Most marketers agree that content marketing and social media have become mainstream B2B marketing strategies. Nine out of ten B2B marketers are now using content marketing to grow their businesses, according to the recent study released by MarketingProfs and Junta42|Content Marketing Institute.
The reason for not using content marketing that I hear most often from my industrial clients is “we don’t have and/or can’t produce enough content that our customers (engineering, technical and manufacturing professionals) will find valuable.”
This is a problem across the board for B2B marketers as reported by the same study – the largest challenge is “producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers” (36% of respondents). One-fifth say that “producing enough content” (21%) and “budget to produce content” (19%) are their greatest challenge in content marketing.
It is very refreshing then to find an engineering company like Texas Instruments (TI) successfully use content and social marketing to reach and engage with over 10,000 design engineers and customers. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, TI is a global company that develops analog, digital signal processing, RF and DLP® semiconductor technologies used in consumer and industrial electronics products.
TI just didn’t set out to adopt a content marketing strategy and use social media marketing because everyone else is doing them or that they are the hottest (coolest?) B2B marketing tactics to use right now. No, they approached social marketing by first understanding how design engineers (their target audience) depend on the Web and its evolving social nature to help them do their everyday jobs better. TI then balanced that with their business and marketing objectives to formulate their content and social marketing strategy.
The focus definitely was on what their target audience needed and not just exploiting social media in an effort to generate more leads and sales.
Their first step was implementing the TI E2E™ Community (TI Engineer to Engineer Community) with a focus on creating value by connecting engineers to engineers (both customer and TI engineers) with the primary purpose of delivering design support.
TI’s director of global Internet marketing, Devashish Saxena in an interview on ZDNet had this to say, “We identified forums, video and blogs as the three legs of this community. Forums are pretty self-explanatory, w/ videos and blogs the idea is to develop tricks and tips, design help content – our motto: “peer-to-peer over a beer” [stolen with acknowledgment from the Microsoft Channel 9 guys]!”
What drove TI to adopt content and social marketing? Saxena answered, “Customers and our marketing strategies are the two biggest drivers. Lead generation and conversion is a huge consideration. Everything we do is measured by engagement and conversion to revenue.”
Results: 10,000 registered members (as of March 2009) – over 80 percent of them are customers.
Here’s a video I found on Vimeo where Devashish explains how Texas Instruments’ E2E Community is driving engagement with its target audience.
Engineers have fun too
It’s not business all the time. TI produced a series of entertaining videos called Thank an Engineer. These fun videos help us appreciate engineering innovations like GPS, remote controls and wireless handsets while TI salutes engineers for their ingenuity and passion.
The results produced by these videos are no laughing matter. Amber Pizano, the Video Marketing Manager at TI, posted the company’s objectives and the results achieved on Social Media B2B blog.
- Show design engineers that TI “gets” them
- TI appreciates their role in bringing today’s innovations to all of us
- Build brand loyalty
- View multiple “thank an engineer” videos
- Forward video link to a peer or friend
- View system block diagrams or other ti.com portal pages
- Share stories regarding engineering innovations on TI’s community forum
Results: (as of March 2009)
- 176K Conversions: 151K video views and the 25K “further actions” people took from the landing page to other areas on ti.com
- People spend an average of 4.21 minutes on the page indicating a deep level of engagement and watching multiple videos
Here’s the Thank an Engineer video for GPS. You can find more videos at TI’s Thank an Engineer site.
Do you have a content and/or social marketing success story to share?