In three months, Beetle Plastics increased its website traffic by more than 400 percent, generated 50-plus new leads, landed a large new international client — all thanks to a new inbound marketing strategy that places an emphasis on timely, compelling marketing content that educates prospective buyers.

Todd Hockenberry, owner of consultancy Top Line Results, pointed to two leaders of Beetle Plastics, who were among 50-plus people attending the two-part COMPOSITES 2013 session “Marketing for Manufacturers—Making Sure Your Future Customers Can Find You.” He asked them, “Would you say that content marketing is the main reason your company now has a full sales pipeline?”

Their answer was “yes” because, more than ever, buyers have the power to research a company and say “no.”

Conventional marketing — shouting for attention with self-congratulations — doesn’t work, Hockenberry explained, because 90 percent of B2B buyers will look for you when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. “They’ll ‘call you’ by going online and looking to see if you’re the best company to solve their problem. They drive the process when they’re ready, not you.”

Hockenberry explained why content marketing (often called “custom publishing”) is one of the most effective but underused marketing strategies for businesses. Instead of simply pitching your products or services conventionally, content marketing is a way to deliver information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this strategy is simple: If your company develops and delivers ongoing, valuable information to buyers or prospects, they ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.