Digital CAD Models are Often Overlooked as a Key Content Marketing Tool
Marketing teams for industrial manufacturers know all about the necessity of reaching buyers online, but a lot of their efforts haven’t necessarily translated to higher sales. Why? If manufacturers are following marketing trends faithfully, what’s holding back better results?
Perhaps the best answer is that while many companies are willing to spend money on marketing efforts, those efforts aren’t directed to the areas with the most payoff. Perhaps their efforts are in the right places (i.e. blogs and email marketing), but the balance of the marketing mix isn’t right and visits are not converting to leads or sales.
Marketers are aware of the usual initiatives: Print ads, online ads, trade shows, blogs, etc. Many B2B manufacturers, however, neglect to build a digital parts catalog into the plan. For manufacturing companies, this “CAD Content Marketing” needs to be the area of heaviest marketing effort, since engagement is more traceable and since it has a higher ROI than any other medium. Plus, it’s a marketing asset that most B2C companies would kill for – a free download that converts to a physical sale 85% of the time. That’s marketing gold.
Not only is an interactive digital parts catalog not the primary focus for most manufacturers, it often isn’t being utilized at all. If that’s the case for your B2B marketing strategy, you are missing out on a vital way to help buyers find and choose your products.
Achinta Mitra of Industrial Marketing Today wrote a very informative article about the importance of online presence for industrial manufacturers and how many companies’ websites are overlooking the needs of B2B buyers. We took a few lessons away from the article about how industrial manufacturers can achieve the ideal marketing mix.
1) Most B2B buyers prefer to do their own research
Mitra quotes a study by Acquity Group showing that many people prefer to independently research and purchase online, knowing that a sales representative is reachable by phone. That response outnumbered each of the others by almost twice as much: 31.6% preferred online research, with the next closest choice (purchasing by phone) at 16.2%.
The research evidences this conclusion: your salespeople may never get the chance to work their magic. If buyers prefer to research alone, you won’t have the opportunity to put a literal voice in their ear.
So what does this mean? It means your online assets need to be laser focused at helping engineers, designer and buyers find and configure the product they need. Not only that, but your online catalog has to “pop,” its doing the work of a salesperson even with no one present.
2) Many buyers naturally distrust information directly on your site
The Acquity Group study clearly revealed that buyers give less credence to what vendors say, vs what they can touch, feel and see (physically or digitally). Understandably, they are hesitant to trust everything a company says about itself and its product because of the lack of objectivity. Giving customers the opportunity to digitally “try out” or “test-fit” the part could be the reassurance they need to convert to a sale.
While trying out a part physically may be a challenge, enabling engineers and designers to download a model of the part is the next best thing. That is the essence of CAD Content Marketing. When an engineer downloads a part they are able to test fit the component within their engineering design. If the part fits they are about 85% likely to buy from that manufacturer.
3) Manufacturers are spending marketing dollars in right areas but what are they actually getting?
As we mentioned, industrial marketers aren’t shying away from online marketing, which is great. However, on average, 26% of their online marketing budget goes toward strictly maintaining the company website.
While it’s important for your website to be professional, informative, and appealing; where exactly is that marketing money going? It makes sense for a portion of that 26% to be enhancing the website and overall digital customer experience. This could stall fall into the “website” line item, but bolster the sites value.
When manufacturers use an online parts catalog, their website becomes the point of access for engineers to get accurate part and product data. When engineers download, they submit their email for access, which is a very qualified marketing lead.
It turns out that the right marketing mix isn’t about doing things across a higher number of platforms. Instead, it’s about putting the focus where it belongs and investing time and resources in the most effective places.
Start by getting your products into an online catalogue that can wow buyers: CAD Content Marketing with a 3D part catalog that allows customers to download and test parts digitally is an invaluable tool when you’re trying to create a great online customer experience. After that, spread your spending across diverse marketing initiatives. Once you’ve established a catalog that provides clear returns, you’ll be freed up to take more chances advertising in other areas.
Want more examples of what a good marketing mix looks like? There are a ton of good resources from Achinta Mitra at https://industrialmarketingtoday.com