Digital Marketing for Engineers Blog

Insights and Strategies for Marketers to Better Engage Engineering Professionals

Latest Stories

Featured Stories

Filter By Categories
John Hayes
By
August 13, 2015

The flywheel model for engineering marketing

See our post on applying the flywheel npi model to marketing

Many of our software and hardware customers use a flywheel concept when approaching new product launches. We took a page from their books to draw an analogy to inbound marketing.

Like a flywheel, inbound marketing takes a ton of energy to get started.  But once that flywheel starts spinning, it becomes incredibly efficient at generating leads and awareness with relatively little effort.

The flywheel analogy is an excellent way to explain the value of making an investment in inbound marketing to your senior managers.  It helps them understand that inbound marketing is not a campaign.  Rather it is a long-term strategy that takes some time to yield results.

In this post I’ll dig into why it takes so long and why it’s worthwhile.

Applying the Flywheel concept to a new product launch

When software marketers launch a new product launch, they get the ball rolling by seeding some of their best customers with beta versions.  They then invite those customers to give presentations at their launch events.  The press picks up those stories which leads to more people learning about the features of the new product.  That in turn feeds more new customers, who then become future case studies and so on. 

This new product launch approach can be applied to other engineering markets as well, particularly if your company makes relatively low cost components.  You would start by seeding your product among your target buyers and asking them for reference stories if it proves successful. You would then distribute those customer success stories through traditional and social media outlets to build awareness for your company’s solution.

Getting the marketing flywheel started

flywheel modelWhen you start your SEO efforts, your domain rank may be relatively low.  You can conduct endless keyword research and write reams of excellent content, yet still your stories are buried 6 pages deep in the search results.  It’s frustrating. 

Meanwhile, your content marketing efforts are going unseen.  You distribute your stories on Linkedin and Facebook, Twitter and email, yet the views are low and there are virtually no shares happening.

This is the high energy, low reward stage of the flywheel.

Why does it take so long to get started?

In my view, a lot of this difficult start comes from a lack of reputation.  People who read your stuff might like it, but they lack the confidence to recommend unknown sources to their networks.  As a result, your posts only go as far as your immediate followers and no further. 

This is the time when many industrial marketers give up.  They conclude that inbound marketing, or social media or email marketing just doesn’t work for reaching an engineering audience.  They say something like, “our engineering prospects aren’t engaged on social media”, or “they don’t read stories about valves”.  And so these marketers reduce their inbound marketing budget and revert to their former “campaign-driven” mind-set.

This is particularly true as quarter-end or year-end lead targets loom.  It’s easier to direct budget to the tried and true lead generators, buying media to deliver the audience or paying for search. 

The benefits of flywheel marketing

The great thing about a flywheel is that it takes relatively little energy to keep it spinning or to speed it up once it starts turning.  With content marketing, we’ve found that once people in your network have built up trust in your content, they will recommend that content to others, thereby building your network further.  The same is true of your SEO efforts.  Once your domain authority begins to grow, your new posts will rank higher as soon as they are published.

All of these efforts are enhanced by having a brand is well known and respected.  Brand value is hard to measure so it’s often hard to get investment for brand building, but it is a key element of support for your flywheel marketing efforts. 

Don’t get fired for lack of results while developing your flywheel marketing efforts

If all of this sounds like I’m trying to get you fired for lack of short-term results, please don’t take it that way.  Instead, I hope you can use some of these comments to help convince your senior managers to invest in the long term strategy that is inbound marketing.

How can Publishers help get your flywheel started?

If you want some help getting the flywheel started, publishers like ENGINEERING.com can help you build:

  1. Brand awareness through banners and sponsored posts
  2. Email list through lead generation campaigns that convert on your landing pages
  3. Social audience through content distribution
  4. Leverage ENGINEERING.com domain authority to push content such as white papers, surveys, webinars and sponsored stories

Thanks for reading, and for sharing.                            

John

Subscribe Email

Research Report: How Engineers Find Information
Research Report: How Engineers Find Information
Lorem Ipsum is a simple dummy text used as a dummy text contents. Lorem ipsum will be replaced. Lorem Ipsum is a simple dummy text used as a dummy text contents. Lorem ipsum will be replaced.Lorem Ipsum is a simple dummy text used as a dummy text contents. Lorem ipsum will be replaced.
Google+