Emergence of Content Marketing For B2B Manufacturing Industry & How It Impacts Perception Building

Emergence of Content Marketing For B2B Manufacturing Industry & How It Impacts Perception Building11111

“Your brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room.”— Jeff Bezos

For all businesses, and particularly for B2B companies, brand perception is what determines long-term success and customer loyalty levels. The importance of smart & strategic content marketing in this context is immense. Well over 52% of B2B buyers typically perform in-depth online research – going through at least 5 pieces of brand content – before deciding whether to get in touch with a particular company or not. On a YoY basis, the number of customers who rely on content to arrive at informed purchase decisions went up by ~65% last year.

Like in other business sectors, content marketing has emerged as a difference-maker in the B2B manufacturing industry as well. We will here focus on how digital content marketing is helping in the optimisation of B2B brand perceptions:

A Late Entrant To The Content Marketing Game; But Things Are Changing

Compared to several other B2B sectors, manufacturers have started formulating systematic content marketing strategies relatively late. Less than 45% of all manufacturers have properly documented & optimised content strategies in place at present. Not surprisingly, only around 1 out of every 3 B2B manufacturers can be regarded as ‘content marketers’ in the truest sense. However, things are changing – with manufacturing companies realising the manifold potential benefits of content marketing, and warming up to the challenge.

More Lead Volumes; Less Cost Per Lead

For a fairly long time, the B2B manufacturing industry was viewed as ‘too niche’ for content marketing. There was also a general air of uncertainty among many companies regarding how to get started with content marketing. Gradually though, it has become very apparent that content marketing is easy to monitor, manage & master – and it is a powerful tool to connect with & engage more potential buyers and boost revenues. On average, optimised content marketing strategies can help B2B manufacturers in generating ~3X more quality business leads, while the cost per lead can be pulled down by around 35%. For grabbing the mindshare of the target audience, content marketing has become an absolute must.

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B2B Manufacturers Generally Do Not Sell Products Online; But That Does Not Matter

Unlike their B2C counterparts, B2B manufacturers do not generally sell their products online directly. However, that does not, in any way, diminish the importance of having a strong web presence for the latter. With more than 75% B2B buyers conducting in-depth online research during their purchase journeys, the onus is on manufacturers to deliver unique & important value propositions through their online brand communications and content strategies. Irrespective of whether a potential customer is in the Awareness, Evaluation, Conversion or Retention stage in the funnel, building a robust brand perception is of essence – and content marketing plays a crucial role in this context.

Think Quality Content; Build Credibility; Create Trust

Content Marketing & B2B Manufacturers

Content Marketing Delivers Favourable Results for B2B Manufacturers

For close to 70% B2B Manufacturers, content marketing can deliver favourable results (i.e., more leads, revenues, profits) every year. However, content marketing is no magic potion – and sub-standard, outdated, inaccurate content is never likely to work. As the impact of digital in the B2B world continues to rise, customer expectations are growing exponentially – and unless a B2B manufacturer is able to establish that additional layer of credibility & trust about their brand, things will simply not take off. It’s all about being able to stand out – working with run-off-the-mill strategies is hardly of any use.

Elements Of Content Marketing For B2B Manufacturers

Elements of Content Marketing for B2B

Elements of Content Marketing for B2B Manufacturers

For 90% of B2B content marketers, relatively short posts & articles feature in their online marketing strategies. Case studies are also important for more than 62% manufacturers who have content marketing plans in place. In order to generate brand awareness and bolster web traffic volumes, industrial blogs are of immense value (for lead nurturing). Videos, press releases, whitepapers & ebooks, social media communication and client testimonials should also be included in the content strategies of B2B manufacturers. It is also vital to be aware of the type of content that works at different levels of the sales funnel. For instance, whitepapers work great at the bottom/middle levels, while information-rich blog posts come in handy at the top of the funnel. It’s never a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy.

Framing Optimised Content Marketing Plans For B2B Manufacturers

Content marketing is never about just following a calendar schedule and posting regularly. The strategies have to be backed by the inputs and insights of experienced subject matter experts (or, SMEs) and comprehensive research on the target audience. Based on the pain-points, probable queries and other requirements of potential buyers, the list of ‘core content topics’ has to be framed (and updated at regular intervals). The importance of expert search engine optimisation (for enhancing content visibility), social media marketing, and analytics tracking (for measuring the success of content campaigns) should also be highlighted in this context.

Distinguishing Between ToFu, MoFu and BoFu Content

Types of Content Marketing Activity

Funnel Your Content Marketing Activity

To be successful content marketers, B2B manufacturers need to make an impact at every stage of the buyers’ online journey. That, in turn, brings to light the importance of creating customised Top-of-the-funnel, or ToFu, content (for new lead generation; information-sharing should be the focus here), Middle-of-the-Funnel, or MoFu, content (for brand positioning; coming across as knowledge/thought leaders should be the objective) and Bottom-of-the-Funnel, or BoFu, content (for final validation and motivating the purchase-decisions). Researches have shown that more than half of the content-related efforts of B2B manufacturers are targeted towards ToFu content. The best content marketing plans typically cover every stage of the buyer journey.

Content Marketing Has Emerged As A Powerful B2B Communication Tool

At the end of the day, content marketing is all about one business ‘speaking’ to another. On average, 1 out of every 4 B2B companies have dedicated content marketing teams of more than six members – and close to 69% manufacturers have at least one full-time content marketer. Nearly a quarter of the marketing budget of B2B manufacturers is being spent on content marketing strategies. It’s safe to say that content strategy-making has emerged as a key component of the digital marketing efforts of B2B manufacturers.

Leveraging Social Media; Maximising Content Value

Social Media Marketing for B2B

Leverage Social Media Platforms for B2B Content Marketing

While it was important earlier as well, the importance of content marketing on social media has really taken off in the post-pandemic world. Use of social media has gone up by ~45% in the last couple of years or so. More interestingly for B2B manufacturers, well over 60 million decision-makers are active on LinkedIn – comfortably the most important B2B social platform. As a video-sharing platform, the potential of YouTube is immense as well, while Twitter and (to a lesser extent) Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram can also be of value. It is on the different B2B manufacturers to analyse which platform(s) most of their customers are on – and then frame social media content marketing plans accordingly.

Boosting brand awareness levels, establishing an air of reliability/credibility and removing information gaps with the target audience are some of the biggest advantages of optimal content marketing for B2B manufacturers. With improvements in brand perception, businesses can also expect more leads/enquiries – which, in turn, can lead to greater sales and higher revenue. For 92% B2B marketers, content is the single-most important marketing asset for expanding their reach, connecting with people, and driving things forward.

Around 59% of all the content available online are viewed as ‘low-value’ (read: useless) by B2B customers. In the post-pandemic world, the importance of online content marketing has become higher than ever. The onus is on you to ensure that your content quality & content marketing strategies are indeed of help in strengthening brand perception levels.

Content Marketing Plans for B2B Industry

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