By Tom Repp, founder and Partner at Market Pipeline
Marketing automation—and at its core, content marketing—offers measureable benefits for all types of businesses, including industrial brands. Despite this, industrial marketers have low adaptation rates when it comes to marketing automation tactics. In a guest blog on Lumenatti, Tom Repp, founder and Partner at Market Pipeline, an organization specializing in helping B2B manufacturers and industrial suppliers navigate the tricky waters of the Web, examines this issue and identifies real business reasons why marketing automation makes sense for industrial marketers.
Few deny that marketing automation can provide measureable benefits for all types of businesses. Marketing automation still has a low adaptation rate among industrial marketers and they are still hesitant to stick their toe in the water. My experience and research tells me the ones that have adapted marketing automation have, almost universally, underutilized the software and resulting benefits.
I would like to briefly examine why that is and identify real business reasons why marketing automation just makes sense for industrial marketers.
I digress, but I think it is important that you understand how I came to be so passionate about marketing automation and content marketing for our industrial customers. I think this video sums it up perfectly: You Ought to Know Inbound Marketing.
At the very heart of marketing automation is…you guessed it. CONTENT.
And therein lays the challenge for industrial marketers. Many industrial marketers have never even thought about publishing an eBook online that might provide helpful assistance to prospects and customers.
Another foreign, yet critical, element of content creation is a strong brand message. Many industrial marketers have never approached the subject of brand development. Yet in the age of Google, a strong brand is more important than ever. A strong brand levels the playing field with your larger competitors.
I would never invest in marketing automation unless you can overcome these two significant cultural challenges identified below:
- Developing a culture from within that produces relentless quality content that attracts visitors to your website.
- If you feel your brand isn’t doing what it should, now is the time to take a good hard look at it. In my opinion, the best place to start is by asking “WHY”. I wrote a post earlier: Your Industrial Brand! WHY? from Simon Sinek.
BUT…before the critical elements above and before you even start considering marketing automation there must be the most important element of all: EVANGELISM!
Merriam-Webster defines evangelism as “crusading zeal”. You may do the research; you may ask the experts—knock yourself out. I have found that there is no substitute for success with marketing automation (or life!) than an individual that has “crusading zeal” for developing content that can be deployed on a good marketing automation platform.
I have done a ton of research and I have personally used LoopFuse Marketing Automation and also Manticore (which was later bought by Sales Engine International)
I finally selected HubSpot after two years of research and practice. So my 9 business reasons are based on my experience with HubSpot. This is not meant to an endorsement for HubSpot, as there are many other platforms that provide the same 9 benefits.
I believe in marketing automation for industrial marketers for the following reasons…If the two conditions above are met first.
Can you relate to these business reasons?
- “I can’t keep up with technology”: There is no way industrial marketers can keep up with the pace of technology as it relates to the Web. The best marketing automation companies are well-funded and market leaders. This fact alone helps minimize a significant amount of risk for industrial marketers that tend to be a bit behind the Web marketing curve.
- “There is just too much information thrown at me”: I no longer pay a lot of attention to the thousands of potential information outlets on the Web. In my case, I simply follow HubSpot’s lead. If HubSpot says I have to pay attention to Google+, Klout, etc….so be it. I make my own judgments, but this alone has saved me hundreds of hours.
- “How do I decide on an effective web strategy”?: Most marketing automation is at the forefront of unique and creative web strategies. In my case, if I see something that might be applicable to my industrial customers, I can call my Internet Marketing Consultant at HubSpot to find out more and discuss pros and cons. HubSpot truly has been a “Partner” for me.
- “Where can I learn about all the new opportunities”?: HubSpot Academy has been fantastic. I truly feel like I have the inside track on just about everything that might affect my customers’ web strategies. I believe HubSpot’s Academy has given me an MBA in web marketing.
- “How can I measure ROI on my marketing”?: It takes some doing to get all the “moving parts” set up on a website, but once you do, it is relatively easy to figure out what is working and what needs adjustment. Once these “moving parts” are set up, I now have the valuable luxury of staying in the creative mode, a critical element of good content marketing.
- “How can I minimize my marketing risks”?: Although I briefly mentioned this in one of the points above, it deserves its own bullet point—it is that important. With the pace of technology, this is a big deal. Certainly there is risk in anything, but with HubSpot as a marketing partner, my risk and my customer’s risk is minimized.
- “Gen X and Y’ers: How do I appeal to the younger buyers”?: There is no doubt that the Gen X and Y’ers are driving much of the innovation on the Web. Working with all the Gen X and Y’ers at HubSpot keeps me connected to this very sharp talent pool. On the customer side, I have several industrial supply companies in Michigan where the offspring of current owners are taking over…many are Gen X and Y’ers.
- “How do I find the time to do all this”?: Don’t get me wrong it takes a lot of time and commitment to master marketing automation and content marketing. But in the overall scheme, marketing automation allows me to do more with less. I have interviewed many marketing automation users and many have confirmed this point.
- “This Web marketing stuff still scares the heck out of me”: I can tell you from knowing hundreds of industrial supply owners and manufacturing owners, there is tremendous trepidation when it comes to leveraging the Web using new tactics, such as market automation and content marketing. As I mentioned above, skill sets like creative writing, creative branding, and creative journalism are about as foreign to many industrial marketers as a Nun teaching sex education. Yet the payoff can be a significant competitive advantage for the industrial marketer that masters the Web as a channel to market. The good news is that many industrial marketers have these skill sets in house, they just need to be nurtured into a content publishing machine. One of my favorite quotes: “Remember, the best thing about new rules of marketing is that your competitors probably don’t know about them.” – David Meerman Scott-The New Rules of Marketing and PR. This holds true especially for the industrial market.
The real heart of marketing automation is content. The best way to get started with a content strategy is to watch “How to Build Your Business with Content Marketing,” by Marcus Sheridan.
This is a marathon…not a sprint.
Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.
Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.
Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.