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Industry 4.0 is bringing digitization and connectivity to every aspect of your business. But many manufacturers getting ready for the digital age are still not clear on what people, processes, technologies and strategies to adopt, and when to do it. Even worse, many manufacturers believe that Industry 4.0 is ‘just an IT thing.”

Thomas recently wrote a terrific article called How To Adopt Industry 4.0 In Your Shop, and in it they suggest that:

“Many manufacturers perceive Industry 4.0 adoption as more of an obligation than an opportunity, something to be relegated to an IT department rather than presented as a strategic, company-wide initiative.

In order to fully realize the benefits of Industry 4.0, and pull ahead of your competition, you’ll need to include marketing. Digital marketing and marketing automation will connect you to your customers, help you understand what they want, and deliver a customized, personalized experience.

If the rest of your operations and processes are rocketing toward the future, it’s not a good idea to leave your marketing efforts stuck back in 2011. It’s time to connect, optimize and automate your marketing so you can move faster and check your competition in the rearview mirror.

The marketing department of the future is:

  • Connected
  • Optimized
  • Transparent
  • Proactive
  • Agile

Digital marketing can help manufacturers understand what buyers are doing at every stage of the funnel–and how to meet them where they are with the right information. All of your efforts are trackable and measurable, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and react faster to change in the marketplace.

You can run all of your digital marketing on software platforms like HubSpot –and get real-time insights into every interaction your customers have with your brand online. Imagine – your sales teams could be immediately notified when a prospect or customer interacts with you, and can answer them with contextually relevant, personalized content.

Setting Up Digital Marketing Infrastructure

For companies still relying solely on trade show attendance and print media, there is an ocean of opportunity for improvement. Putting together basic digital marketing infrastructure, and understanding how to leverage it to attract leads, nurture them and turn them into customers, is the first step toward digitizing your marketing.

Here’s a look at a basic infrastructure:

  • Website: Your website should provide plenty of conversion points for lead capture and feature consistent blogging
  • CTAs: These buttons will entice visitors to download your content so you can get their contact info.
  • Forms: Your forms should be simple and the number of fields should align with the value of the offer
  • Landing Pages: This is where the conversions happen – these page should follow best practices for high conversion rates.
  • Thank You Pages: Customers need these pages to download your offers
  • Thank You Email: This ensures that customers receive the offer they downloaded, also an opportunity to offer more content.
  • Automated Workflows: The ultimate in automation – these campaigns drip content on your prospects nurturing them down the funnel.
  • Social Media: A great place to promote your content, interact with customers and demonstrate thought leadership
  • CRO: The tuning of the dials to increase the performance of all your online assets
  • PPC and Paid Ads: Pay to play is pretty standard these days. This is your opportunity to hyper-target specific audiences or customer profiles with your content
  • Reporting /Tracking: Everything is tracked so you can see how each asset is performing, and know what needs a tuned up or optimization help

Better Digital Marketing ROI

Once your digital marketing infrastructure is set up, you’ll layer content, and analytics on top of it. You’ll test and recalibrate based on those analytics, and make data-driven decisions about where to invest and what to abandon, what’s working, and what’s not.

You’ll combine your owned media tactics (like your own company blog) with paid and earned media tactics (such as a guest blog on an industry site) with your outbound activities (like print media and events) to create a complete marketing program. The best part of digital marketing is that it’s measurable. So you’ll always know your marketing ROI and be able to budget in a more proactive way.

Digitizing and automating your marketing efforts will improve your efficiency with lead generation and lead nurturing. It will help align your marketing and sales teams, and keep your funnel full. And it’s an easy on-ramp into some of the concepts of Industry 4.0, as well as a great place to make an immediate impact on your business.