Many factors go into developing a customized and data-driven marketing strategy, including marketing strategies for manufacturing companies. What follows is the tale of three brothers and their experiments with inbound and outbound marketing for a happily-ever-after manufacturing marketing success story.
* No marketers were harmed in the creation of this blog post.
Three brothers, Matt, James and Paul, own identical manufacturing companies in identical markets, but do not directly compete with one another. Each of the three brothers knows that marketing and advertising are necessary to help customers discover their products, but each has a different idea of what marketing strategy is the best fit for their business.
After much debate and deliberation, each brother sets out to discover the marketing tactics that would generate the most qualified leads. Matt, being the oldest, was the first to launch his marketing program. The other two brothers waited to see Matt's results so they could learn from and improve on his strategy.
Matt invested 100 percent of his marketing budget in outbound channels. He purchased print advertisements in monthly trade publications and designed ads that promote his brand as well as the features and benefits of his products. He purchased digital ads to show up on search engines and websites, prompting viewers to buy now or request a consultation.
Matt discovered that paid advertising can get expensive. He also noticed that because he had nothing to offer in his ads beyond a consultation or product, his lead generation numbers were low and the cost per acquisition was high. Matt later learned that only 3 percent of people who see an ad are ready to buy in that moment.
James saw how much money his brother spent and how few leads and customers he generated, so he decided to invest 100 percent of his marketing budget in an inbound strategy using email, social media, keywords/SEO and content marketing.
James researched the keywords his customers are typing into search engines and wrote blog posts, created long-form content pieces and published web pages using those keywords. He emailed each new content piece to the contacts in his database and shared them across all of his social media channels.
James started to see traffic to his blog and website slowly increase. This led to more contact form submissions, more contacts in his database and eventually to some closed deals.
But James found that creating content was time-consuming and he wished there was a way to get the content he worked so hard to write in front of more people so he could grow his marketing database and close deals faster.
Paul learned from his two brothers and decided to take a hybrid approach using outbound to help promote his inbound marketing activities. Like his brother James, Paul started creating content that helped his customers find him when they were searching for solutions to their challenges. Also like James, Paul was able to use that content to convert website visitors to contacts in his database so he could begin nurturing them with marketing emails.
Taking a page from Matt's playbook, Paul decided to promote his content through paid media to get it in front of more people and accelerate lead acquisitions. Because he had helpful content to offer with his ads, he generated a greater number of leads than Matt, who was only offering consultation requests and buy now offers.
Seeing Paul's success, James and Matt decided to implement the same strategies. They promoted their content through digital pay per click (PPC) advertising, paid email distribution to trade databases and boosted posts on social media channels.
They used tools to retarget website visitors with their ads, helping to keep the brothers' companies top of mind for past visitors. They also used tools to help them target new leads similar to those already in their marketing database by serving their ads to people who met the demographic and geographic profiles of their existing customers.
The brothers now have well-oiled marketing machines. They use blog posts, on-page SEO best practices, social media posts, digital ads and like-audience tools to attract new visitors to their websites. They use calls-to-action (CTAs) and landing pages for relevant content offers to convert their website visitors into contacts in their marketing databases.
They segment their database so they can create relevant email campaigns for their segmented personas, and they use automated workflows to help automate the segmentation process and automatically enroll new contacts in relevant drip email campaigns. These contextual email campaigns nurture their leads and some eventually become customers. They use paid media and retargeting at all stages to accelerate and ignite website visitor attraction, lead acquisition, lead nurturing and customer conversion.
It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to marketing. Marketing is like a table; it needs more than one leg (or tactic) to stand. It's very easy to focus on this tactic over that tactic, outbound vs. inbound, but the truth is it takes several tactics working together toward a unified goal to keep the table from falling over. That's when a set of marketing tactics become a marketing strategy.
Do your research, evaluate the data, and speak to your customers. What marketing activities have and have not worked in the past and why? What questions are your customers and prospects asking that you can help answer with your marketing content? Evaluate where your customers and prospects hang out online and where they get their news and entertainment to help determine which distribution channels will get your marketing message in front of your potential customers.
Keep this in mind, though: Just because your prospects and customers subscribe to a particular channel, like Facebook, doesn't mean they are ready or willing to convert on your content through that channel. The more you know about your prospects, the better you will understand how they prefer to buy and receive marketing.
A versatile approach is needed to reach customers and nurture them through their buyer journey. Some tactics that should be a slice of every marketer's pie are content marketing, SEO, email marketing, social media and paid advertising. Let the research and data tell you what percentage of your pie each slice should take up. For more insight, download our guide, The New Demand Generation: Personas, Personalization & Programmatic Marketing.