5 Unique Challenges of Industrial Marketing – and How to Overcome Them

If you’re responsible for marketing, sales or business development for your B2B company, you have a unique and different set of challenges than businesses looking to market directly to consumers. While B2B marketing uses many of the same techniques as B2C marketing, the application is very different and marketing to other businesses requires a different content strategy focused on different channels. It’s essential to set good metrics and make sure you’re tracking the impact of your efforts. While there are a number of challenges of industrial marketing, here are a few common ones, and how you can overcome them.

Producing Quality Content

Content marketing, as part of a broader inbound marketing system, is an incredibly effective way to draw in an audience of potential leads, showcase your expertise, and get leads reaching out to you. However, producing that content, especially in an industrial setting, can be a challenge. The content has to be technical enough to show a clear understanding of the material without being so complex as to turn off potential leads who come from business backgrounds, like a VP Purchasing or CMO, who aren’t experts in the technical side of your product. The solution is to have content marketers work closely with technical staff to ensure that content produced is both accurate and readable. With the directive from upper management to participate, technical team members often enjoy explaining everything they do.

Promoting Your Content

Putting out great content is only the first step. Once you’ve written an article that you think will resonate with potential leads, you have to publish it in different channels that will get their attention. Your business needs to have a presence in a number of different content channels and plans to attract leads to your content. It’s key to think about your target market and to understand what channels they use most for industry learning and research. For example, in the US LinkedIn is a primary content channel for serious B2B companies. However, in India, Facebook and Youtube are extremely relevant even for highly technical businesses. Making a good content distribution plan based on your target audience before you start publishing content is a good way to ensure that what you write gets read by the right people.

Setting Expectations

Everyone, including upper management, reads stories about runaway successes with internet marketing, so it’s important before you begin your marketing campaign to research what is typical for your industry and set expectations accordingly. Then, revisit your plan periodically and compare your expectations to actual campaign metrics. Show how many people are viewing your content in different channels and how many are clicking through to your website or reaching out for follow up. If you can, work with your sales team to track how many of these leads convert into sales so you can show, with a dollar amount, the impact of your marketing efforts.

Maintaining Publishing Schedules

Once you’ve started a successful content campaign, you need to continue to develop content so that fresh material containing the correct keywords appears on your website and in your content channels. Someone on the marketing team has to take responsibility for researching and creating content and making sure it gets out on time. If you don’t have an in house marketing team, consider outsourcing your marketing to an external agency that specializes in B2B companies – sticking to a publishing schedule gets challenging if there is no one dedicated to the project. Don’t think you need to publish daily for success. Instead, focus on quality, reliability and applicability so that your articles have the biggest impact.

Trying New Channels

If your organization is having success with one content channel, it may be difficult to get them to consider trying a different or new channel. This is often a place where recycling old content can be useful to establish yourself on the channel or, if you’re looking at something like YouTube where you’d have to create video content, that content can then be used on your existing channels. Shaking up the type of content offered can get the attention of your existing audience and give you a great way to cross-promote your efforts.

While inbound marketing for industrial B2B businesses can be challenging, with good planning and execution, it can be very effective. Bringing in a team like StepUp can help meet this challenge. We take the time to understand your business and brainstorm content ideas that will resonate with your leads. Then we work with your staff to ensure our content is accurate but we take the responsibility for keeping the good content coming. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to us for a free marketing strategy session and learn how to apply inbound marketing principles to your business.


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5 Things AgTech Investors Are Looking for in AgTech Startups

Investing in any business is a risk that investors take when the potential ROI is evident in the new product or idea, and AgTech investors are no different. They want to make sound investments and so there are certain key aspects they’re going to look for in any AgTech startup to ensure the company has a chance of success and their capital is secure. However, in a highly technical field like AgTech, there are some unique aspects of early stage development that are key to building a successful plan and raising capital. If you are part of an AgTech startup or are an investor considering the industry, here are some important things to consider as you build your startup or weigh your potential investment.


No matter the size of the startup, investors want to see that the company has the expertise it needs to accomplish its goals. Having founders or team members who are familiar with the industry and have the skills to develop the proposed solution is key. As the company grows, founders also want to see team members with management experience and sales abilities. A stable team is particularly important in a technical field like Agtech, where you may need to prove that you have an expert in agriculture as your CTO, an engineer as your COO, and a veteran entrepreneur as your CEO.

Rules & Regulations

Depending on the location of the startup and its product, it’s likely subject to a number of different rules and regulations. Agtech investors are looking to see that the startup has a clear understanding of the rules and any processes they need to undergo in order for their products to be approved for use in agriculture.

Early Adaptors

In a highly technical field like Agtech, it is easy to remain exclusively focused on product development and technical details. Even at the early stages, AgTech startups should focus on talking to farmers or other end consumers to get validation of their idea, and on building a community of early adaptors once the regulatory and technical challenges are overcome. Will it really help a large enough number of customers to make it a business? How much are those customers willing to pay? These questions should be answered initially through on-the-ground market research, and revisited periodically to ensure the startup is on the right track.

Think Big

While your company may initially start out focused on smaller co-ops or recreational farms, you need to have a vision for how your business will grow. There are a number of different routes to do this within AgTech. While focusing on a niche is a great way to get initial adoption, having a clear path for the future is a great way to get investors.


Just as farmers want plants to stand up to hot sun or disease, investors want to put their capital in startups that will roll with whatever comes their way and keep going. Some investors look at serial successful founders for this trait, others like to see it demonstrated from the beginning through creative problem solving.

AgTech is a growing industry as more and more technology is developed or adapted for this major and important market. Investors are savvy enough to know that it takes more than just a knowledge of farming or technical expertise to succeed in the marketplace. That’s why having the right team and the right plan matters so much. Don’t make the mistake of leaving marketing out of your initial business strategy and waiting until your product is almost at market to figure out how to actually market it. At StepUp our focus is exclusively on helping B2B manufacturing companies, particularly in the fields of AgTech, MedTech and CleanTech, build smart marketing systems that save time and increase leads. If you want to learn more about marketing automation and strategy for AgTech companies, contact us today for a free B2B marketing strategy review.


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What Do All Great LinkedIn Campaigns Share? 5 Secrets to Remember for Your Next Campaign

Much has been published about the use of social media for marketing campaigns, but for certain businesses, particularly those who work in the B2B space, LinkedIn might just be the most powerful social network. Running a marketing campaign on LinkedIn is different from running one on Facebook or Instagram because you’re targeting professionals based on their work interests and trying to present yourself as a thought leader rather than an aspirational figure. While there’s a lot to learn about LinkedIn campaigns, here are just a handful of tips to remember as you get set up.

#1 Choose a Clear Goal

Before starting any advertising campaign, it’s important to choose a clear goal for the campaign. If you’re pursuing LinkedIn, are you looking to raise awareness of your company, drive new recruits, or reach out to potential leads? Once you have your goal clearly defined, it’s easier to create an effective campaign as well as use the different metrics LinkedIn provides to track your success.

#2 Choose the Right Types of Ads

There are many different ways to reach people on LinkedIn. If you’ve built a following, you can share content directly to their wall. You can also sponsor content and have it appear on people’s feed based on various demographics you can control. However, if you’re targeting people who aren’t frequently checking LinkedIn, you can also send InMail, which acts as a personal connection between you and the person you’re reaching out to and goes to their email inbox.

#3 Deliver a Strong Message

Copy that is short, direct, and helpful is the best way to get and hold someone’s attention. The right images are important on LinkedIn, like any social network. But unlike other networks, real, meaningful content is what makes professionals stop and look. Think about your audience and what they might need and then write articles or messages that help them answer some of their questions. Even in a business to business marketing scenario, people are searching for answers to help them work smarter, faster, or more efficiently.

#4 Measure and Compare

As you run your LinkedIn campaign, take the time to look at the information you’re getting from your metrics and adjust your material accordingly. See if there are certain demographics that are responding to your content, if people are searching for certain key terms, or run an A/B test to see which version of a headline gets the most clicks.

#5 Maximize Your ROI

Knowing what the goals of your campaign are, you can track your effort and advertising spend against success on those goals to determine which parts of your campaign are working. There are many clever uses of LinkedIn for brand awareness, recruiting, and lead generation, so take the time to find the strategies that work best for your organization.

Implementing a LinkedIn campaign requires planning, quality content, and deliberate execution. StepUp Marketing has experience helping businesses handling their social media and online marketing, not just in LinkedIn, but on a variety of other platforms. We craft each unique marketing campaign to fit the needs of our clients and use metrics to be sure we’re delivering value. Reach out today to set up a free consultation and learn what the StepUp Marketing team can do to help your business.


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12 Most important marketing tactics to grow your business in 2017

At the start of every new year we say to ourselves that this year is going to be different: “This year we will set some real goals and achieve them.” “This year we will be proud of ourselves and blown away by the progress that our business made.”

Yet usually, we wake up on the last day of the year and feel that something went wrong… again! We look at our business and see that we aren’t even close to where we wanted to be this year. We blame our planning, our goal setting, our optimism and our lack of time to handle everything.

So, how can we make this year different?
If you’re serious about seeing significant growth in your business, here are the 12 most important marketing tactics to focus on in 2017:

1) Smart Goals

It is not enough to set goals and simply believe that they will happen (we’ve tried it and been there), we need to set goals that we are fully committed to and passionate about.
In our inbound marketing methodology we use “SMART GOALS” as our compass for the client’s success journey. The SMART goal framework stands for:

  • Specific – Your goals should be clear to your team, so that everyone understands what needs to be done and who is responsible for what.
  • Measurable – You should be able to check if you have reached your goals exactly by numbers, and not by assumptions.
  • Attainable – You should set realistic goals that are actually achievable. . It is very frustrating to fall short of a goal every time – don’t set yourself up for failure!
  • Relevant – Your goals must be related directly to your business.
  • Timely – Your goals must be mapped out within a specific timeframe.

Without clear and measurable goals your rocket might fly high but actually miss the target! Know what you want to achieve by breaking down your goals “SMARTly” – with details!

2) Quick Wins

Half of all new businesses fail within the first five years – which is why you want to see positive results in your company as soon as possible. You must not depend only on strategies that take months to see progress. Instead, look for marketing activities that can get results fast in order to fuel and motivate both your team and yourself.

Every business has an opportunity to see fast interactions with its audience. The most common tactic is PPC advertising, yet you could find many other options such as flash sale to your email list, viral contests on Facebook, etc. No matter what you’re planning to do this year, start seeing your potential results as fast as possible, in order to build confidence and meet your goals for the year.


Your prospects are becoming less patient to marketing messages that don’t talk directly to their specific problems. In 2017 you should be much more aware of this, and adapt your marketing system to this environment.

For example, if you used to manage direct lead generation campaigns with PPC traffic, in 2017 it is going to be more challenging to get results. There are more and more ads on all digital platforms, the competition is getting fierce and expensive, and the people are more wise and aware of it.

With new technology and smart strategies you can send the right message to the right person at the right time. You need to segment your audience with more specific targeting and personalize your message to their state of mind. For example: Don’t advertise your service or product to the general audience, but instead send relevant and great content, segment them by their interest and interaction and then send them a specific offer, relevant to what they were interested in.

With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever!

4) Multiple Conversion Points

Many companies rely mainly on just one sales funnel, and try to sell the same thing to the same audience over and over again. This can be repetitive, and ineffective.

If you want to see exponential growth this year, you must create several different offers that can be delivered to your prospects in case they don’t convert on your main offer. Once you create different conversion points, you will significantly increase your sales opportunities and therefore your income.

5) Automation

Today’s marketing efforts can seem huge, and overwhelming. If you don’t automate some of your tasks, half of them may not even get done.

So – what are the main things you should automate? Here are some ideas:

  • Lead Nurturing: With a well-planned email automation process, you can nurture cold leads and turn them into real sales opportunities.
  • Post Scheduling: Whether it’s blog posts or social media content, most of this can be scheduled far in advance so you can let the computer do the work, and focus on the distribution of the content
  • Content curation: Use tools such as Google Alerts, Buzzsumo or others to help listen to conversations online that would be of interest to you, chatter around your brand, and industry-related content that is applicable to your audience. This makes it easy for you to share with your listeners.
6) Mapping Your Buyers Journey

There are three stages your prospect goes through before making decision to buy from you. The stages are: Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

If you don’t want to flood prospects with the wrong content and offers, you must map your buyer’s journey very clearly and organize your content planning and campaigns based on his or her buying stage. This makes it easier for you create the right content and lead your prospect through a smart pipeline until they are ready to buy from you.

Overall, a smart sales funnel will help you sell more easily, without being too pushy or aggressive in any stage of the sale.

7) Structured Sales Funnel

Your team is the most important yet most expensive asset in your business. Build a rock-solid sales funnel that will provide your sales team with high-quality leads, thus allowing them to work faster and smarter.


You can’t rely solely on one source of traffic. A strong and long-lasting business is always searching for new traffic sources that intelligently interact with one another, creating an unstoppable lead machine.

Each traffic source you use must be analyzed and tracked with a clear ROI report. This sheds light on which one has the highest benefit and where to focus your efforts on.

Multi-channel traffic sources are crucial for sustainable business and must be planned into your growth strategy.

9) Blogging

Research shows that businesses that use blogs generate higher traffic and significantly more leads than those that don’t.
Here are some stats to support it:

  • Business blogging leads to 55% more website visitors (Source: Hubspot)
  • Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog. (source: Impactbnd.com)
  • B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not.
  • B2C companies that blog generate 88% more leads per month than those that do not.
  • On average, companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages. (Source: Hubspot)

What more reason do you need to start blogging now?

Download our free guide for more tips on lead generation for your company.

10) Social Media Knock Out

Social media is not just a great source of traffic but also a main platform to engross and build trust with your audience.

Because of this, social media marketing should be an integral part of your businesses’ digital marketing strategy. By having the right social media marketing strategy, your brand can help you stay ahead of your competitor, and engage and interact with your audience, which ultimately will have a huge impact on your business.While using it to create raving fans that genuinely want to spread the word about you to their friends and family., it simultaneously becomes an amazing viral prospects lead machine when used with care and authenticity.

However, social media can backfire if you abuse it with too hard of a sales pitch, or not responding well to your audience; more specifically, unhappy customers.
Use it wisely, use it with care – and use it more often! Social media is dominating the way people communicate around the world.

11) Reports

I have found that so many businesses don’t actually know their numbers. If you don’t know and control your numbers, then odds are you are losing money, or at the minimum not earning as much as you can.

What’s your average sales conversion rate? What is your best traffic source that brings the biggest deals to the business? What is your EPC (Earning per Click) by media?

Do you know the answers to these questions? If not, we need to do some homework – together. It is crucial for you to understand exactly which source brings you money, and where you should invest your next campaign. Yet, without basic reports that will give you control over your business results, this is difficult to do.

12) All Platforms

Mobile, apps, all screen sizes…. nowadays, people have less time and are less patient for non user-friendly interfaces. Adapt yourself to all platforms… or LOSE!

There are tons of responsive websites out there that have poor mobile interfaces. Chances are high that if a mobile user clicks to sign up and is taken to a tiny, non-mobile site asking for too many details, they will lose interest. It is crucial to optimize the conversion funnel for the user. Today more than ever, consider simplifying all of your platforms to make it as simple and easy as possible for all users.

Extra – Inbound Marketing with Hubspot

There is the old way of digital marketing and then there is… Inbound marketing! Inbound marketing is a methodology that creates a solid and long-lasting marketing system for any business. It utilizes all of the 12 points discussed above and fits them it into one great business execution plan.

Hubspot platform helps us manage and control all aspects of the methodology and automates it into the highest level of marketing performance. It even has artificial intelligence that optimizes and tailors each massage, to reach the right audience, at the exact time – converting the best leads you’ll ever get. Amazing!

The sooner you join the Inbound Marketing Movement the faster you’ll see change and growth in your business. Don’t get left behind!

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