Content Marketing
Exploring Manufacturing Audiences: Real-Time, Custom Content Consumption Insights

Exploring Manufacturing Audiences: Real-Time, Custom Content Consumption Insights

September 26, 2019
5 min read

Gaining actionable insights into what your buyers are doing and how you can create a strategy that engages them doesn’t have to break your budget. In fact, these insights are free if you know where to look.

The Audience Explorer tool we’ve been using for the past 3 weeks is a no-cost, interactive search tool for B2B content marketers to discover real-time consumption insights on custom audiences. Moving onto Part 3 of my series, I’m back to reveal an inside look into custom buyer engagement behavior, focusing on the Manufacturing industry.

Audience Explorer is NetLine’s approach at helping Content Marketers just like us. Through a gazillion leads they process each month they are able to see the data-backed insights that allow for campaign optimization. In a sense, Audience Explorer is a hands-on approach to using this first-party data for real-time, custom content consumption insights.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Build specific personas within Manufacturing, based on the size of the company or the role of the decision maker.
  • Target different verticals and industries as opposed to focusing on one niche.
  • Collect and analyze real-time data to understand the specific behavior of in-market audiences.
  • Experiment with the formats and distribution platforms of your content.

Targeting Strategy

A quick refresher for those who skipped the first or second part of this series, there are two approaches to strategically breaking into the reporting.

  • Do you have a clear target persona?
  • Or are you still building one?

If You Have a Target Persona

Once you enter the Manufacturing Job Area, filters, pie charts, and other features are immediately introduced. The best way to tackle the data: refine the filters. Allowing five options to narrow in on your target persona, specifying the Job Function, Job Level, Employee Size, Industry and Region provide custom insights for your unique buyer. For example, here are our filters:

  • Job Area: Manufacturing
  • Job Function: All
  • Job Level: Manager and above
  • Employee Size: 100 and above
  • Industry: Automotive, Finance, Healthcare/Medical, Manufacturing, Retail and Consumer Goods, Utility/Energy
  • Region: US, UK, Western Europe, Canada, Asia

As the pie charts adapt to the filters, there are numerous audience insights that unfold. Inspecting the Job Level breakdown first, Managers cover 41% of the total audience with Directors in second at 23%. This engagement compared with C-level consumption at only 3% should trigger alarms for marketers chasing the C-suite. The data is practically begging you to tap into the buying committee and take advantage of those job levels who are not only hungrier for content in this exact moment, but also largely influence purchasing decisions.

Another segment to explore is Company Employee Size. In the lead at 20%, the most engaged professionals come from larger companies, 10,000 – 19,999.  Oddly enough, right behind Enterprise are SMBs. Making up 15% of the total audience are those from companies 100-249 employee size. By doing homework on company size, marketers can strategize targeting job levels with more granularity. Meaning, if your target buyers are from enterprise organizations, expect better results by targeting influencers in positions beneath executive roles.

Interactive pie charts let you dig into any segment. For instance, clicking on the Healthcare/Medical Industry shifts the rest of the data. When creating or optimizing your strategy, it’s important to be able to pivot data and drill down into specific audiences.


Digging into a specific company industry, we see larger companies hold firm as the most engaged. We see a slight shift in Job levels, with Directors leading consumption activity at 36% followed closely behind by Managers. Intrigued? Keep clicking slices of the pie charts to see how the profiles begin to emerge. For this example, based on real engagement, marketers could confidently target content towards Directors or Managers of Plant Management, Senior Management or Planning at companies with 10,000 – 19,999 employees. This type of information can validate existing personas or inform creation of new ones.

Honing in on the Manager Job level in addition to the industry-specific focus, we see out of all the Job Functions for Manufacturing, Plant Management dominates almost half the audience. Moving onto the employee size, SMBs are now pushed far behind larger and mid-market companies. By leveraging the ability to analyze a cross-section of data, you’re able to understand who exactly the Managers in the Healthcare/Medical Industry are.

If You Don’t Have a Target Persona

Scroll past the filters and start with the pie charts. Analyzing an unfiltered view of the total Manufacturing audience brings a holistic view that can lead to a strategic approach. By interacting with the charts, you’ll see the data refresh in a way that tells the story of who is most actively consuming content in this job area—this is when a persona takes shape.


Counting for almost 70% of the total audience are Management job functions. Moving towards Company Employee Size, we understand the playing field is showing two extremes are most engaged: Enterprise at 15% and SMBs at 13%. However, looking at the whole company size picture, it’s clear that larger companies are more active overall.

Inspecting the Job Level, we see Managers and Directors are consuming content more frequently than C-level employees. In fact, Managers are four times more engaged with content than C-level.

Factors to keep in mind when creating a target persona:

  • Targeting outside the C-Suite matters.
  • While many marketers crave creating content directly intended for top decision makers, ignoring the larger buying committee could mean ignoring your most engaged and hungriest audience.
  • Pivoting data reveals specific behavior of in-market audiences.

If we want to drill down on understanding who is most engaged within the Director Job Level, a simple click on the graph will help determine if this is the right Job Level for your company to target.

Food for Thought

  • If you’re focusing on a specific job level and the rest of the data doesn’t align with your business, can you target others who still hold authority/influence?
  • Do you have tight restrictions on company employee size targeting? Do you have room to pivot your targeting towards larger or smaller companies?
  • Are you taking advantage of the most active industries or are you in the mindset of focusing on only one vertical?

Content Strategy

Apart from tackling the charts, there are other sections in this tool beneficial for your marketing strategy. With the goal of deepening content resonance, understanding who’s in-market and maximizing engagement, these features dynamically update depending on your refined filters. To gain a comprehensive view into the Manufacturing audience, we’re looking at the results without any filters selected.

Top 10 Trending Topics highlights the subjects and themes most relevant to this audience. Without filters, the themes are fairly broad, yet as a set of 10, it’s clear to see some overlap to understand what’s hot right now.

Buyer Research stream gives a rare view into people-level insights. You’re able to understand that a VP from General Contractors, Inc. downloaded an eBook related to Vendors and Suppliers. Combining those four data points, marketers can gain insights into the people behind the data to build a compelling strategy.

Another feature is Most Active In-Market Companies. This section nails down top companies engaging most frequently with related content. Knowing which companies are already on the hunt for Manufacturing-related content gives your content strategy and potential ABM targeting list an advantage. We see key players, such as Ford, who are the most frequent consumers.

One of my favorite sections is Most Consumed Content Format because it shares the reality of how important the packaging of your content is. Manufacturing professionals are most likely to consume a White Paper over other content types, like Special Reports. This doesn’t mean people aren’t engaging with various formats, simply that one is more magnetizing than the other.

Custom Insights Ready for Immediate Use

Combining interactive charts with customized features, this real-time data breaks down the complicated content consumption ecosystem by showing what is really happening right now. Optimizing your strategy to meet today’s trends and stay relevant in the eyes of your prospects is crucial.

Wrapping up my three-part-series, this Manufacturing edition echoes the necessity of leveraging first-party data for your campaign strategy. Now any marketer has access to buyer engagement data at this scale, allowing you to fuel your next brainstorming session with real-time information. The competitive edge is yours, you just have to take it.

Are you ready to bring your targeting and content strategy wish list to life? Leverage real-time buyer engagement insights right here. Your Manufacturing buyers are waiting.

NetLine is using the hashtag #ImaDataMarketer to gain feedback on their reports if you want to share with them directly!

Get a Free Consultation
for Content Marketing

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

Related Posts