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Apply Content Best-Practices to Supply Chain Marketing

In marketing to engineers and technologists in the electronics supply chain, it's all about teaching and helping the people important to your business keep up with rapid change.

Keep in mind that you're dealing with a community of eager tech learners. The nature of business content, to be useful, must be informative rather than promotional. You receive the marketing benefit by just putting out great content for people to consume.

Specific topics obviously vary by company and market sector. When planning content development topics, get inside your audience's head and ask question like:

  • What helpful things do people not know?
  • What can your company teach people that they'll use AND that helps enhance your brand's reputation?
  • What's interesting about your brand, product, service, people, or technology that sets it apart from competitors?
  • What company expertise can be shared to help those with whom you wish to connect, to create interest, preference, and demand?

These are the key criteria for determining worthy supply chain marketing content topics. From there, available resources, imagination, and creativity should be applied to specific business challenges your company faces. Appropriate actions are a function of a company's particular competitive situation.

Unfortunately, there's no easy, one-regimen-fits-all solution. Managing content development and use has many aspects. The two that are often ignored are strategy and re-use.

Strategy first, then tactics!
Strategy comes into play because any content isn't necessarily good content. As a marketer, you're not in the pure education business. However, taking an educational perspective will help.

Equally important to ask: does the content topic idea suit how the brand wants to be known and what the target community needs or wants to learn about? If it doesn't pass both those tests, you're likely wasting time and money. If there's not a clear communications strategy incorporating competitive differentiation, get that fixed and then come back to content development planning.

Work ideas across multiple media
Re-use is essential to gaining maximum value from ideas and content production. Simply put, an article, video, podcast, speech, blog post, webinar, or other tactical item can become a speech, blog post, article, webinar, podcast, or video, etc. If the idea is valuable then it should be applied across the range of appropriate, affordable media available to your business.

Supply chain marketers have a tendency to think topics are getting old because they've used them previously, just as their audience or community is beginning to take notice. Don't over-estimate the speed at which people consume your content. Just because you're tired of the topic doesn't mean others are. If social media is being applied, tune into community topics where you can add specific, related information value.

Recyle, re-combine
Reuse can be applied by combining previously used content ideas or by breaking them apart into smaller, separate items for a deeper dive into the subject. Reuse obviously helps save time and money rather than constantly chasing only new ideas. Certainly fresh ideas are also essential but not at the expense of thorough re-use of key topics… unless you've got an enormous budget and a huge production team. It's like making another great dinner out of leftovers and saving yourself a trip to the market.

Teaching with a marketing angle
Content development and management are somewhat similar to thinking like a publication's editor about what interests and attracts readers and viewers, but also with an eye to what helps grow your brand's perceived value. What information can you develop that helps project clearer perceptions of the unique value your company brings to the electronics supply chain? It's certainly not real journalism but some of the decision factors and skills are applicable. Definitely lean more toward being informative than hyping your brand. Be inclusive. Acknowledge other businesses and what they're doing. Be part of the community. Create and maintain a clear content strategy tied to the communications direction and don't jump to a new topic before you've applied it to your program as completely as possible.

3 comments on “Apply Content Best-Practices to Supply Chain Marketing

  1. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    November 12, 2013

    @Ford, thanks…interesting topic. Do you find that the types of content are shifting? More video? More graphical? Or are the old standard types (whitepapers, case studies, press releases, etc) still the most used? How do yo uthink that will evolve for the supply chain?

  2. Ford Kanzler
    November 19, 2013

    I have no data on the question but media choice depends sloy on what you have to say and available budget. Likely younger audience members may reply well to video. But there's no hard rule. Some topics lend themselves to video, others not. Traditional tactics like white papers tend to be over-used and announcements are certainly still viable…WHEN there's significant, hard news. (There's been WAY too much written about the death of the news release as a PR tactics. It's not happening, as long as the news is there.)

    I feel case histories, done in print or video, are still highly valuable and persuasive, especiallly when customers or users are in or part of the story. Little is more persuasively real than comments from existing, paying customers. The difficulty is involving them and the associated complexity that may entail.

    Today, one of the challenges is figuring out which of the many available media will get you the most bang for the buck. So, as with many marketing decisions…”it depends.”

  3. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    November 19, 2013

    @Ford, i have to agree that case studies are really valuable espeically in the b2b world. Organizatoins like to see world examples especially if hte organizaiton in question is in the same vertical market that they are.

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