The last few years have witnessed an ongoing shift in the industrial
sector from traditional to online marketing. Suppliers, manufacturers
and service providers are allocating more of their mix to online
programs to build a stronger presence on the Web where their customers
and prospects are.
Will this trend continue in 2008? Is anything new on the horizon? Here
are five 2008 trends relevant to suppliers and manufacturers.
- Marketing budgets are increasing, particularly online. According to BtoB Magazine’s “2008 Marketing Priorities and Plans” survey, 60.1% of business-to-business marketers plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2008. The biggest budget increases will be in online marketing, with 79.1% of marketers planning to grow their online marketing budgets (www.btobonline.com).
The survey also found the average percentage of the marketing budget allocated to online in 2008 will be 33.8%, up from 26.5% in 2007. The top online areas for increased spending include Web site development, e-mail, search engine marketing, banners and sponsorships.
This trend indicates that B2B marketers know that their customers and prospects are online seeking access to information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that they need a strong and persistent presence to meet their needs.
- Targeting and segmentation will be keys to successful marketing. Marketers will segment their audiences and invest in programs that can precisely target those segments. For example, marketers that publish e-newsletters may segment their audience into customers and prospects, and create specific content for each. Those that sponsor third-party e-newsletters will focus on highly targeted publications that will reach a specific audience.
Other online targeting mechanisms for industrial marketers will be placing banners on Web sites relevant to the industrial community, building a presence on vertical search engines used by engineering, technical and other industrial professionals, and developing Web content for each type of customer and prospect.
- Marketers will focus on quality, not quantity. Marketing tactics that drive volumes of traffic to a Web site or focus the number of clicks will give way to programs that deliver high-quality, contactable leads. A “customers vs. clicks” mentality will drive marketing decisions.
In addition, establishing and building relationships with leads to develop new customers will be a priority for sales teams, as will nurturing current customers by providing valuable, timely information.
- A strong online presence will encourage your audience to take action. A recent GlobalSpec Engineering Trends Survey discovered that a strong online presence by suppliers will motivate their target audience to take positive action, and this trend will continue in 2008. 85% of survey respondents stated they have contacted a supplier after visiting their Web site, and 49% ordered samples.
This audience also takes action as the result of seeing an online advertisement: 81% have visited the advertiser’s Web site, 59% have e-mailed the advertiser and 56% have bookmarked the advertiser’s Web site for future reference.
- Social media will see some increase. BtoB Magazine’s survey found that 19.8% of marketers are currently using social media such as blogs, podcasts, wikis and message boards as part of their marketing strategy. In the industrial sector, the percentage is lower, according to GlobalSpec’s surveys, with 4% using podcasts, 3% using RSS and 13% using blogs.
The use of blogs will see some increase, as suppliers and manufacturers seek additional online methods of interacting with customers and prospects and providing them useful information, as well as positioning themselves as thought leaders and experts in their industry. See this month’s related article on blogs: “Is it Time to Start a Company Blog?”