Two of the Best Ways to Measure Lead Quality Reply

It’s not enough for industrial marketers to generate leads for their sales team—their ultimate goal is customer acquisition, as marketers themselves report year after year in the IEEE GlobalSpec Industrial Marketing Trends survey.

Marketers must provide sales not just with leads, but high-quality, motivated leads that have a high probability of turning into customers. The remainder of the leads marketing can work in lead nurturing programs. But how do you measure the quality of leads so that you know which ones are sales ready, which are targets for nurturing, or which leads are just downright cold?

Use these two inputs to measure—and improve—lead quality.

Input #1: Customer Profiles

Customer profiles—also called buyer personas—are composite representations of the types of customers you want to find.

Well-crafted customer profiles are the cornerstone of your marketing efforts. They are used to develop targeted campaigns and content, craft relevant and compelling messaging, help unite sales, marketing and service teams by sharing a greater understanding of customers, and even help guide product development efforts.

Source material for customer profiles

You need raw material to build and shape customer profiles. Where do you find it? Usually from a combination of the following sources:

  • The attributes of the best customers in your database. Look at customer location, industry, job title, company size, and other available details.
  • Gather anecdotal experience from your sales team or other institutional knowledge regarding the goals and needs of your customers.
  • Use industry research to better understand customers; for example, the IEEE GlobalSpec research white paper “Pulse of the Engineer” reports on the values, needs and challenges of today’s engineers.

When you generate new contacts that possess similar attributes to your customer profiles, they are more likely to be high-quality leads.

Input #2: Lead Activity

To really solidify a lead’s quality, look to their lead activity.  When a prospect engages with your marketing content—that is considered a lead activity. When they register for a webinar, email or call you—that is also lead activity. The more activities a contact has, the more interested they are likely to be in your product or company. You can increase lead activity by providing compelling content across multiple channels to your target audience.

With each prospect landing somewhere on the scale of your ideal customer profile and also demonstrating a degree of measurable lead activity, you can assign leads a measure of quality.

  • Close matches to your ideal customer profile who are actively engaged with your content are likely sales-ready leads.
  • Leads that are active but not great fits with your customer profile will need further qualification from marketing before passing on to sales.
  • Leads that match well to your customer profile but have shown little activity are good candidates for lead nurturing programs where you can offer additional content and track their digital behavior.
  • Leads that don’t fit your customer profile and are not active are cold leads. Don’t waste resources on them unless they raise their hand again and demonstrate further interest.

 

Learn more about lead nurturing in our 2018 Marketing Planning Toolkit, available here.

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging Technologies Enable Relevancy and Engagement Reply

Don Lesem, IEEE GlobalSpec’s Vice President and Chief Design Offer, recently contributed to eMarketers latest report “Email Marketing Benchmarks 2017: Metrics Steady as Data Creates Better Context and Relevance.”

You can view the entire report here.

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Other personalization tactics used by US marketing executives, according to an April 2017 survey from OneSpot and The Relevancy Group, include dynamic content (cited by 65% of respondents), personalized email based on real-time data (e.g., location) and personalized email content based on machine learning (60% and 58%, respectively).

Clients of IEEE GlobalSpec are using propensity models to craft more relevant audience segments, and seeing 30% better open and click rates. “We used data analytics and modeling technology to determine the propensity of subscribers to interact with video content,” said Don Lesem, vice president and chief design officer at the company. “Then we built the list based upon which audience members would be more likely to engage based on past behavior. Because of the technology, we know that if we send these users a certain type of content, they’re going to participate.”

You can learn more about data personalization by downloading the entire report here.

List Health Practices to Maintain an Engaged Audience Reply

IEEE GlobalSpec’s own Linda Uslaner, Director of Product Management, was interviewed for eMarketers latest report “Email Marketing Benchmarks 2017: Metrics Steady as Data Creates Better Context and Relevance.”

You can view the entire report here.

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Sustaining and growing subscriber lists is another aspect of email marketing that’s also improved. A July 2016 poll from software services firm Clutch found that roughly six in 10 US email marketers used an opt-in form on their website, social media and online purchases to get new email addresses for their lists. About half as many relied on renting and paying for lists.

List health can decline in two ways, according to [Kyle] Henderick [Yes Lifecycle Marketing Senior Director, Client Services] . First, email marketers will always have users that unsubscribe on their own, but it is also important to consider passive opt-outs, in which recipients become unengaged over time by either deleting emails or just letting them sit in the inbox, unread.

“We’ve increased the frequency of doing list pruning for our clients from once a year to twice a year,” said Linda Uslaner, director of product management at engineering and industrial platform IEEE GlobalSpec. “That’s really helping drive performance and improve metrics across the board. If somebody’s not responsive and they’re really not engaging with the content, they should be removed.”

You can learn more about list hygiene by downloading the entire report from eMarketer here.

5 Lead Nurturing Staples to Drive Sales Reply

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Studies have shown that 70 percent of new business can come from long term leads.

To have a high rate of success at converting long term leads, companies must be able to optimize these five important lead nurturing processes.

1. Align marketing and sales teams

Lead nurturing requires buy-in from both your sales and marketing teams. You must come to agreement on your lead nurturing processes, including:

  • What type of leads are sales-ready and what type belong in marketing’s lead nurturing programs?
  • Who is responsible for responding to and routing leads? This can be an individual or a cross-functional team.
  • Who is responsible for updating and tracking leads through the marketing and sales process?
  • What tools and/or software will be used to manage leads?

2. Segment and score leads

Segmenting and scoring leads allows you to provide prospects with relevant information that will help them through their buy cycle.

  • Develop a lead scoring system based on prospect demographics, industry, buying time frame, product interest, digital behavior or other attributes. The relevant attributes are different for every company, so choose what works for you.
  • Apply weights to different lead attributes to come up with a lead score.
  • Determine what to do with a lead based on their score. Example: low-scoring leads stay with marketing while higher-scoring leads are ready for the sales team.
  • Your prospect’s digital behavior should count toward their lead score. Example: if they are actively downloading content or otherwise engaging with your company, their score goes up.

3. Execute disciplined campaigns

Long term leads require long term attention to ensure your company stays top of mind.

  • Develop measurable goals for your lead nurturing campaigns. This could be number of qualified leads passed to sales, new business closed, duration of sales cycle, or other objectives.
  • For each segment of leads, plan a campaign that offers your prospects value, as opposed to sales pitches. Start by sending educational content such as white papers, webinars, articles and videos. Move on to demos, product overviews, and technical specs. Bring them closer to a buying decision with ROI calculators, pricing quotes and special offers.
  • Develop a schedule for when and how often you reach out to prospects. Define the entire campaign in advance, so you will know how to phase your content and messaging.
  • Establish response rules for your campaign. Example: if a prospect downloads a white paper and attends a webinar, their score goes up, or they get a follow-up call, or they are considered sales-ready. Or if a prospect watches a certain video, you send them a topic-specific article. It’s up to you and your sales team to define the rules of the campaign.

4. Measure and improve

When you establish goals, create offers, and define campaign rules, you can track what does and doesn’t work in a lead nurturing program.

  • Eliminate content that doesn’t perform well.
  • Leverage successful content by creating similar offers and re-purposing valuable content into other formats, such as a white paper to a webinar, or an infographic to a video.
  • Follow-up with those responsible for tracking leads throughout the campaign to make sure none have fallen through the cracks. Fix any processes that are flawed.

5. Use marketing automation

While it’s possible to develop and execute a lead nurturing program using only spreadsheets or manual processes, marketing automation is becoming a common tool and an investment in a system might make economic sense.

  • Marketing automation can track your prospect’s digital behavior across websites, social media, blogs and more, helping you improve segmentation, scoring and response.
  • Use marketing automation to score leads, create landing pages, track prospect actions, trigger automatic emails and report on the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Marketing automation vastly improves your ability to report on the effectiveness of various content, can produce analytics and sophisticated reports, and much more.

The IEEE GlobalSpec Tool Kit “The Industrial Marketer’s Guide to Lead Nurturing” has other recommended best practices along with tips for following up on inquiries and creating successful lead nurturing campaigns. Click here to download your complimentary copy.

 

 

 

Four Guidelines for More Effective Marketing Measurement Reply

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More than ever, executives are demanding accountability for marketing expenditures.

The need to show return on marketing investment (ROMI) often leaves marketers dwelling on questions such as: How much did this email campaign contribute to the bottom line? How much revenue did that banner ad produce? However, these might not be the best questions to be asking.

It’s highly unlikely that any single campaign or tactic can be correlated on a one-to-one basis with a sale, especially in industries with long and complex buy cycles, and in an environment where your customers use a wide variety of digital tools and information resources to research a potential purchase.

As you begin planning for next year, you might be tempted to drop a marketing program that doesn’t have sales directly associated with it. This may be a mistake, and may lead to abandoning programs that are making real contributions to your overall marketing effectiveness.

Here are four guidelines to help you improve your marketing measurement and ensure that your integrated, multichannel marketing strategy is delivering a positive ROMI. For a more comprehensive analysis of marketing measurement, please download a complimentary copy of the 2018 Marketing Planning Kit.

1. Measure Engagement at Individual Touchpoints

Sixty-two percent of technical professionals wait until at least the Comparison & Evaluation stage of the buy cycle to make contact with a vendor (Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector). They may have already downloaded a white paper, clicked on a newsletter ad, watched a video, explored your online catalog—and finally decided to reach out. Each of these marketing touchpoints exists as parts of an entire ecosystem of campaigns and they all contributed to this engagement opportunity. Since it’s difficult to match a specific campaign to a sale, try measuring activity and engagement at each touchpoint: clicks, downloads, forms completed, etc.

2. Measure Awareness that Leads to Later Sales Opportunities

Multiple touchpoints—especially early in the buy cycle when prospects are assessing their needs—can help your company establish credibility and be considered when it comes time for engineers to make contact with vendors.

Maintain a broad and consistent presence on the channels that your customers use to help you get noticed early in the buy cycle. You can measure brand awareness by tracking metrics such as impressions, page views, social media shares and mentions.

3. Measure Two Types of Leads

There are two types of marketing leads that can turn into customers: the marketing qualified lead and the marketing influenced lead.

The marketing qualified lead is a lead that marketing has generated through one of its campaigns and passed on to the sales team after qualifying it. Qualified leads are gems. You’ve generated interest from a potential client, and routed that prospect through your lead qualification process. Your sales team wants qualified leads that require less effort and are more likely to convert into customers.

The marketing influenced lead is sometimes overlooked because this lead hasn’t gone through the qualification process and been handed off to sales. It’s less visible than the marketing qualified lead.

However, the marketing influenced lead is any person who engaged with your marketing content before becoming a customer. If these future customers haven’t filled out a form (such as a registration), you may not even know about them yet—but they know about you, and they are being influenced by your marketing content. When they eventually make a buying decision and become a customer, your marketing efforts helped define their path and contribute to their decision, and marketing should get credit for this marketing influenced lead.

4. Don’t Measure Only the “Last Click”

The “last click” attributes a sale to the last marketing-related touch point a customer has before making a buying decision. Last click attribution is a mistake because we know the buy cycle includes many campaign touches that cumulatively add up to help achieve a sale. Today’s path through the buy cycle crosses multiple devices, platforms, sites, and user needs and behaviors. Last click ignores the many supporting tactics that help drive a purchasing decision.

Find out more about marketing measurement, plus gain access to tools and recommendations to build a stellar marketing plan, in the just-published 2018 Marketing Planning Kit. Download your complimentary copy today.

 

 

The Two Types of Marketing Essential to Your Success Reply

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Most industrial marketers are familiar with the terms push and pull marketing. Others use the phrases outbound and inbound marketing, or creative and directional. Whatever their names, these two types of marketing are essential to your success.

Though they are different, creative and directional advertising must work together to form an integrated marketing strategy. As you begin your initial marketing planning for 2018, keep these two approaches in mind.

Push, Outbound, Creative

These are the classic marketing tactics, where you push your message out to create brand awareness or raise a need in your audience.

  • Examples: Direct mail, email blasts, online ads, mobile text marketing, event marketing, telephone calls
  • Benefits: The marketer controls the timing, channel, content and frequency of outbound promotions. Tactics help build brand visibility in the market and awareness among your audience.
  • Challenges: Because push marketing is disruptive, many of those you reach will have no interest in your message at the time when it arrives. Also, while the marketer is in control of the campaign, the customer decides whether or not to pay attention to your marketing efforts.
  • Best practices: Segment your audience as much as possible by advertising on industry-specific sites or emailing only to a target audience.

Pull, Inbound, Directional

Although this type of marketing has been around for years (i.e., a person with a recognized need used to turn to the yellow pages), the rise of the internet and the digital age has led to the dramatic growth in pull marketing.

Directional advertising is placing your business in front of people who are actually looking for your product or service. Your audience has a recognized need and is searching for a solution. Your goal is to make sure they find you.

  • Examples: Supplier websites, presence on industry websites, search engine optimization/paid keyword search, social media recommendations, public relations/article placement
  • Benefits: Ability to connect with your target audience when they are motivated and searching, particularly early in their buy cycle before they make contact with a vendor. Typically, lower cost per opportunity generated
  • Challenges: Requires optimal allocation of resources across the variety of channels that your customers use today to access information and search for products, services and suppliers
  • Best use: Focus on maintaining an effective company website as well as building a broad and visible presence on industry sites that your customers use on a regular basis

Putting Creative and Directional Together

You need both creative and directional tactics to execute an effective marketing program. By implementing both strategies, you will build awareness among the potential customers you want to reach, and be highly visible to them when they are researching or making a purchasing decision.

Push and pull tactics work hand-in-hand for greater efficiency and effectiveness. For example, a web page optimized for specific search terms (pull) that you also drive prospects to using email blasts or banner advertising (push).

Another example is a supplier hub on Engineering360.com where engineers can find you when searching for solutions like those you offer (pull), and where you can also drive traffic to your hub or products through display ads on the site or by advertising in a targeted e-newsletter.

According to the upcoming Trends in Industrial Marketing research report, 69 percent of industrial marketers use both push and pull marketing tactics, but say they could be diversifying their mix more. How do you find the right mix? You can get more tips about creative and directional advertising, plus tools and recommendations to build a stellar marketing plan, in the just-published 2018 Marketing Planning Kit. Download your complimentary copy today.

How Many Marketing Channels Are You Using? Why the Cross Media Multiplier Can Work For You Reply

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By this time of the year, you should have a good idea of how your 2017 marketing plan is performing. You may even be looking ahead to 2018.

The recently updated Marketing Planning Kit is designed to help you assess your current marketing mix with an eye toward creating an even stronger marketing plan for next year. Let’s take a look at why the channels you’re using matters.

Many digital channels are available to marketers and engineers.

Technical professionals have more digital tools and information sources than ever before to do their jobs better and more efficiently. When customers have many tools at their disposal, you need to broaden and deepen your presence to engage them in ways that match their searching and sourcing preferences.

With your customers being exposed to more companies and having many options when ready to buy, you might discover competitors you never knew existed.

Only by diversifying your marketing spend across multiple channels can you generate the results you need, including brand visibility as well as contact quantity and quality. Expanding your media program to multiple channels will put your company and products front and center during the early stages of the buying cycle, when prospects are seeking suppliers and before they are ready to make contact.

Simply stated, you will earn higher ROI investing in well-designed cross media campaigns than by relying solely on any single media channel. This is known as the Cross Media Multiplier.

Marketers are expanding the number of channels they use.

Analyst firm Outsell anticipates the number of tools in the marketing stack to increase between the years 2016 and 2018. In 2016, 58 percent of companies used between 1-5 marketing channels and 18 percent used between 6-10. By 2018, 45 percent will use 1-5 marketing channels and 23 percent will use 6-10.

According to the “Industrial Marketing Trends Survey” conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions, 69%  percent of industrial marketers use both push/outbound marketing channels (email marketing, e-newsletter advertising, et al.) and pull/inbound marketing channels (company website, SEO, catalog listings, et al.)

Content marketing tactics and distribution channels are on the rise.

Most B2B marketers are making extensive use of content marketing to demonstrate thought leadership, increase brand awareness, educate potential customers, and generate quality engagement opportunities.

Research from Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, “2017 Manufacturing Content Marketing,” found that:

  • B2B manufacturing marketers report that their organizations use an average of 8 content marketing tactics, including e-newsletters, videos, white papers, and social media.
  • On average, manufacturing marketers use four paid advertising methods to promote/distribute content.

For your 2018 marketing plan, choose a number of key channels you know work for you, and also experiment with several newer opportunities.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels for technical professionals are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites.

In reality, your audience uses many other digital channels to keep up with the latest technologies, product news, companies and brands—all of which influence buying decisions. E-newsletters, industry sites, social media, video sharing sites, webinars and email are all important industry information sources for your customers.

Include your media partners when evaluating marketing channels.

Planning an integrated, multichannel marketing program is no easy task, and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Take time to consult with an experienced digital media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach. Discuss your marketing objectives and have them show you multichannel plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives.

IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions produced a Marketing Planning Kit to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your current marketing choices, calculate the value of existing marketing programs, understand today’s marketing landscape, and plan more effective strategies for 2018. Our intent is to help you define and achieve your marketing goals and objectives for the year ahead.

Download your complimentary copy of the Marketing Planning Kit and get a head start on your 2018 plan today.

How to Connect with Younger Engineers Reply

As a marketer, you likely have long-term relationships with many seasoned engineers who are in leadership roles and in a position to influence decisions and make purchases. You’re probably comfortable communicating with this engineer. They are likely comfortable with your brand and know what you stand for.

These engineers are the strongest advocates for your products, services, brand, and company. Additionally, they can pass their preferences to younger engineers or to colleagues at other companies if they change jobs. Clearly, you should continue to focus on nurturing these technical professionals in your marketing efforts.

At the same time, many older engineers are nearing retirement. Forty-seven percent have been in the engineering field for 30 or more years, and 22 percent for 20-29 years, according to the “2017 Pulse of the Engineer Survey” from IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions. Younger engineers, many of them millennials, are beginning to step into positions of authority. This requires you to cultivate new relationships with the next generation of customers.

While many aspects of marketing to engineers hold true regardless of your customer’s age, younger technical professionals have their own preferences that vary slightly from the habits of their older colleagues. Follow these tips to make stronger connections with the next generation of engineers:

Make digital your primary focus.

According to the “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector” research report from IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions, millennials use a variety of channels in their buying process and there is no single channel preferred. They use social media more than their older colleagues, conduct more product searches , read more news and more e-newsletters. The three most popular channels to research a work-related purchase are general search engines, supplier websites, and online catalogs. You can connect with engineers young and old by having a broad and consistent online.

Build a presence in online forums.

Online forums have seen a significant growth among younger engineers, with 39 percent now using them. The top three activities in online forums are finding technical support (57 percent), searching for product information (52 percent) and viewing videos (40 percent).

Use content to build trust.

Younger engineers may not be familiar with your brand or value propositions.. It’s important that you provide relevant, educational information to them to help build trust for your brand and to increase your younger prospect’s confidence in choosing to work with your company. You can also build trust through Customer case studies that demonstrate ROI, clear warranty and support policies, as well as white papers and articles. Consider working with an industry analyst or respected media partner to sponsor a white paper or research. You can also sponsor a webinar hosted by a trusted third party.

Develop quick-hitting content that is easily consumed.

Sometimes your younger audience wants to dig deep with a 3,000-word white paper. But often, they prefer nuggets of valuable content. This can include a few charts and graphs showing industry trends or product performance, or A two-minute video that explains a technical process or how your product works. You can usually parse longer content such as white papers and webinars into smaller, discrete chunks that can easily be consumed and shared.

Update your website regularly.

Engineers of any age want the latest information, whether it comes from their news feeds or your website. Make sure the content on your site is fresh and reflects your most recent positioning and product portfolio. Purge the old and outdated. If you work with media partners to publish an online catalog or gain industry exposure, make sure your catalog, featured products and banner ads represent and highlight your newest offerings.

Optimize for mobile devices.

While engineers still do the majority of their heavy-lifting work on desktop computers, their mobile usage is increasing. This is especially true for younger engineers, who use their phones for reading email and articles, and conducting product searches. Websites and email should adhere to responsive design standards, so that they can easily be scanned, read and searched on mobile devices. Make sure that media partners and other vendors you work with are mobile friendly and follow best practices for displaying websites on mobile devices. It’s frustrating to users when they have trouble viewing content on their mobile devices. Younger technical professionals might quickly turn elsewhere.

What do you think? Have you struggled to connect with the next generation, or do you already have a strategy in place?

Ten Tips to Put the “Wow” in Your Webinars 2

One of the reasons why webinars remain an effective marketing tactic is that your attending audience is motivated and interested. They are taking time out of their busy day to listen to your message and interact with your presenters. 

According to the research study “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector”, 70 percent of technical professionals attended at least one webinar in the past year, with 32 percent attending four or more.

Make the most of this engaged audience with these ten tips will make your webinars stronger and more successful.

1. Forget the hype, be helpful
Engineers do not want to listen to your marketing hype in a webinar. They want straightforward information to help them solve problems, learn about new technologies, or perform other work-related tasks. Choose a webinar topic that allows you to be an expert and to teach your audience something they will benefit from. It’s the best way to build credibility for your company.

2. Perform dry runs
Have you ever attended a webinar and there’s been a glitch? We all have. Whether the cause is technical difficulties, or an unprepared speaker, the result is still a loss of engagement. You can prevent these problems by thoroughly testing all technology and have speakers prepare and rehearse before the event.

3. Don’t read
Only the most experienced presenters can read from a script and sound like they aren’t reading. The rest of us can’t pull it off. You still might want to prepare a script and practice reading it, but when the time comes to present, put the script aside and use bullet points to prompt y our speaking. You’ll sound more natural and be more interesting.

4. Interact with your audience
Today’s webinar platforms offer all kinds of features that allow you to interact with your audience. Add real-time poll questions to your webinar. Polls also give you an opportunity to collect data from your audience. Use the chat function to answer questions during the webinar. You can also drive engagement by posting updates during the webinar to social media.

5. Entertain your audience
It never hurts to be entertaining, especially when the topics are serious and technical. Feel free to inject little asides and anecdotes that are related to your topic, or add a slide or two that is unexpected and memorable. When the webinar ends, your audience will be grateful that they not only learned something but also enjoyed the time they spent with you.

6. Be creative with your schedule
Although many studies shows that the most popular days to hold webinars are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, try breaking out of the mold. Schedule for a Monday or Friday. There will be less competition for your audience’s attention. At IEEE GlobalSpec, we’ve seen excellent results from Monday and Friday webinars.

7. Promote everywhere
Typically less than half of registrants actually show up for a webinar. That means you need to heavily promote your event and drive registrations to get the numbers you want. Post your event prominently on your website, and promote through email, social media, banner ads, partners and any other channel you use. Be benefit-oriented and compelling in your promotional efforts.

8. Rebroadcast the webinar
Many of the people who register but don’t attend are still interested in your webinar content. Archive the presentation on your website where engineers can access it in the future.

9. Follow-up with everyone
Follow-up with attendees, as well as with those who registered but did not attend. Plan ahead how you will add them to nurturing campaigns and help move them along toward buying. Give those who attended an opportunity to ask follow-up questions and send them additional related content. Those who missed out can attend the rebroadcast.

Consider co-hosting a webinar with a business or media partner. IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions offers a variety of webinar options as your partner. You can develop and present the content, and we’ll invite a targeted audience that might be hard for you to reach on your own. Or you can sponsor one of our webinars presented by a team of industry experts, or have one of our subject matter experts co-present with you. There’s a webinar solution for every marketing objective. Find out more here.

How to Match Content to Stages of the Buy Cycle 1

Through research and direct experience, we’ve learned a lot about the engineering buy cycle. According to the IEEE GlobalSpecIndustrial Buy Cycle Study,” a buy cycle averages 12 weeks in length, is continuously beginning anew, and consists broadly of three stages: Research & Analysis, Comparison & Evaluation, and Purchase.

Here’s what else we know:
• Supplier websites, general search engines, online catalogs and colleagues are among the most popular sources of information during all stages of the buy cycle. But in reality, there is no single “go-to” resource preferred by industrial professionals at any stage of the buy cycle, which reinforces the importance of having a multi-channel marketing strategy to connect with potential customers.

• Engineers prefer to search independently for products and services, and make contact with a supplier only later in their buy cycle. This illustrates the importance of providing high-quality, educational, and easily accessible content to your audience so that you are not passed by.

• Purchasing is a collaborative effort, with influence from engineers, management, operations, purchasing and more. As a result, industrial marketers need to have a consistent overall message to market, but they also need to ensure that they are communicating with these different personas, addressing their key concerns and making a connection.

• When evaluating a potential purchase, an engineering team will typically get quotes from three different suppliers. The challenge for suppliers is to make the final three, and to be the supplier chosen. Most of them are using content marketing to attract prospects and move them toward purchase, but not everyone is matching content to the different stages of the engineering buy cycle.
It’s not only important that you reach engineers and provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision – you need to tailor what you provide them to where they are in the buy cycle. Here’s how:

Research & Analysis
Blogs, newsletters and articles help engineers keep up on trends and technologies, and become aware of innovative companies and new products. They learn possible approaches to solving problems and may even discover needs they didn’t know they had.

This is a good stage for offering thought leadership content that showcases your unique approach to solving problems or that distinguishes your company in the market. Webinars, white papers and articles are also good content marketing options.

Comparison & Evaluation
Powerful and persuasive content to provide for this stage includes easy-to-read specifications, data sheets and infographics; “how-to” tutorials or videos that show products in use; and customer success stories or testimonials.
Comparison & Evaluation is also the stage at which engineers are most likely to contact a supplier’s sales team or technical staff. At this point your customers likely have some knowledge of your company and a potential purchase in mind. Make sure your team has the content they need to answer questions from customers.

Purchase
It’s time to make a decision. It could go several ways. If you’re ready with the right content, it’s more likely to go your way. At this stage, you’re more likely to see financial and procurement professionals also be involved.

A customer obviously wants to know about pricing, but also terms of the purchase. Are you selling an annually renewable license or contract? Are any product upgrades included? What is the warranty? What is the technical support? In addition to providing this content, you can gain an advantage if you can offer an ROI calculator or other tool to help customers understand the financial impact of their decision.

Provide the information and the resources that engineers require—at the time they need it—to drive preference for your brand and create loyalty for your products. For a deeper understanding of this topic, download the complimentary white paper “The Industrial Buy Cycle Study” from IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.
 

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