Author Lewis Carroll once wrote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
This quote may speak to a number of things but is quite true of marketers in the manufacturing industry. Without a clearly laid out industrial marketing strategy, manufacturing marketers work themselves in circles without feeling like they’ve accomplished anything. As referenced in the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Report, 30% of manufacturers feel they are successful at content marketing. However, only 20% have a documented content marketing plan. The conclusion we can draw from this is that while manufacturing marketers are investing their money in content marketing, they are not always investing their time and energy into devising a plan they can tie marketing dollars back to.
In the first issue of The MFG Standard, we analyze several of the findings in the CMI report to identify areas of opportunity for manufacturers–the documentation of a manufacturing marketing plan being an extremely important one.
In the last few years, online marketing has evolved in many ways and keeping up with it can be near impossible without strategic insight. The first step in successfully executing and measuring marketing initiatives is developing a digital marketing plan. Creating and documenting a plan has a number of benefits, but one of the most important things to keep in mind is how it directly impacts marketing success. While many manufacturers do not have a documented content marketing strategy, 53% of those who do feel they are effective and 20% feel less challenged by content marketing compared to their peers.
6 Steps for Creating a Successful Manufacturing Marketing Plan
Follow the Manufacturers’ 6 Step guide to Developing and Following Through on a Digital Marketing Plan to increase your company’s chances of success in the digital space.
3 Steps to Developing Your Digital Marketing Plan
- Consult With Professionals
Whether it be your internal team or an outside partner, get professional advice on how to approach your manufacturing marketing plan for the year. Marketers often find themselves in the weeds and being able to step back to look at the high-level view ensures all initiatives remain focused on the end goal. A digital marketing plan acts as that high-level view, keeping manufacturing marketers on track. However, being on the right track is only the first step to success. Tracking success is the other half. This is where the value of marketing professionals comes in. Based on a company’s unique business goals, the metrics for measuring success may vary. Be sure to consult with marketers who are well versed in measuring success and can help establish realistic milestones to reach your goals.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Playing Field
Knowing what the industry looks like is valuable information to help drive strategy. Being familiar with what the competition is doing, and how similar companies have found success can give you helpful insights and ideas to build off of. Ultimately, you’ll want to develop an industrial marketing plan that makes the most sense for your business, but this information helps to give a snapshot of what the landscape looks like around you. There are numerous tools out there to gain competitor insights, and while the numbers are not always exact, the figures are enough to see who, and what, you’re up against. Read this list of tools and resources that provide competitive digital marketing insights to get familiar with the playing field:
- SEO rankings- BrightEdge
- Side by Side Competitor Comparison- SimilarWeb
- SEO & Paid- SpyFu
- Social Media Monitoring- Sysomos
- Links and authority- Moz
- Website performance- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Don’t Be Afraid to Detour
Identify your main goals, but remember there are several paths to achieve them. Don’t jump at every “next big thing”, but don’t dismiss them either. Some manufacturing marketing trends may be important to know and build into your strategy while others may prolong progress. Check in with your marketing team to see how changes in the market might affect your plan.
3 Steps to Following Through on Your Digital Marketing Plan
- Document Your Plan
Documenting your plan is a large part of following through. It allows you to revisit your plan as often as you want and keep your surrounding strategies focused on the ultimate goal. For example, 34% of manufacturing marketers say their content marketing strategy guides their organization’s content marketing efforts very closely. Whether successful or not, this document can be used to repeat success or avoid making the same mistakes in the future. It’s also a good resource to have for training new employees and giving your company a clear direction.
- Align Your Goals
A company’s vision and goals may serve as a big shiny statement for some, but how do you ensure these words are actionable? Create a 90-day action plan. First, set short term goals- things you want to accomplish in the next 30 days. Once you have those, set long term goals- things you want to accomplish within the quarter (90 days). To ensure you are on the right track, set intermediary goals, milestones that will help you accomplish your long-term goals, for the next 60 days. Once you have your 30, 60 and 90-day goals, make sure they align with your company’s vision or mission statement. Likewise, each goal you create should tie back to the longer term goal
Company mission statement or vision- Provide a seamless customer experience.
Long term goal (90 days)- Launch the onboarding email campaign to walk new customers through proper usage of their new product.
Intermediary goal (60 days)- Develop an outline and produce emails for onboarding campaign. This includes content creation, a collection of relevant assets, like white papers and case studies, set up in Marketo and proper testing before launch.
Short term goal (30 days)- Gather information from new customers and sales team about onboarding. Specifically, interview new customers about the onboarding process, probe for improvement opportunities and speak with sales team about FAQs and common issues that could be addressed in the campaign.
Once you’ve aligned all of your goals, you can begin working toward the big picture!
- Measure Your Success
Whether you use a sticky note, spreadsheet, or project management system, have digital marketing metrics set to track progress and keep them visible to yourself and your team. Keeping goals and milestones easily visible helps keep goals top of mind and everyone on track. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the small wins with your team to show them how much you appreciate their efforts.
By following these 6 steps, manufacturing marketers will be able to better execute their marketing strategy and tie their dollars back to their digital efforts.
Check out the first issue of The MFG Standard, Assembling Your Digital Marketing Plan. This industry magazine was designed specifically for manufacturers to discover more opportunities on how to increase their handle on the digital space.