“What works for your other clients?” is a question we are frequently asked by clients, prospects and other partner agencies. And although it seems like a straightforward question, I’m always struggling with how to answer it – not because we don’t know what’s working for other clients, but rather every client is in a different point in their growth journey, with distinct objectives, budgets, resources and offerings. And just because a campaign is working for one client, doesn’t necessarily mean following the same steps will lead to similar results.
However, there are common themes we’re seeing that tend to produce superior results across our client base. And so, here are the three themes, or “secrets,” that you should consider in your marketing program:
Customer Discovery for Industrial Firms and Manufacturers
We’re seeing a direct correlation between industrial clients that have an ongoing Voice of the Customer research program and Marketing success. What’s interesting is that the levels of sophistication of the Voice of the Customer programs vary but they have an impact on Marketing outcomes.Intuitively it makes sense. The quality and depth of a company’s insight into their customers’ businesses – including company and category challenges, short and long-term growth objectives, and buying journey – help ensure industrial and manufacturing marketing leaders are making wise decisions.
While some industrial and manufacturing leaders view all this opinion-sharing and advice-giving as bothersome, intrusive or even risky, savvy individuals see vast potential. There’s also another benefit we’re seeing for companies that perform this type of research – increased engagement.
“collecting customer feedback can increase upselling and cross-selling success rates by 15% to 20%.” – Gartner Research
This is especially accurate when customers feel their insight matters (positive and negative) and can help improve your marketing, sales and service operations or refine your R&D approach.
Content Development Approach for Industrial Firms and Manufacturers
Creating valuable content for a target audience is an excellent (and profitable) long-term, sustainable customer relationship strategy for many manufacturers and industrial firms. But just as it is important – it’s also just as challenging. In fact, a recent report from Forrester Marketing states that 50 percent of B2B content marketing goes unread! Read that again – it’s not that it isn’t effective, it’s that it’s not being consumed. The question of how to create valuable, relevant content is top of mind of leading businesses and marketing executives.
We’re seeing industrial firms that focus on one objective – how to get their customers promoted and favorably recognized by their peers – as having the more successful content marketing programs.
How are they doing this? They are focused on several functions:
Company’s Product Development and Support Teams
Who are the people within your organization that deeply understand your products, their nuances and how they help specific markets and/or applications? Who are your company’s product champions? The ones involved in designing, engineering and identifying product enhancements? This cross-section of people is a great place to start your content strategy as they are the ones who will uniquely understand the current and future needs of your customers. And this is the type of valuable content that your customers crave and will help create profitable relationships.
Company’s Channel Partners and Supply Chain Partners
If your business goes to market through an indirect channel, consider asking these front-line folks how your customers are interacting with your offering and your competitors’ offerings and what overall business challenges are your end-customers experiencing? These inputs are a fantastic resource for content ideas.
Alongside your product champions is the product support and service team – the folks that hear and see the solution shortfalls and are in tune with creative ways customers are using your products to solve their challenges and under what “uncommon” circumstances. All of these insights are great content – especially valuable for your customers and their ambition to grow within their companies and careers
Company’s Most Knowledgeable Customers
Who are your most knowledgeable customers? Sometimes these customers may even know more about your products than your own internal teams. These customers have a sincere interest in helping your business succeed – and while they may expect better service and performance than your other customers, they will also work with you to help ensure you get things right. This component should be the biggest slice of content ideas and the one you invest the most amount of time exploring.
Although not all of these segments may be right for every industrial firm, focusing on them will likely significantly improve your content program effectiveness.
Marketing Technology to Drive Efficiency for Industrial Firms and Manufacturers
Did you know there are more than 6800 different marketing technology solutions? (An increase in 27% from just last year!) As a marketing leader for a manufacturing or industrial firm, a key responsibility is building your foundation and systems to help successfully scale your activities.
So which marketing-related technologies are the leading industrial and manufacturing firms using? Although this is by no means every solution we see, here is a list of the ones we are coming across more frequently than ever (if you’re looking to evaluate any of these, check out g2crowd.com):
Website Security and Performance
Sales and Business Development
Hopefully these ideas will stimulate your thinking on how to improve your industrial manufacturing company’s marketing program. Questions about this article? Contact us.