This blog is part of our Digital Transformation for Manufacturers series. To see all content in this series, click here.
Digital marketing leverages data analytics to give manufacturers the ability to understand buyers and tailor their approach to a customer’s needs. In today’s digital-first world, companies need to capitalize on the influx of data to provide customers with relevant information. Otherwise, they will miss out on the opportunity to make connections, increase conversion rates, and build revenue.
While there are many effective digital marketing strategies, we’re diving into three that have risen to the top: personalization, account-based marketing, and content marketing. All three focus on understanding the customer to enhance their buying experience and meet their needs. Manufacturers that begin to implement any of these strategies, based on their unique business objectives, will see results that pay off.
As more of the buyer’s journey moves online, expectations have changed. One of the biggest shifts in B2B purchasing expectations is the demand for personalized experiences when interacting with a digital brand. Thanks to rapidly evolving technology, customers now expect personalized experiences at every step of the buying journey.
Personalization provides a more targeted and relevant user experience. Examples of personalization include displaying individualized product recommendations, related products and services, recently viewed items, and adjusted calls-to-action based on previous inputs. Brands that are able to deliver on this type of experience will be successful in meeting buyers’ expectations and boosting their bottom line.
To deliver personalized content, manufacturing companies can start with harnessing the power of quality customer data. Look at customer interactions and attributes to develop a unified profile. This information allows you to deliver customized experiences based on an individual customer’s actions.
By connecting the data-point dots, you’ll have a deeper understanding of your customer and be able to tailor their experience to exactly what they need. Personalization enables consistent, relevant messaging, elevates segmentation, and increases content discovery. These benefits optimize conversions and improve customer loyalty.
When we helped our client JLL implement a global experience management model, they accelerated their content capabilities, making brand messaging more consistent and the customer experience more relevant. Since the launch, JLL has seen an 101% increase in contact form completion, 9% increase in MQL-leading inquiries, 49% decrease in bounce rate, and 55% lift in target account engagement.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is an approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to identify target accounts and convert them into customers. ABM is a strategy that is scaled and enabled by technology. But just acquiring tools won’t guarantee success. Marketing and sales teams that are well-aligned have the greatest potential for impact.
Many manufacturers struggle to execute ABM strategies because they have smaller teams that use siloed sales and marketing tools. This results in one-off, inconsistent customer experiences. But research shows that teams that work together are more likely to exceed revenue goals than those that are less integrated.
So where should manufacturers start? The crucial first step is aligning marketing and sales on KPIs to measure joint impact. With this alignment, the teams can segment data to identify target accounts that fit the company’s ideal customer profile. Think quality over quantity. Then they can create engaging, personalized experiences with relevant content that drives connection, addresses individual account pain points, and provides tangible solutions.
Testing and measuring results will help prove the impact of the program, as well as show areas for improvement. ABM’s personalized approach maximizes a manufacturing company’s resources and optimizes the sales cycle. Once you see ROI with a pilot program, it’s time to scale up and build on that success. This can be a lot of work, especially for smaller B2B marketing teams, so a scalable platform is necessary to expand your ABM program.
Have you heard content is king? Developing and distributing valuable, relevant content is an effective digital marketing strategy. Content marketing strategy helps B2B companies attract leads, build authority and trust, drive conversions, and retain customers. While this strategy may be slower to show results, it strengthens the customer relationship for the long term.
Fresh, relevant content builds brand awareness. With search engine optimization (SEO), it improves a company’s reach and rankings in search results. Content also elevates a brand’s reputation as a thought leader or expert in a specific field. Marketing teams can align content with each step of the buying journey, using it to move potential customers into and through the sales funnel.
With content marketing for manufacturers, customer data and keyword research help identify the type of content that will resonate with your target audience. It can also show you the touchpoints within the buying journey where content could be beneficial. Relevancy, consistency, and frequency are the keys to content marketing success for manufacturers. Your content needs to be relevant and consistently updated to drive increased engagement.
The volume of content you publish will depend on your resources. Set a structure for how your teams will contribute content to different parts of the sales funnel, and create a workflow for content development. Content marketing is a big job for a smaller team, especially with constantly changing search algorithms and the ongoing need for new content. The good news is that content can be repurposed and repackaged for different channels to help maximize resources. For example, a powerpoint may be reworked into an infographic, or a white paper could be condensed into a blog post.
Technology can also address some of these challenges, helping your teams be agile and build scale. Think about the requirements you need for technology. How will you use it to manage content creation, monitor engagement, measure success and optimize based on metrics? Once you have a baseline, technology makes it easy to tweak and test content to better support your marketing goals.
Our work with Stepan is a great example of content success. With a new platform in place, Stepan’s marketing team is able to make content enhancements and implement geographic personalization, focusing on data-driven optimization. The results? An improved customer experience, 17% increase in product search, and 17% increase in order requests.
Elevate digital marketing for manufacturers
These three strategies — personalization, account-based marketing, and content marketing — can have a significant impact on your buyer experience and your business outcomes. This combination of data and technology, along with the alignment of marketing and sales, creates a powerful way to personalize your customer connections and drive conversion. When building a marketing plan for your manufacturing company, consider how these strategies can take your digital marketing efforts to the next level.
Ready to get started, but need some guidance? Contact Mary Schneeberger, Marketing Practice Lead here at Avionos. Or download our Digital Guide for Manufacturers for a comprehensive guide to optimizing your buyer’s journey.