In the wake of the major biennial machine-tool trade show for which it was developed, Makino’s most recent campaign is now being implemented across multiple platforms. As marketing manager of Makino, I drive our marketing programs to exhibit the same precision and high performance that our machine-tool centers deliver to our customers. I want to be sure that our marketing content assists our audience in its purchase decision process, builds a relationship with current customers, and enables our organization to increase awareness, generate leads and convert competitive machine users to Makino.
One clear fact about our particular B-to-B audience that impacts our marketing plan is that the purchase decision cycle typically runs six months to one year—sometimes even longer. Occasionally the purchase decision can be a matter of just a few weeks. Our machines are a major capital investment for most companies. Because of this lengthy process, the expense and importance of the equipment, and the nuanced nature of the product information, the content that we develop is more than just advertising, more than marketing and more than sales. It is truly all three combined, and it focuses on the buyer at numerous touchpoints. It is education, enablement and relationship, as well as relevant, contextual content.
The interesting thing about Makino’s engineering audience is how its digital behaviors tend to reflect our understanding of its requirements. When we run surveys on the website, for example, or try to engage the members of our audience in social media, we get few responses, when compared with a less specialized or B-to-C audience. We know they are looking for content that will help them and their companies be more productive and enhance their understanding of state-of-the-art machining and process solutions. We know they are also interested in our case studies. Another typical behavior happens when we introduce a new webinar. In those cases we find that for every one registrant, two typically attend. It turns out that they usually invite colleagues to view the content in small groups.
While such deep content is the right vehicle for our audience, we are aware that we must also speak to shop owners and company management personnel, who are less technical, but seek insights on innovation and new technology. For that reason we balance deep content with compelling information, such as stimulating case studies about the latest and greatest machining technology that will affect their businesses and give them the leading edge against their competition. In such cases the level of sophistication of the content is high, to serve our highly knowledgeable audience hungry for real content.
In the end we understand that our customers are purchasing more than just a machine; they’re buying our engineering expertise and years of industry experience. It’s my job to make sure that—at however many touchpoints we can identify—our message is delivered frequently and effectively. The more our customers understand that Makino has earned its reputation for the highest-quality machines, the easier my job becomes. Just as Makino is leading the way in the quality of our products, we want to be sure that we’re leading the industry in the content marketing we offer to our customers.
Mark Rentschler is Marketing Manager at Makino.