Building an inboundLead-Gen Machine

Building an inbound
Lead-Gen Machine

Long story short:

When we started working with Plataine, it already was an established technology leader, developing unique AI based IIoT manufacturing optimization solutions – industry 4.0 domain. ongoing measurements and analytics and more.

The modus operandi of a startup company completely transforms when they go from post-Seed to post-Round A activities. Board expectations evolve and the challenge shifts from establishing the initial marketing DNA to focusing on achieving market leadership positioning in the market. Hence, our focus shifted from building the marketing foundations and working on initial awareness and recognition, to much more aggressive and intensive activities. As the company rapidly started to grow, we had to re-adjust and serve a growing number of internal stakeholders (sales, product, etc.).

From Seed to Round A: A marketing scale-up story

About Plataine

Plataine is the leading provider of Industrial IoT and AI-based optimization solutions for advanced manufacturing. Plataine’s solutions provide intelligent, connected Digital Assistants for production floor management and staff, empowering manufacturers to make optimized decisions in real-time, every time. Plataine’s patent-protected technologies are used by leading manufacturers worldwide, including Airbus, GE, Renault F1® Team, IAI, Triumph, General Atomics, TPI Composites, AAT Composites and MT Aerospace.

The inbound marketing challenge

Being a B2B company that operates in the enterprise-level manufacturing industry, Plataine’s sales cycles require ‘high-touch’ in nature.

The focus verticals are Aerospace, Automotive, Turbines and other manufacturing industries. Geographic regions of focus are US, Western Europe and Asia (main focus on China).

Addressable market size: Audience size can reach tens of thousands of decision makers, champions, influencers and ambassadors. As with many other enterprise-sales-based B2Bs, the audience size isn’t huge, but definitely sufficient for inbound lead-gen (although this is not always the case. There are many instances where the addressable market size is too small for inbound work to make sense. In these cases we usually prefer to focus on outbound activities, such as industry events).

Onboarding and initial work

As our role was to support the digital (inbound) part of Plataine’s marketing operation, the direct impact of our work could be easily measured by traffic, inbound leads and MQLs (marketing qualified leads). Strategy and day-to-day operations were developed around key benchmarks that we began tracking right from the start. Today we continue to add more and more trackable measures, which became more interesting as the operation progressed.

Strategy and planning

We always start with understanding the business goals. Based on these goals we define an actionable marketing strategy and create an implementation plan. Our implementation plans would normally cover the first five months and specify both the marketing areas we would focus on and the specific tasks within these areas (plus a clear picture of inputs and outputs, in weekly granularity). While creating the initial plan, we simultaneously run a comprehensive marketing ecosystem analysis. We often find that insights emanating from this competitive analysis help optimizing our plans.

Fine-tuning key messages

In order to optimize customer-facing communications, we usually either create or tweak the messages to ensure that the company is well differentiated and to maximise our chances to cut through the noise. In this case, we sat together with Plataine’s internal teams and optimized the company’s messages.

Website Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

It was now the time to run some UX and content adaptations in order to ensure that the website is optimized for lead-capture. This included component optimization throughout the website, including the company’s blog.

Analytics foundations

As inbound marketing is based on data-driven indications, we make sure that we can properly measure important metrics (such as traffic to specific pages, session duration and time on page, specific goals and more). We identified some gaps and worked to fix them, and then created a report template and started tracking the important inbound parameters.

Feeding the machine

As Plataine is a top quality, premium technology provider that serves top-of-the-line advanced manufacturers it was clear that superb content is not only key, but a necessity. We had to grab the attention and interest of C level executives.

Phase one

The initial phase of our strategy and implementation efforts was focused on:

Writing

Ongoing content creation efforts focused on top-funnel educational content and thought leadership articles.

SEO optimization

The content had so be superb, but also optimized for easy, skimmable reading and for SEO purposes (keywords, structure, titles and the like).

Social communities

Proactive content promotion in many professional communities, content publishing platforms and social groups.

Paid campaigns boost

Carefully and thoughtfully, we added paid campaigns to the mix. We micro-targeted our audiences and ensured that paid campaigns would be a supportive strategy and never the main one. We focused on promoting value-added content (rather than offering Plataine’s solution directly).

Additional activities

In parallel, Plataine’s internal marketing team (managed by Amir Ben-Assa, Plataine’s CMO) was running multiple additional activities such as webinars, email newsletters, PR activities, industry events, case studies production and more.

Results were showing: We started seeing growth in traffic, conversion rates and the number of inbound leads. Equally as important, Plataine was gaining a higher position in the industry, as reported by its business and sales teams.

Phase two

Inbound becomes more sophisticated.
As time passed, Plataine’s marketing operation grew, knowledge was gained and new capabilities were added. It was time to add more activities to the marketing mix.

Gated content

The company already had an amazing library of resources and articles; now it was time to add a new layer of gated content – guides and eBooks – to support acquisition of new prospects as well as nurture existing ones.

Advanced measures of lead and content quality

When there’s enough data, there’s enough fuel for optimization. We could now track data we couldn’t track before, such as:

• Lead-quality and MQLs by channel (paid vs. unpaid)
• Lead-quality by content
• Lead-quality by campaign and ad-group

Adding these activities helps us support the industry-leadership positioning, gain more leads, lower the cost per lead, increase lead-quality, and continue to optimize our content, focusing on lead-nurturing activities and content that delivers the best leads.

Coming up

After two years of working with Plataine, both sides have learned a lot. Our challenges have shifted from building an inbound marketing machine to perfecting the one we created; from supporting the branding and positioning KPIs to maintaining an industry-leadership position; from establishing best-in-class content to maintaining our top-content-creator perception in the industry.
Plataine’s marketing team (we see ourselves as part of it) is now working on adding more communication channels and content formats to the mix, establishing better measures of leads quality, nurturing MQLs more efficiently, creating unique content formats and other activities that are part of the maturing process of their marketing operation.
The journey continues. And it’s exciting!

Here are just a few visual examples of content, landing pages and ad-creatives

A recently-published guide: https://www.plataine.com/ebook/the-complete-guide-how-smart-your-factory-really-is/


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