Premise: Industrial marketing content was designed as Sales' Collateral. "Leave behind" technical data so the potential customer calls the sales person for details and then enters the sales' funnel.
Online, we believe data needs to be Stand Alone.
Searchable, readable and understandable on its own. And visual.
The following thread was started and edited by Tom Lee of Great Northern Products. It’s a conversation between me (JH), Tom and Achinta Mitra about the value of Stand Alone online collateral.
JH: We have heard that increasingly Industrial Marketers are frustrated with their online marketing approach. Paying for directory listings and pushing email and banners is not as successful as it once was. Google's Panda update took a lot of the value from directory listings and superior filtering means that most email and banners don't get seen.
Accordingly, many industrial marketers we are talking to have turned some of their budget to inbound marketing, an area where few have expertise. That's where your Stand Alone rules of online content would apply for those that are willing to stop shilling and start sharing. An additional challenge they face is that inbound marketing requires a large audience to see the content since relatively few will engage right away.
That may be why many industrial marketers are creating themed content series, such as blogs, that seek to build an audience of prospects over time. That doesn't come naturally to a community that has been bottom-of-the-funnel lead driven. Does that connect with your experiences?
TL: Concur, the issues is not to transition to one or the other but to be able to wage war on multiple fronts. The English term DualStreet refers to "a property with frontage on two streets" and this has been our mantra. Not to drop and go in another direction but to augment physical distribution with digital presence. Unfortunately their marketing content is not readily transferable as it is not stand alone.
AM: Both of you have made very valid points. Let me add two points to the discussion:
I’m beginning to make some headway with industrial clients when I show them their site analytics -- at least for the few who have upgraded to Web 2.0 ;-). It does sink in when they realize how a bulk of their visitors leave right after visiting the Home page without taking any action. Probably for the first time, they accept the fact that need to do something different in order not to lose those first-time visitors forever. They get a better appreciation for adding helpful content as a way to encourage bookmarking for future visits when those visitors are more “sales ready.”
TL: Point 1 is our experience too Achinta, as most Industrial website owners are not schooled in metrics.
Some, sadly, have never seen a traffic/metrics report. Literally.
Achinta Point 2)
Another issue is the fact that successful inbound marketing requires prospects to be actively searching for solutions to their problems. That is not always the case in the industrial sector for a variety of reasons.
IMO, relying solely on inbound marketing and completely ignoring traditional marketing may prove to be costly for manufacturers and engineering companies. I’ve written a blog post on this topic titled, “Inbound Marketing Alone May Not Be Enough for Industrial Companies.”
Would love to hear your thoughts.
TL: I concur with Achinta's "actively" reference as a cornerstone to much.
One of the other reasons Industrial web marketing has been ineffective - old content.
Something now too painful or expensive to update. Plus if it has been ineffective there is no logic internally to fund more development.
We are not in the web development/marketing business except for our own properties, but whenever we are asked we tell people they must have direct control over content management
(internal CMS) so they embrace and are capable of updating regularly.
Think this is a reason Wordpress has won so much favor, its not just for Blogs anymore.
Marketing battles must be waged on multiple fronts, marketing content needs to be fresh and relevant. Seems basic enough :-)