Industrial Marketing Blog

industrial marketing – new leads vs existing customers

Is Industrial Marketing Wasting Resources on New Leads and Ignoring the Goldmine?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Huh? What the heck am I talking about, and why am I suggesting the pillar of B2B industrial marketing success is somehow broken? Is this clickbait? Have I lost my mind?

Wait, don’t post your angry comments yet. Read on…

The Pareto Principle is a fascinating observation that states roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. Originally coined by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, this idea found widespread application in the business world.

An article in Forbes highlights this observation; it translates to the idea that 80% of a company’s revenues often come from a mere 20% of its customers. This disproportionate impact underscores the importance of understanding and leveraging this principle to make strategic business decisions.

A more recent variation of that is what I found in an interesting article by Ross Graber, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester. He says, “Seventy-three percent (73%) of B2B revenues come from existing customers in the form of renewals, cross-sell, and upsell, and the remaining 27% comes from new business. While growth from net-new customers isn’t insignificant, the bulk of B2B revenues come from an existing customer base.”

How does all this relate to industrial marketing?

The Problem: Let’s Talk About Industrial Marketing’s Obsession With New Leads

Let’s be clear: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with industrial companies dedicating resources to generating fresh leads. A healthy pipeline is essential for growth. However, it’s easy to fall victim to the “new and shiny” syndrome, becoming overly fixated on fresh new leads while existing customers languish.

Industrial marketers—bless their hearts—are a little bit like those folks obsessed with finding shiny new pennies. They get a thrill from the hunt, the possibility of a bigger, better customer lurking just around the corner. The SEO tinkering, the paid campaign tweaking, the perfectly crafted lead magnet… it’s all a quest to snag that mythical new customer.

Meanwhile, the metaphorical treasure chest of existing customers sits slightly dusty and neglected. Don’t get me wrong, everybody loves getting new business! But what about those loyal customers who ALREADY like your products and services? They’re eager to be upsold, cross-sold, and reminded of just how awesome your solutions are. Yet, we often leave them to figure it out themselves, or worse, let a competitor swoop in and give them the attention they crave.

This is where the Pareto Principle sucker punches us right in the ROI. Think about it: are we spending more time, money, and effort chasing a smaller slice of the revenue pie?

Why Accurate Measurement Matters in Industrial Marketing

The imbalance between the focus on new leads and the often-overlooked potential of existing customers becomes even more problematic when we consider the data: a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute revealed that nearly half (48%) of manufacturing content marketers struggle to measure content performance accurately.

This lack of clear measurement makes it difficult to know what’s working and what’s not, leading to a potential over-reliance on tactics that prioritize lead generation at the expense of nurturing existing relationships.

Measurement challenges in industrial content marketing

The Challenge of Attribution

The buyer’s journey is rarely linear in long and complex industrial B2B sales. There might be multiple touchpoints across various channels, with different stakeholders involved throughout the decision-making process.

The four conventional stages of the industrial sales cycle—Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action—may not hold true anymore. ThomasNet published an interesting chart showing the complex journey of industrial buyers today.

Industrial buying cycle is more complex

Consequence: Proving Marketing ROI

Demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) from industrial marketing initiatives without adequate measurement and attribution becomes incredibly difficult. This lack of clarity leads to wasted resources, misguided strategies, and a misalignment between marketing’s perceived value and its true impact on the bottom line.

As I highlighted in a previous blog post, “Top 5 Challenges of B2B Industrial Marketing and How to Overcome Them,” traditional marketing attribution models often make it difficult to accurately distinguish the impact of marketing efforts in marketing to existing customers if you focus solely on acquiring new leads.

So, how can industrial marketers address these measurement challenges and ensure their efforts are aligned for maximum impact? This is where a robust industrial content marketing strategy comes into play.

Why Industrial Content Marketing is the Key to Balancing New Leads and Customer Retention

Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation

While there is a lot of overlap between lead and demand generation, they are distinct activities.

Lead generation focuses on identifying and attracting potential customers, often through tactics like paid advertising, targeted outreach, and industrial content marketing.

Demand generation takes a broader perspective, aiming to create awareness, interest, and a desire for your products or services among your target audience. Industrial content marketing plays a vital role in nurturing leads and fueling demand.

The Power of a Documented Industrial Content Marketing Strategy

A well-defined industrial content marketing strategy is a roadmap to success. It aligns your content with business goals, target audience needs, and the buyer’s journey. Without this strategic foundation, content efforts can become scattered and ineffective.

In my blog, “Industrial Marketing Strategy Must Be Documented for the Best Results,” I delve further into the benefits of a documented strategy. Our Strategic Roadmaps service can assist you in developing a customized roadmap for your industrial business.

Industrial Content Marketing for High-Quality Lead Generation

Industrial content marketing positions you as an expert and builds trust. By providing value through informative content, you attract prospects who are genuinely interested in your solutions. Your content acts as a filter, resulting in higher-quality leads that are more likely to convert.

To accelerate your sales pipeline, check out these proven strategies from my blog: “Manufacturing Lead Generation: 5 Strategies to Accelerate Your Sales Pipeline.”

Strategic email marketing, often supported by marketing automation platforms, allows you to nurture these leads efficiently over the long sales cycle, ensuring your brand remains top-of-mind.

Industrial Content Marketing Success Hinges on Quality Content

Focusing on your products is tempting, but industrial buyers want solutions. Create content that speaks directly to their pain points and offers actionable insights. Content that connects is more about them and less about you.

Remember, effective industrial content marketing isn’t a sales pitch in disguise. It’s about demonstrating your understanding of your target audience’s challenges and how your solutions can help them achieve their goals. By positioning yourself as a valuable resource and trusted advisor, you build lasting relationships that translate into increased sales over time.

Industrial Content Marketing Builds Brand Awareness, Loyalty, and Thought Leadership

Industrial content marketing is a powerful tool for building brand awareness. By consistently publishing valuable customer-centric content, you become a trusted source of information for your target audience. This positions your company as an industry thought leader, demonstrating your deep understanding of the market and your commitment to innovation.

When buyers trust your expertise, they are far more likely to consider your products, remain loyal customers, and even refer you to others within their network. In complex industrial sales, thought leadership establishes credibility and long-term competitive advantage.

My article, “B2B Thought Leadership Marketing—How Small Manufacturers Can Drive Big Results,” outlines the strategies and benefits involved.

Do You Need an Industrial Marketing Agency or a Consultant?

Choosing between an industrial marketing agency or a consultant requires careful consideration. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Agencies: Offer a team of specialists and often work on monthly retainers. Best suited for larger marketing budgets.
  • Consultants: They can be more cost-effective and may also work on retainer models.

Key Deciding Factor: Regardless of size, the focus should be on experience and proven expertise in your industrial niche.

Remember, 61% of small to medium-sized manufacturers face limited in-house marketing resources. That’s where outside experts come in. You need a partner with industry knowledge and proven experience to create content that resonates. Consider our Industrial Content Creation service to help you connect with your audience.

Tiecas: The Best of Both Worlds

Here at Tiecas, we offer a unique hybrid model. With decades of hands-on industrial experience led by a Marketing Engineer, we understand your audience. This translates to effective content strategies and content creation. Let’s discuss how we can elevate your industrial marketing efforts with the best of both worlds. Let’s Talk.

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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