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8 Ways to Radically Increase Industrial Marketing ROI with CAD

Traffic Generation Cafe recently published an excellent post on re-purposing generic content. Please read their post for yourselves but a summary of their recommended process is reproduced in their graphic below. Basically the content is initially developed and published, then re-used in many ways to reach more people and increase the ROI on the content development. A blog post gets turned into a slide deck, the slide deck into a video, the video into an audio podcast, the slide deck into images that are then used and embedded in infographics, social media, articles and other blog posts.

Content Marketing - content re-purposing process image credit: Traffic Generation Cafe

Their smart approach got us thinking about how this applies to manufactured products and industrial suppliers. Here’s our take but the key point is that all your marketing content items are business assets and like other assets, need to work as hard as possible to gain the highest ROI (Return on Investment) possible on the cost of creating them!

  • For traditional types of marketing content it potentially applies directly – though we recommend that industrial suppliers confirm that their target market actually uses each step (for example: Instagram) before applying their content to that step
  • For industrial specific types of marketing content (for example 3D CAD Models of your products) we already help industrial suppliers re-purpose their content but have not documented the specific steps.

This post applies their good idea to B2B industrial content marketing – specifically the re-use of 3D CAD models of industrial products. The 8 step process is illustrated in the diagram at the top and explained step-by-step below.

STEP 1 – CAD Model Downloads

Engineers and designers use 3D CAD and CAE systems to design their products. Often these products include standard parts such as bearings, gears, motors, etc. and the suppliers of these parts can save designers time by making it easy to find and download a 3D CAD model of the right part. In turn that supplier’s part detail is ‘locked and loaded’ into the new design for later purchase. Designers save time. Suppliers increase business because CAD model downloads can convert to sales up to 50% of the time. To include CAD in your online catalog see How to Setup CAD Models on Your Website (and what not to do).

CAD model downloads can also apply to non-standard made-to measure or configurable parts for the same benefits both to users and suppliers. Add CAD model downloads to your configurators whenever the resulting products may be included in customers CAD designs – see 10 Questions to Ask Before Selecting an Online Product Configurator Solution

STEP 2 – CAD Model Viewing

Providing high performance online viewing of 3D CAD product models within industrial website Catalogs and Configurators enables manipulation and viewing (pan, zoom, rotate, etc.) of fully rendered and ‘lifelike’ 3D Product CAD models to enable and encourage correct product selection. It can even provide measurement of dimensions within the viewer.

It’s important to enable this viewing in a modern browser without installing any additional executable, activeX or flash software The reason is that users are often justifiably fearful of downloading and installing new software. This is usually achieved using WebGL technology available in most modern browser versions.

STEP 3 – 2D Drawings/Spec Sheets

Contrary to most popular thinking, there’s a high demand for 2D CAD drawings (also called ‘spec sheets’). This is for fully dimensioned 2D views (plans, elevations, sections) including tolerances (GD&T) produced automatically from 3D CAD models. This is especially the case when online configurators are used to generate 3D CAD models of one-off products or configurations purpose designed for and by the customer using your configurator.

Of course the 3D CAD model is often downloaded and included in the designer’s CAD assembly. However, many other people still need a fully dimensioned 2D CAD drawing to do their jobs. These include non-CAD users such as non-engineering staff, Buyers, Machinists, Maintenance Staff, Documentation Writers, etc.

STEP 4 – CAD Model Syndication

For the broadest customer reach industrial suppliers should enable sharing of their CAD model and drawing data widely. Beyond your own website there are three other types of automated syndication of your CAD models and drawings to consider:

  • Your partners’ (Distributors, Resellers, OEMs or others) e-Commerce websites and catalogs
  • Online CAD portals (such as and CAD search engines
  • CAD model libraries within commercial CAD Systems

Obviously a thoroughly maintained master data source and syncing infrastructure should be used to ensure all versions remain up-to-date.

STEP 5 – CAD Model Animations

For many products animations created using 3D CAD models can illustrate how they work, are installed, are assembled or maintained. These animations can be saved as short video files too. Providing such animations or videos can aid selection of your products over competitors and later on in the process lower your support costs by providing these self-help tools to customers.

STEP 6 – CAD Model Images in emails

After someone has downloaded one of your CAD Models, what do you do next? Assuming you are requiring registration (at least of an email address) prior to the download, you have a sales lead that should be routed to your sales team to followup and see if the user needs any further help. Beyond that you know this user had an interest in one of your products so your marketing should keep them informed by email about that product and similar products. Obviously these emails should include images of all the products and links to part detail pages and CAD models.

STEP 7 – Embed CAD Animations

Use your 3D CAD models to create animations that illustrate how your products work, are installed, assembled or maintained. Then use those animations as short videos in all appropriate digital documents (such as website part detail pages), syndicate them to your partners (such as distributor and reseller websites), perhaps even to create your own YouTube channel. Obviously CAD animations (and CAD images too) can also be used in online adverts (including re-targetting ads).

STEP 8 – “The next idea”

Obviously this is a place holder for one or more future ideas for other re-uses or re-purposing of your 3D CAD models. We’re not sure what that next idea will be but, for example, it might be use of CAD models in Augmented Reality (AR) systems, perhaps to help display incoming Internet of Things (IOT) maintenance data on the part?

If you want to know more about using CAD model marketing content in this step-by-step way for sales lead generation, please call, see this 6 blog series HOW TO USE PRODUCT CAD MODELS TO RADICALLY INCREASE MANUFACTURING SALES or click either button below.



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