B2B Industrial Marketing Stories: Lara Schneider, Marketing Manager at Toshiba, shares tactical advice and strategies for turning your SMEs’ knowledge into content engineers want.
Want to be a better industrial marketer? Start talking like an engineer.
Lara Schneider shares what she’s learning in her 16 years at Toshiba International Corporation and how other industrial marketers can leverage their internal engineers and SMEs to better market to today’s engineers. You can put her B2B industrial marketing tips to practice no matter the size of your team.
- Document your strategy.
- Engineers have their own language. Speak it.
- Be resourceful.
Document your strategy.
Already have a content strategy? Great – but do you have it written down?
Schneider encourages marketing leaders to evaluate their content strategy – starting with a content audit.
“When you start to look at how you do a content audit and how you organize your content audit, it can be quite overwhelming,” says Schneider.
The challenge for B2B industrial marketers, she adds, is the number of different industry verticals, types of buyers, and channels we need to target. If you try to create a unique strategy for each different type, that quickly turns into an overflow of content.
On the flip-side, if you create content that is more general, you’re not giving those specific buyers as much value as you can. In turn, you’re not building those relationships with them.
“Then you combine that with all the different types of content marketing that’s available to you, internal and external challenges that we all face with resources and long buying cycles… and it’s no wonder that less than half of us have a documented strategy,” says Schneider.
So what do you do?
Prioritize, Schneider says.
She recognized that engineers were an important target audience for Toshiba and focused her content strategy toward them.
“95% of engineers have some role when it comes to buying equipment or software within their company,” says Schneider.
This worked well for her and Toshiba. However, an important piece to this success was her team’s ability to build relationships with younger engineers by speaking their language.
Speak Engineer’s Language
To effectively reach engineers, you must address their pain points, desires, and understand the terms and tools they use.
Above is a chart Schneider shared in her presentation highlighting exactly what engineers want from manufacturers and online engineering companies. She summarized those desires as:
- Make engineers more knowledgeable about products, applications and systems.
- Show engineers how your products meet their specifications.
- Give engineers tools to evaluate and simplify information gathering.
Evaluate your content. Is it effective for reaching your target audience? Does your content do one of those three things listed above? What new content do you need to create?
“By nature, engineers are looking for knowledge, and they’re looking to solve solutions,” says Schneider. “They’re busy! And anything you can provide that is going to make their job easier… is going to add value to them.”
Once you have some topics in mind, determine the format for your content.
Schneider shared another table that shows the type of content that engineers value. You may be really excited about Instagram, but your target audience is probably more thankful for the product data and CAD downloads you give them. Your B2B marketing strategy should reflect your customers first, not yourself.
As industrial marketers, not all of us come to the job with an engineering background. That’s not a weakness – that’s an opportunity to work with your in-house subject matter experts (SMEs).
SMEs have a wealth of untapped knowledge about your industry and your target audience. They speak engineers language because they themselves are engineers (or were, at one point in their career). And… these are the people your target audience trusts.
But your SMEs have their own full-time jobs. They’re busy, too.
That’s why Schneider shared some useful tips for working with your SMEs to create valuable content without overwhelming your experts:
- Find the SMEs that are willing to work with you – they will call you out on content that’s not accurate.
- Create question forms that you ask your SMEs that they can answer on their own or in a quick interview with you.
- Build customer relationship management (CRM) cases – ask SMEs to document the questions and responses they get from clients in your CRM.
- Host an internal “Lunch & Learn” in which your SMEs present their insights and stories to your marketing team.
- Record interviews or presentations your SMEs give you (with their approval), so that you can go back to the tape rather than your SME.
- Start an internal focus group – this will generate more ideas and get more eyes on important content pieces.
- Incentivize your SMEs. Take the time to explain to them the importance of what you’re doing, so they can see the value in your content, too.
In Conclusion: B2B industrial marketing improves when you leverage your SMEs’ knowledge.
If you want your content to be effective, you need to get your SMEs on board. Take advantage of the experts within your own organization – you may find you have all the client stories and insights you need right in front of you.
Check out the Industrial Marketing Summit 2019 page to recap the whole event and watch the videos of the other speaker presentations.
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