d like this marketing director to know that they certainly aren’t alone from what I hear. I know it feels like such a struggle to compete against price but really, price isn’t the only thing that matters. Earlier this year, we conduct … Each year, we conduct a number of research studies, where we talk to engineers and technical professionals and get their feedback on a number of topics. One of the things we did earlier this year was we did an industrial buy cycle survey. One of the really, really, really interesting take aways that we found is while lowest was cited as either important or very important by about two thirds of respondents which makes sense, it wasn’t at the top of the list for a critical supplier characteristics.

In fact, it wasn’t even in the top five. Instead, I know, I was really very surprised to see that as well. Instead it was qualities like technical support, delivery, availability and after sale customer service, that scored much higher on the list of importance. I found that to be really interesting and really a good way to think about your marketing efforts and what you’re focusing on in your features and benefits advertising. Really maybe your first step is to take a look at these characteristics and think about them and how your company can portray these qualities to differentiate you from your competitors so maybe that’s one point. Really looking at things that matter even more than price to your potential buyers and focusing on them.

Then, the second part of the equation is really again, going back to content marketing. Taking the steps to position yourself not just as a vendor but as a thought leader industry expert or really a valued partner to your buyers. This is where the whole concept of content marketing comes in because your buyers are hungry for content and they rely on this content at every stage of the buy cycle. If you can create that relevant content for your potential buyers, that really puts you as a valued resource for your audience and then you can promote it out through the different channels that both decision makers and influencers are relying on throughout the process.

You can really build that trust and that relationship with potential buyers which helps to make the whole sales process more efficient because they turn to you and look to you as not only a vendor but a resource and it really raises the overall perception of your brand. It’s funny because when I say all these thing, I know it’s easier said than done and I get that. Really, you don’t have to necessarily go it alone. I mean, there is a lot of your media partners, I’m sure would be happy to work with you to develop and execute more of a content focused strategy combined with features and benefits strategy that aligns with those critical supplier characteristics to help you meet your overall marketing goals.
Bruce :
Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely, that’s a great answer, Amber and I’m going to zero in on what you said at the end, that goes to reliability and trust. If you think about your … you’ve got a customer out there who doesn’t understand that there is a difference between your company and the one overseas that’s cheaper. When they don’t understand that there is a difference, they’re going to go to lowest price, it’s that simple but when you start educating them with content … Well, first, let me back up. Step number one, you have to know your audience, you have to understand what problems they have. Once you do that, you help them solve the problems and you start to begin that relationship so you’ve got a company that’s …

You’re solving their problems and you’ve got another company that just sells at lower price, you’re probably going to be willing to pay a little more for that one that helped you solve your problem because you think, “Well, they know what they’re doing and I can trust them and if something goes wrong, they’re going to fix it.” As Amber said, it’s about building that position by sharing content and by distributing that content. That’s how you get started. First, understand your audience, pick a topic or something that you can help them with, build some content that addresses that problem and then just distribute it. Just those four steps will get you started towards getting that position. Did you have a follow up Amber or should we go on to the takeaways?
Amber:
No, I would totally agree with you. You look at companies that you buy for personnel purposes and I always go back to … if I want to buy shoes, I can go to a million different places to buy shoes and I can buy very inexpensive shoes or I can buy very expensive shoes but a lot of times I go to Zappos and it’s because I don’t know if I’m getting the best price. I mean, I guess I could do additional research to see if it really is the lowest price on a pair of sneakers or dress shoes. It’s really that trusted partner, that if I know if I have any sort of an issue or question, I know I can call someone and someone will be there to help me. That trust that you build with a potential buyer often supersedes price.

I do think that looking beyond just a price to price comparison and thinking about all the other great qualities that your company has to offer will help you go a long way.
Bruce :
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Let’s go ahead and wrap up with the takeaways Amber. I always ask our guest experts to share one or two takeaways for our audience and it can be re-emphasizing something we’ve already talked about or it could be a couple of new nuggets you want to leave with the audience and what do you have today for takeaways Amber?
Amber:
Well, my first takeaway for your listeners is to … as we’re moving into 2017, to remember that devoting more budget to your online marketing can really equal more opportunity for you. To get in front of your target audience, to engage with and influence them and to really put yourself as a potential candidate into the buying process. Now, digital marketing is great at doing that but the flip side of that is that there is also more competition for your audience’s attention because more and more companies are moving themselves online. Really, I want to encourage people to really take a close look at how you can diversify your marketing spend while ensuring a consistent and cohesive presence among the channels your audience uses.

I know given just the pure quantity of channels available, it can be so overwhelming to put together that successful media mix. Really, think about the media partners that you work with, tap into their expertise and guidance and work to build a program that fits your marketing goals and really works for you. Then, my second takeaway is, and I’m sure this one will be very popular but if you haven’t already, really, really start thinking about what return on marketing investment means to you and your organization, because we all know ROI is huge and we all know everybody cares about it and if your management team doesn’t care about it now they probably will start caring about it soon. Yeah. Absolutely.

The measurements that matter vary from one organization to the next so don’t think that your definition of ROI needs to be every other company’s definition of ROI. For 2017 and beyond, I challenge you to work with a cross-functional team of decision makers across your organization and that can be again, sales, marketing, perhaps even finance and your CEO, to define … Yeah, absolutely, define what matters to you and what means marketing success because if you’re all on the same page, when the time comes, where somebody is wondering what return they’re getting from the marketing investment, you’ll be able to paint that picture for them.
Bruce :
Two great takeaways. Thanks Amber.
Amber:
Thank you.
Bruce :
Folks, I’m going to go ahead and we’re going to wrap up here with Amber. Before we do, would you have anything you’d like to share about yourself or your company, with your audience?
Amber:
I guess the only thing I would like to share in addition to thanking you for having me on today. I really enjoy being part of these podcasts. I would really … if you’re interested in learning more about industrial marketing specially in the online marketing for the industrial sector, I encourage you to visit our site. If you go to engineering360.com/advertising, there we have a full library of industrial marketing insights and intelligence and a number of valuable resources that can really help you optimize your marketing programs. They’re completely free to access.

All you need to do, you can download them. Download the PDFs and read them at your leisure and I know that we have hundreds and hundreds of industrial marketers who found value in them and then again, I would like to say if you want to check out the on demand presentation of our 2017 Marketing Trends webinar and that’s the webinar that these trends are based on, I would direct you to Bruce’s Manufacturing Marketing Matters podcast page and click on the link there.
Bruce :
Great. Thanks, Amber and folks, I’ll put all those links in the show notes for the slash advertising and the research and I encourage you to check it out, engineering360.com, some really great resources and this is just not stuff that’s theoretical. This is stuff that’s working in the field so check it out. Well, thanks again, Amber. It was great to have you on the show.
Amber:
Thank you so much.
Bruce :
That was Amber Cooleen, director of marketing communications at IEEE Global Spec Engineering360. For more information about Amber and her company, you can check out the show notes at mmmatters.com/podcast. Finally, don’t forget to check out that free sweet spot topic workshop we’re offering for our podcast listeners. It helps you find that sweet spot topic to start engaging with your target audience. Just go to mmmatters.com/topic-workshop. Thanks for listening to Manufacturing Marketing Matters. If you find this podcast helpful and useful, please subscribe at iTunes or stitcher.com. You can download this episode of MM Matters and get the show notes and learn more about the podcast at mmmatters.com. I’m Bruce McDuffee. Now, let’s go out and advance the practice of marketing and manufacturing today.

 

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