Manufacturing Marketing Trends For 2021

The interim report for the Marketing in Manufacturing Survey shows that 68% of industrial businesses now consider marketing to be a ‘high priority’. 

Content marketing in the manufacturing and engineering industry is on the rise. CMI found a 20% increase in documented content marketing strategies in engineering and manufacturing businesses this year compared to last. With 84% of industrial businesses believing their marketing budget will stay the same or increase next year, it’s clear that marketing in this industry will continue to grow despite the problems it has faced in 2020.

Top manufacturing marketing challenges

B2B buyers now spend as little as 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers (Gartner). Today’s buyers are bright and have access to online information 24/7. They want to self-educate and don’t want to speak to salespeople until they are ready to do so.

That makes it incredibly difficult for you to get in front of your target buyers.

If your business isn’t being found for relevant, useful content that answers common user questions, you’re being outmanoeuvred by the many that are. These stats really speak for themselves:

  • B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost three times more traffic than those blogging between 0 and 1 times a month (HubSpot).
  • Credibility/trust built through content marketing has increased from 66% to 74% this year (CMI).
  • Loyalty with existing client base has increased from 51% to 65% in the past year due to content marketing (CMI).
  • Regular written content has been voted in the top three most successful marketing strategies by manufacturers in the marketing in manufacturing survey.

Creating content that appeals to the many levels and roles within the target audience is another challenge. Each piece of content needs to have a clear persona in mind, meaning that there needs to be specific content for each persona at different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Not only that but you need to be aware of where you are publishing this information and in what format.

It sounds like a lot to think about, right?

Targeting the right audiences and creating enough high-quality content were both listed in the top three marketing challenges for engineers and manufacturers, along with realising ROI from marketing activities (Marketing in Manufacturing Survey).

In fact, only 16% of manufacturers feel fully confident that their marketing is helping them meet their business objectives. While there is clearly a desire from industrial businesses to invest more in marketing, there is also a need for support and consultancy to help generate closed-loop reporting and regular, detailed thought leadership content.

This is perhaps why 64% of manufacturing companies outsource at least one marketing activity (CMI). Of those who do outsource content creation, 61% found it a challenge to find partners with adequate topic expertise. This is why it is so important to be selective with who writes your content, as poor content creation can have an adverse effect.

So what kind of content should you be creating for your audience?

In a recent study, TREW Marketing found that among the top rated assets for valuable content were datasheets, case studies, demo videos and whitepapers, all of which can be difficult and time consuming for the marketing department to create.

Content marketing for manufacturers

Effective content marketing is no easy feat. If you want to create really insightful content that your target audience find valuable and interesting, you need to do your due diligence before you get to work.

Firstly, you need your buyer personas nailed down. This will help you with the positioning, messaging and distribution of your content.

Next, you need to think about what your personas are researching and how you can get your content in front of them to begin building that relationship of trust with your brand. This will involve a vast amount of industry knowledge and extensive keyword research.  

To conclude

Engineers and Manufacturers spend a lot of time looking for content online. In fact, a recent survey found that 73% of respondents are willing to view three or more pages of search results before selecting a result or starting a new search. With this new buyer behaviour, engineering and manufacturing companies that are putting their content out on a number of sources are far more likely to be found and stay front of mind - ready for when the buyer is ready to convert.

So, what other manufacturing marketing trends should you be keeping your eye on for 2021?

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So, what is content marketing and why is it so important?

Content marketing consists of marketing collateral such as blogs, videos and social media posts which does not explicitly promote a brand, but instead provides valuable information and promotes interest in the products or services of the company.

Consistent, relevant content creation positions your business as a leader in your field and helps you to build on trust and the relationship between your audience and your brand. This has become increasingly important when it comes to purchasing as your prospects will only buy from a brand they can trust, especially now the majority of the buying process is conducted online.

This is the time of the empowered buyer, where simply having a website isn’t enough. Your prospects are consuming information online before conducting any conversations with salespeople.

In fact, Dan Tyre found that 59% of buyers explicitly indicate that they do not want to interact with a salesperson as their primary source of research.

With 93% of all B2B purchases beginning with an internet search, you can start to understand the importance that content creation has on your visitors buying decision.

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