“If they can’t find you online, you may not even get a shot at the sale,” Hockenberry said. “Study after study show that C-level executives read relevant blogs, watch videos on YouTube and search for thought leaders when they are looking to solve problems. The great news is that everyone here has content, even if you might not realize it: How you solve problems and communicate answers in person and on the phone — that’s content. Turn those educational nuggets into blog posts, white papers, videos, eBooks, tip sheets and case studies so you can prove your value.”

Hockenberry encouraged attendees to ask themselves four questions when planning a content marketing strategy:

  • What challenges do customers typically have?
  • What keeps customers up at night?
  • What topics have been interesting to past leads?
  • How have questions from customers changed over time?

Ron Poff asked himself questions like those 15 months ago. As marketing manager of Mar-Bal Inc., he has since positioned the firm as a thought leader (and has gained accounts) with timely, relevant, customized social media content. Poff joined Hockenberry and Sachin Anand, an instructor at the University of Virginia, for the session. (Hockenberry led the session’s first part, “Deep Dive Part 1: Gaining a Competitive Edge Through Competitive Marketing.” Poff and Anand led the second part, “Deep Dive Part 2: Why Social Media is a Must for Composites Companies.”)

“When we think of innovation in the composites industry, we usually think of an engineer coming up with a patent to solve a problem,” said Poff. “But innovation can also be in the form of business processes. In the B2B world, marketing sometimes gets lost so we wanted to change the landscape. It’s important that we engage with the customer. We asked ourselves, ‘How can we create more meaningful conversations with customers, engage them in a new way and share the benefits of thermoset composites?’”