Every year, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) conducts an annual marketing survey, looking at how all types of businesses, including manufacturers, are using content to get the word out about their products and services. The result is a series of insightful reports, including the meaty (and illuminating) Manufacturing Content Marketing 2020 Report: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends.
Not sure if you want to dive into all 37 pages? Here’s a quick recap of the report, highlighting four key takeaways manufacturing marketers will find useful:
1. Manufacturers are catching up to other industries in their use of content marketing.
Since the CMI started including manufacturers in their survey in 2014, they’ve seen the sector come a long way in their use of content marketing. 65% of manufacturing marketers say their organization is more successful with content marketing compared to just a year ago, and 39% say they’re at the “adolescent” (mid-range) stage of content marketing maturity.
It’s a trend I’m definitely seeing in my own experience. Of the manufacturers Mezzanine talked to and worked with back in 2014, the vast majority had no in-house marketing personnel at all. But by 2021, that has changed: what I’m seeing now is that the majority of manufacturers with more than $20M in revenue tend to have an in-house marketing leader in place, and often a team of several people, plus a roster of vendors they rely on to handle specialized areas like SEO, technical writing and video production.
2. Manufacturers are getting more strategic about marketing, but still have a long way to go.
41% of companies indicate they have a content marketing strategy, compared with 21% last year. That’s a good evolution. But it also shows that more than half of manufacturers are still operating ad-hoc, without a cohesive plan for their content marketing. That means they are wasting money and failing to leverage the power strategic marketing has to move their business forward.
3. Manufacturers have to deal with a lot of complexity in marketing.
On average, marketing manufacturers are creating content for four different buyer profiles. Layer in the number of buying stages that are involved in most sales (typically 4 or 5 per buyer profile), put that on a matrix, and you’re looking at developing content for upwards of 20 different situations. That simply isn’t possible for a small team (or a one-person marketing operation) to accomplish.
This is where it’s vital for companies to prioritize, focus, and figure out the best strategies for outsourcing. They need to understand what the most important areas are for them to invest in for marketing, and then execute well in those areas to show traction and success. Spreading themselves too thin they will accomplish nothing, and the marketing effort will end up being seen as a waste of time and money.
4. There’s real opportunity for B2B marketers to do more with less.
Marketers are getting better at creating good content. That’s positive progress, and it’s essential to B2B marketing success. But there’s still room for improvement when it comes to using that content to its full potential: marketers aren’t distributing their hard-earned content as well as they could.
I have a rule of thumb for content: I call it the 10:1 rule. For every dollar a marketer spends creating content, they should be spending $10 to distribute it. Can they promote it through LinkedIn? Through an industry association? Through an influencer in the market? How can they repurpose one piece of content into different formats? Can a podcast be turned into four blog posts? Can a webinar be converted into video snippets and a whitepaper? Can they publish it as a guest post in a third-party publication?
Repurposing and enhanced distribution are key to maximizing any content marketing budget. It's vital for B2B marketers to become masters of doing more with less: it’s the only way to succeed in B2B marketing!
What’s your content marketing plan for 2021?
Wondering how you can communicate better, connect with more leads and have more to show for your money? Mezzanine Growth can help. Whether you’re new to content marketing, or you have a team in place that could do better maximizing what they’re already doing, talk to us. We’ll enable your company to use content to better reach prospects, convert leads, and get the most out of your marketing dollar.