Planning for 2013: Questions to Ask

You want to start 2013 in a strong competitive position, with an effective marketing plan in place. Now is the time to analyze your past performance, make marketing choices for next year, and get budgets approved. Otherwise you could end up scrambling and making last-minute decisions that may not be optimal for achieving your marketing goals.

The first step is to analyze the effectiveness of your current marketing programs. Find out what worked and what didn’t — and learn from it. As part of your analysis, answer these questions:

Do programs deliver on your objectives?
Most industrial companies use marketing to achieve a combination of awareness and engagement opportunities. Some programs tend to be stronger for awareness, while others help you make direct contact with your target audience. The best programs do both, leading to increased efficiency and a greater return on your marketing investment.

For example, exhibiting at an online event offers high branding and gives you opportunities to engage with prospects through collateral downloads, chat, prize giveaways and more. Other programs that are strong for both awareness and engagement are specialized search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites, Webinars and e-newsletter advertisements. Notice that most of these programs are digital media. Online programs keep you in front of industrial professionals when and where they search and discover the information, parts, services and components they need to do their jobs.

What programs are you currently using? Do they meet your awareness and engagement objectives?

What is the quality of your engagement opportunities?
Any sales person or distributor would agree that the quality of an engagement opportunity is a much greater indicator of sales potential than the quantity. As a marketer, you are responsible for delivering quality contacts and inquiries to sales. One measure of quality is the amount of information you get from a contact.

For example, a clickthrough from a general search engine might only provide an IP address of a visitor — not much help in establishing a connection. Moving up the scale — let’s say from an online catalog or supplier directory — you might get company name, individual contact information, freshness (in terms of timing; in the digital age, leads grow old quickly), area of interest, timeframe for purchase decision, and more.

What type of information do you capture from your marketing programs? Do you get this information as soon as it is generated, or is it days or weeks old by the time you see it?

How optimized is your marketing mix?
Your customers and prospects use a variety of information sources: supplier websites, specialized search engines, online catalogs, industry- and product-focused e-newsletters, online events, Webinars, social media, and more. Some like to engage through their inbox. Others prefer events such as Webinars and online trade shows. Your greatest opportunity to connect with your target audience and hard to reach prospects is to maintain a strong and visible presence across multiple channels where your company, products and services are visible whenever and wherever customers are online.

Do you include multiple channels in your marketing mix?

Can you easily measure the results of your marketing efforts?
Marketing is under more pressure than ever to demonstrate results. However, some traditional marketing programs don’t lend themselves that well to advanced measurement. You may not know how well they worked.

If you use online marketing programs, measurement metrics should be easy to come by, such as impressions, clicks, and conversions. In addition, with the industrial market landscape having changed so dramatically over the last few years, your customers and prospects have largely migrated online to search for components, products, suppliers, and services.

What metrics do you use to measure the success of your marketing programs?

What advice do your media partners offer?
Before committing program dollars for 2013, discuss your marketing challenges and goals with existing or potential media partners. Find the partners you are most comfortable with and who offer the best programs to meet your needs. Use this checklist of questions to evaluate media partners; based on their answers, you should be able to better allocate your marketing dollars and choose effective programs:

• Do they have the attention of your target audience?
• Can they keep your company visible to prospects and customers at all times?
• Do they offer a variety of integrated marketing solutions aligned with your goals rather than trying to fit you into cookie cutter programs?
• Do they deliver targeted, quality engagement opportunities with full contact information in a timely manner?
• Do they provide reporting you can use to measure the performance of your marketing and justify your marketing investments?

Ready to get started? Download the 2013 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit.
GlobalSpec has recently released its latest version of the Industrial Marketing Planning Kit. This interactive toolset will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your current marketing choices, calculate the value of existing marketing programs, understand changes in the marketing climate, and plan more effective prospect and client engagement strategies for 2013.

Our intent is to help you define and achieve your marketing goals and objectives for the year ahead. Download your complimentary copy and start planning for your success.

Next month we’ll discuss the mistakes to avoid when planning for 2013.

2 Comments

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  1. ljxcz
    09. Nov, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    very good article.

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  1. Planning for 2013: Five Marketing Mistakes to Avoid | MarketingMaven GlobalSpec - 16. Nov, 2012

    […] your past performance, make marketing choices for next year, and get budgets approved. (Read "Planning for 2013: Questions to Ask.") This month, in Part Two, we point out common marketing mistakes and how to avoid […]

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