Industrial Marketing Blog

Better Industrial Marketing Doesn’t Mean More Technology

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Marketing Automation vendors have done a great job of spreading the message about the benefits of technology in marketing. Industrial companies are paying attention. I’ve been asked several times about using Marketing Automation (MA) in industrial marketing. I should be excited and jumping up and down with joy, right? Not so fast! Why do I say that?

Unless you get your marketing house in order first, technology alone isn’t going to solve all your industrial lead generation problems. A popular quote by Bill Gates sums it up nicely. He said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

How Marketing Automation Works

Build your industrial marketing roadmap

  • Strategy: Ask and get answers to some difficult questions about what you want and expect to accomplish from your industrial marketing strategy. Listing goals such as X% increase in sales or Y% increase in leads is not enough. You’ve got to have a plan for the steps you need to take in order to achieve those goals. Instead of strategy, you may call it a roadmap or a game plan; whatever makes more sense to you but the key is to spend the time before implementing any marketing tactics or technology. Changing course midway is expensive and a waste of time.
  • Audience: Get to know your target audience very well. Too often I hear industrial companies define their audience in terms of company size, industry and job titles. Firmographic data is only the baseline definition. You need to flesh it out by the roles they play in the buying journey. Some of them may have no buying authority but may be strong influencers in the decision. Think of design engineers who specify but are not involved in the functional buying process.
  • Content: Audit your current stock of content assets. Buying roles play a crucial role here because different groups will have different content needs at various stages of the buying cycle. You need to build a content matrix to identify the gaps where you either need to create new or repurpose existing content. It is difficult to build a content matrix without knowing your audience beyond the basic firmographic information.
  • Website: Read the content on your existing site. Does it align well with your new marketing strategy? If not, decide whether a complete redesign is required or not. An industrial website redesign should not focus only on a cosmetic facelift. The redesigned site should become a sales enabler and the hub of your online presence.
  • MQL vs. SQL: Define the criteria or rules for when a prospect turns into a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and when they become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This is crucial in the handoff from marketing to sales. Get sales involved right from the get go in creating these definitions and get them to agree to take follow up action on SQL leads; more importantly, they need to provide feedback to marketing about their experiences with these leads. It is impossible to refine lead scoring definitions without the closed-loop feedback. (See my post, “SAL is the Glue that Binds Sales and Marketing in Lead Generation”)
  • Analytics: Install a good tracking system so you can measure your marketing efforts. This is vital to your success because if you can’t measure, you can’t refine. You need more than just the basic information from Google Analytics. You need more granular data on your site visitors and their interactions. This is where MA can be a big boon in gathering lead intelligence which is important for sales to get a more complete picture about the lead.
  • Integration: When researching various MA packages, an important consideration should be integration with your backend CRM. It needs to be as seamless as possible otherwise you are likely to face resistance from sales. Don’t clutter up their familiar dashboard with what they consider as “unnecessary marketing data” or force them to learn a whole new system to do their job.

One final point and this is based on my own experience in implementing different MA packages for my clients. MA will certainly automate many of the steps particularly in lead scoring and nurturing but it is definitely not “set it and forget about it.” You are going to need the right people and the processes in place to get the most out of your MA implementation. Therein lies the big chunk of the cost, the monthly subscription fee for MA is just the tip of the iceberg.

You’ll be putting the cart before the horse if you start a discussion about implementing MA before you’ve gone through the steps necessary to get your industrial marketing house in order.

Your turn now, do you use Marketing Automation in your industrial marketing? What steps did you take before implementing MA?

Achinta Mitra

Achinta Mitra calls himself a “marketing engineer” because he combines his engineering education and an MBA with 35+ years of practical manufacturing and industrial marketing experience. You want an expert with an insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s objectivity who can point you in the right direction immediately. That's Achinta. He is the Founder of Tiecas, Inc., a manufacturing marketing agency in Houston, Texas. Read Achinta's story here.
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  1. The quote from Bill Gates could be molded to fit so many areas of digital marketing. “Resources applied to a poor strategy…” or “analytics with improper implementation…” or “content without a focus…”

    It is something to remember with each component of your marketing roadmap. Good stuff, Anchinta.

    • Andrew,
      Thanks for your comment and the insights.

  2. Sorry Anchinta, the tabs did not work when I posted the comment. Let’s try this one. You get the idea.

    Awful Idea -1……….No Execution $1
    Weak Idaa 1……….Weak Execution $1,000
    So-So Idea 5……….So-So Execution $10,000
    Good Idea 10……….Good Execution $100,000
    Great Idea 15……….Great Execution $1,000,000
    Brilliant Idea 20……….Brilliant Execution $10,000,000

    • Tom,
      Thanks for your addition.

  3. Good overview Anchinta. I saw a graphic the other day that went something like this.

    Value = Idea x EXECUTION

    Awful Idea -1 No Execution $1
    Weak Idaa 1 Weak Execution $1,000
    So-So Idea 5 So-So Execution $10,000
    Good Idea 10 Good Execution $100,000
    Great Idea 15 Great Execution $1,000,000
    Brilliant Idea 20 Brilliant Execution $10,000,000

    Marketing Automation is a great-to-brilliant idea for industrial marketers, but without good execution, as you have outline above, there is NO VALUE

    Take care,


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