Hype regarding the Internet of Things (IoT) is inescapable. It has been described as part of the fourth industrial revolution, altering the way we work, relate and live. This digital transformation is a major focus for B2B marketers as they wonder how it will unfold in industrial and manufacturing environments. Why? Because IoT transforms not only how components and systems are managed and connected but who decides which solutions to implement. This shift will have a huge impact on B2B marketers, particularly those in the automation and controls space.
Right now, successfully reaching engineers is essential to B2B companies striving to have their products integrated into a system or specified as an OEM solution. As the Internet of Things takes greater control of manufacturing environments, the traditional engineer decision-maker is being joined by representatives from IT teams. These Industry 4.0 solutions engineered for a connected industrial environment won’t be adopted without IT buy-in and support. The influence and purchasing power of a process or design engineer or systems integrator will be shared with an IT Director, CIO or CTO. This changing buying dynamic means B2B marketers can’t just market to engineers anymore. The design engineer still matters, but as soon as a machine, component or system shares data, IT roles in charge of security, software and hardware have a stake in the game. And IT decision-makers will expect something different from your company.Industry 4.0 is a game changer for B2B marketers—are you ready?
Godfrey conducted an independent research study with AMG research to confirm the trends we were seeing and learn how to change our marcom programs to target these new, increasingly important IT decision-makers. Download the research report, and check out these highlights on the impact of IoT on B2B marketers and how to adapt.
Action: Research these new information technology roles as they apply to your industry and company’s solution. Conduct interviews and surveys to understand these new buyers and influencers and how to communicate with them. Create new personas to synthesize the findings and keep these new target audiences top of mind as you plan new communications programs.
Action: Create a new messaging framework and supporting content strategy. While operations and engineering teams are typically concerned about cost reduction or increased productivity, IT is focused on aligning technology initiatives with business drivers and goals. Leverage topics that appeal to both audiences like improved operations or system uptime, quality, security and better access to data (for customer or performance uptime) and ROI.
Action: Produce content that proactively provide answers to the critical questions and concerns of IT decision-makers. They face vast challenges and need help. They are trying to maintain existing systems while driving digital transformation. They need to balance innovation with operational efficiency. Address issues important to them such as compatibility, data storage and security, and infrastructure. Be the solution to their problems.
Action: Don’t expect ready-to-buy leads for the IT Director, CIO or CTO, but they can disqualify you even being considered if you ignore marketing to them. Consider how you will define success when establishing metrics for campaigns.
Action: Create new content pieces that showcase your experience and clearly define your offer. Case studies, white papers, long-form articles, blog posts and educational seminars can help you build credibility and explain why your solution trumps the competition.
Action: Take your new content, make it available in multiple formats (videos, industry articles, blog posts, webinars) and broadcast regularly across multiple channels. You’ll need content that pushes product solutions and differentiates your brand to convince them your company can help them harness the potential of IoT. IT professionals are major content consumers throughout the buying process and quality, and easy-to-find content (optimized for search!) can help you build awareness and trust.