Skip to content

Content Marketing Making Strides in the Manufacturing Industry: Report

manufacturing-marketers-CMI-researchEditor’s note: We’ve updated our annual Manufacturing research study for 2023.

In our February 15, 2014 podcast, Robert Rose and I highlighted a SlideShare presentation titled, The Manufacturer’s Growth Manifesto, by marketer Bruce McDuffee. In his report, Bruce says:

Most executives in the manufacturing industry are laggards when it comes to understanding the new buyer’s habits and how they apply to go-to-market strategy and tactics… the window of opportunity is open for modern, bold executives willing to change the way they interact with their target audience…

Our new report, B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, sponsored by Oracle Marketing Cloud, shows that 86 percent of manufacturing marketers have adopted content marketing. That’s a decent adoption rate; however, it’s also the lowest among the four top vertical industries we gathered data on this year. Does that make manufacturing marketers “laggards” when it comes to content marketing — or are they just taking a slower, more conservative approach? While we can’t know for sure what this data portends for marketers in the manufacturing vertical, let’s take a look at where the segment stands this year, according to the research:

Only 30 percent of manufacturing marketers say they are effective at content marketing (click to tweet)

When compared with their B2B peers overall (of whom, 42 percent say they are effective), manufacturing marketers lack confidence in their content marketing effectiveness. This could be due to the fact that they are newer to content marketing, or because they don’t have a documented content marketing strategy in place, or both — or even to some other combination of factors. What is certain, however, is that other CMI research has found a clear link between a documented strategy and overall effectiveness, and only 21 percent of manufacturing marketers have one (compared with 44 percent of B2B marketers overall).


Manufacturing marketers use same average number of tactics as other B2B marketers

Manufacturing marketers use many of the same tactics as their overall B2B peers, and even use the same average number of tactics (13). They do, however, use print magazines (69 percent vs. 35 percent) and print newsletters (35 percent vs. 22 percent) at higher rates when compared with other B2B marketers. They also use eNewsletters (82 percent vs. 80 percent), in-person events (81 percent vs. 76 percent), and videos (80 percent vs. 73 percent) more frequently. Of all the tactics they use, they rate in-person events and videos as most effective (click to tweet).


YouTube is the preferred social media platform

Eighty-one percent of manufacturing marketers use YouTube to distribute content, and they also rate it as the most effective social media platform they use (click to tweet). While many manufacturers use video to demonstrate products, video storytelling is on the rise in this sector (see an example here).


Manufacturing marketers cite different goals for content marketing when compared with other B2B marketers

While all B2B marketers say brand awareness is their top goal, manufacturing marketers place more emphasis on customer retention and loyalty (68 percent vs. 57 percent) and less on lead generation (67 percent vs. 74 percent). The biggest difference, however, is that manufacturing marketers seem far less concerned with thought leadership (44 percent vs. 68 percent) (click to tweet).


Producing engaging content and the inability to measure effectiveness are big challenges

Manufacturing marketers are markedly more challenged than other B2B marketers with producing the kind of content that engages (62 percent vs. 47 percent) and with the inability to measure content effectiveness (48 percent vs. 33 percent) (click to tweet).


Download the report today to learn more about these and other findings, including:

  • What percentage of budget do manufacturing marketers allocate to content marketing?
  • What metrics do they use to gauge success?
  • How much content creation do they outsource?

In CMI’s discussions with manufacturing organizations that are getting started with content marketing, we are seeing success in small “pilot” programs. These tend to last at least 6 months, with agreed-upon objectives that, at the very least, are getting different silos within the organization talking about what marketing objectives can be accomplished with consistent content creation and distribution.

Do you think that manufacturing marketers are “laggards”? Why or why not? Are you just getting started with a program? What are your challenges? Or do you already have some successes to share? Let us know in the comments!

Want to learn more about the tactics your industry peers are turning to for more effective content marketing creation and delivery? Read our eBook, Building the Perfect Content Marketing Mix: Execution Tactics