8 content marketing trends manufacturing marketers need to know
By Pete Winter

8 content marketing trends manufacturing marketers need to know

The manufacturing industry has welcomed significant opportunities created by digital technology. The extent to which manufacturing companies succeed is dependent on how those technologies are applied”, says George Houtappel, Vice President of Marketing at Solvay.

1. Don’t ignore your marketing automation

Thanks to market automation, our company has been able to deliver messages to website visitors at critical points before, during, or after the purchasing process. Market automation provides improved message targeting, making the experience better, and bringing in more qualified leads.

But it’s also important to recognize that it won’t replace your seasonal emails, write content for you, or be there when you need a human touch from sales or customer service. It’s best to think of marketing automation as a tool used for customer interactions that are repeatable. If it’s predictable and repeatable, marketing automation can handle it.

2. Keep re-engaging your old contacts

Even though our new digital campaign helped us map out new leads and new manufacturers in an existing market, there’s still some merit in engaging with old contacts — especially if you are using a content marketing strategy. We had high responses rates from clients we had not contacted for a while — a perfect opportunity for re-engagement. That way, we could reinforce our value proposition, and remind our inactive subscribers why they were paying attention to our business in the first place.

Better customer retention relies on a content marketing strategy that can appeal to their pain points, objectives, and interests. So to re-engage with our old contacts, our company will endeavor to create very specific and singular calls to action. Or tailoring content for these inactive segments that will resonate with them.

3. Some campaigns work — and some don’t

The lesson to take from this is some marketing campaigns succeed, and some fail. It could be because of a lack of research; the campaign isn’t aligned with our business goals, or our content was delivered at the wrong time.

What’s important is that in any content marketing strategy you keep track of and analyze the customer interaction to understand the buyer’s purchasing journey. It’s good to be aware of any potential pitfalls and double down on what works best and ensure success in your next campaign launch.

4. New to content marketing? My advice is to have a good team and just do it

It’s easy to feel scared when creating a content marketing strategy. But it’s best to prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective sources to generate website traffic and new leads. Keep asking the important questions. Who am I targeting? What are the best personas for this company? By asking yourself the right questions about what audiences you want to reach and what you want to provide before, during, and after the decision-making process, you can get a strategy in place that will put those automation platforms to work and start showing some ROI.

Of course, none of that can be possible without a dedicated team. It’s not something you can do with 5% from somebody and 10% from somebody else. Whether its a timely topic or a repurposed piece, content is at the heart of most successful digital marketing campaigns. Behind every great brand is a wealth of valuable and relevant content that really connects with the company’s audience.

5. Different content produces different results at different stages in the sales funnel

If you’re using eGuides for brand awareness and infographics for lead generation then you need to reconsider the purpose of your content marketing strategy. While infographics, videos, and social media posts are great to advertise our company, they don’t generate many leads. Sharing eGuides for our target audience produced far better results.

The question to ask is what content is best to fit your marketing goal: if you need leads and want people to sell your products to, it’s best to give them white papers or eGuides. But if you’re trying to boost brand awareness and make more people aware you exist, infographics and videos come into their own there.

6. AI will become more important to certain channels

Quality content isn’t something that can be completely automated just yet. But it can be augmented. If you consider AI as analytics to see where the biggest reactions on which type of content, and then targeting our marketing to that content. Incorporating AI into a content marketing strategy can help you to examine trends in order to understand what content each and every one of your readers want to consume. Marketing teams can then begin to understand customers based on their behavior and tons of other data.

Content should deliver on what the customer wants — extreme value. They want relevance. They expect the perfect solution at the perfect time. Together, AI and content should be able to help brands know how their loyal customers are engaging with their content, and which pieces are most likely to be interesting to a particular individual.

7. Product push is the least valued form of content marketing

Like most people, product push overloads my information flow and my inbox. It’s made worse when you’re targeting the same topics and delivering the same value that others are producing. Content marketing is about more than just creating content. It’s about promoting your content across a variety of channels, with a content marketing strategy in place. You’re not producing content simply just because you’re producing it mapped to a specific phase of the buyer’s journey.

If you don’t understand who your audience is, and their pressing needs, then you can’t really address those needs in a way that the reader would understand. It doesn’t click with them, and they move on.

8. Don’t let GDPR hold you back

A lot of smaller marketing teams are finding GDPR as a roadblock. But a content marketing strategy is a powerful tool in the post-GDPR era. It gives users relevant to your offering an incentive to interact with you, and capture your target audience throughout the funnel. If anything, it has forced content to be more competitive and more creative. By making the quality of the content we are offering clear, we give users more reason to want to hand over their data to consume it.

Want to find out what other marketing leaders think about the future of content? Read The Future of Content Marketing: 10 interviews with leading CMOs on the trends they’re using to disrupt in 2019.

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