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Digital Marketing for Engineers Blog

Manufacturers say Content Marketing Isn’t Working, But Will Do More Anyway

Posted by John Hayes

Mar 10, 2016 11:57:25 AM

Manufacturing marketing - CMI report analysis

The Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 report has a somewhat confusing finding.

North American Manufacturers say that the effectiveness of content marketing is down compared to last year.   Almost twice as many say that content marketing is NOT effective compared to those who say that it is. 


CMI B2B 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America

From B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing 
2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America


And now for the big surprise.  Almost all of those marketers say that they will keep spending the same or more budget on content marketing as last year.  “How can this be?”, you rational marketers might ask?


From B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing  2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America

From B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing 
2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America


There may be several reasons for this apparent contradiction:

  1. Manufacturers rank themselves as immature at content marketing. Only 20% of manufacturing marketers describe their organization at “sophisticated” or “mature” as compared to 32% of other B2B marketers.
  2. 74% of the marketers surveyed said that they would produce more content. Note that some pundits argue that creating more isn’t as valuable as creating better content. 
  3. Marketers recognize the value of spending more on distribution


Three Manufacturing Marketers Who Get Content Marketing

1. Smalley Steel Ring 

Smalley Steel Ring recently worked with an agency to design a website that showcases the breadth of their technical expertise.  The site offers a resource library for engineers that includes ebooks, videos, whitepapers, how-to guides, and a blog.  They support this effort with sponsored editorial that brings relevant audience to their site.



Smalley Steel Ring Sponsored Post on ENGINEERING.com


2. Okuma

Okuma makes CNC machine tools.  They have a strong Youtube presence and their website features case studies, testimonials, a blog and white papers.  Like many manufacturing marketers, their primary conversion goal appears to be their enewsletter or a request for a technical contact.




3. Haas Automation

Haas Automation also makes machine tools.  Their strong video library includes machining demos, customer documentaries and operator tips and tricks.




Are Digital Marketers Getting Better at Content Marketing?

The ENGINEERING.com survey of 2016 engineering marketing budgets also found that 97% of all marketers were planning to continue their current spend or were planning to spend more on content marketing in 2016.  But unlike the CMI survey, 73% of the ENGINEERING.com survey respondents said that content marketing is working



From 2016 Engineering Marketers’ Campaign Plans Research Report


Why the difference in responses?  It could be due to sample bias.  I like to think that the ENGINEERING.com survey tends to reach a more focused group of digital marketers (n = 116) than the broader sample from the CMI survey (n = 214). 

Let me know what you think in the comments below,


Topics: Content marketing for engineers, Sponsored posts and content amplification, Industry trends and research, Advanced manufacturing

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