12 min read

CMI Manufacturing Marketing Research Report with Lisa Beets

Learn from the latest research where to invest and pitfalls to avoid when crafting your 2022 marketing plan.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Lisa Beets, Research Director for the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), conducts seven primary research studies annually, and one of her favorites centers upon manufacturing. This is in part to her days with Penton Media focused on HVAC, but also recognizing the need for data in this unique industry. 

During the episode, Lisa walks me through CMI's Manufacturing Marketing report and we discuss several datapoints that jumped out to us both, such as:

  • 51% are challenged by overcoming a traditional sales and marketing mindset
  • 51% struggle with creating valuable content as opposed to sales-oriented content
  • 75% were asked to do more with the same resources in 2021
  • 65% expect their 2022 content marketing budget to increase over 2021
  • Marketers cited videos produced the best results for content marketing, with 53% citing how-to videos as the leading format
  • When it comes to organic social platforms, LinkedIn came out on top as both the most popular at 93% and best at producing results.
  • Facebook was the top paid social platform used at 76%, though LinkedIn produced the best results beating out Facebook by 8%
  • The top ways to measure content performance were web-centric, including 73% citing website traffic and 69% citing website engagement

We concluded that there was a close synergy between the CMI Manufacturing Marketing Report and the TREW Marketing & Global Spec State of Marketing to Engineers report, and that both are helpful for marketers to educate and advocate for content marketing with internal leadership.





On our last episode, we covered highlights from the 2022 State of Marketing to Engineers research report, which was jointly conducted by TREW Marketing andGlobal Spec. Well, today we continue the research theme by bringing on the research director from the Content Marketing Institute. We'll be discussing highlights from their research report called Manufacturing Marketing, and talk about differences and similarities between the two reports. I hope through this two part episode series that you can pick up new statistics, metrics, and ideas to inform your 2022 marketing and help you educate people within the company that don't quite get why content marketing is so crucial to reaching technical buyers. Let's do this.


Welcome to Content Marketing Engineered, your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.


Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing Engineering. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend challenge or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You and me, colleagues, friends and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories. And I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full-service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical company. For more information, visit Trumarketing.com and now on with our podcast. Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing Engineered. Today, my guest is Lisa Beats. She's the research director at the Content Marketing Institute, and I'm so thrilled to have her on the show today. So thank you so much for being here, Lisa.


Thank you, Wendy. It's great to be here.


Well, one of the reasons I'm so excited for us to talk is that CMI creates a manufacturing content marketing research study and has done for several years. And I love this study. I have it open on my desktop right now for us to talk about it. But before we do, I thought it might be fun to get to know you a little bit better and help people understand what life is like as the research director. So give me a picture of a typical day in your life at CMI.


Okay, I juggle a lot. Don't we all? We run various surveys throughout the year. So not only do we run this annual survey every summer, but we also do custom research. And we run annual studies on various content marketing topics. For example, we just finished a survey on video, which was a lot of fun. Earlier in 2021, we did a new survey on sales enablement, and now we're evaluating some topics for 2022. So I think we'll run about six studies next year, if I'm not mistaken. So just a lot of juggling. And I work on all aspects of research, so I do the production management pieces as well. So design questionnaires program surveys, field surveys, clean data, analyze data, write reports, write blog posts so it's always doing something different. It's always exciting. Every day is a new and different day.


Well, given my experience just producing one research report a year, I'm really impressed that you can juggle that many throughout the year. So kudos to you for covering all that. I did some digging on your LinkedIn profile because I always love to do that. And I see you come from a media background way back in the day with paint and media. And I've also been on the agency side.


Yes. Prior to joining CMI, actually, I spent 15 years as a freelance B to B writer. So those were great years. My kids were little. I was writing freelancing. I also worked with custom magazines, produced a lot of those back in the day. And then prior to that was the decade that I spent at Pennsylvania. I was a BDB journalist and I covered the HVAC industry.


Okay. So you've really lived and breathed BTB marketing really your whole career, it sounds like.


Yes, I have and I love it.


Yeah. Well, what led CMI to create a manufacturing specific research setting?


Well, when we started the research eleven years ago, we just kind of cast a wide net. As the years went by and our subscriber list started to develop, we noticed that we were growing in some of the verticals and manufacturing was one of those verticals. So I believe we're in our fifth or 6th year with manufacturing.


Wow. Do you find that it's a pretty unique industry compared to other B to B areas?


I do. We always see that they're a little bit behind the technology marketers, but they've really come a long way. I think they have firm roots now in content marketing and we see them doing a lot of exciting things now. They're up to speed.


Good. Well, I know sometimes there's a dated mindset when it comes to sales and marketing within manufacturing. Did this come out when you conducted your research? It did.


In fact, it was tied for the top content marketing challenge that they told us that they have. And let me pull it up too while we talk about it. Top Content Marketing challenge. 51% said that they are challenged with overcoming a traditional marketing and sales mindset. So that's half. That's still a lot. That was tied with 51% who said creating valuable content instead of sales oriented content is a challenge too. So still two big challenges, half and half. We're getting there.


I hear that quite a bit. When marketers call me and are looking to just educate internally, sometimes they'll ask us, hey, true marketing, can you come in and just conduct a keynote at a company meeting and just teach about modern marketing and how it's changed? And it's kind of unbelievable to think that there's still this gap in knowledge of how much marketing has changed. And I think that covet actually helps further things along. When we didn't have trade shows. So I'm hoping that will be less of a struggle moving forward.




Well, one of the things that I want to touch on was that pandemic. So how did things change for manufacturing marketers? I know what I'm seeing, but what did your research show?


The research showed that manufacturing content marketers were definitely working hard. I mean, 75% told us that they were asked to do more with the same resources over the last twelve months. They were really busy working hard. And it's like you just said, Wendy, I think that a lot of people higher up in the organization started looking over at the marketing team and the content marketing team and with the lack of in person events and so forth, even sales looked marketing to help get in front of audiences and to stay in front of those audiences. And I'd like to just read a few quick quotes that I placed in the blog post that I wrote about this research report. These are some things we heard straight from manufacturing marketers. Because our sales team and engineers couldn't travel, they finally had time to spend on content such as blogs and videos, which had been put on the back burner. We produced more content than ever before. Another marketer told us it forced us to start content marketing and ad marketing is a focus. We were previously very sales oriented. So these are some of the responses we got to our fill in question when we asked marketers, what did the pandemic change most about your marketing and content marketing strategy and approach?


And we heard the word sales a lot. So it was good saying.


Yeah, I was going to say a pretty positive outcome for marketers advocating for content marketing. It sounds like. And now the challenge will be how do we carry that momentum forward as we go into 2022 as trade shows come back, how do we continue to be top of mind and show metrics and justify that content marketing is the right way to proceed?




So I noticed in your study, speaking of that, some budgetary changes and I grabbed a quote out of here from the study. It said that 36% of marketers say that their 2021 content marketing budget increased, but 64% are saying that they expect their 2022 content marketing budget to increase year over year. So we're seeing somewhat of an increase last year, but even bigger increase or more people increasing their spend in 2022. I think it's more evidence to show that. Okay, we've proven the value and now we're going to continue forward with more investments.


Yes, indeed.


Well, another thing I found as I dug in is video was the finding of video works to be very interesting. And you said you did a whole other study on videos, so maybe we can dive into that one too. But it looks like marketer sided videos produces the best results of all the types of content within their content marketing. Wow. I mean, it beat out ebooks and white papers. That was really interesting to me.


I know. All I can think is there was more video production and also more people were at home. More people were at home. They were working at home. They were on the Internet. Maybe they were watching video.


Maybe they missed the interaction with people, but not interaction. Interaction like just watching us. We're getting on chat with salespeople anymore than the previous year. I know that statistically.


And what I found interesting about your last study, state of marketing to engineers. And I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you looked at it by age and you found that even older engineers are watching video.




Not just a millennial fan. No.


It's across all age groups. And then both of our research shows that how to videos were the top type of video that people wanted to watch.


That's what our show, too. Yeah, exactly. How to video.


As people want to spend more time online. The other thing we're watching is Privacy laws are changing on how you can monitor people's behavior when they come to your website, even coming down to what information you can capture. So we're entering an interesting phase where marketers want to justify content marketing investment through metrics, but yet we're losing insight into some of the behavior. And so what advice do you have for marketers on what to measure in 2022 and how to justify their content marketing spent?


Well, measurement so important. And it's always this elusive piece of our research. How are you measuring? We still see that focus on vanity metrics, engagement, engagement all good. But probably a focus for 2022 is just taking that up a notch in your measurement plan, really sitting down and making that an important part of your strategy. If you work with an agency, definitely working with that agency in that area to get really serious. What areas are we measuring this year? Where are we lacking? Where are the gaps, and where can we fulfill those?


Yeah. And what metrics are most meaningful to the business instead of the vanity metrics as you described?




We've really swung pretty hard towards quality over quantity and really diving into the types of people coming, not just the volume and not volume at all. Really. And so it will be an interesting strategy because ROI, you have an engineer and technical CEOs that want all the data, wanted to see justification. And I think it's through a teamwork of working with sales more closely to get those insights to see is this quality? What is this produce? How can we close the loop in perhaps a different way than we have in the past? Yeah. Well, so you see some of the frustration or difficulties that manufacturing marketers are up against. What can they do to stay on a positive path with content marketing?


Well, I think first and foremost and this ties into what you just said is stay in touch with upper management. Show them what you're doing. Show them why you're doing it. If you don't have a documented content marketing strategy, get that together now. Make sure that your goals are very clearly spelled out. And just keep communicating. Keep reminding, as well as to what you were able to achieve during the pandemic with your content marketing.


Don't let them forget. Right. Sharing one metric, one time isn't enough.


Exactly. Yeah.


And tying it back to the business in any way that you can is great. Well, we feel so strongly that content marketing is just a very powerful tool for manufacturing because these are technical buyers. They need lots of education. They want to build trust. They want to see you as credible. So I'm just glad that you're producing data along with our research report to help marketers understand the importance and the impact and help to put it into their mix. So thank you for creating this. What else is within the report that people can expect to find when they download it on your site?


Well, we cover topics such as strategy, team size, content creation, distribution, measurement challenges, and top of mind issues. So those are the questions we ask on the annual survey. And you will see all that data in the report.


Yeah. Oh, distribution. That reminds me. I remember being fascinated with the social section one because it was so in line with what we see that YouTube and LinkedIn just beat out everything else. But I thought it was interesting that marketers number one investment was, I believe, Facebook, but yet their ROI was out of LinkedIn into your pathway. So that was an interesting one. Keep up with these. What about Twitter? What are your opinions of Twitter going into 2022?


Honestly, I'm a fan of Twitter, but that might come from the journalist part of me. I find that it's a great vehicle for tweeting out key findings, directing people back to your website. I think it's a great vehicle when used properly.


Yeah. I like it in conjunction with events where you can use that hashtag and you can see what's trending at that event and kind of jump in the trends and have a point of view related to that subject rather than just promoting whatever new products.


Absolutely. I mean, Content Marketing Institute is huge on Twitter hashtag, CM World, for the very reason you just said, sure. It's a strong online community and it's thriving.


Hey, speaking of content marketing world, are the dates set for 2022?


The dates are set. We will be taking place September 13 through 16th.


Okay. I know that in the past few years, there's been an industrial summit, so a specific one day event within that larger event for manufacturing marketers. So I'm looking forward to that. I hope that that comes back.


Yes, it will.




Well, how can our listeners and viewers learn more about your research and connect with you connect with us@contentmarketinginstitute.com there you will see a research tab. We have ten years worth of research house under that tab and you can connect with me on Twitter at Lisabeats and through hashtagcmworld.


All right. Well, thank you so much for coming on and sharing some of the findings from the research report and I'll be sure to include those links in our show notes.


Thank you so much, Wendy.


Thanks for joining me today on content marketing Engineers for show notes including links to resources, visit trueemarketing. Compodcasts. While there you can subscribe to our blog and our newsletter and order a copy of my book content Marketing Engineers. Also I would love your reviews on this podcast so please when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite podcast subscription platform. Thanks.