The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 year ago

The 7 Core Elements of an Industrial Marketing Strategy w/ Joe Sullivan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

A few years ago, we at Gorilla 76 took a close look at the common components among our most successful manufacturing clients. Then, we boiled these down to seven specific elements. Once we put them together, we built a model we call the seven core elements of an industrial marketing strategy

On this episode of The Manufacturing Executive, we discuss these seven key elements of manufacturing marketing:

  • Positioning
  • Website Foundation 
  • Technology Stack 
  • Content Strategy
  • Lead Generation Strategy, 
  • Pipeline Management Strategy 
  • Data analysis

Resource discussed on the episode:

Downloadable guide and audit spreadsheet

To ensure that you never miss an episode of The Manufacturing Show, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or here.

A few years ago, we tooka close look at all the common threads on the marketing front among our mostsuccessful manufacturing clients and we decided we'd boil them down to seven specific things.Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences thatare driving mid size manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturingleaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles, and you'lllearn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionable business developmentstrategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to another episodeof the Manufacturing Executive podcast. I'm your host, Joe Sullivan, and aCO founder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla seventy six. So a few yearsago we took a close look at all the common threads on the marketing frontamong our most successful manufacturing clients and we decided we'd boil them down to sevenspecific things, and those things are positioning, website foundation, technology, stack,content strategy, lead generation strategy, pipeline management strategy and Ada Analysis.And we decided to put all these things together and sort of build them intoa model that we now call the seven core elements of an industrial marketing strategy. These are essentially the the seven puzzle pieces that you want present and optimizedand working in sync to drive a successful marketing initiative as a manufacturing organization.So what we're going to do today is take you through these seven things,help you understand what they are and then leave you with the tool. Thatwill a couple tools really, one that'll help you audit and sort of whereyou are right now in each of those seven key areas, and then therewill be a guide as well that I'll I'll direct you to that is reallya written version of what I'm talking through today, but it will be agood reference point for you to go back to. So so let's get intoit. The seven core elements. The first of these seven is right atthe center of your marketing initiatives and that is your positioning. And we definepositioning as the perception of Your Business in the mind of your customers. Sopositioning is not who you think you are, but who your customers think you are. In effective positioning, it really all starts by identifying and documenting whoyour ideal customer is both at a company level and at individual human level,and then it's followed by crafting of positioning language or positioning story that clearly articulateshow you create value for those specific individuals and this is how you can startto shape the outward facing perception of who your business is or start to beable to influence that. So let's talk about the first step inside of thatfirst core element positioning, and that's establishing who your ideal customer is. Soyou know there are probably at least from from all the clients that we haveconsulted over the years. You know, they all say, Oh, well, we serve ten different types of customers. Are Fifty different types and all thesedifferent verticals and their big customers and small customers. And you know,I think the thing to do here is to try to identify what are thecommon threads among your very best customers, the types that you really want tobuild your business on, because positioning is really about, you know, it'sforward looking. It's not about who you've done business with, but who youwant to be doing business with, and often that's rooted and who your bestcustomers are. So what do those best customers look like? How big arethey? Where they located? What are they buy from you? What arethe triggers inside of those companies are externally that lead them into the buying process? How long and complex as the buying process? How does the sale playout? Who on the customers side gets involved in the buying process? Soonce you've buy a sort of identified who...

...those ideal customers are and the characteristicsof those, then you want to take a closer look at the individuals whomake up the buying committee or the buyer personas as you might call them.So these are the people whose attention and trust you need to learn throughout thebuying ass often, early on we're talking about engineers, technical professionals who areexperiencing very specific problems that they need to solve. Maybe plant managers, facilitymanagers, maintenance people. And then, as you move up the chain,somewhere along the sale, when your sale is complex, you're probably dealing withprocurement. Almost certainly you are, and maybe CEO as president's owners of companies. But who are those individuals that influence the buying process and therefore you needto be able to influence them with the message you deliver. And what aretheir responsibilities that the company with decisionmaking authority do they hold one? Most importantly, what are their personal pains and goals and common questions that they ask?These are the things you want to be able to address in your outward facingmessaging in a concise way, through the way you craft your positioning language,but then in also in the content you create, which we'll talk about ina little bit here. So once we've, you know, inside of positioning,the first core element, once you've identified who the ideal customer is ata company level and individual human levels, then it's a matter of crafting languagethat will speak to them. And you know, what you're trying to dohere, essentially, is say who we help and how? What are thoseissues we solve? What are those common, you know, problems we address andcommon goals we help these types of people from these types of companies achieve? And you know the structure that, the best structure I've seen for articulatingthis is we've pulled from a book called New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg,and Chapter Eight of that book is about what he calls his power statement.I would highly recommend spending the fifteen dollars to pick up a copy of newsales simplified Mike presents a really great way of articulating who you help and how? What what I desired business outcomes to help transform into a reality. Whatare the common problems you solve and and focusing on that before you focus onwhat you do. Everybody defaults in their positioning language to saying this is whatwe do, is is why we're amazing, this is why our people are thebest and you should buy from us and our competitors are phonies. Butnobody cares who you are what you do until they they believe you understand theirissues and you've solved them before. And so we need to wrap the thecommune outward facing communication around that. So you can also visit the WHO wehelp and how page on the gorilla site and you can see that we've wehave followed this exact structure to write our own positioning language. You'll see acondensed version of that on our home page as well. So it kind ofgives you a little bit of a tangible model for how that could work.Okay, so core element number one of seven positioning. We've covered that.Moving got a core element number two your website foundation. So your website willalmost always be part of the online marketing conversation. It's your the home basefor your company online. It's the online face of your company. It's yourstorefront, even if you're not physically telling a product or service through it.It's really the it's the place where you know the the right people from theright company that we talked about in core element number one are going to putmany of them will have their first interaction with you there before they're ever readyto pick up the phone, and you control all the messaging there. Andand so we need to make sure that the the right messagings are the rightpieces are in place to be able to attract the right people there, toengage them, to convert them into leads you can start physical sales conversations withthem. So there are some key pieces of this website foundation that we thinkneed to be in place, and one of those is your content management system. We're huge advocates of word press. If the probably many of you listeningare familiar in your sites run on word press. If you don't, that'sthat's okay. There are other good content management systems out there, but thepoint is you need you need your website...

...sitting on top of a piece ofsoftware that lets you easily add pages, edit content, make modifications, addnew calls to action. There's a learning center, a blog there that youcan publish new content, and so your website is a growing and evolving beastreally, and it should be. It should never be done. It's nota project that's ever done. It should be growing in evolving. You shouldbe responding to how people use it. So that's why the content management systemis such a central piece to that Website Foundation. So other parts of thiscore element and we're to the website foundation. Your Learning Center, you might callyour blog, you might call your resource center, Learning Center, KnowledgeCenter. Regardless of what you call it, it's a place to house educational content, content that answers those common questions we are talking about, that addressesthose key problems and objectives your customers are trying to achieve. So a learningcenter, you know, again, you could use guerrilla us, if you'refamiliar with us, with our learning center, as an example of what that couldbe. Another one that I love is k powers, as one ofour clients and in full transparency, but I love their learning center k powercom, there a manufacturer and value added Reseller of engines and generators, and Ilove the way they're they're learning center has been sort of organized where you cansort by different content types, by different topics. So a couple references foryou. Another piece of your website infrastructure is having the lead generation system inplace, so calls to actually being able to easily deploy new calls to actionforms that people can fill out to download guides. You know, there's sortof been a shift in the last year or two that I'm seeing away fromgating and too much content, which is which means, you know, puttingcontent behind a form where you have to submit contact information to download it,and more of a shift to just creating and publishing valuable content and maybe using, you know, a newsletter subscribe, or all you're asking for is anemail address and try to build your email list and nurture people that way,or using a chat Bot, something like a technology like drift, or ifyou're using helps about, they have a chat bought software you can engage peoplein an automated way or a live chat where you have a person behind it, but you want to have some methodology in place to convert a visitor intoa tangible lead so that your visitors aren't just anonymous and you can proactively beginconversations with them. So Lee generation infrastructure also part of this. This websiteinfrastructure or a website foundation, which is core element umber two is lead managementsoftware integration. So there's a crm and there is a marketing automation software componentto this, which will will talk a little bit about later. But youwant to have a direct tie into your lead management software so that when somebodyfills out a form on your site, a contact record is created for thatindividual in each of these software platforms or or if that contact record already exists, it's updated and populated with, you know, data on what this personis doing on your site and what information they're filling out. So that's anotherthing. And then there's, you know, other elements on page, SEO,responsive design, things that make the user experience strong and help keep themthere and move them throughout the site to the content that's most relevant to them. So these are all elements of core element number to your website foundation.So let's move on to core element number three out of seven, which isyour technology stack and there's there's so much of marketing and sales technology out therethese days. There are a ton of things you can and probably should beusing, but if we had to break it down into the most essential startingplaces, they would be, one, your crm, to your marketing automationsoftware and three, your website analytics software. So crm stands for customer relationship managementand, in short, this is a piece of software that exists tokeep your sales efforts organized and make your...

...team as efficient as possible on theBizdov Front. At the heart of your crm are contact records for individual leadsand customers. Inside any individuals contact record you can log calls and meeting notes. You can record data points like customer preferences and Birthdays and favorite sports teamsand all that basic stuff, but at really high quality. Advanced crm softwarewill also let you sink your email to it, so every time you sendan email you can log it directly into your crm without having to make amanual note. You can assign accounts in individuals to specific sales professionals on yourteam. You can build task lists with automated reminders to follow up with leads. You can traft, track the life cycle stage of your deals and youropportunities. You can assign values, timelines and probabilities that deals will close togive you a real time forecast of your sales pipeline. So these are allthings a crm will let you do. You know some some examples of crmswould include hub spot, which is our by far our favorite. There's salesforce, which is the most popular, but it's also more advanced and andyou I think, is more valuable for really large sales teams as opposed tosmaller ones like most of our midsize manufacturers have. And there's pipe drive,Microsoft dynamics, net suite, infusion soft. These are all other examples of CRM'sokay, the second piece of your technology stack is your marketing automation software. So, whereas a CRM is a place for Managing Your Company's interactions withcurrent and perspective customers, the marketing automation software is there to let you streamlineand automate and measure marketing tasks and workflows. In short, your crums the salestool. Your marketing automation software is a marketing tool. There's some overlappingfeatures, but when you deploy both of these side by side, you canbuild a really, really effective marketing sales joint strategy and software foundation. Iguess. So some things that you're marketing automation software will let you do easily, deploying on sight lead generation devices like templates for a lead capture pages andforms and called action buttons, Collecting Lead Intelligence. What do specific website visitors? What are specific people doing on your site? WHO's showing buying intent?WHO's coming back regularly? These are all things that will influence your sales processand that marketing can use to feed the sales team and help them make decisionsabout what to do to so a lot of marketing automation software is out there. At this point. Again, we are partial to hub spot, butothers include Marquetto par dot act on. You'll see all these out there anda lot of them have similar features, where we just think hub spot isbest in class and for what you pay it gives you really the most bankfor your buck. So the third piece of your technology stack is your webanalytics platform. This will probably come from a few places. The the nobrainer you want to get up and running, if it's not already, is Googleanalytics. Probably a majority of you listening are already familiar with analytics tosome extent. That will help you measure things like how much traffic is yourwebsites generating, where that traffics coming from, what pages and types of content areengaging and attracting your visitors to you and pulling them in out of searchengines. You know how visitors are moving through your site to points of conversion. So there's so much there inside of Google analytics. Other bits of analyticson individual people you'll pull from your automation software like hub spot. Okay,let's go to a core element number four of seven, which is your contentstrategy. I'm going to start here with a definition of content marketing by JoePolitzi, who is the author, who's an author and the cofounder of theContent Marketing Institute. He's the guy who sort of coined the term content marketingprobably fifteen years ago or so. But he calls content marketing a strategic marketingapproach focused on creating and distributing a valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract andretain a clearly defined audience and ultimately to drive profitable customer action. AndI think the key word there is valuable.

It we're talking about not about aboutUS content or brochure type of content. All that stuff has a place inyour marketing strategy, but we're talking about those you know, addressing thoseproblems with objective answers and in depth content that answers the common questions and helpshelps your prospects and customers achieve what they're trying to achieve. You know astat that we lean on often. Well, there's a study that global SPEC putsout every year for engineers and it shows that somewhere around sixty sixty fivepercent of technical professionals wait until the comparison and evaluation stages, the bicycle,to make contact with a vendor. And what that tells us is your buyersare gathering information online, they're doing it on their own and they're doing itall throughout the buying process. They don't care about you until they're confident you'veunderstood their problems and you solve these problems before and so your website becomes theirfirst stop and the first interaction they have with your company. The sales processstarts there. In your content. It's your job to published content that willearn enough attention and trust from them so that they will be willing to starta real sales conversation with you. So content can come in all kinds ofshapes and forms and sizes. There's articles, as blog post white papers by asguides, case studies, videos, webinars, podcasts are Ali calculators.There's a ton of ways you can create value through the content you publish online. It's a matter of thinking about what content your audience is most likely toconsume and develop, and content that will help them all throughout the buying processto help you generate awareness before they know who you are and maybe they're justgoogle searching a problem they have or a question they have, answering their commonquestions once they find you, establishing credibility for your organization, converting visitors intoleads, building trust and nurturing them. There are so many plut ways thatcontent will help throughout that whole buying process and it's such a critical piece ofyour inbound and your outbound marketing strategies. Core Element number five of seven isyour lead generation strategies. So, as you you know, kind of lookback through these core elements. We've talked about positioning, identifying the right peopleand putting the right pieces of the Pie and place on your website. We'vetalked about to value of getting the right technology stack in place developing all thiscontent that speaks to the pains of those most important people and helps them achievewhat they're trying to achieve. Once we've got all those foundational pieces and place, now it's time to start driving the right people to to your website gettingin the right message in front of them. You don't want to do too muchof that until some of that foundations in place, and so this iswhere your lead generation strategy begins, and there are sort of three ways todo lead generation and all of all of these probably have a role for you. It's just a matter of finding the right balance. So there's inbound marketing, there's outbound marketing and there's paid media. With inbound we are talking about developingthought leadership content and content that that like we talked about the last coreelement that establishes credibility for you teaches the search engines like Google that you arethe best source of information on these topics, are one of the best sources.This is what will help give you visibility in the appropriate Google searches,which results in traffic, which is real eventually result in leads. It's notthat simple, of course. There is a their technical components to its strategiccomponents, but inbound marketing, in short, is about establishing authority for your website, gaining visibility that way and sort of like casting a wide net andsome of the right fisial swim into it, some of the wrong ones will.But as the volume of the fish that swimming to that net increase,so will the volume of those that are qualified, especially as your content becomesmore and more targeted at the right people. So that's inbound. Also, inyour lead generation strategy you have outbound and paid media. So inbound iskind of the long game. It's going...

...to take a while for you togain traction. If you're just starting, you'll get some quick wins, lookat the low hanging fruit and but it's you don't win inbound game overnight.It takes time. So in the short term we're advocates of having a reallystrong outbound and paid media strategy where you can say, all right, let'starget, you know, the two hundred most important companies that fit the descriptionof ideal customer. Let's develop an outbound strategy where we find the right peoplefrom those companies with this great educational content we're using, we deliver it directlyto them and then we tell paid media platforms like, say, Linkedin,Hey, linkedin, show this content, whether that's video or written or whateverit might be, show this content to people with these job titles from thesetypes of companies in these geographic regions, with these commonalities and and what youcan then do is is sort of amplify the distribution of all this great contentto make sure there's many people as possible that fit your ideal customer profile inyour total addressable markets see it. So again, it's not a super simplething, but conceptually it is, and that's the strategy you want to beable to deploy. So inbound for the long term, paid media, andoutbound in the short term to supplement that. Okay, to core elements. Remaining. Number six of seven is your pipeline management strategy. So this isabout what happens after the lead is generated, and so we've talked about attracting theright people to you through inbound or through outbound. You, when youstart to generate leads or start with your say, outbound, you know,leads, to develop a two way conversation with them. The next thing ishow do we help move those people through the buying process? You know they'regoing to buy on their schedule, not on yours. So how do wenurture them? How do we enable your sales team to nurture them and todevelop those leads? So I would break the sixth core element of pipeline managementinto two buckets. There's sales enablement and there's lead nurturing. Sales enablement ismarketings responsibility to help your sales team develop the right processes, to enable themwith the right data and to give them the right content to help develop theseleads. So when I talk about processes, I'm talking about, you know,who manages inbound leads. When a new inbound lead comes in or alead from a paid add comes in, who's responsible to reaching out to thatperson? What messaging and points you to be communicated to them? What's thefollow up caidence? What? And then we know what data points can marketingsupply them? So if let's just say you have an outbound campaign running twothree hundred people, which of which twenty of those three hundred people clicked throughto your website and of those twenty, which five seem super engaged and they'recoming back and they're looking at pages that might indicate some level of buying intent. These this is all information you want your marketing team to be able tohelp sales process and understand so they know where to spend their time and thenyou know. So the other the other part of of this pipeline management strategyis the nurturing strategy, lead nurturing, which is largely a marketing responsibility,and here we're talking about being in the inbox of your existing contacts and allthese new leads are generating, you know, probably at least every other week orso. It just depends on your business or some of you might beweekly, for some of you might be monthly. But you know you wantto consistently be delivering value to them, not sales messages, but, youknow, sending the new helpful video or written content that you're creating that addressesissues that they care about. So when you can consistently be in front ofthem and creating value, you're naturally going to drive more and more valuable conversationsover the course of time. Some people are ready for that conversation now.Some will be ready in a month, some will be ready in two years, but I can't tell you the number of times I've had conversations with peoplethat have said, Hey, we've been reading your content for the last twoor three years and the Times right now, and we already know you're the firstcompany we need to talk to because...

...you've been teaching us all along theway and that's what you want to be able to replicate inside of Your Business. The seventh and final core element is data analysis. So there was atime when measuring marketing results was all about tracking impressions and reach and how manypeople are getting their eyes on us, and that absolutely still has a role, but there's also a lot of tangible data that we can now harness,and so you know, we need to have the software in place, inthe systems in place, to be able to track leads all throughout the buyingprocess. You know, how many individuals are are we reaching? How manyof those what percentage of those individuals are actually converting into into leads? Whatpercentage of those leads are sales qualified? How many of those are turning intotangible opportunities that were quoting business for and then how many of those are actuallyturning into revenue. So these are all metrics that we need to be lookingat throughout the buying process. You know, I do like to put the caveaton this. That especially if you're a company with a long sales cyclethat plays out over a year or more, which I've seen plenty of that,especially when you're selling, say, expensive, a million dollar equipment andyou might sell twenty pieces of equipment a year. You know, the salescycles long. You can't look at a sixmonth marketing effort and expect there tobe revenue there, right. But so we need to look at these leadingmetrics like traffic and sales, qualified leads generated and then pipeline revenue. Howmuch work are we quoting? Is With the right people, and that's thetype of data you want to be gathering. So those are your seven core elements. recapping them very quickly, core element number one is your positioning.Core Element number two your website foundation. Three, your technology stack for contentstrategy, five, lead generation strategy, six, pipeline management strategy, andthen seven is your data analysis processes. So the the last thing we'll hereis I'm going to leave you with two resources. As I mentioned, ifyou go to gorilla seventy sixcom seven elements, as is the number seven, andthen elements, you're going to find two things there. There's a downloadablepdf version of everything I just talked through. It's a really long, indepth designedPDF guide that can sort of serve as your guide, and then there'sa downloadable spreadsheet that is we call the Industrial Marketing Audit Score Card. You'llscore yourself on thirty five points, five for each of these seven core elements, and it'll show you kind of where you're strong, where you're week andmaybe help you figure out where you need to invest some time and energy intooptimizing your strategy. So that pretty much covers it. I hope this washelpful and we hope to see you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executivepodcast. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that younever miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player.If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy. You'll findan ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically for bedb manufacturersat gorilla seventy sixcom learn. Thank you so much for listening. UNTILNEXT TIME.

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