3 Top Content Marketing Challenges in Manufacturing [New Research]

(*3*)The commonest problem amongst manufacturing entrepreneurs? Creating content material for various levels of the client’s journey.

That’s what 62% cited in immediately’s launch of Content Marketing Institute’s Manufacturing Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: Insights for 2023, co-sponsored by GlobalSpec and 6sense.

Rounding out the highest three of essentially the most often cited challenges: aligning gross sales and advertising and marketing (58%) and breaking down communication silos (56%).

62% of #manufacturing marketers say creating #content for different stages of the buyer’s journey is a challenge according to @CMIContent #Research via @LisaBeets. Click To Tweet

Other frequent challenges embrace:

  • Developing consistency with measurement (47%)
  • Accessing subject material consultants to create content material (41%)
  • Achieving consistency with messaging (36%)
  • Differentiating our merchandise/providers from the competitors’s (32%)
  • Continuing to make a enterprise case for content material advertising and marketing (27%)

Manufacturing organizations' current content marketing challenges.

Click to enlarge

What are some options for essentially the most often cited challenges skilled by manufacturing entrepreneurs? And what are you able to do to capitalize on video and storytelling – two areas of alternative in 2023? We reached out to a number of manufacturing advertising and marketing professionals for his or her experience. Read on.

1. Buyer’s journey

To create content material for completely different levels of the client’s journey (and handle the silos of gross sales and advertising and marketing entrepreneurs), ask gross sales to attach you with prospects for interviews, says Morgan Norris, senior model strategist at TREW Marketing.

Ask sales to connect you with customers for interviews, says @morgannorris via @LisaBeets @CMIContent. #ManufacturingResearch Click To Tweet

“Marketing can set up five to seven 20-minute interviews and ask questions like ‘What challenges were you facing before you started working with us? What did you do to solve your problems first? What made you choose us? Were there any unexpected benefits in working with our team?’”

Morgan explains that gathering these buyer insights does three issues:

  • You can hear prospects’ ache factors in their phrases for every step in their journey. You can use that language in your model’s content material.
  • When gross sales see their prospects’ voices fueling content material improvement, they’re extra prone to belief the output from advertising and marketing.
  • You can achieve perception into the shopper journey. Ask questions on preliminary ache factors in addition to last choice components and what it’s wish to work together with your firm.

“From here, marketers can pick a theme (for example, an industry topic or technology trend) and then create specific pieces of content, each targeting a single point in the buyer’s journey, link those content pieces together, and build leadership around the topic,” Morgan says.

While working to grasp the client’s journey, Eddie Saunders Jr., demand era supervisor at Flex Machine Tools, reminds his friends to concentrate on empathy.

“Sympathy is recognizing someone else’s position and maintaining your own,” Eddie says. “But empathy is truly understanding their position and adjusting accordingly. This doesn’t mean inserting yourself into the buyer’s journey, but this mindset does require that you connect and inquire with your customers. No one can provide more perspective on what content drove a desired outcome more than those who have experienced your funnel all the way through to the transactional exchange.”

2. Aligning gross sales and advertising and marketing

With a lot of the shopping for journey happening on-line with out the assistance of a salesman, manufacturing entrepreneurs ought to create a “digital twin” content material illustration of their gross sales group, says Greg Mischio, founding father of Winbound.

“For that to happen, sales and marketing must be aligned; otherwise, you’ll generate nothing but poor leads and negative returns on your marketing investment,” Greg provides.

Sales and marketing must be aligned or you’ll generate nothing but poor leads, says @gregmischio via @LisaBeets @CMIContent. #ManufacturingResearch Click To Tweet

“Alignment starts, first and foremost, with a shared strategy. [It’s] not a sales strategy, not a marketing strategy, but a sales and marketing strategy developed in collaboration with management and agreed to by all parties. The strategy incorporates a shared definition of a lead, shared quantitative goals, and agreed-upon tasks that speak to each department’s strengths. From there, ongoing communication and goal reviews are essential.”

Greg notes progress in this pondering is occurring. In the CMI analysis, 44% of producing entrepreneurs used content material advertising and marketing to generate gross sales/income in the final 12 months – that’s one-third greater than they did in the earlier yr.

44% of #manufacturing marketers used #ContentMarketing to generate sales in the last 12 months – that’s a third more than the previous year according to @CMIContent #research via @LisaBeets. Click To Tweet

“This is a sign that smart companies understand that the days of finger-pointing and operating in silos are over. It’s align or decline – there really is no middle ground,” Greg says.

Other targets achieved by manufacturing entrepreneurs utilizing content material advertising and marketing in the final 12 months embrace:

  • Create model consciousness (85%)
  • Build/develop credibility/belief (67%)
  • Educate viewers(s) (66%)
  • Build/develop loyalty with present shoppers/prospects (65%)
  • Generate demand/leads (60%)
  • Support the launch of a brand new product (59%)
  • Nurture subscribers/audiences/leads (50%)
  • Drive attendance to a number of in-person or digital occasions (44%)
  • Build/develop a subscribed viewers (38%)

Goals manufacturing marketers have achieved by using content marketing successfully in the last 12 months.Click to enlarge

3. Communicating internally amongst groups/silos

Breaking down departmental silos can occur by aligning advertising and marketing targets and metrics with enterprise and gross sales targets, says Lara Schneider, senior advertising and marketing supervisor of the motors and drives division at Toshiba.

“Manufacturing marketers have a challenging but great opportunity to create the narrative for their company on how content marketing supports customers’ needs and can also be used to improve internal operations,” Lara says.

For instance, a content material technique that solves buyer issues is prone to scale back buyer inquiries to product administration and technical help, she says. It additionally creates one other profit.

“Speaking the language non-marketers understand and value – and keeping the focus on improving the customers’ experience – goes a long way toward opening the door for improved internal communication and collaboration,” Lara says.

Other key findings point out an increase in video

In addition to the three commonest challenges, this yr’s manufacturing analysis reveals a key space in which entrepreneurs proceed to take a position – video.

Ninety p.c of producing entrepreneurs used movies in the final 12 months and say that movies produced the very best outcomes for his or her content material advertising and marketing over the past yr.

In addition, 80% say their group will make investments/proceed to take a position in video in 2023, making it essentially the most often cited space of content material advertising and marketing funding (because it was in the earlier yr).

80% of #manufacturing marketers say their company will invest in videos for marketing in 2023 according to @CMIContent #research via @LisaBeets. Click To Tweet

Other areas of content material advertising and marketing funding in 2023 embrace:

  • Owned-media property (69%)
  • Social media/group constructing (67%)
  • Paid media (61%)
  • Events – digital, in-person, hybrid (58%)
  • Earned media (44%)
  • Getting to know audiences higher (32%)
  • User expertise (UX) design (20%)

Areas of manufacturing content marketing investment in 2023.

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Recent CMI video and visible storytelling analysis reveals success is enhanced by a visible technique.

“Having a video strategy will allow you to understand how it funnels up to company goals, determine how you will measure success, and ensure the content has a consistent look, cadence, and message,” says Jennifer Watson, founder and artistic director of Context Communications.

Why are manufacturing entrepreneurs so eager on video? Wendy Covey, CEO and co-founder of TREW Marketing, which produces the annual State of Marketing to Engineers report with GlobalSpec, has perception. “Manufacturing marketers are often tasked with communicating complex information that doesn’t always translate well in written form,” she says.

“Enter video — it’s an ideal platform to tell a complex story in an interesting, engaging manner. Marketers can showcase products in motion, explain complex how-to topics, and demonstrate large systems in context … something that is not possible on a sales visit or a trade show floor,” Wendy says.

“Video also helps personify your brand by having real employees (such as your smart engineers) share their knowledge and experience directly, which builds trust and credibility with skeptical technical buyers.”

The 2022 State of Marketing to Engineers report (registration required) discovered 96% of engineers and technical consumers eat movies for work-related functions weekly, and the time spent watching movies climbs every year. Technical consumers 35 and youthful spend essentially the most time watching movies in comparison with their older counterparts.

Wendy cautions manufacturing entrepreneurs to include their video technique as a part of the general content material advertising and marketing technique. “With this mindset, you’ll have better clarity on personas, topics, and calls to action, which you can weave into your script and storyboard,” she says.

Jennifer Watson of Context Communications says you can also maximize your video content material by way of “upcycling.”

As she explains, “There are many ways to repurpose video content. Depending on the length, you can edit it into smaller, snackable size pieces of content to consume, curate audiograms, edit pieces together and create a longer video; the possibilities are endless. The smartest marketers know how to maximize the content they have to save time and money.”

Differentiate with high quality content material – and inform fascinating tales

In a brand new space of the annual content material advertising and marketing survey, we requested manufacturing entrepreneurs who excel in creating differentiated content material how they do it. Here’s how they clarify it:

  • Produce higher high quality content material (83%)
  • Cover matters/tales that rivals aren’t protecting (72%)
  • Actively promote the content material we publish – past publishing/distributing it (50%)
  • Use codecs rivals should not utilizing (38%)

How manufacturing markers differentiate their content from the competition.

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Creating higher high quality content material – and protecting matters your rivals aren’t – typically occurs by way of storytelling. Manufacturing is a perfect trade to try this with tales about how issues are made, the individuals who work in the businesses, case research, and so on.

“Storytelling creates context,” says Joe Sullivan, founding father of Gorilla 76. “If you deeply understand what matters most to (your audience), then storytelling can be your vehicle for connecting problems and desired outcomes to a tangible solution.”

He affords an instance of a producing model that desires to achieve plant managers who it is aware of are a very powerful influencers in the shopping for course of. “Paint a picture of a real-life success story from another plant manager just like them,” Joe says.

“Illustrate the transformation inside of that company’s operations from the time you arrived to the time you finished. What impact did that transformation have on their organization? But also, how did it impact that plant manager in his or her career journey? Storytelling not only provides context, but it humanizes the experience of working with you while putting your customer/prospect at the center of the story.”

Gain perspective and buy-in

To be taught extra about how manufacturing entrepreneurs are approaching content material advertising and marketing, learn the newly launched Manufacturing Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: Insights for 2023. It’s stuffed with insights that can assist you – and your management – higher know what’s occurring round content material advertising and marketing technique, content material creation and distribution, content material administration and operations, metrics and targets, and challenges.

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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute