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2019 Manufacturing Content Marketing

Manufacturing Content Marketing Benchmarks - 2019

This year’s manufacturing report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) shows that there are some great opportunities for marketers to gain an edge over the competition and grab their audience’s attention. Here are six key findings from their annual report.

1. Content Marketing requires commitment from executive management.

MFG Success with Content Marketing 2019

According to CMI, 66% of the respondents have reported moderately successful or very successful results from content marketing.  

MFG Content Marketing Maturity Level 2019

However, success was skewed; 41% of respondents in the sophisticated/mature phase say their organization is very successful with content marketing, while 52% in the young/first steps phases have achieved only minimal success.


While content marketing is widely seen as a successful marketing strategy, it requires commitment from senior management to obtain strong positive results.

This has been a consistent finding from the Content Marketing Institute. The graph below shows a broader base of B2B Marketers and the implications are clear: Those organizations that have a strong commitment to content marketing have better results.

Documented Content Marketing Strategy 2019

Those who have the backing of senior management to fund content marketing have the greatest success.

Action Item

Creating high-quality content is a critical part of any inbound marketing strategy. One of the key success factors is making sure to have a strong commitment from executive management.

2) Having a documented content marketing strategy is a key success factor.

MFG - Documented Content Marketing Strategy 2019

Fewer than 1 in 4 manufacturing marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.


From a broader B2B study from CMI, those 39% of marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy are far more likely to be successful (65% vs. 14%).

Documented Content Marketing Strategy 2019

Having a documented content strategy helps the marketing, sales and executive teams focus on what matters by

  • Aligning teams around common missions/goals

  • Making it easier to determine which types of content to develop

  • Keeping the team focused on documented priorities

Action Item

If your organization does not have a documented content marketing strategy, now is the time to create one.


3) Most manufacturing companies use buyer personas.

MFG - Buyer Persona 2019


It is nearly impossible to know what to say if you don’t know who you are talking to. Having at least one buyer person is critical to any content and inbound marketing strategy.

Action Item

If your marketing organization does not have a documented buyer persona, now is the time to develop one.

4) Audience is not always a top priority.

MFG - Not Prioritizing Audience  2019

Amazingly, (and not in a good way) 51% of the respondents say they always or frequently prioritize their sales/promotional message over the audience’s needs.


Manufacturing companies need to recognize that the way B2B buyers make purchase decisions has fundamentally changed. According to Forrester, 

60% of B2B buyers prefer not to

interact with a sales rep as the

primary source of information.

A large part of this shift is due to the simple fact that the composition of the workforce has changed: the millennials are now the dominant generation in the work force and are often in positions of influence or decision-making. And as a general rule, millennials don’t like being sold to.

5) Selecting the right technology helps manufacturing companies measure results.

MFG - Types of MarTech 2019


There are many technology platforms that provide point solutions to help marketers manage their content. Many use point solutions such as

  • Hootsuite for social media publishing

  • MailChimp/Constant Contact for email

  • Google Analytics for analytics

  • Wordpress for Content Management System (CMS)

But having several point solutions often makes getting actionable data in one place very difficult, and quite often, marketers are forced to export data into a spreadsheet and spend hours massaging the data into a usable form.

Action Item

Explore the benefits of using a unified marketing platform to consolidate your technology platform. For example, at i5, we use Hubspot to:

  • Publish and manage social media posts

  • Send out email campaigns

  • Use the built-in Hubspot analytics, which provides not only KPIs on website performance, but also other marketing metrics such as blog performance, call-to-action A/B testing and landing page conversion rates

  • Act as our CMS for seamless integration with our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales Tools

Having a single place to manage our content and analyze its performance is a huge time saver, and decisions (both strategic and tactical) can be made without spending a lot of time consolidating and formatting data in an easy-to-understand format.


6) The top concern for manufacturing marketers are changes to the SEO/search algorithms.

MFG - Top Marketing Issues 2019

57% of Manufacturing marketers are concerned about the changing nature of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).


Many companies (not just manufacturing companies) continue to follow outdated SEO practices. For example, using keywords and outsourcing companies to build hundreds of backlinks is no longer effective.

Action Item

Being found by search engines is great way to gain audiences at the beginning of a buyer’s journey. But getting ranked by Google cannot be done by trying to “fool” Google’s SEO algorithm. Savvy marketers have learned that the SEO game has fundamentally changed for the better.

Written by David Lee

As the founder of Do What Works, my goal is to take the best practices and lessons I learned from working with Fortune 500 companies and bring them to the mid-size market and help our clients grow their business.