Skip navigation

In a joint report by IDC and UPS, one-third of midsize industrial machinery manufacturers say that up to 75% of their profitability comes from parts, service and consumables; 78% say their customers’ expectations for aftersales services are rising. However, only 12% consider aftersales and service important differentiators for their businesses. But with an average equipment lifespan of 10-19 years, aftersale services could provide new revenue opportunities inbetween purchases.

 

But driving awareness around aftersale support across a broad range of industries, reqions, and facilities can be challenging.  Aditionally, responding to service requests across this broad spectrum is also a challenge.  60% of manufacturers state their response time for new parts or machine repair is between 2-3 days, with 21% stating it can take up to a week.  A delay in downtime and reponse can tarnish long established relationships as well as dissuade future orders.

 

With 44% of manufacturers investing in 3rd party service and support programs, many companies still fail to invest in the communication programs required to drive these programs.  In order to fully leverage aftersale programs, companies must execute programs that allow them to educate customers on services offered, triage inbound requests, manage expectations, and deliver timely follow-up communications.

 

Offers in these campaigns must communicate the additional value to the customer.  An aftersale campaign should deliver 1:1 personalized communications and offers based on digital body language and previous purchase history.  The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications should contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact’s digital body language and purchase history. FANUC Feb.jpg

 

Below are 11 steps for developing an aftersale campaign.

 

  1. Consider your audiences; customers who have purchased previously, customers who have used previous aftersales services, customers who have purchased previously and engaged with a digital product catalog, product-centric webpage, or product-centric email, channel partners who sell products, and opt-ins by way of subscription pages and/or product registration pages.
  2. Segment and assign each audience to the correct campaign path.  Segmentation of customers should be based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use, previous aftersale services, cadence of aftersale services rendered, purchase date, region, industry, and factory.  If contacts were captured during product registration then segmentation may also include requests for opt-in information about a particular product (not directly sales related) and/or notifications of offers and promotions (sales related). 
  3. Communicate the value received by the customer.  This message should be consistent with the digital body language of the contact, value gained through aftersale service, and risk avoided through aftersale service.  Emphasize the investment already made by the customer and the importance of maintaining that investment.  Focus on content that delivers on “Learn how”, “Did you know”, and lastly “Are you interested”.
  4. Leverage opt-ins or already existing registration forms to capture nominal, product, reseller, and purchase information as well as intended usage.  This information can be used to proactively trigger communications that are specific to the product, region, useage, and service offering.
  5. Provide education communications relative to topics of interest based on the contact’s digital body language and purchase history.  As an example, there may be 3 variations of dynamic content pulled into an email based on the customer journey defined by the contact.  One journey may focus on maintenance/upkeep of Product A.  One journey may focus on getting more out of Product A by using the product in various ways.  One journey may focus on Tips and Tricks for using Product A.  In the sidebar of the email, place catalyst options dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A. 
  6. Deliver thought leadership content relative to topics of interest based on the contact’s digital body language and purchase history.  As an example, there may be 3 variations of dynamic content pulled into the email based on the customer journey defined by the contact.  One journey may focus on Industry Trends for Sub-Vertical A.  One journey may focus on safety and efficiency processes.  One journey may focus on sustainability and innovation within manufacturing.  In the sidebar of the email catalyst options will be placed, dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A
  7. Execute the right aftersale offer at a time most appropriate to the customer.  This could be an email containing an offer, dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A.  It’s recommended a scoring process is defined by the manufacturer.  Depending on the engagement score throughout this campaign, contacts may be contacted by sales, entered into a longer educational nurture campaign, or simply exited from the campaign.
  8. Consider other audience channels. Capturing activity against a partner channel webpage, or a channel portal, may be necessary.  Engagement with these designated pages, as well as purchase history, will determine which aftersale offers are presented.
  9. Test. Test. Test. Understand which communications and channels work best with each audience.
  10. Work to capture the SKU upon purchaseSKUs will initially be captured in a system outside of your marketing automation tool.  Because purchase history will be captured, it should be placed in a Custom Object in order to map multiple purchases to one contact.  Any data that has a one to one relationship, and no historical aspects, should be stored against the contact record.  Any data in which multiple instances could occur, such as purchase information, should be stored as a Custom Object to track all purchases and the related information separately.  This information can then be mapped back to the contact.  Data to capture includes Nominal (Contact and Company name, address and communication methods), Product Information (Model, Version, Serial Number), Reseller information (Reseller, location, channel), Purchase Information  (Price paid, referring source, decision factors, other products owned), Intended Usage (For what industry and purpose the products are intended).
  11. Nurture and educate the customer throughout the aftersale service deployment.  Don't forget to send a confirmation of the aftersale request. There should be contact information available in case the aftersale service is not received when estimated.  Educational content delivered throughout the aftersale service period should provide information on studies, results, and "how to" information.  Content should also provide information on advances in innovation and trends relative to the industry or product.  At the conclusion of the aftersale service, provide a feedback form to collect information on both the service and the process.

 

What steps would you add to an aftersale campaign?

In an effort to educate and engage, many organizations develop programs that offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or re-certification credits.  These are not industry professional organizations.  Oftentimes they are manufacturers offering CEUs to engineers, architects, technical professionals, or clinicians.  Many manufacturers recommend that their products are installed by certified specialists.  Training sessions from these companies are normally awarded CEUs.


Manufacturers like Bernard Dalsin Manufacturing Co., Hargrove Manufacturing Corp., Travis Industries, Inc. and Hanley Wood host educational workshops at events, conduct onsite hands-on training, or conduct virtual training.  The attendees can learn about the product offerings of the company, train on how to use the product, and also earn credits towards their certifications. The manufacturers increase their opportunity to engage, provide helpful how-to information, and also establish themselves as a partner in the industry.

 

But for many manufacturers these practices remain siloed in university-type departments and not integrated with the marketing and sales organization. Below are 6 practices that will unify educational programs with sales and marketing initiatives. CE-Approved.jpg


  1. Capture CEU Event Registration Details:  Because of the requirements of many associations responsible for certification, tracking of contact information, specifically the state in which they practice, is essential.  Some regulations even dictate what can be spent on each attendee, and attendees from various states can fall under different policy guidelines.  Event coordinators may have to report on travel, lodging, and catering costs for each of those attendees.
  2. Capture CEU Requirements: Understand the licensing and certification requirements for each attendee.  Many associations have different certification levels requiring varying credit hours.  Have the attendee specify what certification they have, when they were initially certified, when their annual credits must be submitted, and how many they’ve earned to-date.  This will allow you to segment your communications appropriately, reference credit level and opportunity using dynamic content in communications, and time notifications to potential attendees when most relevant to their certification lifecycle.
  3. Capture Attendance Digitally:  When conducting sessions at events, far too often I see people place a pad of paper at the front of the room and ask attendees to sign in.  Many attendees overlook the paper and forget to sign-in, or the information provided is illegible or incomplete.  Through digital sign-in you can immediately capture attendees in your marketing automation and CRM systems.  Sales can see who attended each event and marketing can deliver real-time follow-up confirming attendance, awarding of credits, and delivery of follow-up communications.
  4. Automate Post-Event Follow-up: Whether you have 5 people attend an event, or 100 people attend, providing real-time follow-up will result in increased engagement.  For many companies, it's difficult to remember each conversation and deliver relevant content to that attendee, days after the event occurred.  Using an Eloqua Cloud App like Certain, attendees can automatically be entered into targeted post-event nurture tracks.  Ask for event feedback as well as suggestions for future events.  By providing real-time event follow-up you can increase engagement, further relationships, and ultimately generate new revenue. 
  5. Nurture Event Relationships: It's important to nurture event relationships by providing relevant content in the weeks following the event. Provide content associated with topics covered at the event.  This can be in the form of articles, blogs, reports, white papers, infographics, and video. Offering valuable content and providing an opportunity to select subscription preferences, or opt-out of such communications, is a best practice.
  6. Don't Forget Non-Attendees: It's important not to neglect those who could not attend the event.  Offering digital content from the event, like videos of speakers and presentations, as well as the post-event nurture content, can result in new opportunity for the organization.  You should include information about upcoming certification courses and provide opportunities to register for a certification series, as opposed to one-off courses.

 

By incorporating these 6 tips, you can better automate communications, capture information for future segmentation and understand the preferences of your audience.  This insight will allow you to more effectively communicate relevant content and foster relationships, resulting in a more positive experience for the attendee, and ultimately drive revenue.


If you're an organization that executes these programs, what best practices do you exercise to get the most out of the program and deliver the best experience to the attendee?

Manufacturers continue to make tremendous progress in closing the loop on marketing activities tied to won revenue.  Whether an organization sells to the direct end-user or sells through a channel partner, retailer, or distributor, technology exists that allows manufacturers to understand lead hand-off, support lead nurturing, track lead flow, and gain visibility into revenue won.

 

However, there are some business models that add another layer of complexity.  Many manufacturers, like those found in Aerospace & Defense and Building Materials, rely on bids to generate revenue.  Government contracts and building contracts are a large part of their business.  These manufacturers receive RFQs and provide quotes tied to the defined specifications. But tracking opportunity is tricky in an RFQ model.  Not only are manufacturers competing with other material providers, but even if they are selected for the bid there’s no guarantee the bid of that contractor or architect will be accepted.

 

So how can manufacturing marketers track which won contract revenue is tied to marketing activities?

 

Validate the RFQ Journey and Process RFQ_graphic.174145812_std.png

In order to design a program that will attribute marketing activity to closed revenue, marketers must answer the following questions.

 

When a bid is accepted who makes the final order?  Is it the contractor or architect?  Is it the project manager?  A purchasing manager for the bidder or a purchasing manager for the government?  Perhaps it’s even a CFO?  To close the loop marketers must be aware of who will be placing the actual order.

 

How many material options are included in a single bid?  For example, are 3 different door manufacturers optioned in the bid or is one material manufacturer included for each material needed and that is what’s presented in the final bid, by the architect?  This information allows marketers to define the sales funnel for each opportunity. If marketers know they’ve been included in a bid than that opportunity can continue down the funnel, if another manufacturer is selected then marketers can close out that opportunity.  If marketers don’t know, then they must be more diligent and extend their nurture communications beyond the contractor. 

 

How many contracts would a single contractor or architect manage in a given time?  For example, if an architect comes to a manufacturer’s tradeshow booth, are they bidding 1 project, or 15 projects?  This will define how marketers develop naming conventions for opportunities in their marketing automation system.

 

How long is the time from bid to close/won?  For example, how long is the time from the bid request at the tradeshow to the time the bid is delivered back to the architect?  Is it a week or is the bid delivered on the spot at the tradeshow? Once the bid is delivered, what is the average duration before the manufacturer hears whether they’ve been included in the contractor’s bid?  And once they’ve been selected for the contractor’s bid, what is the average consideration time before the contractor is alerted they’ve won the project?  For many, this is a game of estimates and averages, but understanding that journey is imperative to defining required marketing programs.

 

For example, outside of a tradeshow, what other demand generation activity with architects and contractors is required?  Or, is the decision of the architect to offer a bid opportunity to the manufacturers made at the tradeshow?  Does a relationship between the manufacturer and the architect or contractor exist before the tradeshow or does the tradeshow start the relationship? How does the marketer currently nurture the architect or contractor post-tradeshow or post-bid?

 

Methods for Closing the Loop

With a better understanding of the journey and relationships, marketers can then begin to develop methods for tracking bid opportunities to won revenue.  Consider the following 3 options.

 

  1. Collect the contract number from the architect at the time of the bid.  The bid request form should contain a field that requires that number as well as the campaign attribute number for that opportunity.  The campaign attribute number may be associated with a tradeshow or event, ad campaign, or could be tied to an outbound email campaign.  Require the contract number from customers at the time of order placement.  The same could be done with a project number or opportunity number.  This should become a form field within the ecommerce or order placement tool used.
  2. Provide a “discount code” to the architect, with the bid.  That discount code should be unique to the campaign and the architect or contractor.  If the contract is won, the end customer can reference that discount code at the time of purchase.  This code will tie that contract back to the architect and the campaign.  This method would be dependent upon the number of concurrent opportunities with a single contractor or architect.
  3. Deliver a PURL to the architect to include in the bid.  If the contract is won then the end customer can use the PURL for ecommerce order placement.  Again, this is dependent upon the number of concurrent opportunities with, as well as campaigns delivered to, a single architect or contractor.  Additionally, if you don’t want to do digital tracking, a special phone number could be generated instead of a PURL.

 

While closing the loop on RFQ requests can be complex, it’s not impossible.  By clearly defining the journey, developing proper naming conventions, and capturing proper identifiers, manufacturers can begin to understand which marketing programs resulted in closed revenue.

 

How do you currently close the loop on this complicated process?

There are new market forces affecting the manufacturing industry, and they are having profound changes on buyer behaviors.  These factors have given rise to the concept of ?Customer Centricity? by which organizations focus their attention on their customers rather than just on the unique qualities of their products and services.  Manufacturers face unique challenges in the transformation to customer centricity, including the role of indirect channel distributors.

 

Manufacturers must facilitate the relationship with both end user and distributor content.  They must direct inventory control, relationship development, opportunity distribution, and revenue attribution.  Most importantly, manufacturers must manage customer centricity across all channels, digital and personal. untitled.bmp


A Source of Content

In Manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.   And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.   Manufacturers must engage throughout the journey.


Manufacturers must leverage their communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  They need to work with their channel partners to leverage product registration.  Manufacturers should introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Manufacturers should become a source of helpful content for customers.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


So how do manufacturers interpret selling complexity and the effects on productivity?


A Source of Relationship Building and Inventory Planning

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it?s mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 


Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications manufacturers can begin to see who?s coming to their site, what they?re looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact.  Here are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.


So what changes are manufacturers making to their distribution models, and are more changes to come?

 

A Source of Channel Partner Enablement

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount. And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.


But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending reach through channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by channel partners. 


There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools of support.  Manufacturers can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with their customers.


Manufacturers should optimize their social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?  Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?  Develop a framework strategy.  Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is ?what do we talk about?? Develop the communications strategy ? the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you?d like to own.  Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.


Which tactics are manufacturers finding to be most effective?

 

The Oracle Marketing Cloud team of manufacturing industry marketing experts teamed up with researchers at MAPI, The Manufacturing Association for Productivity and Innovation in a survey of sales and marketing leaders at manufacturing companies across North America. The study was aimed at understanding the current state of digital transformation and confirming that the above stated factors were indeed motivating changes within the surveyed companies sales and marketing departments

.

Join us for a 30-minute webcast as we discuss the results of the surveyWe?ll cover how well manufacturers are embracing customer-centricity, what manufacturers really think about the complexity of the sales cycle, which specific factors affect manufacturers? ability to sell, what types of content today?s manufacturers find to be most important, which tactics and skills marketing departments are using effectively, and where they?re struggling.

 

REGISTER NOW

 


There are new market forces affecting the manufacturing industry, and they are having profound changes on buyer behaviors.  These factors have given rise to the concept of ?Customer Centricity? by which organizations focus their attention on their customers rather than just on the unique qualities of their products and services.  Manufacturers face unique challenges in the transformation to customer centricity, including the role of indirect channel distributors.

 

Manufacturers must facilitate the relationship with both end user and distributor content.  They must direct inventory control, relationship development, opportunity distribution, and revenue attribution.  Most importantly, manufacturers must manage customer centricity across all channels, digital and personal. untitled.bmp


A Source of Content

In Manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.   And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.   Manufacturers must engage throughout the journey.


Manufacturers must leverage their communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  They need to work with their channel partners to leverage product registration.  Manufacturers should introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Manufacturers should become a source of helpful content for customers.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


So how do manufacturers interpret selling complexity and the effects on productivity?


A Source of Relationship Building and Inventory Planning

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it?s mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 


Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications manufacturers can begin to see who?s coming to their site, what they?re looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact.  Here are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.


So what changes are manufacturers making to their distribution models, and are more changes to come?

 

A Source of Channel Partner Enablement

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount. And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.


But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending reach through channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by channel partners. 


There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools of support.  Manufacturers can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with their customers.


Manufacturers should optimize their social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?  Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?  Develop a framework strategy.  Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is ?what do we talk about?? Develop the communications strategy ? the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you?d like to own.  Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.


Which tactics are manufacturers finding to be most effective?

 

The Oracle Marketing Cloud team of manufacturing industry marketing experts teamed up with researchers at MAPI, The Manufacturing Association for Productivity and Innovation in a survey of sales and marketing leaders at manufacturing companies across North America. The study was aimed at understanding the current state of digital transformation and confirming that the above stated factors were indeed motivating changes within the surveyed companies sales and marketing departments

.

Join us for a 30-minute webcast as we discuss the results of the surveyWe?ll cover how well manufacturers are embracing customer-centricity, what manufacturers really think about the complexity of the sales cycle, which specific factors affect manufacturers? ability to sell, what types of content today?s manufacturers find to be most important, which tactics and skills marketing departments are using effectively, and where they?re struggling.

 

REGISTER NOW

 


There are new market forces affecting the manufacturing industry, and they are having profound changes on buyer behaviors.  These factors have given rise to the concept of ?Customer Centricity? by which organizations focus their attention on their customers rather than just on the unique qualities of their products and services.  Manufacturers face unique challenges in the transformation to customer centricity, including the role of indirect channel distributors.

 

Manufacturers must facilitate the relationship with both end user and distributor content.  They must direct inventory control, relationship development, opportunity distribution, and revenue attribution.  Most importantly, manufacturers must manage customer centricity across all channels, digital and personal. untitled.bmp


A Source of Content

In Manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.   And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.   Manufacturers must engage throughout the journey.


Manufacturers must leverage their communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  They need to work with their channel partners to leverage product registration.  Manufacturers should introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Manufacturers should become a source of helpful content for customers.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


So how do manufacturers interpret selling complexity and the effects on productivity?


A Source of Relationship Building and Inventory Planning

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it?s mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 


Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications manufacturers can begin to see who?s coming to their site, what they?re looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact.  Here are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.


So what changes are manufacturers making to their distribution models, and are more changes to come?

 

A Source of Channel Partner Enablement

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount. And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.


But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending reach through channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by channel partners. 


There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools of support.  Manufacturers can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with their customers.


Manufacturers should optimize their social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?  Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?  Develop a framework strategy.  Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is ?what do we talk about?? Develop the communications strategy ? the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you?d like to own.  Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.


Which tactics are manufacturers finding to be most effective?

 

The Oracle Marketing Cloud team of manufacturing industry marketing experts teamed up with researchers at MAPI, The Manufacturing Association for Productivity and Innovation in a survey of sales and marketing leaders at manufacturing companies across North America. The study was aimed at understanding the current state of digital transformation and confirming that the above stated factors were indeed motivating changes within the surveyed companies sales and marketing departments

.

Join us for a 30-minute webcast as we discuss the results of the surveyWe?ll cover how well manufacturers are embracing customer-centricity, what manufacturers really think about the complexity of the sales cycle, which specific factors affect manufacturers? ability to sell, what types of content today?s manufacturers find to be most important, which tactics and skills marketing departments are using effectively, and where they?re struggling.

 

REGISTER NOW

 


There are new market forces affecting the manufacturing industry, and they are having profound changes on buyer behaviors.  These factors have given rise to the concept of ?Customer Centricity? by which organizations focus their attention on their customers rather than just on the unique qualities of their products and services.  Manufacturers face unique challenges in the transformation to customer centricity, including the role of indirect channel distributors.

 

Manufacturers must facilitate the relationship with both end user and distributor content.  They must direct inventory control, relationship development, opportunity distribution, and revenue attribution.  Most importantly, manufacturers must manage customer centricity across all channels, digital and personal. untitled.bmp


A Source of Content

In Manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.   And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.   Manufacturers must engage throughout the journey.


Manufacturers must leverage their communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  They need to work with their channel partners to leverage product registration.  Manufacturers should introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Manufacturers should become a source of helpful content for customers.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


So how do manufacturers interpret selling complexity and the effects on productivity?


A Source of Relationship Building and Inventory Planning

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it?s mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 


Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications manufacturers can begin to see who?s coming to their site, what they?re looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact.  Here are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.


So what changes are manufacturers making to their distribution models, and are more changes to come?

 

A Source of Channel Partner Enablement

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount. And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.


But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending reach through channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by channel partners. 


There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools of support.  Manufacturers can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with their customers.


Manufacturers should optimize their social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?  Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?  Develop a framework strategy.  Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is ?what do we talk about?? Develop the communications strategy ? the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you?d like to own.  Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.


Which tactics are manufacturers finding to be most effective?

 

The Oracle Marketing Cloud team of manufacturing industry marketing experts teamed up with researchers at MAPI, The Manufacturing Association for Productivity and Innovation in a survey of sales and marketing leaders at manufacturing companies across North America. The study was aimed at understanding the current state of digital transformation and confirming that the above stated factors were indeed motivating changes within the surveyed companies sales and marketing departments

.

Join us for a 30-minute webcast as we discuss the results of the surveyWe?ll cover how well manufacturers are embracing customer-centricity, what manufacturers really think about the complexity of the sales cycle, which specific factors affect manufacturers? ability to sell, what types of content today?s manufacturers find to be most important, which tactics and skills marketing departments are using effectively, and where they?re struggling.

 

REGISTER NOW

 


I have been doing a lot of research lately, especially on the APAC market. Fascinating to say the least! I thought I'd save you hours and hours by sharing my top reading list:

 

http://www.bain.com/Images/BAIN_BRIEF_8MacroTrends.pdf


http://asiafoundation.org/in-asia/2015/01/07/as-driver-of-world-economic-growth-asias-vulnerabilities-emerge/


http://www.manufacturing.net/articles/2014/05/new-models-and-concepts-needed-for-asia-pacific-supply-chains

 

http://www.austrade.gov.au/Export/Free-Trade-Agreements/chafta

 

http://www.gilcommunity.com/docs/apac-m2m-outlook/

 

http://www.gilcommunity.com/files/3814/0378/9611/AprisoWPV5.pdf


http://www.kpmg.com/Global/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/global-manufacturing-outlook/Documents/kpmg-2015-global-manufacturing-outlook-preparing-for-battle.pdf

 

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/internet-of-things-analytics-market-by-application-platform-solutions-deployment-process-regions---global-forecast-to-2020-300113161.html


http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/public_sector/understanding_asean_seven_things_you_need_to_know


http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/nielsenglobal/apac/docs/reports/2014/Nielsen-ASEAN2015.pdf


http://industrytoday.com/article_view.asp?ArticleID=f478

 

http://blogs.cisco.com/manufacturing/2015-manufacturing-industry-predictions


http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Chinese%20Globalizers_2015_EN.pdf


http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Human_Capital_Report_2015.pdf

 

Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 - Reports - World Economic Forum


http://www.weforum.org/reports


http://www.nam.org/Newsroom/Facts-About-Manufacturing/


http://www.slideshare.net/innovasjonnorge/20150615-oliver-tonby-asean-insights-ex-video?from_m_app=android

 

http://www.wsj.com/public/page/news-asia-business.html

 

http://www.whatech.com/market-research/industrial/74470-manufacturing-execution-systems-mes-market-in-apac-to-hit-at-cagr-of-16-7-between-period-2015-2019

 

http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2838817 (Ten of the Best Supply Chains in Asia Pacific)


http://www.solidworksapac.com/?p=547


https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUK25298814

Analytics tend to be the most underutilized feature of marketing technology.  It's not that people don't recognize the value potential, but often they don't know where to start.  And when you consider that many marketing teams don't have dedicated analytics resources, reporting can become an overwhelming activity.

 

If you're manufacturing organization without dedicated analytics resources, I suggest you consider a Metrics task force.  Bring together team leads from across the organization and conduct interviews with those stakeholders who are impacted by marketing metrics.  Talk with operations, sales, finance, and your internal marketing team to understand what insight they want.  Don't ask what data they want, ask what information and insight would allow them to perform their jobs better.

 

Once you have the requirements, begin to build out reports and dashboards that your task force will review weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on the data.  Consider some of the following reports. tft.jpg

 

  1. Build dashboards for each website and evaluate the following:
    • Form submissions by form that exist on the website like demo request forms, contact us forms, and RFQ forms, and partner contact request forms.
    • Conversion rates by form (# of visitors that really submit data)
    • Originating website (referring site) -- and differentiate by:
      • Local / regional search sites (Google United States vs Google Norway etc)
      • Google: Click-through from natural search results, display or PPC ads
    • Website dashboards for a product line?s local sites (e.g. French or German site) also including Google landing pages and contact form submission data
    • Dashboard comparing website activity against campaigns and whether there is any correlation (visits/length of time spent on page/site)
      • Click-through rates
      • Website visits
      • Form submissions
      • Conversion rates (navigation to form vs. submission)
    • Metrics highlighting follow-up activity levels
    • Form submissions from forms on Google AdWords landing pages across all campaigns and product lines
    • Form submissions from forms on general campaign landing pages across all campaigns and product lines
    • E-mailing metrics (click-throughs, unsubscribes, bounces etc) ? across each product
    • Campaign dashboard showing top-performing campaigns/landing pages
  2. Evaluate Data Quality Dashboards for:
    • Unsubscribe numbers and rates
    • Bounceback numbers and rates
    • Contact data completion rates
    • Form completion rates
    • Industry benchmark metrics
    • Opt-in rates
  3. Build dashboards for each campaign and evaluate the following:
    • Lead/Opportunity  information such as
      • Numbers/volumes
      • Conversion rates
      • Conversion speed/velocity
      • Leads/opportunities in CRM that have not had follow-up activity
      • Rejected MQLs and the justification for rejection
    • Metrics to identify and compare campaign success
  1. Build dashboards for the financial team like
    • A comparison of activity and results across all product groups.
    • What campaigns/activities were successful?
    • What products groups generated the most activity/results?
    • What leads resulted from the activity?
    • What was spent versus received for lead gen activities and awareness activities?
    • What campaigns were most effective?
    • Recommendations on how you should we spend your marketing dollars?
  2. Build additional dashboards for product teams and evaluate:
    • Was the content not relevant or not relevant to the recipient's needs?
    • Was the content not interesting enough?
    • What links were clicked?
    • Was the email forwarded?
    • Was the email opened on a mobile? Or which operating system was used?

 

As your task force identifies report, it's recommended that you review the metrics with each stakeholder. Don't simply send a report and expect they understand the data.  Explained what information was pulled, why it was pulled, what the numbers mean, and what your recommendations are based on this data.

 

For example, consider 6 month site reviews for your website and include reporting from both the marketing automation tool and Google Analytics.  Discuss site performance and recommendations for improvement.  Walk the stakeholders through the website activity, patterns in activity, and corresponding campaign activity.

 

Another example is at the close-out of each campaign a Lessons Learned exercise should occur. During this exercise the project manager should review the metrics and reports from that campaign.  Conduct an email best practices review and provided recommendations to the marketing team.

 

By utilizing the analytics tools provided, you can better understand your success and areas for additional opportunity and improvement.  This will allow you to better communicate to prospects, customers, and provide justification for additional marketing support (both resource and financial).

 

What reports would you add to the list?

In project management they're called "lessons learned".  In medicine they're referred to as "postmortems" and in the military they're labeled "after action reviews".  No matter what you name them, they are one of the most important tasks within a project. Project close out is often an overlooked phase and with that, the lessons learned exercise.  This practice is essential in understanding the successes and failures of the project.  It is also key in future project success.

 

Important Pre-Work

Before a project it is important that you goal set. Simple, yet often people begin a project without a goal in mind. I?m astounded at the amount of work done just for the sake of doing something.  Little consideration is given to whether it's where resources and effort should be invested.  Define what you want to do, and why.

 

You also need to baseline. Understand where you are so you can measure progress.  Additionally, a baseline allows you to set expectation.  If a typical campaign yields a 10% engagement rate, don't goal set with a 75% engagement rate as an objective. Be aggressive, but realistic.

 

When conducting a lessons learned exercise ensure that the purpose, process, and payoff have been explained to participants.  Provide necessary project reports to all stakeholders beforehand and set the expectation that all material will be reviewed before the discussion. 

 

Project Review

Oftentimes participants are reluctant to share information they feel is critical.  Ask that each person list 3 items that are "sustains" and 3 items that are "improves".  This will typically coax the discussion forward.  Once complete, provide a report on the session and close out the project.

 

When it comes time to kick off a new project,  pull out previous lessons learned reports.  These act as a prompter for clarifying questions, identifying risks, and determining additional deliverables. 

 

But while an effective process, I wonder if opportunity is overlooked. Jidoka-Process-Table.png

 

Discover the Real Problems

I'm currently reading The Design of Everyday Things.  In the book the author, Don Norman, addresses "The 5 Whys".  He explains that engineers and business people are trained to solve problems, but designers are trained to discover the real problems.  He states that "Good designers never start by trying to understand what the real issues are.  They take the original problem as a suggestion, not as a final statement, then think broadly about what the issues underlying this problem statement might really be."

 

In my experiences this is the greatest overlooked opportunity in project closeout.  Many of us conduct the lessons learned exercise, but we don't take the time to understand the project failures or the identified need to improve.  In his book, Norman tackles this very issue and the impact it has on marketing. Designers consider the actual needs of the people and the use of the product.  Marketing is more concerned with what people will actually buy as well as their purchasing decisions.

 

My recommendation is as you conduct your lessons learned exercise; include a designer in the process.  Use that individual to identify the original problem and then walk through the "5 Whys" to uncover the actual underlying problem.

 

Consider the Use of Jidoka

If you want a great example, look at Toyota. The Toyota automobile company has developed an extremely efficient error-reduction process for manufacturing, widely known as the Toyota Production System. Among its many key principles is a philosophy called Jidoka, which Toyota says is "roughly translated as 'automation with a human touch.'" If a worker notices something wrong, the worker is supposed to report it, sometimes even stopping the entire assembly line if a faulty part is about to proceed to the next station. (A special cord, called an andon, stops the assembly line and alerts the expert crew.) Experts converge upon the problem area to determine the cause. "Why did it happen?" "Why was that?" "Why is that the reason?" The philosophy is to ask "Why?" as many times as may be necessary to get to the root cause of the problem and then fix it so it can never occur again.


As you evaluate your marketing projects the questions above act as a great guide.  Even as you evaluate mid-project milestones through A/B testing, lead scoring, and enablement ask "The 5 Whys" to understand why you're not generating the projected success.


As Norman surmises, "A brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all: solve the correct problem."

 

What steps do you take to learn from marketing projects?

Manufacturers recognize the potential in leveraging channel partners.  The same potential resides in digital channels.  Traditionally, digital communications are relegated to emails, a website, and maybe some social media.  Digital advertising, if done at all, is broad and ineffective.  On average, digital ads only reach 33% of their intended target.  And the more specialized your product or industry, the harder it becomes to reach your intended audience.  But now, with the right approach to strategy and use of available tools, digital advertising can become a new partner.  Targeting and personalization can allow manufacturers to better service and educate their audience, understand engagement and interest, and communicate return on investment.  It can deliver inbound results and provide continual pull through a sales cycle.

 

But where should you start?  The following document walks through a series of best practice questions to consider, and tactics that can assist in improving your digital advertising results.

 

"WHY DO WE WANT TO DO IT?"

The first question Manufacturers must ask when approaching digital advertising initiatives is "Why do we want to do it?"  Your ad strategy must have a clear purpose and by defining the "why" you can better pinpoint what that purpose is.  Once the purpose is determined you need to develop baseline metrics for your expected results, and ensure that the metrics you use align with your goals.  You also need to consider the duration of your ad campaign. Develop a project plan for your digital ads just like you would for any other marketing communication.  Finally, remember that display advertising is an excellent way to reach prospects at all stages of the funnel. Even if you have a goal of driving more conversions or leads, display does well to fill the top of the funnel with the right audience, and can be used to educate and nurture them down the funnel until they are ready to convert.  Consider the following scenarios.

 

We want to recruit new channel partners:  Most manufacturers depend on channel partners for anywhere between 20% -100% of their sales volume.  Channel partner engagement thus becomes as critical as customer engagement.  Trade promotion management (TPM) continues to be one of the primary cost drivers and benefits challenge areas in the consumer products (CP) industry.  Digitally connected and informed consumers with higher expectations of products and services and fragmented customer loyalty have been driving an explosive growth in cross channel, M-commerce, social media, group buys, and location-based offers. We would like to leverage multichannel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our partner opportunity to 20%.  We would also like one new engaged partner by the end of our 90-day campaign. images.jpg

 

We want to drive interest in a new product through sample trial requests: Sampling and trialing can be a manufacturer's most effective marketing tool, but it can also be a very expensive activity. In some industries it is an essential part of the buying process.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association's Sampling and Demonstration Council, 83% of consumers agreed that experiencing a product or seeing it demonstrated live increases their comfort level when purchasing.  Manufacturers, who offer product samples and trials on their web site or at trade events, should ensure that the product trial experience is a positive one for the customer so as to maximize the likeliness of a sale.  We would like to leverage multichannel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our trial request form conversion rate to 20%.  We would also like two new customers by the end of our 60-day campaign.

 

We want to increase product registrations: Manufacturers must be able to obtain and use key information about their customers, like who they are, their purchase history, and their intended use of the product.  Without this information it's very difficult for a manufacturer to grow business within its existing customer base.  It's also important that manufacturers work with the channel partners to collect this data. Manufacturers must be able to segment customers based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use as well as customer preference for receiving information and updates about a particular product (not directly sales related), and notification of offers and promotions (sales related).  Manufacturers and channel partners alike want to capture information about the end user to either deliver incentives (manufacturer to channel) or receive incentives (channel from manufacturer).  By capturing this data both manufacturers and partners can report on product registration, usage, cost, and engagement.  We do not currently use digital advertising to drive product registration.  Our product registration form conversion is 6%.  We would like to leverage multichannel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our product registration form submissions to 15%. We would also like one new up-sell or cross-sell opportunity at the end of the 90-day campaign.

 

We want to increase up-sell and cross-sell opportunities: Manufacturers are requesting post-acquisition Customer Lifecycle Management tools and processes to nurture customers towards cross-sell and up-sells, education and service offerings, and maintenance contracts.  Research indicates that the ability to cross-sell or up-sell products or services declines sharply 90 days after the initial purchase.  In order to leverage this 90 day period, manufacturers must build a relationship with their customers, incent their channel partners to provide customer registration information, and respond to known contacts that abandon the ecommerce process.  We do not currently use digital advertising to drive up-sell or cross-sell opportunities. We have not calculated our up-sell or cross-sell revenue before.  We would like to see 1 new up-sell or cross-sell opportunity at the end of the 90-day campaign.

 

"WHO DO WE WANT TO REACH AND WHAT DO WE WANT THEM TO DO?"

Manufacturers then need to ask "Who do we want to reach?"  And you must be specific.  This is where strong persona understanding is imperative.  67% of all ads are served to unintended targets. Ensure that your display ad spend goes only to business audiences you care about, not the other 67%. You need to consider both behavior and demographics when identifying your audience.  Your display ads should map to the business segments of the buyer, customer, or partner, as well as where they are in the buyer's journey. Additionally, recognize that communication doesn't stop at the ad click.  Integrate your digital advertising with your marketing automation system.  This will allow you to score and nurture contacts based on their digital body language, and reach prospects outside of their inbox with relevant display ads wherever they travel on the Web.  Evaluating where contacts have engaged is important when considering retargeting.  Let's consider our scenarios again.


We want to recruit new channel partners:  Our target audience consists of potential channel partners that reside in the Midwest and have previously navigated to our "Partners" webpage.  The value message to our potential partners is: "The value and contribution of our channel partners is paramount.  We recognize all that our partners deliver, which is why we provide the tools and resources necessary to better enable and empower their efforts.  Join our channel partner organization and benefit from the resources available to you.  With a shared vision and commitment to the customer, together we can mutually benefit and grow our businesses."  Activity against the digital ad will drive a potential channel partner into an automated channel partner recruitment campaign.  The objective of this campaign is to drive channel engagement through recruitment, nurturing, and onboarding.  The campaign should leverage prospective channel web registration, educational content, product launches, and other manufacturer driven marketing initiatives.  The campaign journey and content delivery will be determined by the engagement of each contact.

 

We want to drive interest in a new product through sample trial requests: Our target audience is Supply Chain Managers in Southern Ohio who recently visited the product page for PRODUCT A.  The focus of this campaign is to drive registration and participation in sample/trial offers.  This campaign will provide sample/trial offers through several inbound and outbound communications.  The campaign will also contain an educational nurturing path.  Content will contain personalized messaging relative to the contact's digital body language.  The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule.  There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications will contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact?s digital body language and purchase history.  At the completion of the campaign, contacts will be assigned to the appropriate post-campaign process.  Sampling/trial data will demonstrate the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness of the sample/trial process.  Manufacturers will better employ the sample/trial registration process, drive more meaningful engagement, and understand the return on their sample/trial investment.

 

We want to increase product registrations:  Our target audience is fabricated metal customers who recently purchased PRODUCT A in the last 90 days.  The focus of this campaign is to encourage the registration of Product A by the end user.  The content of the campaign will extend beyond the "register now" message, and will communicate the additional value the partner or end user will receive by registering.  Through this campaign the manufacturer will obtain key information to better understand the buyer, segment and deliver 1:1 communications, and develop brand loyalty. Information obtained within this campaign can be used in an up-sell cross-sell campaign.

 

We want to increase up-sell and cross-sell opportunities:  Our target audience is fabricated metal customers who recently purchased PRODUCT A in the last 90 days, submitted the product registration form, and engaged with at least one piece of content on the website related to PRODUCTS B thru Z.  Up-selling and cross-selling is a natural fit for manufacturers. With multiple product and service offering, growing revenue within an existing customer, or channel partner, is often an effective way to ultimately grow the business. To do this effectively you must build on existing relationships with customers, channel partners, and known contacts.  To build those relationships and communicate the right offer at the right time you must understand your customers' purchasing behavior.  You must also pay attention to those who did not purchase. Offers in these campaigns must communicate the additional value to the customer.  This campaign will deliver 1:1 personalized communications and offers based on digital body language and previous purchase history.  The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications will contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact?s digital body language and purchase history.

 

"WHERE CAN I REACH THEM ONLINE?"

In one consolidated view, marketers can access all of their marketing data to build and refine key target audiences to use in numerous campaign scenarios. This includes 1st party data, data the marketer collects on proprietary assets -- or contained in enterprise systems -- and on 3rd party data pre-integrated into the platform, or data purchased from branded providers or lists.


Through digital advertising you can use these business demographics to precisely target ads to your exact audience wherever they travel online. This results in more efficiently spent ad dollars, and gives you the ability to reach more of your target audience, more often, and strategically guide them through the buying cycle from building brand awareness through to driving conversions and sales.

“How should we prove the value of our technology investment?”

 

A very common question.

 

Marketing organizations are feeling the squeeze to demonstrate return on investment.  Companies onboard marketing technology with the intention of improving the customer experience and closing the loop on their contribution to revenue.

 

These are most certainly justifiable objectives, but demonstrating the value of investment can extend beyond revenue.  Marketing technology can provide insight beyond revenue attribution.  This is especially true when you consider many divisions of an organization don’t care about your marketing technology ROI. They care about what value you bring to them.  And with the data collected across marketing technology platforms, you can deliver value to many parts of the organization. diamond_wideweb__470x312,2.jpg

 

As you begin to develop program and campaign briefs, define KPIs that will extend across all stakeholders. Capture that data and deliver value to these teams.

Below are examples of metrics that can aid each team in reaching their goals, ultimately leading to value proof.

 

Value to PR Team

  • Demonstrating conversion rates from press releases to web pages
  • Interest and interaction with emailed pitches
  • Referral links
  • Organic inbound traffic
  • Social influence and word of mouth (How many people are talking about my news, how influential are they, and what are they saying?)
  • Which medium is talking about my news, and how popular is this medium?


Value to Content Team

  • Search words and search strings used
  • Most engaged content assets
  • Consumption metrics; page views, downloads,
  • Sharing metrics; which content and which channels
  • Lead form conversion success
  • Content most effective at each funnel stage
  • Time spent engaging with content
  • New engagers with content
  • Repeat content loyalty


Value to Demand Gen Team

  • Leads produced
  • Close rate
  • Time to close
  • Cost per close
  • Lead source
  • Funnel conversion
  • Lead velocity
  • CTA click-through rate


Value to Field Marketing Team

  • Contact acquisition
  • Lead development
  • Marketing qualified leads
  • Sales qualified leads
  • Sales qualified opportunity
  • Print media conversion
  • Direct mail conversion
  • Geographic opportunity


Value to Event Marketing

  • Event registration
  • Event attendance
  • Booth attendance
  • Event follow-up opt-ins
  • Contact acquisition
  • Events executed
  • Event follow-up engagement


Value to Product Marketing

  • Traffic to product pages
  • Performance of content on all channels
  • Sales use of content
  • Effectiveness of product traffic by channel
  • Effectiveness of product traffic by content asset
  • Lead opportunity by product
  • New traffic yield
  • Contact list acquisition


Value to Product Management and Development

  • Product registration and warranty metrics
  • Sample and trial requests
  • Product configuration engagement
  • Engagement with product content
  • Feedback on product performance
  • Product R&D opportunity


Value to Sales

  • Revenue per customer
  • Prospect/customer product/service interest
  • Prospect/customer Digital Body Language
  • Universal profile
  • Time to close
  • Up-sell and cross-sell opportunity
  • Pipeline opportunity
  • Historical behavior and pipeline history for future quota definition
  • Sample and trial numbers
  • Sales funnel leak data
  • eCommerce engagement
  • Lead score


Value to Social Media Team

  • Number of people that viewed, downloaded, or listened to a piece of content
  • Resonance of content (how often is it shared with others?)
  • Content consumption to lead conversion rates
  • Social shares
  • Comments
  • Click-through rates
  • Timing of engagement
  • Effectiveness of each channel


Value to Customer Relationship/Advocacy Team

  • Number of new customer and partner advocates
  • Product/service feedback
  • Case study use and engagement
  • Customer and partner acquisition rate
  • Customer and partner attrition rate
  • Engagement of customers/advocates with campaigns
  • Up-sell and cross-sell opportunity


Value to Channel Team

  • Channel partner recruitment pipeline
  • Sales volume
  • Welcome and education program engagement
  • Content interest of partner
  • Product interest of partner
  • Contact acquisition
  • Partner promotional usage


Of course these are only a handful of the many KPIs you can measure.  Many of these will also have value that overlaps across several different teams.  In the end, the question to ask is “does the data help you make a decision?”

 

What data do you analyze to demonstrate the value of your marketing technology investment?

The adoption of multichannel marketing amongst manufacturers is increasing.  Manufacturers recognize the need to unify the digital experience across email, web, digital ads, PR, and social to name a few.  And while the integration of these multiple systems can pose a challenge, one essential need is still overlooked.


Because companies orchestrate their digital channels they believe they've created a seamless customer experience.  But just because the channels are unified doesn't mean the content experience is unified.  Manufacturers struggle to provide the individualized content experience required for journey conversion and relationship development. 


The journey taken as a reseller, customer, dealer, or partner will certainly vary, however many manufacturers deliver the same content experience despite the differences in persona.  And the content needs extend beyond buyer type.  The content experience must also be customized based on previous content engagement as well as buying behavior.  The content delivered to someone who purchases optical solutions versus lighting solutions will vary.


So how can a manufacturer deliver that personalized content experience that aligns with the multichannel experience?  I reached out to Andre Yee, CEO at Triblio, to understand how they help companies meet the demands of content experience.


Personalized Content Is More Than a Name tech-manufacturing.jpg

It's important to note that personalized content is more than referencing a contact's name or company on the homepage of your website.  Personalized content must address company attributes like size, revenue, and geography. The content must take into account content interests tied to education around equipment upkeep, maintenance, and product enhancements.  Personalized content must also deliver on previous purchases, sampling and trialing programs, and potential up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. 


It's through these content-centric landing pages, websites, and microsites that manufacturers can drive demand generation, recruit new partners, and grow relationships with buyers and distributors. Manufacturers can also optimize calls to action by inserting the correct CTA for any content as well as personalizing the subsequent landing pages, forms, and secondary CTAs.


What Can be Personalized?

Along with campaign assets like forms and landing pages many manufacturers can improve conversion for inbound traffic on email, web, social, and sales channels.  They can ensure referral partner traffic receives a personalized view of their website and they can also personalize content based on form sign-up information.  This can be content on your main website, resource centers, partner portals, media centers, and conference and event sites.


It's also important to note that marketers can personalize this content to engage and convert visitors as well as promote thought leadership and innovation without relying on a web development team.


But What If They're a Stranger?

It's sure to many this sounds like a great idea, but how do you personalize the content experience for anonymous visitors? Manufacturers can actually leverage Anonymous Visitor Profiling for personalization based on IP information. This allows you to personalize on the IP company size category, NACIS code, and geo-location.


Prove It

Lastly, it's important to note that along with delivering that content experience you can also measure the content experience.  You can measure engagement and ROI by content item, persona, format, type, author, customer type, and source.  You can understand which specific content influences click-throughs, visits, lead form captures, and revenue.

This data will allow you to make future decisions about content development and investment as well as identify future content opportunity. 

 

A seamless digital experience is wasted if the content delivered doesn't meet the specific needs of each individual.  How are you developing a personalized content experience?

I sat down to write a piece on sales enablement in the manufacturing industry.  My process was simple; identify evidence to support the need for enablement and then identify examples of great sales enablement programs occurring across the manufacturing space.  But this process wasn't as straightforward as I had hoped.


The Need for Enablement Is Real

Identifying evidence to support the need was easy.  According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Brueau of Labor Statistics, employment of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives will largely follow growth of the overall economy.  In addition to the total volume of sales, a wider range of products and technologies will lead to increased demand for sales representatives.

Manufacturing sales executives need a firm understanding of not just the large (and growing) product offerings, but the value and positioning of these offerings.  Compound this with the fact that customer relationships are playing a greater role in manufacturing sales success and you can begin to see a sales skills gap in manufacturing.

 

Today's manufacturers are seeing their product lifecycles shorten and their most basic products are becoming more sophisticated. In an industry traditionally focused on selling products, today's manufacturing companies must concern themselves with moving their sales organizations toward selling solutions and selling value.  And given that only 61% of manufacturers attain quota, there's room for improvement.

 

"What do you mean by Sales Enablement?"

While sales enablement has started to emerge as a necessity, commitment to sales enablement programs is still in its infancy.  My sales enablement research actually resulted in more questions than answers. When I inquired into sales enablement programs I had a lot of marketing demand generation programs referenced as well as lead scoring programs.  Mostly the response I received was "what do you mean by sales enablement?"  But sales enablement is more than "sales training" and "MQL to SQL conversion".  It isn't a tactic, it's a program.  It's a commitment to your sales organization.

 

SiriusDecisions defines sales enablement as a systematic approach to helping reps prepare for customer interactions, engage effectively with their audiences, and advance sales opportunities to close. These are programs that help sales executives understand positioning, messaging, scoring and nurturing. 


Manufacturers Must Invest In Their Sales Teams Wholesale-and-manufacturing-sales-representatives.jpg

As I've researched information for this piece it's amazing how much is invested in technology and process but very little is invested (or at least talked about) when it comes to investing in the sales people and human capital.  At this year's SiriusDecisions Summit great emphasis was placed on providing sales executives with the skills, tools, and assets to maximize every buyer interaction. Sirius put to rest the myth of the disappearing sales executive.  They stated that 51 percent of the buyer's journey is conducted digitally, while the other 49 percent involves human contact -- which includes face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and some digital communications, such as non-automated emails.

 

As an organization you must approach your sales organization as another buyer channel.  You must extend sales enablement beyond message training and through pipeline acceleration and customer communications.  You must deliver your sales teams the right content at the right time on the right channel so they can do the same with their prospects, customers, and partners.

Melissa Madian, VP of Sales Enablement at Vision Critical and Sales Enablement Frontierswoman, advises;


"With the buyer's ability to research and make decisions over the internet without the salesperson's involvement, salespeople can't rely on their personalities and ability to build relationships alone. Organizations need to empower their salespeople with the training, tools and processes that will help them optimize their time while presenting their solutions in a way that resonates with the buyer. Without an enablement program, you're leaving your salespeople - your most expensive resource - to "wing it" with your customers."

6 Practices to Get You Started

With that advice in mind, below are 6 enablement practices for manufacturers to consider.

  1. Define your sales enablement strategy:  Understand why you're implementing a program, program expectations, needs, KPIs, process, and alignment to marketing activities.
  2. Develop Sales Personas:  Just as you would develop buyer personas, develop sales personas. Identify persona characteristics tied to resources they use, size and complexity of their deal opportunities, their sales process, roadblocks and challenges, the infrastructure of the systems they use, and their propensity to adopt tools, messaging, and resources.
  3. Deploy an onboarding and training program: These programs will range from sales playbooks, certifications, and technology roll-out and education.
  4. Don't overlook the repetition and reinforcement of enablement:  A sales enablement program doesn't stop after onboarding and shouldn't be resigned to product training.  Consider a drip nurture program to your sales organization that?s segmented and personalized by persona.  Provide 3rd party content to validate defined strategy, reinforce the engagement of tools and resources, and educate on industry trends, product value, and positioning.
  5. Deliver opportunity value:  Provide the sales organization with more than a list of leads. Create agreed upon SLAs that clearly identify what constitutes an MQL and SQL.  Deliver context through Digital Body Language and data transparency.
  6. Distribute knowledge:  Collect input from the sales organization and respond by continuing to provide sales with insight.  Capture and communicate this joint knowledge across the organization.

 

Manufacturers must begin to invest in human capital.  The knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes affect a sales executive's ability to perform which ultimately impacts economic value.

How are you investing in human capital?

Are Manufacturers Mastering Community Development?
How to Manufacture an Increase in Product Registrations
7 Tactics to Enhance Your Channel Partner Recruitment Efforts
How To See Greater Returns On Your Sampling and Trial Investments
Best Practices For Increasing Up-sell and Cross-sell Opportunities
One of Marketing Automation's Most Seasoned Manufacturing Customers Shares Their Secrets to Success
Best Practices for Enabling Your Channel Partners
How Manufacturers Can Maximize Their Agency Investments
An End-To-End Framework for Manufacturing Tradeshows
How to Align Your Social Strategy With Your Channel
How 3 Manufacturers Are Achieving Demand Insight
How to Win More than a Seat, But Also a Voice, At the Table
How Avid Is Selling the Invisible
Are Customers Retooling the Manufacturing Model?
Is the Customer Buried in the Manufacturing Value Chain?
Are You Capturing Customer Feedback, or the Voice of the Customer, to Drive R&D?
The Evolution of Manufacturing Content Engagement
Is it Time to Remanufacture Your Marketing Practices?
Do You Measure Event Success By Your Stack of Business Cards? How Manufacturers Can Measure Event Engagement
5 Website Improvements Manufacturers Can Make This Quarter
15 Manufacturing Marketing Benchmark Metrics
Manufacturing Ecommerce; Focus on the Customers You Want
How Do Manufacturers Prepare for Business Cycle and Economic Downturns?
Where Manufacturers Are Investing In Their Customer Relationship Programs
The Seasonal Cure for Resource Constraints; Developing a Marketing Intern Program
Are Manufacturers Overinvesting in Process and Under-investing in Human Capital?  6 Sales Enablement Practices for Manufacturing
Manufacturers Must Deliver a Content Experience That Aligns With The Digital Journey
Value is in the Eye of the Beholder; Demonstrating the Value of Your Marketing Technology Investment
Developing an Industrial Digital Advertising Strategy
Jidoka; A Marketing Project Close-Out Opportunity
Manufacturing Marketers Unite: Steps To Developing A Marketing Analytics Task Force
How Manufacturers Can Close the Loop On RFQ and Project Bid Opportunities
Economic Indicators for Manufacturing; Make Your Move in 2016-2018
6 Practices to Unify CEU Programs with Sales and Marketing Efforts
11 Best Practices for Developing a Manufacturing Aftersale Campaign
Product Registration is Not Just a Form, It’s a Channel
Lost In Translation: Are You Speaking The Same Language As Sales?
The specified item was not found.

As a refresher, revenue on an income statement is referring to the product or services that were delivered during a period of time.  It's not closed opportunities; it's what was actually delivered.  Now that we understand revenue and liabilities, what exactly is profit and how does marketing factor into profit?


Profit is simply revenue minus expenses. This is typically the topic that makes marketers a bit uneasy because marketing has traditionally been viewed as an expense, a cost center.  And when profits are down, companies are quick to cut costs. So, how can marketers demonstrate their contribution to profit, as well as eradicate low profitability while still keeping their jobs? 52-nest_egg.jpg


Gross Profit

Companies typically calculate multiple measures of profit on an income statement. Gross profit shows the total revenue minus the cost of goods sold (COGS). Operating income and non-operating activities are added or subtracted to gross profit to determine total profit for a given period. 

 

So, what is marketing's contribution to COGS or COS?  Well, that's dependent upon how your company classifies services.  Gross profit is a key number for most companies.  It tells you the basic profitability of your products or services.  Understanding why gross profit is changing, if it is, helps managers figure out where to focus their attention.  This is especially relevant to marketers when considering which products to pursue in various regions and which channels to invest in like events, advertising, and social media.

 

Profitability Index

The profitability index (PI) is a tool used to compare capital investments. When evaluating marketing technology, the business may be more interested in the PI versus the potential ROI of the tool.  Calculating a PI helps the business understand which investments are likely to be most valuable to the business.

 

To calculate the PI, you must calculate the NPV calculations for the marketing technology investment. This will require some understanding of what value the technology can deliver in the future. Take the net present value and add back the initial investment of the marketing technology to get the present value. Then, take the present value of the technology and divide by the initial investment.

 

Profitability Ratios

In marketing we've become very focused on measuring Return on Investment.  But when you analyze profitability ratios like profit margin, return on assets and return on equity, ROI isn't included. 

 

Why isn't ROI included?  The problem is ROI has many different meanings. This is one of the challenges marketers have when demonstrating ROI. Traditionally, ROI was the same as ROA: return on assets. But it can also mean return on a particular investment.

 

What is the ROI on that technology? What's the ROI on our display ads? What's the ROI of our creative team? These calculations will be different depending on how people are measuring costs and returns.

 

3 fixes to low profitability

When companies are faced with consecutive quarters of low profitability, the most immediate fix is to lower headcount. By lowering headcount, companies can decrease cost which will increase profit. Of course the challenge with this is that it's a temporary fix. Lowered headcount can ultimately increase the COGS overtime. To avoid cutting headcount, marketing must figure out how they can increase profitable sales and/or lower production costs.  Below are 3 considerations for improving profitability.


Increase profitable sales sooner: Companies must deliver products and services quickly, but do so in a cost effective way.  Demand Prediction Reporting is becoming a highly requested feature. Manufacturers want to build out data models that track (or pull data over from an existing system) inventory, purchase history, frequency of purchase, quantities of assets, partner they buy from, average delivery time per partner and per asset. Based on the data model, they want to create dashboards that demonstrate trends in purchase (time of year, geography, etc), opportunities for up-sells and add-ons, and sales cycle duration.  This information can be used to create automated trigger emails that send communications in the month or so leading up to when they typically order.  Companies should integrate these systems and tie customer-facing channels into their sales, marketing, and production programs.  Here are 3 marketing organizations that have recognized success in achieving demand insight.


Increase profitable sales through new markets and prospects and work them through the sales cycle: This is at the heart of marketing.  By evaluating trends in digital engagement, companies can identify new regions to consider or new vertical markets to tackle.  Social listening practices can hone in on industry trends and alert the marketing organization to potential new audiences.  With a strong inbound strategy supported by strategic content practices, companies can identify new opportunities and guide them through a nurturing process. This nurturing program should deliver content aligned with their interests and personalized to the individual. By scoring both the implicit and explicit data, marketers can identify which opportunities sales should focus their efforts.

 

Lower production costs by finding and elevating the bottlenecks:  Companies must shift from a cost world to a throughput world.  With the rapid progress of technology, and the change in buyer behavior, the influence marketing has on throughput is increasing. Marketers must identify the system's bottlenecks, decide how to exploit the bottlenecks, subordinate everything else to the above decision, make sure everything marches to the tune of the constraints, and elevate the system's bottlenecks.

 

Now that we understand marketing's contribution to revenue and profit, next week we'll discuss how marketing can make a positive impact on cash flow and owner earnings.

Nine out of ten US CEOs say they are strengthening their customer and client engagement programs. 63% have listed these customer programs as one of their top 3 investment priorities. I spoke with Don Weiss, Director Supply Chain at Harris Corporation, to understand how Harris is investing their client relationships. What I discovered is often these investments begin at the core of a company's infrastructure.

 

What are some key success factors effecting the retaining and enhancing of existing customer relationships?

 

Our organization is all about program excellence and meeting customer commitments. So it's all about meeting the cost, the target, and the quality expectations of those projects. So we have very specific requirements and all the contracts that we have whether it's a development contract, which tends to be around state-of-the-art technology, needed quickly. So cost and schedule is very important. And whether it's a production job where they just want to get 10 boxes per month on time. So we pay a lot of attention to execution. So the supply chain portion of that, our suppliers? on-time delivery, our suppliers? high quality, our ability to feed a factory or a feed a program with the required components is very important.

 

What are some of the challenges that hold you back in this area? 46-istock-mfg-box.jpg

 

I would say the biggest challenge frankly is on development jobs where the design is maturing later than planned. So it's a little slower coming out of the engineering organization and we get into time constraints relative to being able to place orders. We oftentimes will get into long lead items that maybe weren't anticipated when the design was conceived but yet come up as a part of bill of material that have to buy something and you have a 20-week lead time and they really need something in 10 weeks, so all of the alternatives around that.

 

So I would say, the development programs clearly are the much more challenging programs; our production programs generally go pretty well, because we've got a contract, we have a cycle to plan, and then we?re pretty good about meeting those commitments and the requirements of firms. So, we do very good on production jobs, it's the development jobs that provide some challenges, a lot of challenges. Roughly 75% of our work is new development work and 25% are production jobs.

 

Is there any unique process you've developed to address this challenge and follow through on customer expectations?

 

There are a couple of things. One is part of the functionality that we integrated into our ERP application, an internal portal with our suppliers.  We call it EXPO. But part of that portal has an application that is very much integrated with our suppliers around the RFQ cycle as well as the purchase order replacement cycle.  This gives suppliers the ability to do self-service on their performance characteristics like quality, schedule, and payments. This was a key development that we started about 10 years ago and we've continued to refine it.

 

Our current refinement that we have underway will enable design engineers to basically go into this application and, from a list of about six to seven distributors, do their own quote purchasing work. Think of it as a shopping cart, full of parts that will be reflective of stock available in these distributors. It will import that data into our PDF system which will create records within our ERP system. This will transmit purchase orders to those distributors. It will also enable those parts to be received without the intervention of a buyer yet keep all of the cost associated with that material, associated on the right contract, with parameters set up around it.

 

It's intended to enable those quick responses without even having my buyers have to do any kind of purchase order transactions on a handful of standard OEMs. So the thinking is that the engineers can do their own self-service based on what's available in the inventory and all of the back office data elements will become automated. I'll manage the distributor for what he shipped but not every line item like I am probably doing today.

 

Today I have automated those line items but this will actually enable me to back-off having a buyer slow the process down by a traditional requisition quote, PO placement and those activities.

 

And is this a competitive advantage for you?

 

I believe it is, it's clearly intended to save cost by my supply chain team not having to touch it and also from an engineer's perspective that's going to save them cycle time. And oftentimes, a lot of things they're designing, they're only designing of one source of prototype phase, so getting the parts in, building something and finding out that it works or doesn't work, is more valuable, is very valuable. So again time to market, it should help.

 

Harris continues to invest in the customer.  How are you adjusting your internal infrastructure to enhance existing customer relationships?

Manufacturing is very volatile. The industry has experienced tremendous highs and detrimental lows. Given that manufacturing is on an upswing, I wanted to hear from manufacturers on how they approach their business when times are good, and how they prepare for the next inevitable downswing. 45-2014oct_bcu_chart3_sm.jpg

 

I spoke with Greg Knox, owner of Knox Machinery, and asked:

 

Do you find that manufacturers are looking to just maintain or do you find that in periods of an upswing, they are trying to grow as much as possible and then sustain when a downturn comes? Is there a consistency in strategy?

 

Greg Knox

So, there is none. What you're going to find in manufacturing, is you can never use a term like do manufacturers blink? It is such a spectrum, that's what I found in my career. So all of those people react differently to the question that you just asked me. And it doesn't even mean that the big guys do it the right way. 

 

There is a company called ITR, Industry Trends Research and they've got a beautiful four quadrants business cycle report containing subsequent behaviors.

 

[Read 9 takeaways from ITR's President and one of the Nation's Top Economists]

 

So with that data provided by ITR, we know what comes next, it' going to peak and at some point start going down. And when things begin to go down they'll go down fast.

 

What assumptions can we make at that point in time?

 

Probably that there is good talent out there that's been jettisoned. We're always having trouble finding good people. If we can be disciplined and say, okay, even though right now we're not selling like everyone else, we saved our money, we've got some reserves, let's pick up some of those good people, especially our downturns usually last only in the neighborhood of one to two years. Hire people quickly, hire them now. Too many people are reactionary. So let's go out and let's try to get some good people knowing that it's going to start coming back. We see that it's starting to come back, it has bottomed and it is starting to come back. 

 

Invest in inventory and smart inventory practices.

 

So the percentage of people that I see really run their businesses strategically, I am going to put in the neighborhood including the big guys, 20% to 25% if you are lucky, and then the reactionary people, the people who wait till it happens and they react by 25%. The people that will react way back too slow 25% and the number of customers I have seen go out of business since I have been here in this territory, probably more like 40% of my business.

 

The problems of manufacturers are specific. Most people have really kind of worked themselves into a niche, they''re all crazy busy, don't have time. Is it your margins? Is it your lack of being able to find qualified people to do what you do? Is it an HR problem? Is it an inventory problem? Is it a JIT problem? Is it a scrap problem? Are you not lean? Are you losing? Are you really focused on new industries because the ones you have are shrinking? I tried to go more at a right approach. My advice is instead of saying you have problems, find solutions.

 

How do you approach your business during an upswing, in preparation for a downswing?

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it's mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 

 

Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications you can begin to see who's coming to your site, what they're looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact. 42-images.jpg

 

Below are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.

 

  1. Evaluate your ecommerce audience, both internal and external.  Of course your audience will consist of consumer, dealers, and wholesalers, but your ecommerce system is also accessed by internal teams like sales and customer service. 
  2. Ensure you understand the role of each audience member and what their ecommerce expectations are. Consumers want mobile friendly tools that are both secure and have an easy to understand interface.  Dealers and wholesalers want visibility into order history, potential up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and inventory by warehouse. Sales reps want information-rich dashboards, CRM integration, quoting and approval functionality, analytics, and order history.  Customer service representatives also want access to order history but to excel at their job they need to see product attributes and up-sell and cross-sell configurations.
  3. Adjust your content, both inbound and outbound, for each persona. Given the multiple personas, and the varying demands of each, ensure your communications are segmented and personalized appropriately.  Provide proactive notifications to internal teams about orders placed and customer engagement with post-order communications. Score behavior and interaction with content in order to alert customer service and sales to potential advocates through loyal shopping and frequent content engagement.  Provide feedback forms to customers, dealers, and wholesalers in order to identify opportunities for ecommerce improvement.
  4. Use ecommerce to contribute to demand insight, influence ordering (like up-sell, cross-sell, and proactive ordering) and follow-up communications based on that data. Use the information pulled from your ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation tools to create dashboards that demonstrate trends in purchase (time of year, geography, etc), opportunities for up-sells and add-ons, and sales cycle duration. This information can be used to create automated trigger emails that send communications in the month or so leading up to when that customer typically orders.
  5. Employ ecommerce engagement to drive content development. Analyze pages visited before the purchase, search history tied to the purchase, and keywords used in those organic searches that lead to ecommerce engagement. Understand engagement with previous demand generation campaigns, events, and social channels. Use this data to piece together the customer journey and define the behavior of the new buyer.
  6. Incorporate more engaging graphics into your product catalog. Consider adding videos into your product catalog that demonstrate the use of the product or provide "how-to" insight.  Develop interactive product catalogs that navigate the customer through complex product catalogs and the associated content. That navigation, and correlating Digital Body Language, can be captured in order to understand how customers consume content. This will allow you to improve your content and the customer journey.
  7. Integrate smart CPQ into your ecommerce program. Place tracking code on your CPQ pages to identify page conversions, time spent on pages, trends, and cart abandonment.  You can also use that behavior to deliver appropriate follow-up. For example, based on the Digital Body Language of an individual, you can offer content on a product they searched or provide customer support if page time was excessive and resulted in cart abandonment.  You can also view detailed data analysis, including granular data like a product's configurable attributes selected on each line item in the quote.
  8. Think beyond the purchase. For example, if someone abandons their shopping cart should they be entered into a sampling or trial offer campaign? After the purchase are you entering customers into nurture campaigns, product registration campaigns, or up-sell and cross-sell campaigns? Based on their individual Digital Body Language, what's the best communication outreach?

 

In order to understand the new buyer, ecommerce behavior must integrate across the organization and marketing must have activities in place to utilize that insight.  Ecommerce is not meant to replace sales; rather, when aligned with marketing, ecommerce should extend sales channels. 

 

Lastly, approach your ecommerce marketing and sales strategy thinking not just about the customers you have, but also the customers you want.  Your ecommerce programs should support multiple brands, languages, currencies, and complex catalogs and SKUs.  Likewise, your CRM and marketing automation tools should also support this scalability.

 

How are you improving your ecommerce programs?


As many companies wrap up another year, and begin planning for the year ahead, analyzing performance metrics becomes a key exercise. It's important that companies know where they stand before they map out a strategy for future growth. Benchmarking provides a comprehensive view of current health by compiling performance data, financial results and other metrics.


By comparing results against others in the manufacturing space, manufacturers can assess their performance in various categories. These insights identify areas of strength, as well as spot areas of opportunity for improvement.


Best practice indicates that when benchmarking, a company should not limit the scope to its own industry. With that being said, I?m often asked for industry specific data that can be used when evaluating and measuring performance.  why_benchmark.jpg

 

Below is some competitive marketing benchmark data specific to the Manufacturing space.  Use this for comparison.  Benchmark your measurements today, and then compare your progress against your quarterly maturity model goals.

 

  1. Why would Industrial Manufacturing have click through rates almost three times the average? Manufacturing Click-through rates
  2. Is manufacturing generating new interest in their products and services from buyers who have never engaged with them before? Manufacturing New Traffic
  3. Does new traffic yield show manufacturing with the greatest potential opportunity to turn cookies into contacts? Manufacturing New Traffic Yield
  4. Are manufacturers pulling and analyzing more data making smarter business decisions based on the results? Manufacturing Engagement Rates
  5. Is manufacturing developing compelling subject lines? Manufacturing Open Rates
  6. Is manufacturing analyzing performance and adjusting for improvement? Manufacturing Open rate Improvement
  7. Is manufacturing developing valuable and relevant offers? Manufacturing Click-to-Open Rates
  8. What role is mobile playing in manufacturing content engagement? Manufacturing Click rate Improvement
  9. Are manufacturers testing content offers, or better targeting communications? Manufacturing Click-to-Open Rate Improvement
  10. Are manufacturers expanding the use of traditional marketing automation functionality? Manufacturing Marketing Automation App Usage
  11. Are manufacturers sufficiently driving demand and creating a healthy pipeline? Manufacturing Average Marketing Qualified Leads
  12. How are manufacturers leveraging content across their digital channels? Manufacturing Content Marketing Usage
  13. Is social media a viable content communication channel for manufacturers? Manufacturing Social Media Usage
  14. How much should manufacturers consider investing in content marketing initiatives? Manufacturing Content Marketing Budgets
  15. Should manufacturers focus on developing internal skill sets, or investigate external resources? Manufacturing Content Marketing Outsourcing Metrics

 

Which marketing analytics do you benchmark and measure against?

Websites are the hub of many manufacturing communications.  Websites provide manufacturers with the ability to optimize the user experience, and it's a branded experience.  Your site also provides opportunity to educate and inform, and hopefully convert into further conversations.  When monitored correctly, your website also provides key data insight into the behaviors, motivations, and interests of your audience.

 

And while many companies have a website that meets basic needs, many manufacturers could further optimize their website communications with just a few enhancements.

 

Below are 5 website improvements manufacturing companies should consider.  These are easy to address issues and believe they align with the crawl and walk stages many manufacturers find themselves working through.

 

  1. Consider integrating their ecommerce tool with a marketing automation system. Gaining an understanding of behavior on your ecommerce or product configurator pages is a huge win, but you need to develop a response to that insight.  By placing tracking code on those pages you can identify page conversions, time spent on pages, trends, and cart abandonment.  You can also use that behavior to deliver appropriate follow-up. For example, based on the Digital Body Language of an individual, you can offer content on a product they searched or provide customer support if page time was excessive and resulted in cart abandonment.  In this webinar you can hear Molex discuss how they addressed this tactic.
  2. Consider improving the digitization of your product catalog. There is a need to develop engaging content.  Content that navigates the customer through complex product catalogs and the associated content.  And that navigation, and correlating Digital Body Language, must be captured in order to understand how customers consume content. This is what will allow manufacturers to improve their content and the customer journey.  Molex and National Instruments have both done this successfully.  38-websites-for-manufacturing-companies.gif
  3. Digitize rebate forms, product registration, and warranty programs.  Many manufacturers are still asking customers to print out forms, fill them out, and mail them in.  It's much easier to convert rebate and warranty opportunities and enter them into up-sell/cross-sell programs by turning these into digital forms.  By capturing this data both manufacturers and partners can report on product registration, usage, cost, and engagement. Manufacturers must also be able to obtain and use key information about its customers, like who they are, their purchase history, and their intended use of the product.  Without this information it's very difficult for a manufacturer to grow business within its existing customer base. It's also important that manufacturers work with the channel partners to collect this data.  Manufacturers must also be able to segment customers based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use as well as customer preference for receiving information and updates about a particular product, and notification of offers and promotions.
  4. Identify potential to drive product specific web traffic using your social channels.  Posting regularly across your social networks is good, but work to drive conversion traffic back to specific web content.  There's huge potential there.  From a social value standpoint it's good for an organization to demonstrate the additional value and interest they're creating from social channels.  Caterpillar and Grainger are examples of companies doing some smart stuff.
  5. Automate and nurture sample requests like the sample requests.  My favorite example of a company doing that is Dow.  Dow receives thousands of requests for product samples per month. Sample management had historically not only been an interesting challenge for this complex company, but was also an important one which had a direct and potentially significant impact on sales and revenue growth. Rather than try to transform the sample management process, Dow decided to exploit this bottleneck by first streamlining the sample follow-up process.  When a sample is requested, it is shipped and an email campaign is triggered to follow up with the customer. The email campaign includes basic questions to check that the sample was received and enables Dow to gather additional information on the customer's needs.  Customers who responded to the sample follow-up campaign were then routed to the sales team. Their sample program now commands anywhere from a 40-50% response rate. I address this tactic here.

 

What are some web improvements you've made?

See this stack of business cards?  These belong to a sales rep I used to work with. Each of these cards resulted from a connection he made at a tradeshow.  He was great rep and in no way would I diminish his value.  My challenge was I could never tie his value, and the revenue and opportunity he generated, to the actual event effort of my marketing organization.  This was a problem for me, and it eventually became a problem for him when the company decided they were going to cut events in the next fiscal year.  The majority of his demand generation, nurturing, and relationship building occurred at events, but we had no evidence, other than a stack of business cards, to support his argument.


37-11-17-2014+2-27-23+PM.png

 

Many companies face a similar challenge. Other than measuring pre-event and post-event engagement, organizations often struggle to define hard metrics around true event engagement.  Even badge scans provide little more insight than traffic through a booth. Understanding true event interaction, and then taking action on that activity, is a goal for many manufacturing companies.  Manufacturers invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into events every year, but most cannot directly attribute revenue to that investment.  Certain is an event management platform that can now solve this problem.


Start With a Plan

It's imperative manufacturers identify their tradeshow goals, and that requires specificity.  "Driving awareness" or "launching a new product" are not measurable.  Clearly defined KPIs will align your organization, guide decision making, and allow the company to determine the true success of an event.  You may state your goal as "talk with 10 industry analysts", "identify 15 new potential channel partners", or "generate 50 new sample opportunities".  For many manufacturers, this required counting business cards or scrambling to collect data through other manual processes.


When planning your event strategy it's advised to consider all available channels.  Use mailers, emails, hyper-sites, social media, and the phone. But also make sure you have processes in place to capture analytics against all channels.  Understand what works and what doesn't.  Traditionally, capturing engagement at the actual event is tedious and sometimes impossible.  Successful engagement begins with personalization and with Certain you can deliver personalize event experiences designed to increase attendee engagement. You can recommend sessions, make connections and use tools like mobile applications to engage attendees with real-time session ratings, Twitter feeds and other social media integrations.  Manufacturers can also provide attendees with access to personal agendas, event locations, venues and relevant content. It also provides the ability to interact, connect, and build relationships with other attendees and speakers as well as provide event feedback.

 

By enhancing the experience for attendees, manufacturers will see a measurable increase in engagement, and that engagement can be used to score and segment individuals into campaigns.  Manufacturers can use this real-time data capture to funnel opportunities into the appropriate follow-up campaign.  They can immediately add contacts into sample/trial campaigns, prospective partners can be added into channel partner recruitment campaigns, and disengaged partners could be added into a channel partner engagement campaign.

 

End With a Plan

After the event it's best practice to debrief and conduct an After Action Review.  Each event stakeholder should provide 3 sustains and 3 improves.  This may include select channel partners as well.  Using the Certain event dashboard, manufacturers can evaluate the type of event, completed status, session attendance, session ratings, participant demographics and profiles, and cost.  This data allows companies to truly measure against the defined KPIs.  By analyzing these metrics manufacturers can evaluate how they compared with previous event benchmarks, what approaches, channels, and content resonated, and what product requests were made. 


Because entry into follow-up campaigns can occur on the event floor, manufacturers can also begin to track the velocity of opportunity against trial and recruitment campaigns.  This allows for a more complete post-event report containing successes, opportunities for improvement, analytics, leads, lead follow-up, and recommendations for future events.  And because Certain provides automation capabilities, it's easy to incorporate, and then replicate, all those lessons learned into future events which saves time, resources, and money.

 

Manufacturing marketers can now support their sales organization, demonstrate return and savings to the business, and save a few trees by eliminating the business card pile and drawing on true engagement data. 

 

How are you evaluating event engagement?

Remanufacturing is the process of disassembly and recovery at the module level and, eventually, at the component level. It requires the repair or replacement of worn out or obsolete components and modules. Parts subject to degradation affecting the performance or the expected life of the whole are replaced.

 

Typically, a used product's components are dismantled, cleaned, and dust and corrosion are removed. Through the process the parts are either restored or replaced.  Remanufacturing is an accepted practice because of energy savings and reduction in raw materials.  And while a popular practice in product care, it's one that is also relevant in business process.

 

When I managed a marketing communications team we worked to be agile, efficient, and revenue contributors. But in our work we lost focus of the core components and competencies required to run such an organization.  We started to slow, errors increased, and it was evident we weren't producing our best work because we didn't have the analytics to reinforce our efforts.  It was time to dismantle, clean, and repair our worn-out marketing practices.

 

We weren't alone in this exercise.  Many marketing organizations recognize a need to reevaluate practices and identify improvement opportunity.  This is such a common problem that it spurred a year-long discussion on our community site, consisting of 98 contributions, and it still continues today.  Below are 17 remanufacturing practices for your marketing organization.

 

  1. Benchmark, develop data dictionaries, and naming conventions.  Develop, document and automate governance for privacy policies, global email policies, and data and reporting standards.
  2. Think beyond demand generation. Nurture with educational content and engage through the customer lifecycle.
  3. 2 dimensional thinking wastes time for the perceived quick buck.  Ensure all stakeholders have an understanding of implemented manufacturing practices and tools, as well as the value of each.
  4. Use data to provide guidance on resource allocation and develop customer relationships
  5. Take advantage of other training and communities. You'll be faster, more effective, and a better marketer if you know how to use tools.
  6. Remember you're not just marketing across multiple channels, but also to multiple audiences with unknown spheres of influence
  7. Share the knowledge.  Don't be the only person trained or working with a system at your company.  36-Remanufacturing-an-Item-Sometimes-Costs-More-2.jpg
  8. Conduct a digital audit.  Identify channels not tied to marketing or sales programs.  Find opportunity outside of traditional digital channels, like customer support databases, to build a universal profile. Include these channels to better engage and gain insight into behaviors.
  9. Map out a campaign on paper.  It's amazing what a little paper and pen and also a little writing out of campaign logic can do to save time.  Leverage tools like campaign and creative briefs to execute.
  10. Provide opportunities for resellers to engage. Analyze Digital Body Language to understand behaviors and motivations.
  11. Start with small, less complex campaigns to increase confidence.  Crawl - walk - run when learning something new.  It helps to get a better foundation and reinforces your understanding.  Don't revamp an entire program. Identify the bottlenecks and work to improve those first.
  12. Proofread, proofread, proofread...have someone else check it...let it sit again at least overnight and look at it again with fresh eyes.
  13. Consider ad buys to build, engage, and convert organically.  Channels beyond your firewall are an opportunity.
  14. Create a check-list to reduce agitation and prevent fatal activation accidents. Some checklists include double checking subject lines and sender information, testing the email in all browsers, form processing steps, and date and time of activation as per the correct time zone.  You can access an entire pre-flight checklist here.
  15. Automate and analyze events to increase scalability, enhance event return, and generate revenue.  Use this data to also reduce unnecessary events, increase attendance to premiere events, and reduce spend.
  16. Know your limits and asking for help.  We all start somewhere and you can do more damage by not asking questions than if you just admit your limitations.  Make sure you roll out changes to small pieces of your database, even if you've been doing this for years.  Testing is a great start but a lot of the times the tests are only covering ideal and/or known cases.  Once a solution is implemented you'll see unexpected results.
  17. Don't skim over best practices.  Slow down enough to think through the strategy for your naming conventions, email groups, campaign strategy and business processes.  You can utilize this as a naming convention generator.

 

Of course, this merely scratches the surface for many companies.  You can read all 98 comments here.  What remanufacturing practices would you add to this list?

Traditionally, manufacturing product catalogs have looked like this; colorful printed catalogs boasting new features, like stainless steel.35-pastedImage_7.png  But once these printouts were mailed, or dropped off by a sales rep, not much more was known about the engagement with content unless an order was placed.

 

Over time, catalogs progressed to a digital format. And this was an improvement.  Now engagement with product pages and pricing was captured.  Manufacturers could analyze data against various products.




The Engagement Revelation

But then a new challenge was discovered, because as analytics were measured, manufacturers discovered the engagement was unsatisfactory.

 

I recall my first experiences analyzing data in our marketing automation system.  I was certain there was something wrong with the tool, or perhaps code hadn't been added to the pages.  But I realized, like many do, that the numbers don't lie.  We were not driving the engagement required to develop a satisfactory pipeline.

 

And with this revelation comes the need to develop engaging content.  Content that navigates the customer through complex product catalogs and the associated content.  And that navigation, and correlating Digital Body Language, must be captured in order to understand how customers consume content. This is what will allow manufacturers to improve their content and the customer journey.

 

The evolution in content engagement now looks like this for manufacturers.

 

 

The Reproduction of Product Catalogs

LookBookHQ has created a tool that allows companies to control the content experience, and maximize content engagement, while they have the attention of their audience.  Using content from blogs, white papers, eBooks, videos, and more, manufacturers can drive traffic to specific product pages.  Manufacturers can even include products into their LookBook.

 

Manufacturers can organize their content in the correct order and tie them all together using their LookBooks narrative boxes. You can guide a customer to 3rd party content about the durability of stainless steel, and then direct them to your content on the lower maintenance costs of stainless steel products, then point them towards a client testimonial video on the benefits of stainless steel, and finally provide them the opportunity to learn more about your stainless product.  And you can do this without losing attention or traffic.

 

LookBook makes it easy to focus an audience's engagement exactly where you want it.  For longer form content, manufacturers can add notes and choose where the document opens -- for example you can direct attention to the service and maintenance pages of a repair document, and explain why the information is important.  You can also add forms to the content.  For example, you can have the form appear after a reader has engaged with the product content for more than 30 seconds.  You can then have that individual entered into a sampling campaign within your marketing automation system.

 

Understanding the HOW of Content Consumption

 

LookBooks track "beyond the click" data.  You can see what your audience actually read and found useful, not just what they clicked on.  Manufacturers can record engagement data on a per prospect or partner basis and push this back directly into marketing automation platform for entry into product registration campaigns, sample campaigns, up-sell and cross-sell campaigns, or even new hire recruitment campaigns. This engagement data can then be used for lead scoring, additional workflows, segmentation and insight.

 

Manufacturers are recognizing that product catalogs represent a thread in their customer engagement tapestry.  LookBook, when integrated with marketing automation, provides the tools to stitch together a more seamless customer experience.

 

How are you developing a more engaging content experience?

It is no surprise that marketing is not a one-size fits all concept.  However, we see time and again the same strategies being played out across companies of all sizes and industries, without stopping to peel back what drives action among consumers.  We aren?t just talking about white papers vs. banner ads.  This happens at an even higher level.  What trends are happening within your industry that are challenging market conditions? Have your consumers? behaviors changed in last 6/12/18 months?  Even if you have this information, how do you update your marketing strategy to address these changes?


At Modern Marketing Experience 2014 experts from National Instruments, Dow, and Jackson Healthcare shared their expertise on researching industry trends and developing new marketing best practices to help clients adapt more quickly to an ever-changing modern marketing landscape.  They discussed ways marketing automation planning differs between industries, how to research target markets using the latest social tools and outbound client conversations, how to convert recognized industry trends into new automated nurture campaigns, how to identify third party functionality required to optimize campaigns within your industry, and how to create industry advocates to help promote your product/service to their peers.


Their takeaways can be found in the SlideShare below.

 


 


McKinsey published Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition, and Productivity.  The report analyzes the impact of big data in manufacturing. McKinsey finds that the manufacturing sector stores more data than any other sector because they have so much "raw material" to work with including machinery metrics and sales systems.

 

But many manufacturers are neglecting to collect data from one of the most important data sources, the customer.

 

At the Smart Manufacturing Summit, during an open Q&A forum hosted by the Chief Executive Group, the following question was posed to Jim Blass, Caterpillars Director of Product Development & Global Technology.

 

"What role does marketing play in your R&D process?"

 

And his response was spot on.

 

"Marketing is pivotal in our R&D process because we rely on marketing to capture and communicate the voice of the customer, and that's what drives our R&D innovation."

 

Value Driven Design

McKinsey refers to incorporating the customer voice into the R&D process as Value Driven Design.  Capturing the voice of the customer can be challenging. Many manufacturers leverage customer support teams, social media, and contests to collect customer feedback. But customer feedback and the customer voice are very different.  manufacturing 1.jpg

 

Manufacturers that capture customer feedback tend to focus on what the customer wants, or how they want the product delivered or designed.  But capturing the customer voice requires working to understand why the customer is making those requests.

 

Capturing that feedback can be difficult, but now solutions like TechValidate make that feedback and data capture much more efficient.  TechValidate is a solution that captures the voice of customers and uses that data to uncover valuable insights and create compelling customer evidence.

 

Understand the Customer

Another challenge that manufacturers face when capturing the voice of the customer is disparate data.  Customer feedback resides in multiple systems, but using a dedicated tool to capture the voice of the customer allows a company to evaluate one source and makes information sharing much easier.

 

Through the use of web-based survey tools, manufacturers can collect information from customers to better understand how their products are used, where they see potential advancements, and why those advancements would benefit their business. The data output can provide timely evidence and useful knowledge around potential R&D opportunities.

 

This can also provide an additional value-add to partners because manufacturers can provide this data to their channel.  Through the simple development of charts, graphs and case studies, manufacturers can more effectively communicate the voice of the customer.

 

 

Data Usage

The data collected is displayed through charts, graphs, case studies, performance metrics, and proof points.  This powerful content can be used to communicate the voice of the customer to the R&D team and justify future investments to the larger organization.

 

Additionally, this data is creating and collecting customer evidence and feedback which can be used by marketing to support outbound sales efforts.  This credible content accelerates the sales process, from lead acquisition to lead nurturing, to closing the sale, and beyond as well as through customer-driven R&D.

 

Capturing the voice of the customer, and utilizing it drive future R&D efforts and investments should be an objective of every manufacturer.  How are you capturing and using the voice of the customer?

In the book "Competitive Advantage: Michael Porter brakes down the value chain.  He defines the components of the value chain as inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing and sales (of course lumped together, not stand-alone components), and service.  Company infrastructure, human resources, technology development, and procurement are supporting components.  But something?s missing.  Where?s the customer component?


Granted, each of these defined components touches the customer, but shouldn't the customer be a standalone component?  This is especially true given value chain analysis evaluates which value each particular activity adds to organization?s products or services.  This is what ultimately assists manufacturers in defining their competitive advantage. dilbert.jpg


Michael Rapaport published a piece on what the value chain means to manufacturing. He places the customer into the sales and marketing and service components.  It's a start, however in order to put the customer first, manufacturers must include the customer throughout the entire value chain.


Adjust the Purpose of Technology Development

Successful manufacturers have long used innovation and technology to improve products and processes. But this will change.  As the industry begins to recalibrate, success in the industry will be defined by those manufacturers who use technology and innovation to better service their customers.  Those are the manufacturers who will truly deliver value.  Perhaps more telling will be those manufacturers who crowdsource and capture the voice of the customer to inspire that innovation.


Design Sales and Marketing for the Customer

In manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.  And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.  You must engage throughout the journey.  You must leverage your communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  Work with your channel partners to leverage product registration.  Introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Become a source of helpful content for your customers. Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


Those manufacturers that truly want to be customer obsessed should consider building out a sales and marketing data model that contains buying behavior.  Capture information like inventory, purchase history, frequency of purchase, quantities of assets, partners they buy from, and average delivery time per partner and per asset.  Based on this data model, create dashboards that demonstrate trends in purchase, such as time of year and geography, opportunities for up-sells and add-ons, and sales cycle duration.  Use this information to proactively engage with relevant content at the right time.


Understand the Impact of Inbound and Outbound Logistics on the Customer

Let's look at sampling logistics.  Dow Chemical receives thousands of requests for product samples per month. Sample management had historically not only been an interesting challenge for this complex company, but was also an important one which had a direct and potentially significant impact on sales and revenue growth. Rather than try to transform the sample management process, Dow decided to exploit this bottleneck by first streamlining the sample follow-up process.  When a sample was requested, it was shipped and an email campaign was triggered to follow up with the customer. The email campaign included basic questions to check that the sample was received and enabled Dow to gather additional information on the customer?s needs.  Customers who responded to the sample follow-up campaign were then routed to the sales team. Their sample program now commands anywhere from a 40-50% response rate.


Broaden Operations Analysis

Operations is more than just taking a raw material and creating a finished product.  It's important for manufacturers to maximize productivity, eliminate waste, reduce costs, and increase throughput.  Manufacturers generate a lot of waste through their efforts and resource allocation. Understanding where to focus your people, time, and money can eliminate waste.  You can do this by understanding the engagement of your audiences, both external and internal across all channels, and taking steps to enhance their experiences.


Create a component dedicated to customer intimacy

Services must extend beyond warranties.  Manufacturers need to dedicate resources for customer intimacy.  Consider developing a customer advocacy program, leverage content created for the customer (or even better, by the customer), understand engagement trends and which tactics and cadences are most effective.


Thermo Fisher Scientific wanted to develop customer intimacy and, therefore, developed a program for their customers to help them get labs up-and-running faster.  By creating a trigger campaign that allowed the application process, approval process and all email communications, including account verification, suggested promotions and reminder emails, to be automated for New Lab Start Up customers they were able to exploit their bottleneck.  They saw a 22.5% increase in redemption offers through this program.

 

How are you building the customer into the value chain?


Harry Beckwith wrote about "Selling the Invisible".  While progressive when written, the tech boom has allowed for greater advancements in customer engagement.  It has also created an increased challenge in not only selling the invisible, but standing apart from the noise.  In a conversation with Adam Kranitz, Avid's Senior Manager for Social Strategy and Editor-in-Chief of Avid Blogs, it's clear Avid has figured out how to do just that.  7-13-2014 10-57-40 PM.png

 

Found in 1987 Avid pioneered digital video editing and currently holds 200 patents.  Now through the Avid Everywhere strategic vision, Avid is helping content creators and media organizations connect with consumers more powerfully, efficiently, collaboratively, and profitably.

 

So how does this global leader drive revenue, and foster loyalty?  Below are 6 practices that Adam incorporates into Avid's content strategy and customer experience.

 

  1. "Avid's core content beliefs center on people, purpose, and then technology.  Content needs to feel human.  It's about the creative professionals who are using the platform."
  2. "We invest in imagery.  While we're selling the invisible, the customer experience is easily seen.  The product is in the background.  Humans are the focus of the imagery.  We also hire a professional photographer to capture customer interaction at events."
  3. "We leverage the people closest to the experience.  We use social media as the platform tocombine knowledgeable customers with subject matter experts at Avid to connect with the creative community. "
  4. "Community development is a priority at Avid.  Our Director of Online Communities and Customer Advocate, Marianna Montague, has guided our extremely active and well trafficked customer forums for over 8 years. These customer forums are pivotal in upgrade decisions.  Customer communities show that their peers have made the investment and also demonstrate momentum in the marketplace.  This also creates brand loyalty.  We have people who have been customers for 25 years and Marianna ensures all customers have a voice within the company"
  5. "We measure content effectiveness and understand which content should be used at each stage of the process.  For example, tutorial content is good for deciding between companies and products. We also know that our most effective content is produced by the customer."
  6. "Avid has a content vision.  We plan on developing a virtual newsroom.  We don't want to replace trade journals, but certainly supplement them.  AvidBlogs.com already has 323 articles contributed by multiple sources. Partners want visibility, and product teams want awareness and support.  Also, once you gain momentum everyone want to get on board. "

 

It's through these practices that Avid has become a more customer-centric organization and opened the doors to new markets.  It's also why they're a leader in customer engagement.  I encourage you to check out the phenomenal work they're doing with their communities as well as how they're engaging with customers and leveraging imagery on their Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube channel.  You can also follow Adam on Twitter @AdamKranitz.

Manufacturing marketers are beginning to gain a seat at the table.  But in order to stay there marketers must also gain a voice.  To do this, marketers must move from a cost-center to a revenue-center.  This shift can be a challenge without access to the right data, understanding of the analytics, and efficiency in execution to deliver best-in-class communications. 

 

Improve decisions around marketing investment

Manufacturers have limited resources and its imperative they understand where to invest their marketing dollars.  An extended focus on data management proved invaluable for Blue Coat and brought great results in terms of improving data quality, a better lead qualification process, marketing and sales alignment, pipeline growth in terms of net new marketing, and an accelerated pipeline. 

 

Data consistency and standardization helped in providing insight in terms of what worked and what didn?t which helped the field teams make better decisions in terms of marketing investment for improved ROI. By leveraging the new structured data, field teams could now create targeted segments for their campaigns which resulted in more relevant communications. As a result the contact database grew by more than 15% in 12 months, the volume of marketing-qualified leads increased 25%, and 80% of the sales pipeline was influenced by marketing along with significant sourced and accelerated pipeline. users_gain_voice_with_nli.jpg

 

Increase sales opportunities

Intermec's Accounts Based Marketing (ABM) Program has been focused on targeting top accounts in the various supply chain industries that Intermec plays in, such as distribution centers, and transportation & logistics.  The program places a strong emphasis on close collaboration between marketing and sales. For instance, their appointment pitching track serves up responses directly into the VP of Sales office line as well as online RSVP landing pages that feed to Inside Sales for further lead qualification. So while this program is automated in the setup, it's also very hands-on in the response given the large nature of sales opportunities on these accounts. Their team alignment has improved not only between the multiple marketing teams, but sales as well.

More importantly, they've generated a significant number of influenced opportunities since the start of the program.  The total value of ABM opportunities increased by 69%, while the total value of non-ABM opportunities has decreased by 55% during the same period. 

 

Deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time

Thermo Fisher Scientific created their New Lab Start-Up Program as an effective, economical way to obtain special time- and money-saving offers on lab supplies. They teamed up with many of their brand-name suppliers to provide special offers on an extensive range of products to help new labs get up and running quickly.  Once a customer signs up to be a part of the program, they have six months to redeem their free offers.  They created a trigger campaign that allows the application process, approval process and all email communications, including account verification, suggested promotions and reminder emails, to be automated for New Lab Start Up customers.

 

By leveraging marketing automation, Fisher Scientific was able to increase NLSU promotional redemptions by 22.5% resulting in a significant increase in revenue over the 11 months the campaign has been active.  If they tried to manually act on each form submit so the customer was communicated with as soon as they took an action, it would have taken them over 684 man hours a month, which would be impossible to staff for.  This program is a true testament to how the right message, to the right audience, at the right time can significantly improve ROI.


How are you gaining a voice at the table?

Manufacturers need to provide real-time visibility to their teams, channel partners, and end users. No one can predict the future. Just as it makes the most sense to have a diversified stock and bond portfolio, manufacturers should balance their "production portfolios" to serve as many possible markets as possible and be as flexible as possible to respond quickly to changing market conditions. 

 

Demand Prediction Reporting is becoming a highly requested feature. Manufacturers want to build out data models that track (or pull data over from an existing system) inventory, purchase history, frequency of purchase, quantities of assets, partner they buy from, average delivery time per partner and per asset.  Based on the data model, they want to create dashboards that demonstrate trends in purchase (time of year, geography, etc), opportunities for up-sells and add-ons, and sales cycle duration.  This information can be used to create automated trigger emails that send communications in the month or so leading up to when they typically order.

 

But this is now more than a futuristic objective. Companies are now integrating systems and tying customer-facing channels into their sales, marketing, and production programs.  Below are 3 companies that have recognized success in achieving demand insight.

 

More than a supplier

NXP Semiconductors wanted to be more than a supplier to their customers.  They wanted to be proactive with their customers and provide them with the information they needed beyond the purchasing process.  Not only would this allow NXP to better service their customers, but they would be able to better respond to changes in the marketplace.  By better integrating systems and capturing more relevant customer data, NXP can now provide clearer guidance on resource allocation, resulting in maximum ROI for their marketing objectives. They recognized a 40% cost savings in fulfillment process, and a 90% reduction in fulfillment lead time.

 

Insight into the needs of resellers

In the beginning Intel's regional channel managers were communicating directly with Intel?s audience (partner resellers) via numerous decentralized communication platforms. This meant that Intel had a limited understanding of interests of their partners other than volume of numbers.

 

Through the development and integration of systems, Intel began to collect information around the Digital Body Language of its resellers.  They began to understand the motivations and behaviors of their resellers by providing the ability for resellers to pre-order products. This was a component that was built, similar to a shopping cart system using data cards as the database. They added an email inbox into their communications so resellers could view emails that were previously sent to them using the web version url served from a data card set.  They provided an event calendar so resellers could view when events were taking place and register their interest in joining them.  They also provided a rating system for parts of the site with new products or features. This allowed resellers to vote for elements that were more relevant to them and drive the direction of the campaigns. crystal-ball-ljxmtsnc.jpg

 

This provided Intel with a 360-degree view, a universal profile, of their resellers.  Intel could now enable, and be more attentive to the needs of, their resellers.

 

Proactive sample management

Dow receives thousands of requests for product samples per month. Sample management had historically not only been an interesting challenge for this complex company, but was also an important one which had a direct and potentially significant impact on sales and revenue growth. Rather than try to transform the sample management process, Dow decided to exploit this bottleneck by first streamlining the sample follow-up process.  When a sample was requested, it was shipped and an email campaign was triggered to follow up with the customer. The email campaign included basic questions to check that the sample was received and enabled Dow to gather additional information on the customer's needs.  Customers who responded to the sample follow-up campaign were then routed to the sales team. Their sample program now commands anywhere from a 40-50% response rate.

Manufacturers are working to develop greater customer intimacy, increase sales and marketing productivity, and optimize customer life-cycle revenue.  The role of channel partners in meeting these objectives is paramount.  In order to achieve these goals manufacturers are orchestrating multichannel communications and aligning with partners. 

 

But utilizing social media across partner channels has been a pain point for many manufacturers. 

 

I reached out to Zift Solutions to understand how manufacturers can better empower channel marketers to become savvy social media marketers and influential voices in the promotion of content, services, and solutions.  Zift has extensive experience working with manufacturers to enhance their channel marketing and offers the following the insight.  social-media-manufacturing-companies.jpg

 

 

What is a common challenge faced when executing social strategy across channels?

Corporations find that they have content that overlaps with their channels, and there are inconsistencies in that content.  This happens all the time, especially if the approach to social media hasn't been thought through up front. 

 

Let's say you have motivated franchisees are already active on social media, such as Franchise A who?s posting regularly, using local content and building a substantial following in their local store area and possibly even beyond.

 

And then you have Franchise B, who's not quite in the game and posts infrequently or has stopped all together. They're struggling with knowing what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. They're not gaining followers and may even have alienated some customers because they?re not paying as much attention.

 

And then there's the head office -- their content overlaps or could possibly even contradict their Franchisee's information.  Inconsistencies are starting to emerge and customers are not sure who to turn to.

 

There is also a lack of control of content being shared.  This ultimately leads to an inconsistent brand experience for the customer, ineffective nurturing, lack of referral marketing, reduced partner mind-share, and an inability to measure success.

 

 

How can manufacturers manage through all this chaos and deliver an effective social media program through their network?

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount.  And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.

 

But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending your reach through your channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by your channel partners. 

 

There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools to support you.  You can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with your customers.

 

 

How can manufacturers best align their social activity with their channel partners?

We've found through our work with clients that delivering successful social media programs through channel partners boils down to 5 key steps.

  1. Optimize your social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?
  2. Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?
  3. Develop a framework strategy.
  4. Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is "what do we talk about?" Develop the communications strategy -- the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you'd like to own.
  5. Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.

 

And what types of support tools are available?

Zift offers a syndicated social media solution.  It is easy for the partner because it allows for well branded, high quality content to be automatically published to social accounts.  The partner stays in control.  Posts are pre-screened by selecting filters, individual posts can be reviewed and removed, and supplemental posts can be added.  The partner can also see results.  Social interactions are automatically included in analytics which integrate with marketing automation tools and are tied to lead records. TeamBuildingPlan1.jpg

 

Are there any examples of manufacturers doing this successfully?

Harley Davidson has a strong brand independent of the dealer network. BUT each dealer creates a unique experience at their locations and in their communities.  This is supported by local programming, contesting, events etc. which is reflected in their social presence.

 

Stelios Xeroudakis, Cloud Carib (VMware Enterprise Partner) also stated that "Just one month after implementing Zift's syndicated social media solution, we tripled the frequency of our tweets, doubled our follower interactions, and eliminated nearly all time spent producing Twitter content."

 

 

It's evident that social media is now becoming a more effective communication tool in partner multichannel marketing strategies.  How are you implementing social across your partner channels?

There are dozens of live manufacturing industry and trade events held every year. Manufacturers participate in both industry specific trade events, association events, and recruitment events. Whether you have 5 people stop by your booth, or 100 people attend, providing real-time follow-up will result in increased engagement.  For many manufacturers, it's difficult to remember each conversation and deliver relevant content to that attendee, days after the event occurred.  This is especially challenging for manufacturers of large equipment who will typically go on road shows in which customers can test-drive the equipment or actually see it in action.

 

A tradeshow should be viewed as a longitudinal program, and not a one-off campaign.  The program should drive awareness of the manufacturer's event attendance, invite prospects, customers, channel partners, and prospective partners to join them, and deliver segmented and personalized post-event follow-up communications.  The live event campaign should be as automated as possible and engagement by the contact should trigger communication delivery. 

 

By providing real-time event follow-up you can organically grow your prospective database, increase engagement, and ultimately generate new revenue.  It's important to nurture event relationships by providing relevant content in the weeks following the event.  Offering valuable content and providing an opportunity to opt-in or out of such communications is a best practice.

 

Lastly it's important not to neglect those who could not attend the event.  Offering digital content from the event, like video of speakers and presentations, as well as the post-event nurture content, can result in new opportunity for the manufacturer.

 

Below are steps to framework your end-to-end tradeshow program. ASR_pic1.jpg

 

Define you objective

Identify the goal of your tradeshow.  Be specific.  "Driving awareness" or "launching a new product" are not measurable.  Clearly defined KPIs will align your organization, guide decision making, and allow the company to determine the true success of an event.  You may state your goal as "talk with 10 industry analysts", "identify 15 new potential channel partners", or "generate 50 new sample opportunities".

 

Plan ahead

Avoid the tradeshow scramble.  Manufacturers invest buko bucks into events.  Ensure you've committed the same investment with strategy and creative.  Using your defined KPIs agree upon messaging, theme, and booth and travel logistics. As yourself how you'll standout and why someone would want to stop by your booth. 

 

You'll also want to identify which channels you'll leverage before, during, and after the event.  My advice is to test all available options.  Use mailers, emails, hypersites, social media, and the phone. But also make sure you have processes in place to capture analytics against all channels.  Understand what works and what doesn't.


Where applicable, engage your channel through the process.  Brief them on the event, KPIs, and how the lead flow and assignment will function.  Set expectations with your partners on what you expect from them as well.

 

Segment your audience

 

Segment the list into 5 audiences.  The audience will include event attendees (if you receive access to that information), customers that would benefit from the event content, prospects that have engaged with previous content and that would benefit from the event content, partners who would benefit from the event content, and prospective partners that have engaged with previous content and that would benefit from the event content.

 

Assign each audience segment to a personalized program path.  Content for the assets should be customized for each list.  A 6th list will also be developed post-event for those contacts that do not attend.

 

Drive Awareness

Because manufacturers attend road shows hosted at multiple locations, it?s imperative that details of the specific show (date, location, equipment tested) are captured and referenced in the materials.  Include communications like ?Save the Date? to generate awareness by providing information on the purpose of the event and logistics.

 

Invitations with messaging focused on "Join Us" and "What You'll learn" will provide information on the event, what the attendee will learn,  justification for attending the event, and the value the attendee will gain.  This may contain a link to a registration form.

 

Build in several event registration reminders containing event details and logistics.

 

Work It

 

Get out behind the booth and into the isles.  Walk the floor, strike up conversations, don?t pitch product, and ask lots of questions. Once someone does approach your booth, don?t overwhelm them.  Work out beforehand who will approach, who will hand-off, and who will demo. 

 

Utilize technology to optimize real-time follow-up.  Companies like RelationshipOne have a solution that facilitates this.  Using a third party business card scanning app such as 'World Card' they email the VCS file directly from the application to a special email address that R1 provides. The information then gets added to your marketing automation system, and an email with a link to another form gets immediately sent to you. You click that, and can then use that form to collect further data on the Prospect. Because it's all hosted in your marketing automation system you are free to change the processing steps, form questions, follow-up, and frankly anything you can think of, to customize it differently for each show you attend.

 

Use this real-time data capture to funnel opportunities into the appropriate follow-up campaign.  You can immediately add contacts into your sample/trial campaign, prospective partners could be added into your channel partner recruitment campaign, and disengaged partners could be added into a channel partner engagement campaign. manufacturing expo los angeles convention center.jpg

 

After the Event

 

Debrief and conduct an After Action Review.  Have each person who aided in the program provide 3 sustains and 3 improves.  This may include select channel partners as well.  Pull and review the metrics and discuss how they compared to the defined KPIs.  How did they compare with previous event benchmarks?  What were questions commonly asked on the floor?  What approaches resonated?  What product requests were made?

 

Use the information to develop a post-event report communicated to all stakeholders.  Define successes and opportunities for improvement.  Provide information on analytics, leads and lead follow-up, and recommendations for future events.

 

What steps would you add to this framework?


Marketing today can be overwhelming.  Digital marketing, multichannel marketing, social media, and big data are terms that leave many manufacturers wondering where to start.  Because the complexity and magnitude of work can require extensive resources, many manufacturers are reaching out to agencies to assist in their communication and customer experience initiatives.

 

I contacted 2 agencies, MarketOne an integrated demand generation service consultant and provider, and Wilson Advertising, a digital and creative service provider, to collect some best practices on extending your agency investment.  I also spoke with Don Gushurst, at Molex, and an agency customer.


index.jpg

 

How do agencies educate you about both their objective, as well as their products, sales process, and target audience?  Has any method stood out as particularly effective?

 

Wilson Advertising: Objectives are best defined through the creative brief.  That objective will only be as good as what's written.  Most product information is obtained websites and brochures.  It's best when we can engage if a product expert. I like to see the facilities, especially in manufacturing, to start.  Sales processes are usually explained by a sales manager in a sales type interview. They're rarely documented which is fine. I can document.  Sometimes target audiences are documented, others define through an interview.  A combination of documentation and interview is the best.

 

Do you and the customer develop data benchmarks and performance expectations upfront?  If so, how do you determine those metrics?

 

MarketOne:  In some cases yes, but generally we are working with customers who don't have any idea what the baseline is because they've never used any type of Lead Reporting before. For Lead Scoring, we will take into account current Marketing Qualified Leads, Sales Accepted Leads, and Closed Leads, then continue to monitor for up to 12 months after implementation to view where optimizations need to be made. For the majority of our out of the box reporting services, we use 30 ... 60 ... 90 day increments post project implementation. For data specifically we offer three levels of Data Cleansing where we do discovery into a client's data warehouse, and then utilize our internal tools or Tele Operations team, depending on the level of Data Cleansing to ensure the accuracy.


Marketone_logo.JPG

 

 

A common concern when working with an agency is that project duration and cost can exceed what was estimated.  How do you control project time and cost, without forsaking project quality?

 

MarketOne:  I would say that's a fair concern and in my experience both as a customer and a vendor, the majority of customers don't understand how long certain projects take when done right. The way we get around it is by giving a transparent look into timelines, and clear SOWs that state what we are including in the project and dates associated with milestones on when the project can be expected for completion. We then present that to the client for approval, so they are a part of the decision. This also gets back to my previous email in stating maturity levels that vary between various clients. Those Marketing Organizations that are more mature will have the resources to invest in a partner to augment their marketing business objectives or add additional resources to their team.

 

Wilson AdvertisingWe use a pretty detailed Statement of Works and try to stick to them, but eat a lot of time to stay under projections and still hit quality expectations. Quality and client win in the end. Most agencies do I think. Especially in design (nobody cares about copy). Scope creep is still a bigger concern with the more technical type solutions.


Wilson-Advertising.jpeg


Agencies promise to maximize a company's return on investment.  How do you see most companies calculating ROI?  Revenue?  Leads?  -- this would probably tie back into the benchmarking and performance metrics.

 

MarketOne:  Every company is going to say "We will maximize a company's return on investment," it's a tired line that truthfully is false half the time. What I mean by that is not every project can be measured in hard dollars, revenue, or leads. In a lot of cases we partner with clients on a Managed Services agreement where we are an extension of their marketing team. This is hard to quantify in hard ROI, but it allows Marketing Teams to be more agile but allowing us to do work in an expected timeframe at a high quality of delivery (emails, landing pages, forms, campaigns, reporting).  We do look at how many leads are being created before we consult with them on a Lead Management engagement. We then look at 30 ... 60 ... 90 days out and see how many more leads can be tracked and the improvement of the MQLs and SALs generating revenue in the marketing funnel. We aid some enterprise companies on designing and executing Lead Nurture Campaigns in a very short time frame. The value to this is hard to put into dollars, but if a company is able to get out more programs in a year due to our help, we will help them generate more MQLs which can be translated into hard dollars.

 

Wilson AdvertisingI don't see enough here of people tying to revenue like you'd expect, especially since data is available. There isn't as much of a push to test as there should be. People either don't allow the time or think "we want to go with what we think is the best", without really knowing.

 

Molex: The manufacturer should measure the ROI on the various media channels the agency selects for promoting its brand, whether it be public relations, print media or website development. Agencies today should include the capability to use analytics to assist the manufacturer in developing key performance dashboards for improving their ability to reach their targeted audience.

 

 

Manufacturers desire a collaborative experience when working with agencies.  How do you ensure their voice is heard and incorporated into the final product?

 

MarketOne:  One of the main priorities we make when engaging with a customer in any industry is to get to know their business so we can better guide them on how to get where they want to go. A large part of this education comes from knowledge transfer and introduction meetings where our clients explain their business, whether most of their business is done direct, or with channel partners. This gives us an added layer of transparency and understanding into their business model, allowing us to make better recommendations for their business.

 

Wilson Advertising:  We utilize meetings, feedback and project check-ins. These are typically handled by an account executive and are then wrapped into a presentation that they share with the group.

 

Any final advice?

 

MarketOne:  Consider the maturity of your marketing team and the amount of budget you have to spend. Are you a baseline user - either new to using digital marketing or marketing automation or have limited resources to be able to invest in anything more than initial deployment, training and some out of the box digital marketing services?  Are you mature in your understanding of digital and multichannel marketing and looking to take your performance to the next level?  Do you have a large marketing team and/or are global? Do you have a multitude of Marketing Initiatives being run by different teams: Social, Digital Marketing, Website, Data Cleansing, and sometimes Tele Operations?  Understanding your marketing maturity will allow you to better communicate and collaborate with agencies.

 

Wilson Advertising: Provide a clear objective (singular), explain why you want this. explain the audience motivations, provide a framework, outline expectations, provide access to relevant materials, and be open with room to explore.  Don't have preconceived ideas of exactly what you want, if you do, just give it to a designer to execute provide extraneous material.  Oh, and offering what they don't like and why can be helpful as another do.

 

Molex: The relationship must be based on a collective passion for the manufacturer's brand to the extent where the agency is a key contributor to the manufacturer's marketing strategy that is centered on brand stewardship and demand generation.

 

Thank you to the strategy team at Wilson Advertising, Eric Butterwick, Demand Generation Program Manager at MarketOne, and Don Gushurst, Direct Global Marketing Operations Services at Molex for contributing to this piece.

I'm not going to spend any time arguing the merits of content marketing.  By now we should all recognize the imperative role content marketing should play in our business strategies.  However, for the last few years, content marketing best practices have centered on the cool and innovative tactics traditionally executed by B2C and tech companies. 

 

But in the last year other industries have started to play content catch-up.  And now, it appears these companies are upping the ante on content marketing.  Below are 3 case studies pulled from the financial services, manufacturing, and life sciences industries.

 

T.Rowe Price is positively brilliant with their "College Savings Chillout" program

Why is this program brilliant?  First of all, T.Rowe Price taps into emotion.  The anxiety of saving for college is a very relatable and stress-inducing feeling.  They capture this experience perfectly.  T.Rowe Price also tells a story.  Actually, they have parents tell their freakout story, and they use imagery to do this.  It's not just the videos that capture your attention, they have each storyteller sketch a picture of their freakout moment.  T.Rowe Price doesn't just communicate a problem, they provide a solution.  And the solution is not a product, it's a children's book called "Everybody Freaks Out!".  Well, it's a book about college savings formatted as a children's book.  They take a very complicated and overwhelming experience and boil it down to a humorous and digestible offer.  Lastly, they've developed a program rather than a campaign.  Their program extends across all digital channels like websites, social media, and advertising and all proceeds from the "Everybody Freaks Out!" go to Junior Achievement.

 

4-28-2014 8-53-35 PM.png                                             

Caterpillar's "Stack" video makes Manufacturing exciting

If you haven't watched it yet you have to check out it.  How do you make large industrial equipment fun?  You make that industrial equipment play a game of Jenga.  5 machines compete to stack massive wooden blocks without toppling them over.  Caterpillar has conquered the boring and outdated stigma manufacturing tends to carry.  This video demonstrates that these massive machines are agile and strong.  The video is also a testament to the manufacturing industry's emergence as a forward thinking and evolutionary industry.  And, like the T.Rowe Price example, this video is a piece of a larger program extending over many months and across multiple marketing channels.

 

4-28-2014 9-19-56 PM.png

 

Optum cracks into the c-suite

Optum has achieved what many organizations struggle with, they have successfully engaged with the C-Suite.  When launching their new Accountable Care Solution they revamped their content marketing efforts.  By identifying and mapping their content journey, Optum has connected, and engaged, with key decision makers by delivering the information they're most interested in.  And they've done this using a smart form strategy.  By developing a unified content journey existing of 6 pieces, Optum established themselves as a trusted advisor in the arena of health reform.  Optum also focused their content efforts.  They targeted their content on organizations that were chosen by Medicare to participate in its Pioneer ACO pilot and its Medicare Shared Savings Program.  These efforts resulted in a 700% improvement in sales accepted leads.

4-28-2014 9-35-47 PM.png

 

Which content marketing case study from above do you find most effective?

The Eloqua App Cloud allows you to extend your marketing automation beyond the basics.  But identifying which apps to leverage can be overwhelming.  Below are a list of Eloqua Apps utilized by manufacturers.


Zift Channel Partner Support: One manufacturer uses Zift to automatically notify partners of marketing qualified leads that they can then accept or reject. They also enable leads to be automatically marketed to by the partners, and automatically passed to their partners sales CRM solution with the disposition of those leads routed back into their Eloqua system

 

MarketOne Telecloud Solution: Rockwell is using Eloqua to segment their target universe into customers and prospects.  Customers are being sent emails in a nurturing program focusing on one product area and the associated business pains and prospects have a different nurture program focusing on a different product and set of business pains.  Scoring is set up in each program.  High scoring customers are sent through the MarketOne Telecloud connector into one calling queue while high scoring prospects are sent into a different queue.  MarketOne callers are working through a script customized for each contact type and solution area, probing for business pain, level of interest in Rockwell?s offering, any competitors engaged, and next steps.  Answers to the calling script questions are entered into the MarketOne Telecloud connector front end and returned into a data card in the Eloqua database.

 

Lead Capture Apps:  Companies like ZUANT and atEvent allow you to close the loop on your events.  Manufacturers like Mercury Systems use the Lead Capture App to scan visitors at their booth.  Contacts are scanned, entered into Eloqua and their CRM, assigned to the appropriate rep for follow-up, sent a thank you email, and sent to a custom event page ? all before the visitor leaves the booth.

 

Adobe Connect:  Thermo Fisher uses the AdobeConnect App for quality control. By creating a single host account for power users, the power user team can now check each others work and make changes on the fly.  It?s also improved the experiences for webinar attendees by eliminating the risk of human error, and removing a manual process, because all contacts must be on the Adobe list.

 

Bizo: Avid uses AdFocus with Bizo to target prospects with display ads based on their digital body language, nurture anonymous visitors to their site with display ads to drive more known contacts into Eloqua, add display to email nurture programs to reach the people who do not open emails, and re-engage opt-outs through display ads.

 

Webinar Apps:  NXP Semiconductors integrates Gotowebinar with their data cleansing system, their extranet and sample store, and their data warehouse.  This integration has resulted in a 40% cost savings in their fulfillment process and a 90% reduction in fulfillment lead time.  Other great webinar apps include ReadyTalk  ON24 and WebEx.


SnapApp:  A number of manufacturers  (Dupont, Atmel, EMC, Rockwell) use SnapApp to drive leads and push prospects through the funnel as well as to engage their partners, current customers and employees.  Rockwell Automation uses SnapApp to publish a range of interactive content.  For example:  A photo gallery engaged customers by asking them to upload an image of the oldest piece of Rockwell machinery they could find in their warehouse.  An assessment about factory and equipment automation guided prospects to information about the benefits of software on the factory floor.  Surveys and knowledge tests before and after various industry and trade events drove booth traffic and provided opportunities to engage before, during and after events.  Meanwhile, all of the data collected in response to surveys, assessments, etc. is captured and appended to contacts in Eloqua to provide insights for future marketing and outreach efforts.

 

Which Eloqua Apps would you add to the list?

9-WALA+ManufacturingPartners.jpgGiven the subscription economy trend in manufacturing, and the dependence manufacturers have on partners to drive revenue, there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.  Most manufacturers depend on channel partners for 20% to 100% of their sales volumeAnd the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into partner journey. You must engage throughout the journey.

 

Below are 6 best practices to drive channel partner engagement.

 

  1. Better leverage product registrations.  Manufacturers and channel partners want to capture information about their customer to better develop the customer relationship.  This information can also allow manufacturers to deliver or receive incentives.  It's important that you work with your channel partners to collect this data.  To collect this information, and deliver additional value, you should consider automating a product registration campaign.
  2. Automate welcome campaigns to your channel partners.  The objective of a partner welcome campaign is to drive channel engagement through nurturing and onboarding.  The campaign should leverage educational content, product launches, and other manufacturer driven marketing initiatives.  Incorporate satisfaction surveys into your campaign to better understand the effectiveness of your channel partner program.  The campaign journey and content delivery should be determined by the engagement of each contact.
  3. Introduce an advocacy program.  Advocacy programs, like those supported by Influitive, allow you to identify existing channel advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.  Consider incorporating an advocacy program into your partner marketing strategy. You could even have a program specifically for end users, and one specifically for channel partners
  4. Deliver content based on partner behavior.  Manufacturers understand that the best way to engage with their partners is by providing useful content.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It's necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.  Allow the Digital Body Language of the partner to dictate which content they receive, and when. Dell perfected their customer experience using this best practice and increased click through rates 3X.
  5. Use analytics as a barometer for existing engagement, and as a tool for uncovering new engagement opportunities.  In order to enhance revenue and profit, Manufacturers must uncover new opportunities through contact acquisition and targeted promotions.  Identify trends in content effectiveness, partner success, and geographic opportunity.  Include engagement data into your persona development.  Use this analytic output to guide your decision making.  This information can also be used when deciding how to convert unknown visitors, where to invest with channel partners, and what products provide the greatest opportunity for revenue.
  6. Enable your channel.  Become easier to do business with externally.  Provide sales tools that allow your partners to deliver timely and relevant communications.  Develop scoring models that focus partner efforts where they're needed most.  Create 2-way transparency so partners can identify revenue opportunities and respond to the needs of the user, and so you can better understand the return on your partner investments.

 

By implementing these engagement best practices into your channel partner strategies you can feel confident that your partners will engage throughout the journey and your funnel will remain full. 

8-images.jpgManufacturing often gets a bad rap for being outdated, blue collar, and technologically challenged.  But when you walk through the doors of Balluff, and into their open floor plan with clean lines and white walls, that misconception flies out their large scenic window.  But it's not just the building that bucks that manufacturing stereotype, it's also Balluff's approach to technology.  Balluff was an early adopter of marketing automation technology.  Not just when compared to other manufacturers, but an Eloqua customer since 2007, Balluff was a very early marketing automation adopter compared across all industries.  I had the opportunity to spend the day with them and learn about some of their most successful projects, and greatest lessons learned.  As they explained "We had leads, but we couldn't give them away".  Through the following practices, they've fixed that problem.

 

1.  Traceability Program:  Balluff manufacturers a myriad of products, but when selling their system level products the sales cycle can extend 14-16 months.  A campaign that extends only 3 months will not provide the educational nurturing required to sustain the sales cycle.  Balluff invested a great deal of planning and resources into developing their traceability program.  This was such a focus of the organization that it was written into the business objectives for last fiscal year.  By leveraging content developed by their internal experts, white papers, and their blog, Balluff developed a campaign that meets the requirements of those customers considering system level purchases.

 

2.  Personalized Newsletters:  Balluff's sales force was the face of the organization.  Customers and partners were reliant on their reps for information.  Balluff was challenged with capturing the digital body language of their customers, while still allowing the sales reps to own those relationships.  By developing a personalized newsletter, Balluff solved this problem.  Using dynamic images and dynamic content, each rep has the ability to customize a templated newsletter with their picture, messaging, and signature.  And because that newsletter comes directly from the sales rep, when a customer replies to the email, the sales rep receives that response.  Marketing now captures the analytics necessary for nurturing and segmentation, and the sales rep has another opportunity to grow the relationship.

 

3.  Policy and Internal Governance:  A lesson learned early on for Balluff was the need for written policies and governance.  In the past, Balluff had to battle with individuals wanting to purchase lists or buying their own email distribution subscriptions.  To eradicate this issue, Balluff documented policies and governance around list purchase, data usage, email cadence, and distribution.  By documenting these policies in writing, all employees are aware of the policies, and when an issue arises, they can quickly point to the document.

 

4.  Code Red Distributor Program:  Like most manufacturers, Balluff relies on their channel for revenue.  In order to support their channel network, and bring them into the marketing fold, they developed their Code Red Distributor Program.  Through the development of channel assets, like microsites and emails, Balluff can manage their channel activities within the same instance as their direct customers, but still segment appropriately.

 

5.  Opportunity Outside of Traditional Digital Communications:  Balluff utilizes marketing communication channels like trade shows and events, digital and print advertising, and gated content.  But they also recognized the opportunity to leverage another communication source, their technical support team.  Customer support calls are logged into a database.  The marketing team then segments that data and sends a follow-up email with a link to a survey form.  That survey data is captured against the contact record.  By capturing this information, Balluff can further segment and personalize communications to improve the customer experience.

 

Through continuous testing and analysis, Balluff continues to uncover communication opportunities that enhance the customer experience, align internal departments, and grow revenue.

 

To learn more about some of the other successes Balluff has had, check their Markie nomination for Extraordinary Email.

Up-selling and cross-selling is a natural fit for manufacturers.  With multiple product and service offerings, growing revenue within an existing customer, or channel partner, is often an effective way to ultimately grow the business. But research indicates that the ability to cross-sell or up-sell products or services declines sharply 90 days after the initial purchase.

 

To effectively leverage up-sell and cross opportunities, companies must build on existing relationships with customers, channel partners, and known contacts.  But to build those relationships and communicate the right offer at the right time you must understand your customers' purchasing behavior. You must also pay attention to those who did not purchase.

7-upsell-ad.jpg

In order to optimize this 90 day period, manufacturers must build a relationship with their customers, incent their channel partners to provide customer registration information, and respond to known contacts that abandon the eCommerce process.

 

Manufacturers successful at these tactics are leveraging post-acquisition Customer Lifecycle Management tools and processes to nurture customers towards cross-sells and up-sells, education and service offerings, and maintenance contracts. 

 

By implementing an automated up-sell or cross-sell campaign, you can better communicate value to your customer, as well as deliver 1:1 personalized communications and offers based on digital body language and previous purchase history.  Below are best practices to implement in your up-sell and cross-sell campaigns.

 

  1. Don't product push.  Campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule.  There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications should contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact's digital body language and purchase history.
  2. Improve form data usage. Use opt-in data, or already existing registration form submissions, to capture nominal, product, reseller, and purchase information as well as intended usage.
  3. Provide educational content.  Deliver educational content relative to topics of interest based on the contact's digital body language and purchase history.  As an example, one customer journey may focus on maintenance and upkeep of Product A.  One journey may focus on getting more out of Product A by using the product in various ways. One journey may focus on Tips and Tricks for using Product A. 
  4. Optimize the graphic design of communications.  In the sidebar of the email, include catalyst options that are dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting consulting & education services, maintenance contracts & services, or new/used parts/attachments/equipment complimentary to Product A. 
  5. Become a thought leader.  Deliver thought leadership content relative to topics of interest based on the contact's digital body language and purchase history.  As an example, one journey may focus on industry trends for Sub-Vertical A. One journey may focus on safety and efficiency processes.  One journey may focus on sustainability and innovation within manufacturing.
  6. Consider advanced segmentation.  Segmentation of customers should be based on product ownership, purchase information, and intended use.  If contacts were captured during product registration then segmentation should also include requests for (opt-in) information about a particular product (not directly sales related) and/or notifications of offers and promotions (sales related).   
  7. Recognize the opportunity in digital advertising.  With advancements in display advertising you can now target up-sell and cross-sell ads based on the predefined segments outlined above, as well as target based on eCommerce abandonment.  And you can display these ads wherever they travel online.  This offers a great opportunity to re-engage with your customers outside of traditional email.

 

By automating your communications you can better leverage all digital marketing channels, offer relevant content and promotions, and harness the opportunity found in the first 90-day window of the customer lifecycle.

Sampling and trialing can be a manufacturer's most effective marketing tool, but it can also be a very expensive activity. In some industries it is an essential part of the buying process.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association's Sampling and Demonstration Council, 83% of consumers agreed that experiencing a product or seeing it demonstrated live increases their comfort level when purchasing.  Manufacturers, who offer product samples and trials on their website or at trade events, should ensure that the product trial experience is a positive one for the customer to maximize the likeliness of a sale. By automating a sampling or trial campaign you can enhance the customer experience. 6-sampling1.JPG


The focus of a sample or trial campaign is to drive registration and participation in sample or trial offers.  This campaign should provide sample/trial offers through several inbound and outbound communications.  With advances in targeted display ads, digital advertising is an excellent tool for driving sample and trial interest.  The campaign should also contain an educational nurturing path.  Remember that content should contain personalized messaging relative to the contact's digital body language.  The campaign communications should also follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications should contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact's digital body language and purchase history. 

 

Optimize the sample/trial registration form.  Capture contact, account and delivery information, product information (version, packaging), buying horizon and date needed by, projected application (where and how the product will be used and in what quantities), and performance requirements.  This form should use progressive profiling. Contact information already captured in the contact record, or stored within CRM, should not be queried.  It's recommended that this form either link to a subscription form, or contain the subscription form as part of the sample/trial registration.  The subscription form should offer options for receiving various communications like monthly newsletters, educational material, and special offers.  It should also provide preferences for when communications are received (specific days of the week), and frequency (weekly, monthly, quarterly).  Capturing information on device preference is also recommended.  Understanding how the contact consumes information (PC, tablet, mobile) will provide insight into how best to optimize content creation and delivery.


Nurture and educate the user throughout the sample/trial period.  Don't forget to send a confirmation of the delivery of the sample/trial. There should be contact information available in case the sample/trial was not received.  Educational content delivered throughout the trial period should provide information on studies, results, and "how to" information.  Content should also provide information on advances in innovation and trends relative to the industry or product.  At the conclusion of the trial period, provide a feedback form to collect information on both the product and the process.


Lastly, don't neglect the campaign data and insight garnered from a contact's digital body language.  Sampling/trial data will demonstrate the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness of the sample/trial process.  This analysis will allow manufacturers to better employ the sample/trial registration process, drive more meaningful engagement, and understand the return on their sample/trial investment.

Most manufacturers depend on channel partners for anywhere between 20%-100% of their sales volume.  Given that volume, channel partner engagement becomes as critical as customer engagement.  Manufacturers need to understand when their channel partners are engaging and what return they're receiving.  Manufacturers are also challenged to remain top of mind with partners.  They must educate and enable their channel partner base. But first, they need to recruit that solid partner base. In short, manufacturers need to create targeted recruitment campaigns to deliver new channel partners.

 

Below are 7 tactics to enhance your channel partner recruitment efforts.

 

  1. Emphasize the "What's in it for you".  Basic? Yes, but often forgotten.  Because enablement and support are key to a successful partnership, a manufacturer must demonstrate its dedication to enabling partners. Many channel partners resell for multiple manufacturers so manufacturers must demonstrate differentiation.  Manufacturers must be easy to do business with.  This message needs to be communicated. 
  2. Stress brand and message ownership.  There are often discrepancies amongst manufacturers and channel partners about who owns the brand and the relationship with the customer. Manufacturers must communicate the empowerment of the channel partner.  Demonstrating a commitment to a shared vision is key.
  3. Identify the tangible benefits to the partner.  These are benefits the channel partner receives when joining the partner program.  This can include anything from percentage of revenue earned, to 5-sam.inside.jpgincentives, technology access, brand recognition, additional training, thought leadership, and certifications. 
  4. Don't underestimate the power of a form.  Channel partner registration forms should capture contact information as well as partner program interest.  If they converted to the form, there's interest.  Be selective about what you ask.  Ask for information that will further the relationship.
  5. Consider digital advertising.  With advancements in digital advertising you can become very targeted in your messaging to a selected audience.  For example, you could target an audience that consists of potential channel partners that reside in the Midwest and have previously navigated to your "Partners" webpage.  Activity against the digital ad can then drive a potential channel partner into an automated channel partner recruitment campaign. 
  6. Understand the costs.  Develop benchmark data around the cost of acquiring a partner as well as your partner attrition rate.  Consider advertising expenses, sales related expenses, expenses per opportunity and the revenue delivered by each partner channel.
  7. Identify revenue potential or opportunity in each geographic region.  Evaluate the territory or region, the number of partners in each, as well as the number of customers and the market potential.  Looks at previous revenue generated, and the percentage of increase or decrease in territory revenue over 12 months.

 

Adding these tactics to your channel partner recruitment strategy can result in a great return on your recruitment efforts, and ultimately revenue generated.

Manufacturers and channel partners alike want to capture information about their customer to better develop the customer relationship.  This information can also allow manufacturers to deliver incentives (manufacturer to channel) or receive incentives (channel from manufacturer).  By capturing this data both manufacturers and partners can report on product registration, usage, cost, and engagement. Manufacturers must also be able to obtain and use key information about its customers, like who they are, their purchase history, and their intended use of the product.  Without this information it's very difficult for a manufacturer to grow business within its existing customer base.  It's also important that manufacturers work with the channel partners to collect this data.  Manufacturers must also be able to segment customers based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use as well as customer preference for receiving information and updates about a particular product , and notification of offers and promotions. 

4-1303-kim_article.jpg

To collect this information, and deliver additional value, manufacturers should consider automating a product registration campaign. The focus of a product registration campaign is to encourage the registration of a product by either the customer, or the channel partner selling to the customer.  The content of the campaign should extend beyond the "register now" message, and should communicate the additional value the partner or customer will receive by registering. 

 

A target audience for this type of campaign can include contacts from your CRM system, customers generated from an eCommerce purchase, and contacts provided by a channel partner.  You may also want to consider capturing the SKU upon purchase.  SKU will initially be captured in a system outside of Eloqua.  Because purchase history will be captured, it should be placed in a Custom Data Object in order to map multiple purchases to one contact.


Outbound communications should deliver information on learning how to get more out of the purchased product, industry news, and incentives.  Incorporating targeted digital advertisements to those who have not yet registered is another tactic to drive product registrations.


The registration form should use progressive profiling.  Contact information already captured in the contact record, or stored within CRM, should not be queried.  Capture nominal information ( i.e. contact name, company), product information (i.e. model, version, serial number), reseller information (i.e. location, channel), purchase information (i.e. price paid, referring source), intended usage, and communication preferences.


Through this campaign the manufacturer will obtain key information to better understand the buyer, segment and deliver 1:1 communications, and develop brand loyalty. Information obtained within this campaign can also be used in a future up-sell and cross-sell campaigns.


Learn http://demand.eloqua.com/ModernMarketingForManufacturinghow Avid has successfully leveraged product registration communications.

There's an outdated, and incorrect, stereotype of the Manufacturing industry.  Long gone are the days of smokestacks and dirty shop floors.  Walk into most manufacturing facilities and you'll discover high tech innovation.  And along with the innovation found along the supply chain you'll also discover advancements in how manufacturers engage with their customers and partners.  Manufacturers recognize that with the evolution of the subscription economy, customer satisfaction and relationship development is very important.  Social media provides an excellent opportunity to engage with customers, prospects, partners, and thought leaders. Social media also allows for manufacturing partners and customers to engage with each other.  It provides a community development platform. Many manufacturers are now leveraging this platform.


Effective social media requires commitment to a brand, content, and social strategy.  Manufacturers understand that the best way to engage with their audience is by providing useful content.  AGCO uses Facebook to bring a human element to the company.  They use lots of employee photos and promote their involvement in the community.  They even ran a t-shirt design contest and launched a  "Caption This" campaign with photos of their equipment.  AGCO has people and customers ask them questions on Twitter, such as where to find distributors and products, and they always respond.  AGCO drives huge engagement across their posts. They've really developed a community of farmers and those that work in their industry.  Likes on Facebook posts reach into the 500s.  Facebook posts are always shared, with an average 5-15 shares per post.  Twitter content usually commands 3-5 retweets.

2-Cloud+ERP.png


Not only are manufacturers utilizing social media, but the manufacturing audience is engaging on social media. Avid does an outstanding job engaging with their followers on Facebook.  They post content that starts discussions and allows followers to interact with each other. Avid's Facebook posts have fun pictures of people using their equipment.  Fun "sexy" pictures are part of their image.  They also have Instagram and Pinterest accounts for this reason.  There are lots of interactions in the comments and great responses to conversations from the Avid folks.  "Likes" can reach the 100s and shares reach into the teens.  Reweets average 3-13.  Their content is focused on "how to" and leveraging the pros (thought leaders) that use their equipment.  It's outstanding.


In the manufacturing industry no social media channel should be ignored.  Videos and photos engage best on Facebook and Google+. Twitter is a great source for not just publishing content, but for curating content that can be leveraged across the other channels.  LinkedIn is a great channel for engaging with existing employees and stepping up recruiting efforts.  Schneider Electric has a great LinkedIn strategy around driving engagement and conversations.  They don't use a traditional company page, but a group page to drive conversations.  Their videos are also environmentally focused which draw a strong passionate community.

 

Manufacturers that post questions, query for audience participation and input, and respond to the posts of their followers have significantly higher engagement.  Manufacturing social tactics are developing advocates, communities, and potential opportunity.

Successful manufacturers have long used innovation and technology to improve products and processes. But I think this will change.  As the industry begins to recalibrate, I think success in the industry will be defined by those manufacturers who use technology and innovation to better service their customers.  Those are the manufacturers who will truly deliver value.  But given the increased complexity of channel marketing, you have to wonder how companies will keep the customer at the center of their efforts.

 

The New Buyer

Manufacturers are recognizing that relationship selling alone just won't cut it.  Buyers do significant amounts of homework and research via the Internet. Customers now look for suppliers, references, and pricing online and usually well before you even knew you were being considered.  Your web content must contain useful and accessible information and your communications must deliver a personal 1:1 message. Retool.jpg


And it's not just the buyer's journey you have to satisfy.  With the rise of the subscription economy in manufacturing, companies need to develop a customer-centric focus to generate additional revenue.  So how can manufacturers use innovation and technology to better meet the needs of their customers?

 

Personalized 1:1 Marketing

Marketing Automation provides a solution that facilitates frequent and personal communication with the customer.  It also aligns well with manufacturing best practices like Six Sigma. Marketing communications are improved because you can now see which content is most effective with each individual customer.  Through an automated testing and approval process, errors are reduced.  By building out communication workflows, marketing processes are streamlined.  Marketing Automation also delivers a supply chain of information that provides customer and business insight.  You can now evaluate a customer's Digital Body Language, lead flow, opportunity conversion, and revenue tied to marketing efforts.

 

Marketing Data Model

Those manufacturers that truly want to be customer obsessed should also consider building out a data model that contains buying behavior.  Capture information like inventory, purchase history, frequency of purchase, quantities of assets, partners they buy from, and average delivery time per partner and per asset.  Based on this data model, you can create dashboards that demonstrate trends in purchase, such as time of year and geography, opportunities for up-sells and add-ons, and sales cycle duration.  Use this information to proactively engage with relevant content at the right time.

 

By leveraging these tools you can now reduce complexity, eliminate the guesswork, and focus on servicing your customers.