Online marketing remains in growth mode in the industrial sector, but
some suppliers and manufacturers lag in terms of keeping up with their customers’ and prospects’ online behavior. Part of the reason is that
suppliers may not know which online programs work best and therefore
are not sure where to invest.

The third annual Industrial Marketing Trends Survey conducted by GlobalSpec shows that 57% of industrial marketers are shifting a greater percentage of their budget online, but on average, only 37% of the overall marketing budget is spent online. This data suggests that the goals of some industrial marketers and the marketing strategies they are deploying are not in complete alignment.

Online Marketing: A Generator of Quality Leads
Seventy-two percent of respondents to the survey stated that either customer acquisition or lead generation is their primary marketing goal in 2008. In addition, quality of leads delivered was considered the most important factor when deciding where to allocate marketing budget, with lead quantity being less important. That’s no surprise: if marketing efforts focus only on quantity over quality, fewer leads will convert, more sales resources will be wasted, and sales people will begin to distrust marketing’s lead generation programs.

Online marketing is proven to be a quality lead generator. With more than 80% of engineering, technical and industrial professionals going online to search for products, components and services, it’s clear that online marketing is an important way for suppliers to connect with potential customers.

Online marketing also is much easier to measure than traditional marketing methods. Many online programs, including GlobalSpec, provide complete contact information for leads. And, while other programs such as search engine optimization deliver anonymous clicks to a Web site, marketers can put forms on Web landing pages to capture lead information and begin qualifying prospects. Just being able to get contact information for prospects goes a long way toward building a quality lead.

Online Marketing Offers a Broad Portfolio
The mass migration of your audience to the Internet has been accompanied by only incremental migrations on the part of suppliers. Yet those who shift more of their marketing resources online earlier have the most to gain.

Some suppliers may not be taking advantage of a complete portfolio of online marketing channels to more effectively reach their target audience. When asked which marketing channels they used in 2008, more than half of all respondents reported using online directories/Web sites, e-mail marketing to in-house lists, and SEO.  These three channels also were seeing the biggest budget increases.

Yet 26% stated that they know they should be doing more online marketing but aren’t sure what works best. What some suppliers may be overlooking are several online marketing options that other marketers have already embraced with success. For example, 36% are increasing investments in online newsletter advertising; 29% are increasing investments in banner ads on individual sites; and 16% are increasing investments in banner ad networks which display ads across a network of relevant, targeted sites.

The advantage of these tactics is that you not only can generate leads, but also increase brand awareness. Twenty-one of survey respondents stated that brand awareness was their primary marketing goal in 2008. Banner ads are excellent branding vehicles because they are highly visible and visual in nature: it’s easy to include your logo or photo of a product on a banner ad to attract a prospect’s attention. With e-newsletter sponsorships, the same visual appeal holds true, plus your message gets delivered directly to the inbox of a recipient who has opted in to receive the newsletter.

On the other hand, some of the newer, online social media have not yet taken hold with your customers and prospects. For example, 13% participate in blogs and 4% use podcasts. This behavior is in alignment with suppliers’ investments: 6% of suppliers use blogs and 2% use podcasts as part of their marketing portfolio. While these media are still in early stages in the industrial sector, suppliers should keep an eye on growth trends. Experimenting with these newer media will put you in a strong position when they become more widely used by your customers and prospects.

How to Choose
With more online marketing options to choose from than ever before, you should work with a trusted media partner to evaluate which programs will work best to achieve your goals. Ask media partners how they can specifically help you meet your marketing objectives, whether it’s lead generation, brand visibility, penetration of new markets or all of the above.

You can also download the GlobalSpec Industrial Trends Marketing Survey, which provides survey results in chart and graph form, and offers conclusions and recommendations for suppliers.

One comment

  1. We will see what has become the trickle of ROI Marketing in industrial marketing become a substantial push in the short term – especially with the economic crisis.

    In services marketing, we are squarely in the middle of adjusting marketing mix to reflect the realities not only of the market but more importantly our customers. Search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), websites and the email channel have become important sources of lead gen. New lead gen engines such as your blog will emerge as an important source of quality leads.

    Examine your blog and website – have you placed appropriate calls to action that allow your customer to easily convert? Is the information you have provided compelling enough? Are you tracking, testing, measuring and retesting as part of your regular marketing mix?

    The focus on ROI is the shot in the arm that companies as a whole and marketing specifically needs. It is an easy leap to begin to track the outcome of each online effort and pull it back on a cost per touch (CPT), cost per lead (CPL) and ultimatley ROI.

    What we will see longer term will be a tipping of what we see as traditional marketing – it will become a consumable of your digital marketing group as they assume the lion’s share of responsibility of getting the company’s brand and messaging out in a cost effective manner.

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