Tasks, Decisions & Initiation - an industrial content marketing blueprint

Ed Marsh | May 23, 2017

Tasks, decisions & initiation

Seth Godin had a great post recently. Like much of what he writes, it's direct in it's prescription but general in its context - and broadly applicable since readers can read and reflect from their own perspective.

Tasks, decisions, and initiation...
Doing, choosing, and starting...
Each of the three adds value, but one is more prized than the others.
Tasks are set up for you. Incoming. You use skill and effort to knock em down one at a time and move to the next one.
Decisions often overlap with tasks. There are alternatives, and you use knowledge and judgment to pick the best one.
And initiation is what happens when you start something out of nothing, break the pattern, launch the new thing and take a leap.
When we think about humans who have made change happen, institutions who have made a difference, cultural shifts that have mattered, we must begin with initiation.

This spectrum of creative competence is present in every discipline from infectious disease docs, through auto mechanics and hairstylists to back country guides. I read it in the context of industrial content marketing.

Industrial content marketing isn't about the tasks

Standard deviations in industrial content marketing

We hear about the flood of mediocre content which creates noise that obscures the important stuff each of us creates. It's clear that there's a lot of inane content published every day.

But that shouldn't be a surprise. A standard bell curve tells us to expect that.

The key is to be extraordinary. But how does an industrial manufacturing company's revenue growth team achieve that?

Godin lays out a simple roadmap.

Most companies focus on tasks.

  • X number of blog posts
  • X number of tweets
  • X number of offers/quarter

There is, of course, nothing in that list that encourages exceptional quality. It may be embedded in the editorial guidelines, but treating it as one more item on a long list to check off simply encourages mediocrity.

Decisions can elevate quality

  • rigorous evaluation of key words based on qualitatively researched buyer personas
  • inclusion of demand gen topics in content to compliment lead gen
  • implementing website heat mapping to understand visitor behaviors to improve UX & conversion rates
Content marketing agencies have generally offered this guidance as part of their industrial marketing strategy development and execution. It can often move an industrial content marketing program one standard deviation to the right. It makes a difference - and in the adolescence of content marketing it's been enough to achieve notable results.

Initiation is where Goliaths are vulnerable

SMBs can leverage the amazing power of the internet to not only compete, but outflank enormous industrial competitors. (Here's a case study of how a >$20 Million company overtook a €73 Billion competitor in just 9 months.)

Achieving this, however, requires a different skill set and perspective. This is where companies achieve another standard deviation of differentiation and begin to establish permanent online authority. Examples include:

The reason it works though, is that it's relatively unusual. Simply exhorting the existing team to incorporate this dimension doesn't work - if it was naturally there, it wold have happened.

Which do you hire?

Here's the key. None work without the other. 

It does no good to have initiation without rigorous execution based on sound, data driven decisions which are continuously evaluated and improved. And the volume of work is increasingly skewed from initiation, through decisions and largely falls to tasks.

So companies need all three - but particularly for industrial manufacturers that prefer to build things, including internal capabilities and assets, it's anathema to outsource it all.

The early content marketing agency did the tasks and relied on management for industry based expertise for the decisions. As agency competition increased, the good ones took on more responsibility for framing and even making decisions.

In very few cases, as the bell curve anticipates, does the initiation truly occur.

So companies (at least those that objectively recognize the progression) are faced with a decision. What skills do they hire, outsource or disregard.

That calculus is changing as the industrial content marketing landscape changes. 

And it's the basis for a new approach consulting approach designed to help manufacturers develop robust internal capability - to end the co-dependence of inbound marketing outsourcing.

The Manufacturing Revenue Growth model provides:

It's a model that manufacturers can embrace - confident that it's creating value AND empowering their internal and ongoing efforts.

industrial content marketing excellence is built on strategy to manage disruptionAnd in the meantime that frees up senior management to focus on strategies to adapt to disruption. This free guide provides a roadmap and question guide to facilitate management and board discussions of changes and strategy.

Download your free copy