From The Editor | February 8, 2018

Content Marketing 101: Water & Wastewater Industry

TravisHeadshotNewDec2015

By Travis Kennedy

“How can I reach those engineers and operators that drive my top line by purchasing my solutions?”  Far and away, that is the question I have been asked more than any other over the past few years. Historically, and by historically I mean pre-Internet, it was a different ball game (and answer) entirely.  B2B manufacturers and B2C manufacturers reached and influenced potential customers in almost the same way…. Display and Pitch.

For the past 15 years the shift in how people access information has evolved so dramatically that it’s become increasingly difficult to find an efficient way to influence a potential buyer. Difficult if you aren’t paying attention to how people are now sourcing information.

According to Group M (the world's largest media investment group) 93% of people will do research online before making a purchase.   That statistic is not at all surprising and is true in our world whether an operator at a wastewater treatment plant is looking for help on how to handle flow control issues or simply researching what he (or she) is going to binge watch next on NetFlix.

For you the manufacturer, the quickest way to “win” is to be the brand that answers people’s questions better than anyone else. And to do so online. That then leads to being awarded the traffic, mindshare and attention of the engineers and operators within the industry as a whole.  Most importantly, in a business sense, brand publishing and content marketing put you in a better position to convert those engineers and operators to customers and drive top line growth.

Below I have outlined 4 basic steps that can help even the most novice company get started in “contenting” their marketing:

  1. Have a Documented Strategy -- According to the Content Marketing Institute, 80% of B2B content marketers are focused on generating leads.  If that’s your outcome too then your strategy should mirror that point.  Keep in mind too that B2B content should accomplish these two things, inform and educate.  Your documented strategy should outline your goals/outcomes and the general theme of how you want to get there.
  2. START -- I know this seems obvious BUT skepticism is a natural thing.  All good things begin with an initial leap of faith.  Faith is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.  Trust what the data shows which is your audience (if your audience is human, wants content, information and narrative).  They should because we as a species have come to expect it and expect it continuously and almost instantaneously.
  3. Be patient. This WILL take time -- The “display and pitch” strategy of yesteryear might net you a quick sale or two but your new approach will take a little longer. However, you will be building the brand support framework to continue to drive consistent success for years.
  4. Be Aware. The Internet isn’t fair -- The days of ranking first in Search Engine results due to legacy are over. As are the days of paying to dominate the search results landscape.  Like odds makers at casinos, search engines are the smartest guys in the room.  They know what drives interaction on their platforms, content.  Good informative content is going to get better digital real estate than thinly-layered sales pitches. 

This path is not difficult to navigate but like I mentioned above, does require a bit of faith, and a little planning especially if you haven’t changed your marketing approach in the past two decades.The good news is that there is plenty of help out there and it’s easy to find, as is most everything in our content driven world if you just search for it!

Image credit: "internet," DaveBleasdale 2014, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/