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New Content Marketing Research for Manufacturers: Are You Focused on What’s Working?


Manufacturing marketers shifted gears in a big way this year, turning their attention toward sales as a primary goal for content marketing.

That’s just one of the findings in our second annual report sponsored by Fathom. This year’s research shows that manufacturing marketers have made numerous other changes since last year. But here’s the kicker: In many cases, there’s disconnect between what they are doing and what works. Let’s take a look.

Sales is a top goal, but only 48% use sales as a metric

Eighty-five percent of manufacturing marketers cite sales as a goal for content marketing (versus 56% last year), putting sales right behind brand awareness (89%). However, fewer than half use sales to measure content marketing success. In fact, out of all the groups we studied this year, manufacturing marketers have the most difficulty tracking ROI on their content marketing programs; only 12% say they are successful in doing so.

SUGGESTION: Measurement is a huge challenge. Find your single version of the truth so everyone working on content marketing is focused on the same goals.

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87% use video, but its effectiveness has dropped

Eighty-seven percent of manufacturing marketers use video, which is now at the top of the tactics list (last year 80% used video, making it third on the list). Indeed, manufacturing marketers use video more than any other group we’ve studied. However, fewer say video is effective this year (65% vs. 71% last year).

SUGGESTION: Download this 43-page guide on how to use video to drive brand awareness, leads, and sales.

The tactic they say is most effective? In-person events, which 66% of marketers say is effective. But, the percentage of marketers using this tactic has decreased (79% vs. 81% last year).

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LinkedIn is the top social media platform, but YouTube rose in effectiveness

LinkedIn surpassed YouTube as the platform that manufacturing marketers use most often to distribute content, but its effectiveness dropped two percentage points. On the other hand, 66% said YouTube is effective versus 59% last year.

SUGGESTION: Learn how to get 200+ subscribers from one LinkedIn article.

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85% use paid print/offline promotion, but only 34% say it’s effective

Manufacturing marketers use more paid print or other offline promotion to distribute content than any other group we’ve studied; however, search engine marketing (SEM) gets a much higher grade in terms of effectiveness (52% vs. 34%).

SUGGESTION: Learn how to get more from the paid media you are using.

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Where should you go from here?

When we presented last year’s manufacturing content marketing research, we shared a quote from Bruce McDuffee’s The Manufacturer’s Growth Manifesto. Even though this is a year old, it still holds true:

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.

We agree that prosperity awaits marketers in the manufacturing segment who are willing to shift to strategies that work with today’s new buyers. Results will come to those who are building on incremental wins – and who are focused on understanding and tying success to their goals.

And, as is the case with all of the groups we have studied in our research, it’s key to document your content marketing strategy. You can get started by downloading our 16-page guide. Even better, join us at Content Marketing World 2015 for a one-day industry lab dedicated to manufacturing marketing.

Read the report today to learn more, including:

  • How many manufacturers have a documented content marketing strategy?
  • What content marketing initiatives are they working on?
  • How much total budget do they allocate to content marketing?
  • How do some of their efforts compare with other B2B marketers?

Do you agree with the findings? Are you a manufacturing marketer looking for ways to measure the success of your program? Are you experimenting with tactics, social media platforms, and paid promotion? Let us know in the comments.

Want to learn more about tying your content to your organizational goals and measuring your content marketing success? Sign up today to receive the Content Marketing Institute’s daily email and receive exclusive content from CMI Founder Joe Pulizzi. And don’t forget to register for the manufacturing industry lab at Content Marketing World 2015.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute