An effective inbound marketing strategy depends on a number of factors: detailed customer and market insight; the ability to create authoritative materials and content; and a reliable platform through which to manage the interaction with prospects and customers.
Once, this might have been called market research! Today, however, we need to dig deeper, to understand both the market conditions and, most importantly, the challenges our customers face.
These might be driven by market conditions, such as new legislation or standards, but they might equally be due to changes or demands within each customer organisation. They could also relate to target individuals within that organisation, involving job related or personal factors, such as the need to further their career or impress their line managers with their ability to find new or innovative methods of working.
Customer insight can therefore range from the macro or company level – how to improve productivity or reduce costs – to the micro or individual level. It can also be a moving target, as customer needs and interests will inevitably change over time.
Understanding these issues is key to developing effective messaging and content. A successful strategy depends on close cooperation between marketing and sales; sales has the vital customer insight which marketing can subsequently transform into language and materials that deliver maximum impact.
It also depends on a good understanding of the journey that each customer travels, from the point where they have a recognised need, through research, evaluation and supplier selection, to the point of purchase.
Mapping the customer journey, building a picture – or persona – of each decision maker and specifier, and then planning the type and format of materials required is critical. So, too, is consideration of the best communication channels, ideally based on the PESO model.
Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by most companies in the manufacturing and industrial sectors is creating content assets of sufficient quality, and in sufficient quantity, to be able to create a viable inbound marketing strategy.
Typically, this is due to one of three factors: lack of time, insufficient resources, or limited knowledge and experience.
This is where a specialised marketing partner, such as 4CM, can add greatest value. We bring:
- Years of experience working in the industrial sectors
- Understanding of the macro and micro issues
- In–depth knowledge of industrial and manufacturing technologies
- Strategic planning and tactical delivery
- PESO channel management
- Production resources to write, design, photograph or video each content asset.
This ensures a proactive and consistent approach, from a team that works exclusively with manufacturing companies, with the ability to unearth fresh ideas that resonate with your industrial buyers and specifiers. Perhaps as importantly, we can balance the need to keep the focus on customers’ needs and interests, with the internal demands to eulogise about products and services.
An inbound marketing strategy, even at a modest scale, can be greatly enhanced through the use of marketing automation tools. There are many on the market, of which our preferred choice is HubSpot, for which we’re an accredited partner.
Marketing automation uses a dedicated software platform to automate a wide range of marketing activities, such as emails, social media posts, creation and management of landing pages and the management of digital advertising. Platforms such as HubSpot also integrate with the sales and customer support processes, so that every customer interaction can be recorded in a single place.
One of the key aspects that sets HubSpot apart, and which aligns with or philosophy, is that it is based on a flywheel, rather than the traditional sales funnel.
The flywheel model is designed to nurture customers along the journey, putting them at the centre of a virtuous circle of attraction, engagement and delight.
There’s a wealth of information about the flywheel model on the HubSpot web site, which you can read here.
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- Learning about new solutions
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