Marine robots play key roles in many government, military, environmental, scientific, educational, industrial, commercial and even recreational applications. While the versatility of these vehicles and the variety of markets and use cases is a major advantage in many ways, their broad range of applications and target markets create significant marketing challenges for the companies that make them. And while government agencies often are important customers, they rarely allow information about how they use these vehicles to be mentioned by the manufacturers.
If your company manufactures marine robots, here are some tips for using content marketing more effectively.
- Use brand storytelling tailored to specific segments and use cases to earn the attention of key audiences. Talking about the breadth of your product range, your customer or sales volume, the variety of different use cases and product specs may impress your target audiences with your expertise and product features. But in a world where every potential customer is being bombarded with marketing messages and low-value content on print, digital and social media platforms, only the most relevant, relatable and engaging content will break through the infoglut and earn your target buyers’ attention.
- Use content to demonstrate your industry expertise and thought leadership. Well-written stories that explore an industry- or market-specific challenge, share insights and industry innovations that address that issue, and mention your relevant product(s) only as strong examples of those solutions, can attract key audiences’ attention, deliver significant value and cultivate trust in your brand as a subject matter expert and source of valuable insights. Even when introducing a new product or highlighting a feature or capability that is a significant differentiator, try focusing on the impact on/significance to the industry or market segment (the “what of it?”) more than on the product specifications and features (the “what is it?”). A good example is the recent editorial we composed with our marine robotics client Aquabotix in Ocean News & Technology, Connectivity is the New Driver of Offshore ROVs.
- Keep the stories coming. Use your website and blog to share industry- and use case-specific stories to supplement your media efforts. These types of stories should comprise at least half your posts, if not more. Generating a consistent, frequent flow of new stories that educate, inform and engage your target audiences makes them associate your content with significant value and predisposes them to pay attention whenever you share new content. The Aquabotix blog is a good example of frequent, value-added posts, including recaps/highlights of relevant industry events and stories about how the company’s underwater vehicles are being used for different applications, interspersed with company news and announcements.
- Leverage market research and customer on-site visits to make content more relevant, engaging and authentic. While this isn’t an option for military- or security-related markets, for less confidential markets these experiences can be used to generate interesting and relatable stories that demonstrate your in-depth understanding of target audiences and how your company’s vehicles help alleviate key pain points and/or maximize opportunities.
For example, when Aquabotix CEO Durval Tavares wanted to deepen his understanding of the challenges and needs of aquaculturists, he traveled to Chile for the AquaSur 2016 conference. He also visited a local fish farm while he was there so he could observe the operations firsthand and speak with the operators. Those direct insights led to a three-page contributed article for International Aquafeed, in which Tavares provided context for how Aquabotix’s robots are solving aquaculturists’ financial and operational challenges.
- Demonstrate your claims. Letting prospective buyers see and, if possible, experience for themselves what it’s like to use your products in a relevant application is a great way to engage their interest and make them more receptive to your brand. For example, Tavares recorded video of the Aquabotix Endura ROV in action through the lens of the AquaConnect camera during his visit to the fish farm, letting website visitors experience for themselves what it’s like to check fish stock, monitor feeding habits, inspect nets and check bottom conditions with the ROV and underwater camera. Think about the most compelling applications for your robots and provide an operator’s-eye view of them in action in those scenarios.
Following these five strategies can help you attract new prospects, strengthen customer engagement and position your brand as a thought leader in this increasingly competitive marine robotics market.