Category Archives: Knowledge marketing

Introduction to Manufacturing Marketing Matters

manufacturing marketing matters

Manufacturing Marketing Matters – a podcast

Manufacturing marketing is challenging and marketers are challenged with a unique set of circumstances, but these challenges are very common from one organization to the next. This podcast is dedicated to helping marketers in manufacturing to excel in their profession, make a known contribution to the business goals and advance the marketing function within their organization.

Listen to our podcast HERE

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What’s Holding Back Your Manufacturing Growth?

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If you’re a manufacturing company executive who is satisfied with your 5 year CAGR and/or your annual projected growth rate, you should pass on this article.  This article is about some not-so-obvious things that could be holding back your firm’s growth in our present era of global competition, commoditized products and customer empowerment.  There are really only 3 ways to manufacturing growth that is more than the anemic GDP annual growth rate of about 3%:

  1. Purchase manufacturing growth through acquisitions.
  2. Sell more product overseas in developing economies.
  3. Take market share from competitors.

Numbers 1 & 2 have their own challenges and are well beyond the scope of this article, and they are also very difficult to execute.  We’ll focus on the things that are holding you back from executing number 3.  The good news is that if you are a progressive minded manufacturing executive, you can achieve manufacturing growth by taking market share from your competitors because most of your competitors are stuck in the late Industrial Age pitching their commoditized products by attending trade shows and talking about themselves in addition to the worn out product features and benefits.  Here’s the dirty little secret;  the people in your target audience don’t care about your company, your products, your CEO or you.  They care about what your company and your products can do for them.  They care about WIIFM (what’s in it for me).  With that theme in mind, these are the things holding you back from achieving double digit growth:

You don’t talk about the pain and problems faced by the people in your target audience.  This is the number one issue holding back manufacturing company growth.  The good news is that if you are the company in your competitive marketplace to get this and execute first. You win.  Take a look at your website.  Is it filled with first person pronouns such as ‘we’, ‘our’, ‘I’, and ‘us’?  Is the website content all about your products or how your products are used in the field?  Is the blog all about new product launches or company achievements?  Are the webinars about how to use your product or about the features and benefits of the product?  Most manufacturing companies will answer yes, yes and yes to these questions.   Don’t get me wrong, you need to have information about your products available on your website because when the prospective customer is ready to buy, they look for that information.  But what about when they are looking for help to solve their problem, do you have helpful information that is not based on your product?  The manufacturing company that offers helpful, useful information made freely available during a prospective customer’s self education phase will gain the hearts and minds of the people in the target audiences and oh so much more.  That’s right, I’m telling you to give away your expertise to your prospective customers even if they aren’t ready to buy right away.  Help them to be better, solve a problem or relieve pain.   Create some webinars that don’t feature your products but feature solutions to their problem.  Post helpful, useful and interesting information on your blog that is not about your product or your firm, but is about the people in your target audience.  If you change your marketing strategy in just this one way, you will see huge benefits that will launch your manufacturing business into the double digit growth range.

You’re not reaping the knowledge and experience of your marketing team.  In most manufacturing cultures, the marketing team consists of the folks in the back cubicles who are at the beck and call of the rest of the company.  They make brochures, place ads, set up trade shows and maintain the web site.  They are a virtual vending machine for the sales team.  You’d be surprised by the untapped energy, enthusiasm and knowledge buried within your marketing team.  They know about marketing strategy, modern tactics, marketing technology, content marketing and so much more. Elevate your team!  If you marketing team leader is old school and still marketing like it is the late Industrial Age, get rid of her and find someone with progressive ideas and experience with audience engagement beyond promoting similar products from a similar industry.

The brand awareness problem.  Most manufacturing companies don’t have the resources to purchase brand awareness.  If you’re an Emerson, ABB or Siemens you can spend millions to get attention and awareness (although these behemoths could also benefit from these ideas).  The rest of us have to be more clever.  There is a lot of noise out there in the webosphere and it is exceedingly difficult to break through and get any attention let alone awareness.  The solution to overcoming this obstacle and to gain top-of-mind awareness and credibility is to help the people in the target audience to be better or relieve some pain.  If you can achieve this, you get awareness, you get credibility and you get a feeling of reciprocity in the minds of the people in your target audience.  The result is that when the day comes around and they are ready to buy, the manufacturing firm that was able to help will get the call and usually get the business.  That is how this concept will enable you to take market share from your competitor; at least until your competitor catches on.

The lead generation problem.  Leads are expensive.  A typical trade show lead can cost as much as $300 when you figure in the cost of the show, logistics and travel.  If you are focusing on your product and your field sales team to generate leads, every single new lead is a struggle and a triumph. The problem is that your ads and your trade show booth look and sound exactly like your competitor. By the time your prospective customer reaches out to you, because everyone looks the same, they have determined that price is the only differentiator.  As your prospective customer, if you are the firm that has been helping me solve my problem, I’m happy to pay a little more for your product.  Prospective customers will flock to your lead generation forms is you can help them relieve pain.  As much as you want to believe it, your product and your employees will not be perceived as differentiators to your target audience.  The only way to differentiate yourself in our commoditized, global market is to focus on relieving the pain of the people in your target audience.  When you do this, the lead generation problem is solved.

Need some help with overcoming these hurdles?  Request a free Content Strategy Brainstorming session from KMI.

 

They Laughed When I Suggested Webinars, but when the Registrations Started Pouring In…

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This is a story about a lesson I learned early in my marketing career.  It’s hard to buck the status quo.  It’s hard to introduce new ideas to an old company.  But when you push through and just do it, you can be a big winner.

I was a brand new marketing manager at a global measurement instrument company just after the dot-com bust.  They were struggling with growth.  It was a traditional manufacturing company where the product was king and the product managers had the P/L responsibility.  Further, guess what, the product managers were at the corporate headquarters in Finland of all places.  I didn’t even know where Finland was on the globe.  They treated Americans like they didn’t exist.

Naturally, I was eager to put my newly minted MBA in Marketing to good use.  I was and still am a big advocate of lifelong learning and professional development.  I had read about webinars and how some thought leaders in the marketing space were using webinars as an education tool to engage with the people in their target audience.  Keeping in mind this was more than 10 years ago when the term “content marketing” was just emerging and the technology to produce your own webinar was available but just in the early adoption stage.

I remember the time quite well.  It was a gray and rainy Monday morning when we got “the speech” from the country manager.  “The Speech” is usually meant to be a combination of inspiration, fear and trepidation.  This one was no different.  The bottom line message was that the company was losing market share and everyone needed to pitch in and work harder because the ‘bosses’ in Finland were on her case for more cash flow.

I was young and I was inspired.  I went into the Country Manager’s office and pitched my idea about using a webinar to educate the folks in our database about something that mattered to them as a way to get more leads and fill the sales funnel.  She said “you mean teach them about our product?”  I said, no, we’ll teach them how to be more effective whether they buy our product or not.  That way we’ll get TOMA.  She said, “What the hell is TOMA?”  I explained that TOMA stood for ‘top of mind awareness’ and it is the key to long term and robust growth.  She laughed and she laughed and then kicked me out of her office claiming she had more important things to do and that I should focus on my next post card design.

Needless to say, I was less inspired, but I believed in my idea and I believed in the concept of education as a way to engage with the audience and grow a business.  So, undaunted, I went to visit the US Product Manager to pitch my idea.  His response was, “We tried webinars and they don’t work”.  He went on to explain that they tried webinars on two separate occasions to launch new products and only a couple of people signed up.  I tried to explain to him that people don’t really care about the products.  Naturally, as the Product Manager, he was appalled and personally offended.  I said,”They don’t care about the product or the company, they care about WIIFM.”  He said, “What the hell is WIFFM?”  I explained that it means “what’s in it for me” from the audience perspective, not from the company perspective.  He laughed, but it was more of a good nature laugh than a mean and dismissive laugh.  He told me to go ahead and put this educational webinar together and he agreed to fund it as a trial marketing tactic.

I was very excited and re-energized.  In spite of the derisive looks I got from the leadership, sales people and even my own marketing peers, I put it together myself.  When I had everything ready, I sent out an email invitation to our database of about 10,000 customers and prospective customers.  One day after the email invitation we had about 200 registrants!  Ultimately, we got about 500 registrants for that first webinar!  The laughing had stopped.  The boss wanted to know more about this idea of educational webinars.   We even had some notice from the executive team in Finland.  It seems that getting the company in front of 500 people from the target audience to spend an hour with your experts at a cost of about $2 per registrant is an impressive feat.

I expanded that webinar program from one to a series of 8 educational webinars.  The business grew at a rate of 20+% per year over the next few years.  Was the growth all due to webinars?  At that time we did not have the tools to prove it, but I suspect most of the growth was because of TOMA, credibility and reciprocity created by the webinars.

Interested in trying educational webinars, contact me at KMI and I’ll show you how to generate leads and improve engagement using webinars or visit the KMI Webinar Page.

How to Sell Content Marketing to a Skeptic in Manufacturing

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Let us first define the attributes of a content marketing skeptic in the manufacturing industry where, by the way, there are more skeptics than in most other industries.  You can recognize a skeptic because they say things like:

  • “We tried content marketing and it doesn’t work” which might look something like this: they made a low level marketer (or hired an agency) to create a bunch of marketing stuff about their products and/or company and after 6 or 12 months, realized that more marketing crap about their products wasn’t helping, therefore skepticism towards “content marketing” pervades the organization.
  • “We’re doing content marketing already”.   I met with the CEO of a manufacturing company just the other day and when I mentioned content marketing in the context of knowledge marketing, she told me they are already doing it.  In looking at their web site, it is clear they are not practicing content marketing, but have one or two white papers up on their web site.
  • “Why should I share my company’s expertise, it’s proprietary”, this may be evidence closed mind or fear based marketing strategy.  This would be the same company who fears putting spec sheets on the web because the competition might get their hands on them.

Once you have identified the skepticism, you may feel there is no way to sell the concept of ‘real’ content marketing to this person.  But, do not despair and remember, most of these skeptics all share a common pain point; they desperately want to grow their manufacturing businesses but don’t know how to grow more than 3% to 7% in this modern age defined by global competition and commoditized products.  By focusing on this pain point, and sharing your knowledge of content marketing as a way to take market share from the competition who remain stuck in the dark ages of the industrial age, you are on your way to selling content marketing to the skeptic.  Here’s how you do it:

  1. The typical skeptic is usually in a leadership position and under pressure to produce more revenue and more profits than the firm is currently making.  The typical manufacturing company is struggling to grow or, in many cases, even maintain market share.  They are desperately trying all the old ways to spur growth; new products and more sales people are the most common tactics used to try to increase organic growth.  The skeptic has pain and your task is to convince her that content marketing can relieve that pain.  Simply put, answer their innate question, “what’s in it for me?”  Answer: growth and more market share.
  2. One of the best ways to convince a skeptic about anything is to paint a picture or tell a story that is squarely in their own world.  Ask the skeptic how they go about making a considered purchase.  If you did your homework, you might find out that the skeptic is an avid bicyclist.  If that were the case, ask him how he goes about buying a new bicycle.  Chances are he will tell you about a process where he first educates himself via web searches.  He probably places more credibility and perceives the company that offers helpful knowledge and expertise as the more reliable vendor.  Show him how his own perception is influenced by a manufacturing company that is practicing knowledge based content marketing.
  3. You may have to prove it to the skeptic and/or the skeptic may have to prove it to other skeptics within the manufacturing company.  The final step to selling content marketing to the skeptic is to prove the concept with a test or pilot program.  The type of activity and the media you choose for a pilot is critically important.  You need to pick something that shows numbers.  I like webinars or enewsletters to start because you can show the numbers and you can show the power of knowledge based content marketing.

The three key attributes of content marketing are top of mind awareness (TOMA), credibility and reciprocity.  Show the skeptic how his firm will achieve these 3 attributes in the minds of the people in the target audience by helping them to be better at something they care about leading to increasing market share and improving the growth trend.  Smart manufacturing marketers know that times have changed.  They know that by the time someone contacts their firm for a price or proposal, the research is mostly done and the business is mostly won by the best content marketer.

 

‘How to Succeed with Webinars’ or ‘Succeeding with Webinars is Easier Thank You Think’

Team Success

The first thing you have to do to succeed is to define ‘succeed’.  This may seem simple enough, but it is a step often overlooked in many a marketing campaign.  For the purpose of this post, let’s define ‘succeed’ in traditional marketing metrics.  For traditional success metrics, I suggest ‘leads’ or ‘qualified leads’ as a good metric assuming you have agreed on a definition with the sales team.  A better success metric is ‘influenced opportunities’ or even better, ‘influenced, closed won opportunities’.  The latter requires a synchronized customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation platform (MAP) system with myriad other infrastructure in place.  If you’re a beginner with webinars, you could also start with basic webinar metrics such as ‘registrants’, ‘attendees’ and ‘on-demand views’.  The point is that you must first define success before you can make it easier to succeed.

If you are reading this post, chances are high that you have tried webinars or are in the midst of trying webinars you deem to have poor success or even to have failed.  Don’t beat yourself up, most webinars do fail and the number one reason for failure is choosing the wrong topic.  As long as we’re talking about definitions, you may ask, “what is the wrong topic?”  I could be coy and say the wrong topic is one that fails to meet expectations, but I’ll give you a more explicit answer.  The wrong topic is one that is about your product and/or your company.  I’ll qualify that a bit more by saying there is an exception to this rule and that is if you are working with prospective customers in the latter stage of the buying cycle.  Prospects in this stage could very well benefit from a product oriented webinar, but these audiences will usually be very small.

Are you ready for wildly successful webinars that engage with a goodly portion of your target audience?  A target audience that may not even know you exist and may even be using your competition is ready and waiting for your educational, knowledge based webinars.  Here’s how to succeed with webinars:

  • Choosing a useful, educational topic that is at the intersection of the pain or passion common in your target audience and your particular expertise is guaranteed make it easier to succeed.  Typically, when a firm decides to try webinars as a marketing tactic, they choose a topic about their product.  That is the wrong approach.  I’ve never seen a product based webinar outperform an educational webinar.  In fact, product based webinars usually end up labeled as a failure.  In my experience with creating and executing webinars for manufacturing companies, I always, repeat always, see educational webinars outperform product based webinars in the range of 1000% to 2000%!  Listen to this KMI webinar series if you want to learn more about choosing the right topic.
  • Good webinar promotion also makes it easier to succeed.  Many times a company will send one email to their house database and wait for them to register.  Surprisingly,  this will garner a lot of registrants, but it is only the low hanging fruit.  Success comes easier if you promote your educational webinars in venues outside of your house list where your target audience resides.  For the manufacturing sector, consider inviting members of online trade associations by advertising in their enewsletters or by emailing their list.
  • It always amazes me when the marketing team acts like the live broadcast is the end of the webinar effort.  I can see why the completion of the live broadcast feels like it’s over.  But, it is easier to realize your success metric if you follow up with everyone who registered, but especially with those who registered and did not attend the live broadcast.  Follow up with an email offering a direct link to the slides and the recorded webinar, a sales call, a post card, a message in a bottle – just do something to follow up!

Finally, the only way you know if you succeed is to measure the results against your success metrics.  It may seem too simple, but to make it easier to succeed, measure success.  After you measure your wildly successful educational webinar, report the results to the leadership team.  Granted, the leadership team will respect the metric that shows you created and/or contributed to new opportunities, but high registration numbers also garner attention.  Ultimately, if you can show that your webinars positively affected revenue, you’re webinars are successful.

Do these things make is easier to succeed with webinars than you previously thought?  If not, you can always hire a company like KMI to produce turn-key webinars guaranteed to succeed with high number of qualified registrants and attendees.  How do we guarantee it?  One option is to only pay for registrations.  If is sounds interesting, check it out at the KMI website.

 

5 Things About Webinars Your Boss Wants to Know

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That’s right, there are a few things your boss wants to know about webinars.  As an innovative, modern manufacturing marketer, you’re the best person to fill him in on the potential power of webinars as a lead generation and revenue machine.  Here’s what he wants to know:

  1. WIIFM? As humans, we naturally want to know the answer to the fundamental question ‘what’s in it for me’.  We all hate to admit it, but we all know it’s true deep down in our caveman brains and hearts.  Your boss is no different.  As in any information you present, he wants to know how it will affect him, his career, his compensation, his free time, his reputation, etc.  As far as webinars go,  he wants to know how webinars further the company mission and associated goals.  If the goal is growth, he wants to know how webinars affect growth.  If the goal is more tactical, more leads for example, he wants to know how webinars will drive more leads.  Tell him that webinars do drive growth and they do drive more leads into the sales funnel as long as they are well executed.  Read this post for more insight into what makes a webinar effective as opposed to lame.
  2. How will webinars affect business performance?  Part of your boss’ job is to allocate his limited resources to various marketing personnel and activities.  Naturally, he wants to do his best to get maximum benefit out of his limited resources. Tell him that webinars will feed the sales pipeline and accelerate the buying process for prospective customers stuck in the sales funnel.  By educating the target audience he will also get top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) and credibility in the minds of the people who will one day purchase what the firm is selling.  TOMA + credibility grows the top line organically by taking market share from the competition.  Tell him you can show very specific numbers from the webinar activity that prove or disprove your hypothesis that webinars drive revenue.
  3. How do we make it happen with limited resources?  Webinars do take a significant chunk of resources up front.  However, once the upfront work is done and marketers are past the learning curve, much of the webinar process can be automated.  (shameless self promotion alert) It may require using a freelance webinar consultant or reassigning 1 or 2 people from less effective marketing activities to the webinar project.  The bigger challenge will be lining up and getting time from subject matter experts.  The good news is that you can build a process around webinars and become very efficient at creating, executing and leveraging webinars for more business.
  4. Why don’t we talk about the product?  This one can be a tough sell for a manufacturing marketer trained to live and die by the product.  It’s important to tell him that engagement with the target audience is 10x to 20x more effective with educational webinars as compared to product based webinars.  Take a look at these case studies before your chat with your boss.  He may be skeptical and here is where you plead for a pilot case.  Most senior marketers are open to a pilot test because they can say they are innovative marketers and the risk is pretty low.
  5. Why did you wait so long to tell me about webinars?  This is the question you might get after proving your point.  If you follow webinar best practices, you will get hundreds or even thousands of people directly from your target audience to register and attend the webinar.  If you have the tools in place (CRM and MAP), you can prove the webinar contribution to new opportunities and closed/won opportunities.  If your boss can attend the next leadership meeting and present the results of his new webinar initiative as contribution to 20% of new sales opportunities, you’re the winner!

How many times has your boss asked you to “think out of the box”?  How many times has he asked for innovation and creativity?  This is your chance.  Answer these 5 questions before your boss asks and you’re the next marketing hero at your manufacturing firm!

5 Reasons Every Manufacturing Company Should Do Educational Webinars

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I know what a lot of you are already thinking even as you read the title of this post, “we tried webinars and they don’t work for us”. I implore you to read on with an open mind.  I’d be willing to bet that those of you who have tried webinars unsuccessfully tried webinars about one of your products or a new product launch.  I agree, those product webinars don’t get much interest.

If you were to produce educational webinars offering your unique expertise via education, I guarantee you would get hundreds of attendees knocking down the door to hear your experts tell them how to solve a perplexing problem.  How does that sound?  Imagine being in front of (virtually) several hundred people who are in your target audience and solving their problems or making their lives better.  You can and should include webinars as a primary activity in your manufacturing marketing mix.  Here are 5 compelling reasons:

  1. Educational webinars generate demand and create tons of high quality leads for the top of  your sales funnel.
    • Nothing generates interest and engagement like a webinar that educates the people in your target audience.  If you pick a relevant topic and give away useful information, you will attract hundreds or even thousands of the very people in your target audience who will one day purchase your product.  It’s important to remember that only a small percentage of the people who do attend your webinar are ready to buy at the moment when they sign up or attend a webinar.  But, the overwhelming majority will eventually buy the thing you are selling.  It is extremely important to continue to offer relevant and useful information on a regular basis.  A series of webinars is the best way to position your brand and your offering top of mind with your target audience.  If you really want to be a superstar and take market share from your competitors, in addition to the webinars, repurpose the content into an enewsletter or other regular nurturing program.
  2. Educational webinars establish your brand and your offering as more credible than the competition.
    • Which firm is more credible; the one who pounds you with their corporate spin and product features or the firm who helps you to be better at your profession or relieve some pain in your daily tasks by sharing their expertise via educational events and activities?  I can tell you from experience the latter destroys the former every time.  The best way to demonstrate credibility is to prove it by sharing expertise.  Don’t confuse expertise about your product with expertise that helps the people in your audience.  Check out this KMI webinar for more on that topic.
  3. Educational webinars are a gift to the very people who will one day purchase what you manufacture. 
    • Giving a gift of education to the people in your target audience evokes a desire within them to reciprocate.  When the day comes around and the people who attended your webinar (which made their lives better) are ready to purchase the thing you are selling, they want to reciprocate and buy from you not your competitor.  Top of mind awareness (TOMA), credibility and reciprocity are a killer combination.
  4. Webinars offer great engagement metrics that will impress your executive leadership team, the sales team and validate your marketing team’s strategy and tactics.
    • Unlike other content marketing tactics, webinars offer simple and easy metrics that will quickly validate your success.  Imagine telling your CEO that your most recent webinar put your manufacturing experts in front of 2500 prospective customers.  ( I actually achieved this result with a manufacturing company – read about it here.)  If you have the proper tools in place, you can also show how much revenue was influenced by your webinar series.  You just might even be able to impress the CFO!
  5. Educational webinars will grow your business and enable you to take market share from your competitors.
    • You’ll get the attention and engagement of a much larger portion of your potential market by helping them to be better through educational webinar events which share your expertise.  While your competitors are stuck in the old ways of sales and marketing like trade shows and brochures talking about their products and their so called global leadership position, you’re actually helping the people in the market.  You get TOMA, credibility, reciprocity and you take the business from your competition.

Ready to give it a try?  Do it yourself or contact KMI about Turn-key Webinar Services.  The price of a turn-key webinar is about the same as one full color ad in a trade journal.  Which one do you think will get you a better ROI?

Part 2, The 8 Step Framework for Lead Generating Webinars

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In the last webinar post, we described the first 4 steps of the 8 Step Framework for creating, producing, executing and measuring lead generating webinars.  You can view the first 4 steps webinar here.  As a refresher, these are the first 4 steps:

  1. Collaborate on the basics with your stakeholders
  2. Create the concept, topic and face you will promote to the audience
  3. Build the team
  4. Choose the best tools

The 8 Step Framework is primarily written for companies that manufacture a product.  The idea behind the framework is that by moving away from webinars about the product, you will offer more useful information to the target audience.  As we outlined in the first webinar and in last week’s blog post, the sweet spot topic will generate hundreds or even thousands of registrants and attendees to your educational, knowledge based webinar.   As a reminder, the sweet spot is the intersection of the pain or passion of your target audience with the relevant expertise housed within your company.

By educating and/or helping the people in your target audience to be better at something that matters to them, your brand gains TOMA (top of mind awareness) and credibility in their minds.  It follows what when the day comes around when they want or need to purchase the type of product you are offering, your firm gets the call and, usually, gets the order.

Here’s steps 5 through 8 of the 8 Step Framework:

Step 5 – Promotion or lack thereof can make or break the success of your webinar.  Promotion of the webinar should be accomplished via multiple inbound and outbound channels.  All promotion activities must make it easy for someone to learn more about the webinar and presenters AND make it easy to register.  If it’s not straightforward, intuitive and easy, you will lose people during the process.

  1. Your internal email list will be your best channel for promotion.  I recommend sending an invitation email 2 to 3 weeks ahead of the broadcast date.  As mentioned above, a marketing automation platform is ideal for managing the process.  It’s OK to send 2 or even 3 invitation emails to each of the contacts in your database.
  2. Consider sending a press release announcing the webinar series.
  3. If you have social media followers on the various channels, be sure to push out information on a regular basis telling followers about the webinar series.
  4. Advertise in venues where your target audience goes to get information.  Industry associations are excellent places to advertise educational webinars.
  5. Make sure you don’t forget your own web properties.  Place ads on your home page and all other relevant pages where your target audience visits.
  6. Engage your sales team to tell their customers, prospects and contacts about the webinar.  Provide them with a custom email signature.  Make up an email template they can easily forward to their contacts.  Ask them to promote the webinar on their personal social channels.
  7. Create a custom landing page where you will funnel all traffic.  Again, as mentioned above, make it super easy for people to learn more about the content, topics, speakers and how to register.  The landing page should tell a curious visitor what they should expect to get out of the webinar, details about time and date and provide credentials of the speakers.

Step 6 –  Broadcast the live webinar.  Some organizations prefer to record the webinar only for on demand viewing and not to broadcast it live.  There are some vendors who offer a hybrid where you record the webinar but promote it as live event where the presentation recording is played, but the chat feature is live.

  1. Try to use at least two speakers.  Two or more voices and personalities makes for a more interesting event and keeps listeners more engaged.
  2. Use the interactive features of the webinar platform such as polls, surveys, quizzes, questions and the chat feature.
  3. I do not recommend opening phone lines (or VOIP) for live questions.  The sound quality is just too unreliable.
  4. Be sure to send automatic reminders as the broadcast day approaches.  I recommend sending 3 reminder emails at 7 days, 1 day and 2 hours prior to the broadcast.
  5. Don’t be disappointed when everyone who registered does not attend.  Typically, you will get 20% to 30% of the registrants to attend the live event.  If you get 50% or more, that is an outstanding attendance rate.
  6. PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND PRACTICE!  The key to sounding natural and confident is to practice.

Step 7 – Post webinar is where the gold is mined.  If you want to see good ROI from all your work, make sure you follow up with attendees and, especially, those who registered but were not able to attend.

  1. Send a follow up email as soon as possible after the broadcast.  Send one saying ‘Thank you for attending’ and another on saying ‘Sorry you were unable to attend’.  Both emails must include links to the recording and to the slide deck.
  2. Some companies contact each registrant via telephone after the webinar.
  3. Another option is to make another offer of educational content via a separate nurturing flow.
  4. If you are executing a webinar series, make sure everyone who registered for the prior webinar gets invited to the next one.
  5. The key to converting registrants and attendees into customers is to continue to engage them with value based content.
  6. Make sure to have a debrief meeting with all those involved with the production and broadcasting of the webinar.  Show special appreciation for your speakers as it is likely they have volunteered to participate on top of their regular day job.  Talk about lessons learned.  Ask each person to offer ideas about what went well, what should be done differently and what should not be repeated.

Step 8 – Measure and report the results.

  1. Compare the results to your objectives and goals.
  2. Report return on investment.
  3. Report on revenue based metrics such as new opportunities and influenced won opportunites.
  4. Get ready for the next one!

Register for the fourth and final webinar in the series, Converting Webinars to Revenue

Watch webinars 1, 2 and 3 on demand.

Request more information about KMI turn-key webinar services for manufacturing companies.

Lead Generating Webinars for Manufacturing – 8 Step Framework

machine-tool

The secret to great marketing of manufactured products is to stop talking about the products.

Last week, we discussed how to get started with lead generating webinars.  This week, we’ll delve into the detail of the first 4 steps of the 8 step framework.  You can view the webinar covering the same topic here.

The 8 Step Framework is primarily written for companies that manufacture a product.  The idea behind the framework is that by moving away from webinars about the product, you will offer more useful information to the target audience.  As we outlined in the first webinar and in last week’s blog post, the sweet spot topic will generate hundreds or even thousands of registrants and attendees to your educational, knowledge based webinar.   As a reminder, the sweet spot is the intersection of the pain or passion of your target audience with the relevant expertise housed within your company.

By educating and/or helping the people in your target audience to be better at something that matters to them, your brand gains TOMA (top of mind awareness) and credibility in their minds.  It follows what when the day comes around when they want or need to purchase the type of product you are offering, your firm gets the call and, usually, gets the order.

Here’s steps 1 through 4 (we’ll cover steps 5 through 8 next week) of the 8 Step Framework:

Step 1 – Get together with the key stakeholders at your organization to agree on these concepts:

  • The objective for the webinar. This could be leads, closed business, awareness or something
    else supporting the business goals.
  • Identify the target audience and where they can be reached.
  • Select the topic for the webinar. The first ideas you hear will be to promote your wonderful
    product. RESIST! Product based webinars will fail. The webinar topic should be of an
    educational nature. Educate the target audience about something that matters to them and
    about something where your firm has unique expertise.
  • Agree on the metrics used to determine success or failure.
  • Agree with the Sales Team on their role in promoting and/or follow up to the webinar.
  • Gain agreement on budget and personnel resources. Personnel resources are especially
    important if your Subject Matter Experts will be contributing their expertise and knowledge on
    top of their regular duties and responsibilities.

Step 2 – Create the concept and agree on the face you will present to the audience:

  • Create a compelling name for the webinar or for the webinar series. The name doesn’t need to
    be extraordinary or clever, but it should clearly explain what the webinar is about.
  • Choose compelling titles for each webinar in the series.
  • Create 100 word descriptions to be used widely in the promotion of the webinar.
  • You may or may not want to create a brand around the webinar. A separate brand could
    include a logo, colors, look and feel of the promotion and webinar itself.
  • Create uniform looking templates for emails, registration materials and the webinar
    presentation materials.

Step 3 – Identify the players. You will need this group to be willing, available and committed:

  • Appoint a webinar manager or chairperson to make sure everything comes together. The
    webinar manager will own the Webinar Checklist and make it all happen.
  • Identify potential speakers and solicit them to volunteer and commit to the webinars. You
    might also need to talk to their managers to make sure they will have support to participate as
    needed. The speakers must be Subject Matter Experts. It is very important that the speakers
    have the authority to speak about the topic. If the speaker is not a SME, the firm will lose
    credibility with the target audience.
  • Identify a Moderator. This position is not mandatory, but I strongly recommend to have at least
    two speakers because it makes for a much more interesting listening experience. A professional
    moderator can go a long ways towards improving the quality of the event.
  • Assign at least two people to moderate the chat interaction. These people should also be SMEs,
    but you could get by with people who are not experts. I suggest one chat moderator for each
    500 registrants if at all possible.
  • Assign one of your marketers to be the Promotion Manager who lines up all promotion activities
    and monitors results.
  • Assign one of your marketers to be the Post-webinar Manager. Activity after the live broadcast
    is critical for converting registrants and attendees into the sales funnel and ultimately to more
    sales. This person is responsible for that activity happening and for it to be effective.

Step 4 – You will need to have some tools to create, produce, promote and broadcast the webinar:

  • You must have a webinar platform. Don’t try to use your virtual meeting provider as the
    webinar platform. Use a tool designed for broadcasting a webinar. There are a lot of options
    out there with different price points and features. Some well-known providers include
    ReadyTalk, ON24, WebEx.
  • A marketing automation platform is ideal for promoting, managing and measuring your webinar.
    However, you can still produce a webinar without one of the MAP tools.
  • If you do not have MAP, you will need an email service provider for invitation, reminder and
    follow up emails. Some webinar platforms include these email options.
  • Depending on the interaction of the sales team, you may want to utilize your CRM as a means to
    manage leads and campaigns.

Stay tuned for learning all about steps 5 through 8 in the Smarter Manufacturing blog.

Register for the 8 Step Framework webinar.

Watch the webinar on demand.

How Would You Like to Triple Your Organic Growth Rate?

Image from Pixabay
How would you like to triple your organic growth rate?  I’ve been successful at developing and implementing a strategic marketing framework that does exactly that, triples your organic growth rate.  This method works extremely well for global manufacturing companies.  I can make this happen at your company.  


Here’s the secret:  “Stop pitching products and start educating”
At this point, you are probably thinking, is this guy for real?   The answer is yes.  You’re probably also asking yourselves three questions:
  1. How does it work?
  2. Will it work for my company?
  3. Could this guy really pull it off and move the needle on top line growth

How does it work? 
This is why product marketing fails where educational marketing sails. 
You choose your target audience because you believe that some day they will buy what you are selling, correct?  If we look at the entire population, on any one day when they see your product ad, they will take an action if they are at a very specific point; BANT budget, authority, need and time-frame.  This is a very small portion of the population (<1%).  But, let’s suppose 80% will be faced with a problem that you can help them solve.  On any given day, they are struggling with the problem.  If I promote something like a webinar or a how-to paper that helps them address that problem, I have a much greater chance of them engaging with my asset and my brand.  This engagement leads to a top of mind awareness and credibility as they get to know my company, brand, experts, etc.  Then, when the day comes along and they have BANT, who do they think of?  They think of your company.  This is a huge competitive edge.  That’s why this framework grows your business.  That’s the foundation.
Could I get the same great results for your company?  Yes, absolutely, it really doesn’t matter what you’re selling. You have expertise and a good product.  All you need to do is help those in your target audience improve in some way as a result of your expertise.  They engage with you, remember you and trust you.  This leads to purchase in many more cases than if you promote a product as your main marketing focus.
If I were to hire this guy as my VP Marketing, could he pull it off? 
When I was a marketing manager at a $380 million dollar global electronics company,  annual growth rates in my divisions were between 6 and 8% with about 3 to 5% attributable to price increases.  They were pitching product features hard with the main tactic being print ads pushing the product features in more than 37 different magazine publications.  I applied this idea of knowledge marketing.  We stopped pitching products and we began educating the audience.  Year 1 of the education marketing strategy saw an 11% organic growth rate, year 2 saw 19% and year 3 saw 32%.

“Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” Albert Einstein

If you want to triple your growth rates, remember this “Educational Marketing Sails where Product Marketing Fails”