As industrial distributors seek to expand their reach and effectiveness online, the subject of value marketing needs to be addressed. In this 3 part series, Curtis Alexander takes readers through the ins-and-outs of value marketing - why you should consider using it, how to develop your personalized strategy, and how to implement it, including mistakes to avoid.
Part 1: Designing Your Strategy
In the span of 8 months I saw the traffic to an established website increase by 600%. This was with employing just one tactic in the new value marketing strategy. There’s more that will eventually get thrown in.
I have other stories I could share, but the point is simple: value marketing (or, as it’s sometimes called, content marketing) works - when done correctly.
And there’s the rub. Most companies struggle to pull it off effectively.
The point of this series is to show you how to do it right and maximize your return on investment as well as your position in the marketplace. Your first step is determining a strategy that’s right for you. But first …
What Is Value Marketing?
Simply put, value marketing is a strategy that allows any industrial distributor to break out of the commodity marketplace. It's a process of finding out what problems your market is having and then creating value (in the form of content) in the ideal channels that positions you not just as a vendor - but as an advisor.
Where traditional marketing was more of a push mentality, value marketing is pulling.
The downside? It's not a quick fix. You have to commit to this long term - but the payoffs are worth it.
But I need to warn you …
Value Marketing is Gaining Steam
From small companies to giants like General Electric, from B2B to B2C, value marketing is gaining steam and shows no signs of slowing down:
- Spending for value marketing has risen 33% among B2B marketers (up 26%)
- Furthermore, 54% of these companies plan on increasing their budgets for value marketing in the next year.
As more and more companies begin to take advantage of value marketing you’re only real advantage is to do it better. That starts with designing a strategy that’s ideal for your company. Here are four questions you need to answer:
- Who is Your Prospect? You need to be able to paint a clear picture of who your typical prospect is. Men, women, middle managers, CFOs, purchasing agents? What bothers them? What troubles and problems do they have? What keeps them up at night? What feedback does your company already get? And don't make the mistake of thinking that what you know is trivial. Your knowledge and experience is much more valuable than you might think. By sharing that valuable content you can build a bridge between you and your prospect and elevate your position in the process
- What Media Do They Consume? Where do your prospects 'hang out'. Which media do they know, like and trust? As an example (and please send all hate mail to the editor) social media has gained a lot of attention because of its popularity with consumers. However, much of this use has been in the retail market. Executives certainly use social media to an extent but the tool is different for them. If an executive needs to solve a business problem they email or call a colleague who has encountered the same issue. If that colleague has listened to a speech you gave or read your white paper or book that's the gold standard.
- Carefully Select Your Media. The biggest problem with value marketing is that you have so many choices. I could probably name at least twenty different avenues your company could take. However, you’re much better off focusing on the handful of media that you feel will give you the most bang for your buck. Not surprisingly, in survey after survey B2B companies report their most effective tactics include in-person events, case studies, enewsletters, white papers, webinars and blogs.
- Put Your Plan Into Action. Albert Einstein said "nothing happens until something moves." Simple and profound. The same goes for value marketing. If you've made it to this step you've laid the groundwork for you future success. You have a clear picture of your prospect, what their problems are and where they congregate. Now all that's left is to put your plan into action.
In part 2, I'm going to point out roadblocks and traps that you'll want to avoid. I'll also give you some tips on how to implement with the most efficiency and effectiveness possible.
For the second part of this series, please click here.
Curtis M. Alexander is a Business Growth Strategist who helps industrial and manufacturing companies increase profits and strengthen market position. He publishes Gaining Ground, a free monthly enewsletter for industrial and manufacturing executives that shares practical and proven strategies for growth. Sign up at www.curtismalexander.com