5 Insights on the Future of Manufacturing Content Marketing

manufacturing, marketing, content marketingTo learn more about how marketers in the manufacturing industry are utilizing content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute recently teamed up with Marketing Profs and IEEE GlobalSpec to conduct the “Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America” report.

The statistics showed that 86 percent of manufacturing marketers utilize content marketing, but 58 percent still outsource at least one content marketing activity.

To learn more about why this is the case and gain additional insight into the report, we spoke to Lisa Murton Beets of the Content Marketing Institute.

Why do you think many marketers still outsource content marketing tasks? Do you see this shifting?

“The last time we asked manufacturing marketers if they outsourced content marketing tasks was in 2014. At that time, 55 percent of those surveyed reported that they did. Our new data, as shown in our 2018 report, revealed that 58 percent are outsourcing at least one content marketing task. So we know that about the same proportion are outsourcing compared with 2014.

“In 2014, we didn’t ask about specific tasks they outsource, but for 2018, we did. We found that content creation is the task they outsource most often (49 percent). There could be many reasons why manufacturing marketers outsource. Perhaps they don’t have enough internal resources or time. Or perhaps they know of great freelance writers who specialize in complex subject areas that are difficult to write about.”

How are marketers measuring their ROI/success with content marketing? What type of KPIs are they using?

“In our annual survey this year, we didn’t ask which metrics manufacturing marketers are using to measure their content marketing efforts. We presented a checklist for many years, and we almost always found the same things – website traffic, sales, SEO ranking, sales lead quality, etc.

“This year, we asked how well their metrics are aligned with their content marketing goals – which I think is the bigger issue (how to set the right goals for your organization, and then map the right metrics to each one). Forty-six percent said they were doing a good to excellent job with this, but 37 percent said they’re doing a fair or poor job.”

How do you see marketers’ content marketing strategies evolving throughout 2018?

“I think that manufacturing content marketers, like most other B2B marketers across other industries, have gotten the message about how important it is to build a subscriber audience – one that wants to receive your content. To build an audience, you need a strategy – a roadmap showing what you’re going to do to get to where you want to be.”

What can manufacturing marketers learn from their counterparts about developing an efficient content marketing strategy?

“Anyone who wants to learn more about developing an efficient content marketing strategy will benefit by stepping back and taking a look at the differences – and similarities – between content strategy (which focuses on how companies work with the content itself within their organizations) and content marketing strategy (which focuses on planning for the creation, distribution, and measurement of content to targeted audiences via specific types of content via specific distribution channels such as email, social media platforms, etc.).

Melanie Seibert, a senior content strategist at WillowTree, wrote a great article about this in November 2017. It can be found here.

In your opinion, what was the most interesting statistic/finding in the report?

“There were two: The first was that only 10 percent of manufacturing marketers whose companies are in the young/first steps of content marketing maturity have a documented content marketing strategy. I would advise anyone starting out to put a strategy down in writing, even if it’s something very simple that states your reasons for embarking on a content marketing approach and a few goals for what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there.

“The second was that 32 percent of those in the young/first steps phase of maturity disagreed that their organization values creativity and craft in content creation and production. While some companies put out subpar content and get results, I don’t think it’s a good idea, especially because it can hurt your company’s reputation.

“When I look at the stat that says 80 percent of those in the sophisticated/mature phase of content marketing (i.e., those who are further along in their programs) do indeed value creativity and craft, it leads me to believe that those who have longevity have either gotten better in terms of quality content, or have placed a high value on it all along.”

To download your free copy of the report, visit the CMI website.

marketing, content marketingABOUT LISA MURTON BEETS

Lisa oversees all aspects of Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI’s) annual content marketing survey, as well as all custom research projects, and reports on the insights derived from the studies. Follow her at @LisaBeets.

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