Kyle Naber joined Vive in April 2019 as our Marketing Communications Specialist. We tapped his fresh look at marketing for manufacturers for insights on B2B marketing communications and its importance in branding.
Vive: What’s your definition of marketing communications?
Kyle: Marketing communications is using a variety of channels to convey a crafted message to an audience. Every avenue used to promote a company or product, from sales and marketing to advertising and public relations is vital to your marketing communications plan. Brands have the opportunity to be unique with their approach to communicating. The channel variety is deep and includes elements such as a company’s website, social media and collateral. With so many channels, brands have the opportunity to build a customized approach to tell their unique story.
Vive: Which communication channel(s) do you believe are essential to use?
Kyle: Overall, the answer to this depends on the approach and specifically, who you are trying to target. If you had to limit the company to two social media channels, I would suggest starting with LinkedIn and Instagram. I highlight these two channels because they help prospective clients and employees get a quick snapshot of the company.
LinkedIn is built for sharing the professional side of the company. It’s a great way to highlight what is important to your business, as the values will be seen through what you post. It is important to have a good mix of content to establish credibility through sharing articles and other industry trends, in addition to what the company is up to, achievements, blogs, and upcoming events such as a webinar or company-sponsored event. LinkedIn also provides the opportunity for users to see who works at your company, allowing them to quickly send a connection request.
Instagram offers a visual look at who the company is as a brand. This channel offers the ability to show quick snapshots of the culture, what the shop floor or office environment looks like, and showcases fun events!
To summarize, Instagram is a great way to capture the people of the company, while LinkedIn highlights the business. When searching your company, most will look at your website and then head to your social media channels to see get a sense of what makes the company unique.
Vive: You’ve reviewed a lot of manufacturing websites during SEO audits, what is a common B2B communication mishap that you run into? How should they fix it/avoid it?
Kyle: One of the most common things that I see from an SEO analysis is an outdated blog without consistent posts. For one reason or another, many companies have blogs that have not been updated in one to three years, if they even have one at all. Vive strongly recommends having a blog and continuing to update it on a consistent schedule.
Google rewards new content and having a blog is a great way to produce content on a timely schedule. Having a blog is also a key way to reach your audience. It is the opportunity to address the trends in the market place, answer key questions, or provide more information to prove credibility.
Blogs are an easy way to rank for new keywords or improve a ranking. Updating a blog is like leaving the outside lights on. We leave the lights on outside to show our neighbors that we are home. In the same way, updating a blog shows website visitors that the company is active and thriving. When a blog is updated frequently, users will see your brand as a knowledge center, which helps establish brand credibility.
Vive: Why is content marketing important for B2B companies?
Kyle: As a brand, credibility is everything. Content marketing is the avenue for a company to properly educate their customers to prove why their product or service is best. Content marketing is not selling, directly, but it is demonstrating expertise and being a source for information. Content marketing is vital for B2B companies because it provides the information that customers are looking for while giving the brand a unique perspective.
Content marketing is not easy, but those willing to put in the effort will reap the benefits. Planning a consistent strategy for producing high-quality content (blogs, e-books, videos, etc.) sets the company up to be the one answering the questions people are searching for. Google rewards new content and downloadable items. To continue to produce high-quality content increases SEO, which ultimately leads to increased brand awareness and sales.
Vive: Talk about how writing and design go hand-in-hand.
Kyle: Writing and design are a dynamic duo! Similar to milk and cookies, these two cornerstones of marketing can stand on their own but together they make a terrific pairing.
Writing and design go hand-in-hand because, while they can stand alone, marketing campaigns are only as good as these two elements put together. If one is strong, while the other is lacking, the campaign will not be as successful as it could be.
How do you create a successful campaign? Start with design or writing. The nice thing about these two elements is they are built to play off of each other.
One example of how these elements work together to create a successful piece of the company’s story is through a brochure. We have all seen a rack of travel brochures before. When looking at all the brochures, which one draws you in? They are attracted to the designs that are bright and inviting, ones that pique interest. The design element continues to be evaluated as you pick up the brochure and scan it over for information. If the brochure passes the quick examination, then it is time for the messaging to shine! People are typically looking to have some basic questions answered: What is this product, service or company? What value does it provide? Where can I find it?
If the messaging plays off of the design, then a successful campaign, or in this example brochure, is created. This example highlights one of the many ways that these two elements are dependent on each other.
Vive: What attracted you to marking communications with an agency, specifically Vive?
Kyle: When I was searching for my next opportunity, I was looking for two things, a place where I could demonstrate and continue to develop several skills and a team environment. I came from a position where I was mostly by myself, with limited opportunities. I quickly found that I missed having people to learn from, collaborate with, and discuss which 90’s movie is best!
I wanted to rejoin the team environment again because that is where I work best and it makes work more fun! Vive stood out to me because, in addition to the team environment, the job offered the opportunity to work on many different projects, creating a situation where every day is a little different. Looking at Vive’s website and social media, it was easy to see that the company produces great work and has a fantastic culture. Who doesn’t love a dog-friendly office? Those factors, paired with the opportunity to work downtown Milwaukee, were very attractive to me.