Let’s start by answering the question 'what is omnichannel content marketing?'
In a nutshell: Omnichannel content marketing for manufacturers is much the same for any other vertical. It involves the use of a variety of platforms and channels to propagate content that the target audience will find informative and interesting, thus creating a cohesive brand experience.
Here's why you need it:
The consumer today is intrinsically digital - technology is ingrained into every aspect of life, regardless of his/her profession, and makes its way into every aspect of the buying journey. This is true for industrial customers too. If you put all your information out on only one or two channels (say for example your website and newsletter), it means you’re expecting your audience to consume that information on your terms - they have to be particularly interested in your products and put in the effort to visit your website or sign up for your newsletter.
This means you’re missing out on a lot of customers who perhaps don’t know about your brand/product, or are currently procuring another brand’s products simply because they aren’t familiar with yours. You’re also missing out on all the customers who have discovered a new need and have no idea which product would be the right solution!
Imagine if you could:
- Ensure all relevant customers can easily access your brand and product information wherever they look online
- Pull over any customers currently using a competitor’s products, by talking about how your product is a market leader and showing your brand's thought leadership
- Get the first mover advantage with customers who’ve discovered a new need - the minute they start looking for a solution, your brand is the first to show up.
A strong B2B manufacturing content marketing strategy helps you achieve all this by publishing relevant, engaging content on all the channels any of your customers could frequent.
Understanding which channels to make part of your omnichannel content marketing strategy:
The channels you choose depend on your customers. The buying journey in the industrial vertical is largely spread across these four stages -
- Awareness of need
- Evaluation / Consideration
Across each of these stages, Decision Making Units (DMUs) on the customer side are constantly researching and evaluating products on the Internet. As a content marketer, it’s important to be visible and present on all relevant online channels right from step 1, when they identify their need.
This should help make it easier to choose the right channels for your audience along each landmark stage of their buying journey:
- Blog Posts
- Press Releases
- Social Media
- Educational Videos
- Branded Videos
- Blog posts
- Digital Ads
- Landing pages
- Branded Videos
- Smart Content
- Re-marketing ads
- Nurturing mailers
- Success Stories
- Messenger bots
- Customer-specific content & insights
The manufacturing industry is notably late to the content marketing game, and understandably so. The most common concern regarding content marketing for manufacturers is that there isn’t a team in place to get the initiative rolling - even within the marketing department, resources are more traditionally aligned. And even with everything else in place, the next concerns of the management remain - where do we get started? Do we really need social media, isn’t that a little frivolous for this vertical? What is the first step we really need to take to try this out?
- Get expert advice:
Sometimes you just need an expert to take the wheel and guide you, and content marketing is one of those cases. Whether it’s a series of workshops for your marketing team, or hiring a content marketing specialist, getting expert advice will give you some much-needed perspective and plenty of next steps to work on.
- Conduct a competitive analysis:
Analyse what your competitors are doing and what lessons you can take away - what are the gaps you identify, what is the potential you see in your own brand? We’d highly recommend not picking up the same ideas and content, simply conduct the analysis to know where your brand stands in relativity and where you could be.
- Conduct an industry analysis:
Benchmark yourself against other brands in the same vertical around the country or world. Your goal as a brand is to be a thought-leader not just in relation to your competitors but on a national or global level. So it’s important to know where you stand, what you should expect from yourself as a brand, and how long a way you have to get to your goal. Researching industry leaders at this level also makes for great inspiration and adds new layers of perspective.
- Get a clear picture about your audience:
Here’s where the hitherto traditional approach of manufacturing brands to sales & marketing comes in handy. There is a gold mine of data available with the sales team about the customers, their thought process, why they choose your brand, how they discovered it and any improvements in experience that they expect from your brand.
- The demographic and behavioural data will allow you to map your target audience and create customers personas so you can create targeted content that will resonate with your audience.
- The psychographic and journey data will tell you more about what kind of content to create at every stage of the customer journey for your audience.
Above all we’d reiterate that not making any strides towards a content marketing strategy and not starting anywhere, are definitely going to have more of a negative impact in the long term. It is a need of the hour today across all verticals, and you’ll find that companies that make the move in time come on top in the future.