For most marketers, your sales cycle begins with a target audience. Your marketing team engages and filters that audience to get prospects and then qualified leads. The sales teams work the leads until they get a sale or a lost opportunity.
Engineers begin with a problem. They typically search the Internet to find application solutions to similar problems. It’s times like these that you hope they will find your product, either on your web site, in a white paper or as a customer case study. In this happy scenario, the engineer contacts your company to confirm that your product meets their application. Many of you already have “search friendly” application stories that will allow engineers to find you.
But many times the engineer’s search is fruitless. Perhaps they can’t find your solution, or maybe the application story you tell isn’t close enough to their problem. Sometimes the cost in time and effort is too great to meet their requirements. In these instances, the engineer’s problem doesn’t go away. It lies dormant until an event happens that makes your product a better match. Those events could be an increased urgency for a fix or a new product you introduce that better meets their requirements.
If you can economically connect with an engineer at their time of search with “problem – solution” style content, your company becomes one of the places they will turn when the problem becomes urgent. That’s why so many marketing departments are becoming publishers rather than traditional campaign marketers.
Most companies that engage in content marketing through blogs, white papers and videos rate these activities as critical to their success. And even with challenging budgets they are putting more money into these activities. Perhaps the reason it works is because these approaches better match the engineers’ buying cycle.