MM 038 - Marketing Automation - An Opportunity for Manufacturers to Gain a Competitive Edge

    An Opportunity for Manufacturers to Gain a Competitive Edge with Marketing Automation

    Guests: Tom Repp, Owner and Principal at The Repp Group

    Highlights:

    • IHS Engineering360 says 77% of engineers use online content to source their vendors. Marketing automation helps to meet them online and engage. [5:10]
    • Marketing automation is much more powerful than email service provider because of the ability to monitor web behavior and trigger activities based on that activity. [10:15]
    • The “Perfect Storm” is Forming for the Industrial Marketer [11:00]
    • It takes great content to be digitally relevant to search engines. [11:45]
    • Tom says, a $36,000 MAP can be much more productive than a $100k - $200k field sales person.  [13:10]
    • Content saturation and the digital moat is a huge opportunity just waiting for savvy manufacturers ready to adopt the new way to market. [16:00]
    • Tom talks about how MAP is able to track all marketing activities, even old activities like trade shows or print ads.[17:15]
    • Now is the time for manufacturers to take advantage of this opportunity, but marketing automation is a big shift in culture for most manufacturing companies. [26:30]
    • Effective marketing automation implementation and utilization requires support from leadership. [28:20]
    • Tom shares a success story about heavy industrial company that was able to beat our much larger companies. [30:00]
    • Hubspot website grader to evaluate your website. [32:30]
    • Content must be valuable to the reader if it works to improve SEO and position the company as the go-to expert. [35:30]
    • TOMA blog post by Tom about getting awarness; Industrial Content Marketing: Best Way to Improve Industrial Brand
    • Tom's e-Books:  The Essential Guide to Industrial Marketing...The Inbound Way  and  A Branding Roadmap for Industrial Marketers

    Interview Questions:

    Question 1 – Let’s start off with the basics, what is marketing automation? How is it different from CRM? How is it different from an email provider like Mailchimp of Constant Contact?

    Question 2 – In your post, you mention content saturation and the fact that most industrial marketers just don’t have the manpower or skills to create quality content.  But the interesting quote is “this is a clear path to online dominance”.  You further state that industrial marketers who can embrace marketing automation and content can build a very nice digital moat around their business.   That sounds very compelling, would you please elaborate on this idea of online dominance and the digital moat?

    Question 3 –  You also mention measurement as a key benefit of adopting marketing automation.  You state that through MAP, a marketer can nearly all marketing activities.  Could you give a few examples, especially of those traditional or older channels, of how measurement works with an MAP?

    Question 4 – Many manufacturers just don’t support robust marketing functions, teams or budgets because they haven’t had to in the past. In fact, manufacturers are typically marketing like it’s the 1990s and their customers want to buy like it’s 2016. Would you elaborate on the idea that buying behavior has changed, how important it is for industrial marketers to adapt to this change and how marketing automation can help them do it?

    Question 5 – When is it the case when marketing automation is not right for a manufacturer or industrial company? How about a success story, Tom.  Could you share a success story of an industrial (preferably a manufacturing company) that was able to implement and utilize marketing automation to increase sales and achieve a competitive advantage in their market space?

    Challenge Question:

    This week we have a challenge question coming in from Germany from one of our international manufacturing marketers.  “We’re a German company manufacturing printing presses. Our engineers and our leadership do not believe in marketing. They only believe in sales and product. I’m trying to convince them to invest more in marketing and we marketers really want to advance our practice here at the company. How can we get them to pay attention to the power of modern marketing tactics and give us some budget (and respect)?

    • David Meerman Scott, suggests asking your leadership how they make a purchase, when they tell you how they shop online, then ask them why the company information is not meeting our buyers online.
    • Try a pilot program to prove the concept of marketing automation and sharing expertise and compare it to a product promotion.

    Takeaways:

    • Get owner and management buy in. Try using the quote from DMS above.
    • Get outside help as needed especially if you don't have the expertise in-house.

    Sign up for the FREE 12 Lesson Video Course from MMI - The New Way to Market for Manufacturing 


    Bruce:
    Welcome to the Manufacturing Marketing Matters, a podcast produced by the Manufacturing Marketing Institute, the center of excellence for manufacturing marketers. I'm Bruce McDuffee. Thank you for listening. Hello, manufacturing marketers. This is Bruce McDuffee, executive director here at the Manufacturing Marketing Institute, or MMI. We're a marketing consulting firm focused specifically on B2B manufacturing companies. We're dedicated to helping manufacturers to increase their sales and get competitive advantage with what we call the new way to market. What that means is that you can grow your manufacturing business when you stop pitching products and start sharing expertise.

    To learn more about that, I know that might sound shocking to manufacturers, but it works, and to learn more about it, you can shoot me an email, bruce@mmmatters.com, or give me a call, or I wrote a book about the same topic. It's called, guess what, The New Way to Market for Manufacturing. You can get a discount code and see what it's all about if you just go to mmmatters.com/new-way-book. One other quick note before we get started, I'm opening up the podcast to sponsorship. We'll have 1 sponsor per month, and that means you get 4 episodes. If you want to get your message in front of manufacturing marketers, this might be just the thing for you. If you're interested, again send me an email or give me a call. Now, on to the show.

    Today, we're talking about marketing automation for manufacturers and industrial companies. Marketing automation are names you may have heard, like Eloqua/Oracle, HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Act-On, and so on. There's a bunch of them out there. This can be a huge asset for manufacturers and give you a significant competitive advantage in your respective spaces, but on the other hand, marketing automation could also be a big waste of money. We're going to talk about when to decide which one it is, and of course we'll be emphasizing the fact that it can be a big competitive advantage to get you increased leads, demonstrate ROI, increase engagement, get you TOMA, which listeners know that means top of mind awareness, and more credibility. The fact is, if you're the only manufacturer in your space to use marketing automation and leverage it fully, you can kill it. You can kill the folks who aren't using this. I can tell you right now, last study I looked at, adoption rate of marketing automation for B2B manufacturers is actually less than 10%. That, my fellow manufacturing marketers, is opportunity knocking.

    We're fortunate to have a marketing automation expert within the industrial space with us today. He's a longtime industrial marketing consultant, and this guy knows his stuff when it comes to marketing automation and using it to increase sales and get competitive advantage. Tom Repp is a HubSpot partner, and he's been using and helping industrial companies with marketing automation for about 5+ years. He's been in industrial marketing working with companies for 15+. Welcome Tom.
    Tom:
    Hello Bruce. How you doing?
    Bruce:
    Doing great. Thanks for being on the show today.
    Tom:
    Not a problem. My pleasure.
    Bruce:
    Folks, Tom has a special place here at the podcast, because Tom, I don't know if you know this, but you were guest number 1. You were on episode 001 for the podcast.
    Tom:
    I think that's called guinea pig.
    Bruce:
    Depends on your perspective.
    Tom:
    Yeah, that was great. It was great.
    Bruce:
    [crosstalk 00:03:59]. Yeah, and this is episode ... I think it's episode 39 right now.
    Tom:
    Yes.
    Bruce:
    8 months later and 38 episodes later, we're glad to have you back, Tom.
    Tom:
    Congratulations for sticking with it and knocking those out, because ... and I've listened to several of them, and they're very good, very good.
    Bruce:
    Great to hear. I appreciate that feedback. Tom, you just published a blog post, and the title was 5 Reasons Marketing Automation for Industrial Must Be Deployed. I'd like to explore the idea of marketing automation for B2B manufacturers in more detail today. I know a lot of marketers out there wonder if marketing automation is right for them. They ask themselves like everything, "What's in it for me?" Let's start off with the basics for the audience. First, what is marketing automation?
    Tom:
    Okay. To really answer that, I think first you have to make an assumption, and I understand assumptions are dangerous, but I base this on my own personal knowledge. Also, I think it gets backed up by a lot of marketing data, particularly from GlobalSpec, or it's now called IHS Engineering360. Basically they said that 77% of the engineers use online content to source. I would suggest to you that for the millennials, it's closer to 100%. If you're going to be prepared for the future, I think you got to look at marketing automation, and you have to make that assumption. If they're going to source their products, they're going to go to the web. If that's the assumption you make as a marketer, then you're going to have to put a lot of marketing effort into the web, podcast, e-books [crosstalk 00:05:53].
    Bruce:
    The digital stuff, for sure.
    Tom:
    Yeah, digital stuff. The only way to measure all that is marketing automation. I use the analogy quite a bit, I think marketing automation is to marketing what QuickBooks Online is to accounting. It takes a skilled operator to do both. The software is wonderful, but you got to know what you're doing too. For all those traditional marketers out there that are still doing direct mail, trade shows, trade journal ads, that can all be tied in to marketing automation. I'm not going to get into the technical reasons how that happens, but it can be done. If those channels are still working, marketing automation is still a good fit.
    Bruce:
    Okay. Some folks are probably wondering, I can spend whatever it is, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 a month for marketing automation like a Marketo or a HubSpot or a Eloqua, or I can spend $200 or $100 or $50 a month on a MailChimp or a Constant Contact. What does marketing automation have that an email service provider doesn't have?
    Tom:
    Clearly, you're right. Marketing automation is going to be a substantial investment over Constant Contact, but I've always maintained that if you build a strong marketing department in your industrial company, in this day and age it's more valuable than hiring 100 or $200,000 rock star salesman. Marketing automation, to answer your question, can do a lot more than MailChimp or Constant Contact. For example, when you do an email blast from a marketing automation program, let's say you've already created a landing page within the marketing automation interface.

    When you send out the email, there's a link there to a specific landing page. Your email blast not only has a link to a landing page that talks about whatever you're talking about in the email. It's all in contacts, all in contacts. Another thing that a marketing automation program does is all of them have this list function. You can segment your email blasts much like you do with Constant Contact in terms of demographics, your job title, and regional and all that kind of stuff, but more importantly, that Constant Contact can't do, is you can send out an email based on the buyer's behavior. In other words ...
    Bruce:
    Got it.
    Tom:
    What e-books did they download? What blog post did they spend the most time on? What web pages did they go to? Did they go to your product pricing page? All that kind of information, so that when you contact them through workflows which are typical in marketing automation, or you contact them face-to-face, it's very powerful, because you go into that relationship with a lot more information about his behavior.
    Bruce:
    Got it. That's the big difference, is that with marketing automation, you can actually watch what they're doing on your website.
    Tom:
    Yeah, it's [crosstalk 00:09:28] a little creepy but it works.
    Bruce:
    It is a little creepy. That does. It creeps people out a little bit. It's almost like spying, but you know, folks, this is the world we live in. If you're on a website, your activity can and usually is tracked, right?
    Tom:
    Yeah. Absolutely. I referenced the millennials earlier. The creepiness isn't a big deal to millennials. I think it's more of a big deal to the baby boomers and the ...
    Bruce:
    The old guys like us.
    Tom:
    Yeah, the generation right behind. Even my son is 38, and he's a little older than the millennials, this stuff bothers him too, but I don't think it bothers the millennials.
    Bruce:
    No, I don't think so either. In the post I talked about, Tom, you mentioned a couple of terms I wanted to explore, because they're really interesting. One of them is content saturation and the fact that this can give somebody, a manufacturing marketer, an edge. You say, and I'll quote, "This is a clear path to online dominance." I bet you most of our listeners out there would love to have online dominance in their sector. Then you go on to talk about this concept of a digital moat. Could you explore on those 2 things, the content saturation, and then that dominance, and then the digital moat to protect it?
    Tom:
    Absolutely. I often talk about the perfect storm in industrial marketing. If you want to know a little bit more about that, you can ... This is a shameless plug. You can go to my blog, thereppgroup.com, and just go to the search box and type in "perfect storm" and there's a blog post about it. The perfect storm basically has 4 elements in my opinion. First of all, I talked about buyer's behavior. That's changed. They go to the web to source everything. In the meantime, Google's changed the rules of the road. Basically they say that you have to deploy great content to be digitally relevant. Those rules keep changing a little bit, but in subtle kinds of ways, but the point is you put out good content and Google is going to love you.

    It's no secret that the business-to-business industrial marketer lacks the skills to create great content. For example, we did a project, just a website, for a pneumatic pump manufacturer here in West Michigan. When I did the research for them, none of their competitors, and they had some very large competitors, none of them had any kind of content on the web. If we had talked them into putting more content and using marketing automation, they would have owned that space, but because they were owned by an equity management company out of New York, they didn't really care. If it had been local ownership, I think it would have been a little bit different. Also, and the fourth element of the perfect storm, is now you have marketing automation that ties all this stuff together, and it's relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Again, I think it's more valuable than hiring a 100 or $200,000 salesman. I think long-term it's going to really pay off. The industrial marketer has the advantage of what I call this perfect storm.

    Over time, if you deploy content in the different funnels, the top of the funnel which is the awareness stage for the buyer, the middle of the funnel which is the consideration stage, and the bottom of the funnel which is the decision stage, and you put that content out in an SEO friendly manner, you're going to own that path to your website. You will get, because of all that content and because Google understands you're putting out content and people are clicking on it, so you can't throw crap out there, Bruce. Google knows that, and you're going to continue to dominate the visibility, the ranking for Google, and so on and so forth. I think for most of the industrial marketers I talk to, the manufacturing marketers, I think they can own their space if they pay attention to, again, what I call the perfect storm.
    Bruce:
    Interesting. What you're really saying is here there's a huge opportunity in the industrial and manufacturing sector.
    Tom:
    Yeah. Yeah.
    Bruce:
    If you, like for example the pneumatic pumps, I think you had told me once before in a conversation that you were able to own that keyword fairly easily. Is that fair?
    Tom:
    Yes.
    Bruce:
    Yeah.
    Tom:
    Yeah. Yeah.
    Bruce:
    Because other manufacturers aren't really doing this. They're not ...
    Tom:
    No. No.
    Bruce:
    Content saturation means you put out content that's built around your value prop or your keyword, and then the digital moat is you protect it by emphasizing everything around that and literally becoming the expert around that keyword.
    Tom:
    I think that's the operative statement, becoming the expert.
    Bruce:
    When somebody does have a need for pneumatic pumps, they may have never even heard of this company who has got this keyword and got the digital moat and got the saturation. Never heard of the company, but they go in and say, looking for a pneumatic pump or a pneumatic pump that does this or that, boom, shows up in organic search, right?
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).
    Bruce:
    That's the key.
    Tom:
    Yup.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, what an opportunity.
    Tom:
    It is. You and I have talked about this before. It's so frustrating because so many of the industrial marketers don't get it. In their defense, they don't have ...
    Bruce:
    They haven't had to.
    Tom:
    They never had to do it.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, exactly.
    Tom:
    Not only did they not have to do it, they don't have people on staff to do it, nor do they even know the right questions to ask if they want to outsource it.
    Bruce:
    Yeah. Yeah, it's crazy.
    Tom:
    It's just amazing to me. It is crazy.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, and it's a huge opportunity for those folks who can. It's just waiting. It's just out there waiting, which is amazing. Tom, you also mentioned in the post a key benefit of adopting marking. You mentioned measurement as a key benefit to adopting marketing automation. You stated that through marketing automation, and I loved this part too, because you say through marketing automation, a marketer can measure nearly all marketing activities. If you could give a couple of examples of how the measurement works, especially in some of the traditional older channels, like I bet you people would love to be able to measure ROI on a trade show or ROI on a magazine ad.
    Tom:
    Exactly. Exactly. Basically if you sign up for a marketing automation platform such as HubSpot, you're going to put a piece of JavaScript on each one of your web pages. From a technical standpoint, that's pretty much how everything is measured, but the beauty of it for a marketing or a non-programmer kind of guy, you dial in to your dashboard and all of a sudden you see which blog post got the most traffic, which email got the best response rate, which landing page had the best conversion rate. That is, somebody landed on the page and they actually gave up their email address to you. That's what we call conversion rate. You can also create specific landing pages for a trade journal ad. In your trade journal ad, you do the typical promotion, whatever it is, and the copy. Then you put in there a unique URL. Now, the trade journal, if somebody wants more information about whatever you're writing the copy about, they're going to click on that and it gets measured in marketing automation.
    Bruce:
    [crosstalk 00:17:53]. That's what ties it together. Okay.
    Tom:
    Yeah, exactly, or let's say a trade show. You send out an email announcing which booth you're in, and you actually create a specific landing page that's done right in your marketing automation program. You've already got templates built, so it takes like 10 minutes. Let's say for example, you decided to make your salesman really visible, so that you bought some really nice red jumpsuits with the logo on, and you put a [crosstalk 00:18:26] QR code on the back of the jumpsuit. On your landing page, you say, "Look us up at the trade show. If you take a picture of our QR code, we'll enter you in a contest to win an iPad," or something like that.

    All of that can be measured within the marketing automation. You can keep the creative juices flowing and still integrate it with the marketing automation platform. One of the great quotes of all time in terms of marketing and advertising was, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don't know which half." It's from John Wanamaker. Those days are over. We can measure everything. It's pretty cool stuff.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, that's one of my favorite quotes too. I use it all the time. He said that, back in I think it was like the late 1800s or something. I guess the scary part, Tom, is that a lot of marketers in all kinds of different industries still aren't much beyond that.
    Tom:
    There's no doubt. There's no doubt.
    Bruce:
    Without marketing ... I guess you got to have marketing automation and you have to have it integrated with your CRM, don't you, to get [crosstalk 00:19:45]?
    Tom:
    Yes.
    Bruce:
    Yeah.
    Tom:
    Yes.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, good stuff.
    Tom:
    Do you want me to speak to that a little bit?
    Bruce:
    Sure. Yeah.
    Tom:
    Obviously a lot of your better CRM programs, like Salesforce and so forth, are web-based now. I used Salesforce at our company for several years. When I started doing the HubSpot thing, Salesforce and HubSpot played together nicely. In fact, I think Salesforce was one of the venture capital funds ...
    Bruce:
    I think they were, yeah.
    Tom:
    ... that got HubSpot started. HubSpot has their own CRM now, which is ideal for small to mid-sized companies, manufacturing, industrial supply, and the neat thing about it is that it's all tied together now. For example, if I were to put in Bruce McDuffee in my contact list, which you're already in there, of course.
    Bruce:
    I hope so.
    Tom:
    HubSpot automatically goes out and looks up your Twitter feed, your Facebook feed, your LinkedIn feed. It looks up your company name, and it goes to Dun & Bradstreet. All that data is filled in, and I don't have to go look it up.
    Bruce:
    Automatically.
    Tom:
    It's automatically, because most of your customers, most of your prospects, are all out on the web now anyway. It gathers all that information and then puts it right in the contact information within HubSpot, or it could be ... I'm sure Marketo and the rest of them do the same thing, but it's very powerful.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, that's really ... That's a cool feature. Next question I have for you, Tom, there's a lot of manufacturers and industrial companies out there. They just don't support a really robust marketing function, marketing teams or budgets, and like we were just talking about, because they haven't had to. It's all been sales team, one-to-one relationships. That was the whole thing, from discovery to actually selling it. Now marketing has to be involved because of the way people buy, right? Manufacturers, a lot of them, and manufacturers out there listening, I love you, and this is not meant to be pejorative at all.
    Tom:
    Mm-mm (negative). Never.
    Bruce:
    A lot of manufacturers are still marketing like it's the 1990s with some print ads about the product. They got a sales team out there. They maybe set up a lot of trade shows, that type of marketing. Their customers and prospective customers, they want to buy like it's 2016, which means they want to do self-education on the internet and they want to get information when they want it, where they want it. Manufacturers just aren't doing this. Maybe you could elaborate on this idea about modern buying behavior, and you alluded to it earlier in the podcast, and why it's so important for industrial and manufacturing marketers to adapt and bring their marketing function into 2016, and how can marketing automation help them do that.
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Again, I think data proves that the industrial buyer's behavior has changed, so they're going to go to the web and they're going to look for pneumatic pumps or whatever. If your content isn't there to greet them, and wrapped around the context of your brand message, then you've basically lost a lead. To be relevant digitally, you just have to put out a lot of content. Again, this is a skill set most of them don't know. Now you can patch together a lot of online services, such as Hootsuite, Google Analytics, WordPress, Salesforce, et cetera, et cetera, to manage and measure all this. It can be done, but I've done it Bruce, and it's a royal pain in the butt.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, I have to. I'll second that.
    Tom:
    I believe, from a time measurement standpoint and resource measurement standpoint, it's a lot cheaper and easier to manage all that marketing data that's now required using marketing automation. I think there's a lot of intangible benefits to using marketing automation. Again, I'm speaking from ... Although I have tried other marketing automation programs, I ended up settling on HubSpot, so that's my reference, but HubSpot not only has great software, but they practice what they preach. There's lots of opportunities to learn from their own content as well as HubSpot Academy from the best ... what I feel are some of the best marketing minds on the planet. I think their numbers pretty much validate that. I believe just by following the HubSpot methodology, I've got sort of a doctorate in web marketing.

    I still maintain, as I said earlier, that if you invest in marketing automation along with great content, that is far more valuable in today's market than some salesperson that's going to be a super rock star. Not that those aren't valuable, again, I don't mean to pooh-pooh that stuff, but I'm just saying if you're thinking ahead strategically, invest in marketing automation and great content wrapped around a great brand theme. You're probably going to have use somebody, a branding company or some that come up with a new brand theme, so it's not just, "We're the best customer service. We have the best delivery." You want something unique that you can tell stories around.
    Bruce:
    Got to share that value.
    Tom:
    Yeah. Yeah. Yup.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, I think that's true. Marketing automation, I think what you're saying here, Tom, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that marketing automation aggregates all those tools together so they work usually pretty seamlessly to not only distribute the content, but to measure the content.
    Tom:
    Yup.
    Bruce:
    The culmination of a marketing automation, if it's fully utilized, with valuable, educational, helpful content, those 2 are the 2 key factors. When you can put those 2 together in your industrial space or your manufacturing space, you can win, because as we were saying before, the opportunity is there right now. Eventually the opportunity will go away.
    Tom:
    I agree.
    Bruce:
    Tech companies, the SaaS companies, they've been doing this type of marketing for years, right?
    Tom:
    Exactly.
    Bruce:
    Now they all do it, so it's a level playing field. If you could go back 10 years and you were a tech company and used this type of marketing, you could win. Guess what, manufacturers. This is 10 years ago. Now is the time, right, Tom?
    Tom:
    Yup. Yup. Well said. Well said.
    Bruce:
    There's never been a better time to take advantage of this.
    Tom:
    There really isn't. I'm in my 60s. I've been a marketer for years. It's frustrating for me. I feel I had my own window of opportunity, so I'm looking for [crosstalk 00:27:05].
    Bruce:
    That's right.
    Tom:
    I'm looking for companies that really want to embrace this, because I'm just ... It just works, and I want to create massive success for our customers, but they're all dragging their feet for one reason or another. I understand.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, it's hard. It's hard, because you know what's really hard about it, Tom, is the culture.
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative).
    Bruce:
    A company who manufactures a product, it's all about that product. When you explain, "Hey, you've got to build some content around your other expertise and talk about the product later," it's a big culture shift and it's hard for a company that's grown up and always been successful with the product.
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly. Exactly.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, but again, the one in the space who can do this can really kill it. I've seen it. Tom, you've seen it, right?
    Tom:
    Oh my God, yeah. Yup. Yup. Yup.
    Bruce:
    Absolutely. Is there a case, Tom, where a company should not purchase marketing automation? Is there a case where manufacturing, you could tell a prospective customer or somebody, "No, this is not right for you. Do something else"?
    Tom:
    The first item I had was if there's no support from the owner or upper management, I wouldn't waste your time. Also, make sure that they want to grow. As I talked about the pneumatic pump manufacturer, they were owned by an equity company out of New York. They didn't give a crap if they grew or not. It wasn't a good fit [crosstalk 00:28:38]. I think the number 1 thing is you have to have buy-in from the owners or the C-suite.
    Bruce:
    I would add to that, that's absolutely true. I've seen that as well. The other thing I would add is that surprisingly, Tom, a lot of companies in all industries, they'll purchase marketing automation and they'll spend their 1, 2, 3, sometimes 5,000 a month on marketing automation, and just use it for email.
    Tom:
    Yup.
    Bruce:
    I would say to folks considering marketing automation or if you're in that spot, use the whole thing. Get your money's worth. Have people on the team who are into technology, they're excited to learn, and you got to have that kind of culture, a learning culture. Somebody has to really ... usually a leader of the marketing company, leader of the company, just has to really understand the power of marketing automation. Otherwise, you got a really expensive email tool.
    Tom:
    Exactly. Exactly.
    Bruce:
    Last part of the interview here, Tom. How about a success story? Maybe you could share a success story of an industrial or a manufacturing company that was able to embrace marketing automation, bring it in house, use it fully, and really see their sales and their competitive advantage take off.
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Sure. One of the things I was going to say is that if an industrial company doesn't have that culture, and they have owners that do believe in this and they think it's the right thing to do strategically, then get outside help.
    Bruce:
    Good. Good. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
    Tom:
    Ideally, I think you want to have 2 or 3 people in your marketing department that can do this and build a team, ideally, but that'll never, never happen unless you get outside help first.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, good point. Good point.
    Tom:
    A company that we've done exactly that, the owners realized that this was a way to go to market that they needed to do. They didn't have anybody in-house that knew how to do it, so we've helped them make that transition. Probably in a year or 2, they will have their own people to do this, and so we've helped them get started. It's a large ... Let's see, they're about 30 million. They re-manufacture large electric motors for nuclear plants and that kind of stuff. One of the neat things that I love as a marketer, you go into your cool little dashboard, right?
    Bruce:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative).
    Tom:
    You open up the account, and one of the reports you can get is your Competitors Report. I just looked a moment before we got started here, Bruce. I have 16 different competitors of this client that we're working with, and 5 or 6 of them are regional competitors that they go head to head on each quote every day. Then I also have some competitors or some companies in the Competitors Report that are leaders in the industry. I have the 2 largest companies in the industry. We're basically monitoring every single company in their space.
    Bruce:
    Monitoring, as far as what they're doing for marketing or [crosstalk 00:32:07]? Yeah.
    Tom:
    We're monitoring what we call their marketing grade, as far as their website's concerned. If our listeners want to check that out, this is a HubSpot marketing grader. I realize everybody's got their little marketing graders, and it's very holistic, but it's a great way to start. If you go to website.grader.com, you can type in your own domain name and get a pretty good idea of where you rank in terms of marketing. We're looking at all those competitors from that competitive standpoint. We're looking at it from the Alexa rank, which is how they rank in the world in terms of traffic. Our customer started out at 28 million. In other words, they were 28 million from the top which is probably Google in terms of traffic. Just in 6 months, they went from 28 million to 6 million.
    Bruce:
    Wow.
    Tom:
    That's quite a jump.
    Bruce:
    That's a huge jump.
    Tom:
    We also monitor ... Again, we're monitoring not only our customer, but we're monitoring everybody in that space. We're monitoring linking domains, in other words inbound links that come into our customer's domain. That's what's commonly called, what I call Google currency. That's gold on the internet. We also measure each website, not only our customer, but all their competitors, for SEO effectiveness. Our customer is at the top of all of those guys. We also measure Twitter followers. I'm seeing a fairly decent uptick in traffic from Twitter in the industrial market. Clearly from a social media standpoint, LinkedIn is the 800 pound gorilla. Nobody's even close, but I am seeing significant traffic from Twitter as well.

    We can measure all that kind of stuff too. What I'm most proud of, and another thing that we can sort of look at, this isn't on the Competitors Report, but is the conversion rate. In other words, if you send somebody in an email or a call to action on your website or a call to action at the bottom of your blog post, if you send them to a landing page, and at the landing page, you ask to have their email address and their name, that's called a conversion. Our conversion for this particular customer is in the 50% range, which is off the charts.
    Bruce:
    That's great. Wow.
    Tom:
    That's because we're getting help from a local ad agency in Kalamazoo, Maxwell and Miller here. They're doing a lot of the branding and the content creation. We're putting out quality stuff, so there's a message there, Bruce. If you're going to do this, just don't throw crap on the wall, because Google won't count it because your customers won't count it.
    Bruce:
    Let's take that a little further. What would define crap?
    Tom:
    I just think a lot of people get into content marketing and just put up a blog post to put up a blog post, so make sure ...
    Bruce:
    About themselves and about their product.
    Tom:
    Yeah.
    Bruce:
    Yeah.
    Tom:
    Yeah. It needs to be helpful. In other words, look at your buyers. What's their day look like? What keeps them up at night? What are their pain points in their daily travels?
    Bruce:
    Sure.
    Tom:
    Try and address that ...
    Bruce:
    Got it. Got it.
    Tom:
    ... in terms of the content you put out, whether it's a blog post or a premium e-book. Over time, you're going to put out some stuff that doesn't work as well, but you're also going to put out a lot of stuff that will resonate. You can build on all that data that you have about your customer. That's all in your marketing automation platform.
    Bruce:
    To get back to marketing automation, that's where you can ... You put these 2 things together.
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative).
    Bruce:
    Or put all this information together. I said this on a podcast the other day, it's like Janet Yellen looking at all of the Federal Reserve data and analyzing it, and then getting a sense for what works and what doesn't.
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). In terms of case study, I've sort of referenced our customer in relationship to all their competitors. It's very gratifying to open that every month and watching our client move up the ladder in terms of competitiveness on the web. Clearly that is moving the needle in terms of top of mind awareness, or as you call it TOMA. I think that's what you ... top of mind.
    Bruce:
    I call it TOMA. Yup.
    Tom:
    Yeah.
    Bruce:
    Thanks for bringing that up. Yup.
    Tom:
    Top of mind aware, which is key, you know.
    Bruce:
    Sure.
    Tom:
    In fact, I'm working on a blog post right now. What's the title here? I used your little acronym, industrial content marketing is the best way to improve TOMA.
    Bruce:
    Yup.
    Tom:
    I start out by saying most time customers, their first question is, "Tom, we got a great product. We got a great service. We just need more awareness."
    Bruce:
    More awareness, yup.
    Tom:
    The best way [crosstalk 00:37:22] to do that is some of the stuff we've been talking about today.
    Bruce:
    Yup. Great, so the point is that this works. You've seen it work. I've seen it work. It works, folks. Get after it.
    Tom:
    Yup. Yup, but you got to do it more than 6 months. You got to give it a year.
    Bruce:
    Yup. It's a marathon. Yup.
    Tom:
    I advise this. Make sure you've got a budget for this for a whole year so you can realize the potential ROI.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, that's an excellent point. I know a lot of folks start out with content marketing, and maybe they make an FAQ and they do a basic paper or something, and then let it sit. You've got to keep it going. You've got to offer it on a regular cadence. Be consistent, frequent, and put it out there, yeah, at least for a year before you see traction. Good point.
    Tom:
    Yup. Absolutely.
    Bruce:
    What was that website, Tom? Thegrader.com? [crosstalk 00:38:20]. Is it www?
    Tom:
    Just type in Google, "website grader, HubSpot," and you'll come right to it.
    Bruce:
    Okay, that'll come to it. Okay, good. Thank you.
    Tom:
    It's very impressive. It's very holistic, and you have to look at it in terms of the whole big picture gestalt thing, but it's a great way to start.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, I haven't heard of that. I'm going to check it out myself.
    Tom:
    Yeah.
    Bruce:
    Tom, that brings us to the second part of our show, and that is the challenge question. Folks, send in your challenge questions. You can send it to me, my email, bruce@mmmatters.com, or you can put it on Twitter using hashtag #mfgmarketing. Today's question comes in from Germany, and it's one of our international manufacturing marketing listeners. Here it is. "We're a German company manufacturing printing presses. Our engineers and our leadership do not believe in marketing." Big surprise there, right, Tom?
    Tom:
    Yeah. What else is new?
    Bruce:
    Exactly. We're being too cynical here. I don't know.
    Tom:
    I think that's our nature, Bruce. Sorry.
    Bruce:
    I think so [crosstalk 00:39:34]. Okay, so "who do not believe in marketing. They only believe in sales and product. I'm trying to convince them to invest more in marketing and we marketers really want to advance our practice here at the company. How can we get them to pay attention to the power of modern marketing tactics and give us some budget?" Then in parentheses, "and respect." Tom, what do you think? What would you advise? What would you advise?
    Tom:
    Awesome question. I have to credit ... Are you familiar with David Meerman Scott?
    Bruce:
    Oh, sure, yeah.
    Tom:
    Okay. I had lunch with him. He was in Kalamazoo doing a presentation, and I was fortunate enough to chat with him. I asked him the very, very same question. He gave the best answer I've heard of, and I've used it and it's actually worked for me. I would just go to their management and say, "Mr. Manager, in your personal and professional life, if you want to buy something, where do you go to find out more about that product or service?" You know what their answer is going to be.
    Bruce:
    Sure.
    Tom:
    Then you respond by saying, "Well, then why isn't our content there to greet our customers?"
    Bruce:
    Put it right in their world.
    Tom:
    Nails them right between the eyes.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, that's true.
    Tom:
    Thank you, David.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, thanks, David Meerman Scott. Appreciate that.
    Tom:
    Yeah. Yeah.
    Bruce:
    I should get him on the show here, huh, Tom?
    Tom:
    Oh yeah. Yeah.
    Bruce:
    Wonder if he'd do it.
    Tom:
    By the way, we were talking about how to integrate marketing, inbound marketing, or content marketing with traditional industrial marketing. There's actually a book that I wrote on my website that was endorsed by David Meerman Scott.
    Bruce:
    Cool.
    Tom:
    Yeah, so if they want to ... It's on my website, thereppgroup.com, and it's under the publications tab.
    Bruce:
    I'll put a link to it in the show notes.
    Tom:
    Yup.
    Bruce:
    Awesome. I would add to the questioner, the German printing press company, and by the way, it's not the big one you're all thinking about. It's another one.
    Tom:
    Yeah.
    Bruce:
    If you really have a tough case where leadership just pooh-poohs marketing and says, "Just go back in the back and do our trade shows and set up our ads," ask to do a pilot test. Say, "Okay, Mr. CEO, I'd like the chance to prove this to you. It's innovative. It's creative. It's something new." You might even say, "You're always asking for new ideas. Here's a new idea. I can prove it to you that this type of marketing is far superior when it comes to engagement than just our product pitching marketing." Then do a test. It could be a webinar test. It could be an ad test. It could be any type of media. Compare a product promotion features and benefits, and pick the best product. Give it your best shot. Say, "We're going to pick our best product, our best seller, and we're going to compare that to a piece of content that I'm going to write that addresses a particular pain point that our audience has in common." Do that comparison, and I guarantee you, and Tom can guarantee it too, that educational content will blow it out of the water.
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yup.
    Bruce:
    You prove that concept. You say, "Here's my hypothesis. Here's my proven result." That will get their attention. I can guarantee you they'll say, "Okay, let's ..."
    Tom:
    Let's do more.
    Bruce:
    Yeah, let's do more of it. Here's some more money and here's some more resources. They might not say that, but they're going to have you do more.
    Tom:
    You're good at that, Bruce. You're good at taking off small chunks. You have more patience than I do. I go for the whole boat.
    Bruce:
    The whole elephant? That's what I say all the time.
    Tom:
    It sinks, because give it time, you know?
    Bruce:
    Yeah, you got to eat that elephant.
    Tom:
    No, that's a great [crosstalk 00:43:21].
    Bruce:
    One bite at a time.
    Tom:
    Yup.
    Bruce:
    Because you're up against a culture. Any time you're up against a culture, I think it was Peter Drucker who said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast."
    Tom:
    Yes.
    Bruce:
    It means it's got to be it comes down to the culture. Good. Thanks for that. Do you have any other input on that question, Tom, or should we go ahead and move on with the takeaways?
    Tom:
    Go ahead on takeaways, yeah. Ready to move on here.
    Bruce:
    Okay. Tom, I always ask our guest experts to leave our audience with 1 or 2 actionable takeaways. It could be a re-emphasis of something we talked about, or it could be something you're saying, "Go out and do it today."
    Tom:
    Mm-hmm (affirmative). Get owner buy-in or management buy-in, and I think the best way to do it in my opinion is ask the question that I just said. "In your personal and professional life, if you want to buy something, where do you go?" You know they're going to say Google or the web. Say then, "Mr. Owner, why isn't our quality content on the web to greet our customers?" Then if you want to build that digital moat that I talk about, clearly they don't have the culture. They need to get the culture. Get outside help. I think long run, it's ideal to have that culture in-house, to have those skill sets in-house. I've been in this business 15 years. I haven't come across 1 industrial marketer, at least here in the Midwest area, that has the skill sets to do that. Get outside help first, and then build that marketing department, build that culture, inside.
    Bruce:
    2 great takeaways. Thanks Tom.
    Tom:
    Yup. Yup.
    Bruce:
    Before we sign off, Tom, would you like to say anything to our audience about yourself or your company?
    Tom:
    Just I think the takeaways are the key, and if you want more information, you can go to thereppgroup.com, and there's some good downloadable material there. You can sign up for my blog post, and follow along in our frustration, Bruce. But the frustration is an opportunity ...
    Bruce:
    Exactly.
    Tom:
    ... for the ones that get it, you know?
    Bruce:
    Yeah, yeah, it sure is. Yeah. Yeah, folks, I'll put Tom's contact information in the show notes, and check out ... As he says, he's got some great blog posts. Tom practices what he preaches. I can tell you that for sure.
    Tom:
    Yup. Yup.
    Bruce:
    Tom, thank you so much for being a guest today on the podcast and sharing your knowledge and experience with our manufacturing marketers. I know I found it interesting and valuable, and I'm sure they will too.
    Tom:
    Thank you. It's always a pleasure, Bruce, and I feel honored to be your first second presenter on your podcast.
    Bruce:
    You'll always have a special place with the Manufacturing Marketing Matters podcast, Tom.
    Tom:
    All right. All right. I look forward to chatting again. Take care, Bruce.
    Bruce:
    That was Tom Repp, owner and principal at The Repp Group. For more information about Tom and his company, you can visit the guest bio page at mmmatters.com, and I'll put in all the interesting links and everything in the show notes so you can have access to that information and more about Tom.

    Last thing folks, marketing planning is not easy for manufacturing. As I said, marketing is sometimes an afterthought in manufacturing, and nowadays it has to come to the forefront. I know it's hard finding the best channels, messaging, and using all the different technology. It's hard. If you need help getting started or help building a modern marketing plan, give us a call here at MMI. We'll put together a package of services that's right for you and can get you results.

    Thanks for listening to Manufacturing Marketing Matters. If you find this podcast helpful and useful, please subscribe at iTunes or stitcher.com. You can download this episode of MM Matters and get the show notes and learn more about the podcast at mmmatters.com. I'm Bruce McDuffee. Now let's go out and advance the practice of marketing in manufacturing today.

     

    Subscribe to the Podcast