Marketers face a particular challenge in planning for 2010: the economy is on the verge of recovering, yet your budget for 2010 may be in flux. The challenge is that you cannot control the economy and you may not be able to establish a fixed budget at this point.

But you can control how you plan for 2010 and in doing so put yourself in a position to surge when the economy begins to grow again. Now is the time to make sure you understand recent changes in the industrial sector marketing climate, evaluate your current marketing programs, and put in place the most effective strategies for 2010—whatever your budget might be or what the economy does.

One of the biggest mistakes some marketers make is moving into the year ahead without a plan. This creates an uneasy and inefficient environment of scrambling to make marketing decisions without the benefit of established objectives and strong analysis to support the actions you take.

To help you plan for the coming year, GlobalSpec has updated its 2010 Industrial Marketing Kit, which offers tools for evaluating and implementing marketing aimed at engineering, technical, industrial and manufacturing professionals. It includes a six-point checklist for success, tools to calculate the effectiveness of marketing channels and lead quality, and more. You can download your complimentary copy of the planning kit here.

Understand recent changes in industrial marketing

One of your first tasks in planning for 2010 is to understand how marketing is changing in the industrial sector. The first significant change is that the research and sourcing behavior of engineering, technical and industrial professionals has changed dramatically. More than 80% of these professionals now go online for work purposes—to search for and locate components, products and suppliers—and marketers must shift resources to online programs.

The other major change is the increasing demand for marketing accountability. More than ever, marketers are under pressure to justify their marketing investments and demonstrate measurable results from their marketing programs.

As a marketer, you will need to adjust your marketing strategies to reach your customers and prospects online. However, it’s not enough to simply have an online presence that’s limited to a company Web site. Your audience uses many online resources, and your best opportunities for connecting with them may be through other programs such as e-newsletter advertising, specialized search engines designed for the industrial audience, online events and others.

Evaluate current marketing choices

It’s always the right time to evaluate how well your current marketing programs are performing. Are your marketing programs delivering highly qualified sales and marketing opportunities? Are your brand and product and service lines broadly visible to an audience of engineering, technical and industrial professionals? Are you even able to measure the results of your marketing investments?

Here is a sampling of questions to ask about your current media choices:

  • Are you allocating marketing budget to online channels that your audience uses, or are you still using traditional media channels that are suffering from shrinking audiences and gaps in market presence?
  • How often do you reach your target audience: a few times a year or 24/7? Can your audience always find your company when they are actively seeking products and services like those you offer?
  • Are you generating timely, qualified leads that contain contact information for individuals and their specific areas of interest? Or is the data you are getting stale, unqualified or not useful for follow-up purposes?

The 2010 Marketing Planning Kit contains a table evaluating various media choices, including the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Top Three Planning Tips for 2010

Here are the top three tips to help you create an effective marketing strategy in 2010. Get started on them right now, if you haven’t already.

  1. Align marketing with the behavior of your customers and prospects.
    Virtually all engineering, technical and industrial professionals now use the Internet throughout their work processes. In a recent GlobalSpec survey, 73% of respondents reported spending at least three hours a week or more on the Internet for work-related purposes, with 24% indicating they spend nine or more hours a week online.
    Online marketing tactics offer frequency—the ability to always be in front of your target audience so you can connect with them whenever they are searching for the types of products and services you have to offer. Online also offers you the ability to reach any global market or niche sector through specialized, targeted programs.
  2. Choose only marketing that you can measure. The demand for accountability in marketing is here to stay, and it will be your responsibility to choose effective marketing investments whose results can be easily measured. Another advantage of online marketing beyond its ability to reach your target audience is that it’s built around impressions, clicks and conversions—all of which can be measured.
  3. Explore opportunities with new media partners. Some traditional media outlets have become casualties of the economic downturn, and others are not effective in reaching your target audience or providing measurable results. While planning for 2010 you should explore possibilities with new media partners. Ask them if they have the attention of the target audience you are trying to reach; if they can keep your company, products and services visible to customers and prospects at all times; if they deliver targeted, quality leads with full contact information; and if they provide reporting you can use to measure the performance of your marketing.

The right media partner should be able to accelerate your 2010 planning by helping put together a program for quality lead generation and branding visibility based on your objectives and anticipated budget.

Get started today on 2010. Download the 2010 Marketing Planning Kit.

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