Breaking Down the CMI Manufacturing Content Marketing Report
Manufacturing is unique. So, it makes sense that manufacturers have content marketing practices that set them apart from other industries. Even within the general B2B category, manufacturers tend to employ different tactics. The Content Marketing Institute recently released its annual B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Report, which was sponsored by Fathom Digital Marketing in Valley View, OH. The report corroborates the idea that manufacturing marketing differs from the marketing tactics of its B2B counterparts. The question it poses is this—which variations from the norm are warranted and which are detrimental?
Some of the more innocuous differences the report found include an emphasis on YouTube and LinkedIn, higher use of videos as a content medium, and brand awareness as a top goal of content marketing efforts. But, lower perceived effectiveness, a lack of strategy, and an overall disconnect between tactics and results are harming manufacturers’ marketing initiatives. In fact, as shown in the table below, industrial marketing is almost uniformly underperforming when compared to the general B2B results.
Some other influential findings from the report include:
1. 82% of manufacturing marketers use content marketing
2. Only 26% of those using content marketing feel its effective
3. Of those with perceived effective content marketing, 53% follow a documented strategy
4. 25% of manufacturers practicing content marketing have no strategy at all
5. 89% say brand awareness is a top marketing goal, while 85% feel that sales is a priority
6. 62% of manufacturing marketers struggle with producing engaging content
7. 47% expected to increase their content marketing budgets
Compared to last year’s report, tying content marketing to sales is becoming increasingly important for manufacturing marketers. Unfortunately, this directly contradicts this year’s finding that manufacturing marketers have the hardest time measuring the effectiveness and ROI of content marketing. It makes sense that manufacturers want to tie their efforts to money made. After all, who doesn’t want to know that their hard work is paying off? But, with the issues presented above, this could be a formidable task. Content marketing is still worth it to manufacturing marketers, though. In fact, it is invaluable.
Instead of giving up on content marketing, manufacturers should make strategic changes to the way they approach it. Firstly, closely following a documented strategy is the first and most important step to successful content marketing. That way, content is created and distributed with targeted purpose. At the end of a quarterly or yearly strategy you can easily look back and see what worked and what didn’t—and model your future strategy with awareness of what brings success. As for tying marketing efforts to sales, the answer is actually rather simple. Implement an automated lead nurturing strategy. A customer relationship management, or CRM, system can easily track digital leads through the entire sales funnel.
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