In the mid-1990s, companies like Amazon and Google spent billions to stay ahead of the competition, and their investment has paid off. Flash forward to 2016, and their services are part of our everyday lives.
We can apply the lessons of these early innovators to today’s industrial marketplace. Companies that invest in harnessing the power of the internet today will position themselves as the market leaders of the future. And most of these companies can do so with modest investments of time and money.
The key to success for B2B marketers is understanding who your customers are and what problems are they trying to solve. Armed with this insight, you can begin to answer their questions and concerns with compelling and engaging content.
Content Is The Linchpin To An Effective Inbound Marketing Strategy.
Consider the example of The Rodon Group, one of the largest family-owned plastic injection molders in the U.S. This company realized the impact a strong inbound campaign has on lead generation and branding. It didn’t happen overnight, but this company understood the value of being the first in their industry to embrace content marketing, as well as the value of a long-term investment in building a reputation and an audience.
Today, The Rodon Group is recognized as a leader in their field and is a great example of an American manufacturing success story. After years of watching their customers outsource to China, Rodon knew they had to reignite interest in doing business with a U.S. based company.
By developing content targeted to companies that were interested in sourcing onshore, they were able to capitalize on their reputation for quality and competitive pricing. These inbound efforts were so successful, that in 2012, the Rodon factory hosted President Obama as he toured the country promoting American Manufacturing.
How did they do it? The Rodon Group utilized inbound marketing early on, before most of their competitors realized that buying behaviors had changed. Today’s industrial buyers and designers are doing a substantial amount of their research and vendor selection on the internet. Rodon answered their questions and provided technical expertise through eBooks, white papers and articles.
Industrial Professionals Embrace The Web
HIS’s 2015 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector report paints a compelling picture of the changing face of industrial purchasing behavior. According to this study, more than 50 percent of engineers and technical professionals spend at least six hours per week on the internet researching work-related information. Some of the top uses of the internet are:
Top uses of the Internet by technical professionals are:
- Looking for components, equipment, services and suppliers (77 percent)
- Obtaining product specifications (73 percent)
- Finding product availability information (70 percent)
- Performing research (67 percent)
- Comparing products across suppliers (66 percent).
The data also reveals that these potential buyers want more detailed, technical content such as information on product availability, standards and specifications and the ability to download CAD drawings.
Not surprisingly, with better access to the information buyers need to make a purchase decision, nearly 58 percent don’t contact a supplier until they are in the evaluation or purchase stage of the buying cycle. This means B2B companies must focus on creating content that will help get their company on the customer’s radar.
Adopting Inbound Marketing
For many businesses, their competitors have already adopted an inbound marketing strategy and are reaping the rewards. In many industries, however, leveraging the internet as a marketing tool has not been embraced. Companies in these industries have the advantage of being early adopters, of getting their content, product information, catalogs and offers in front of their potential buyers.
If you haven’t already, its time to familiarize yourself with inbound marketing techniques. Begin by thinking about the questions you most often get from potential clients and start answering these questions. Make this content available online and promote it. If you do this consistently, over time, your business will build its reputation, brand and customer base.
At IQnection, we help businesses large and small harness the power of inbound marketing. If you are interested in gaining fresh perspective on how to grow your business, just call us.