Two factors will have a big impact on your marketing in 2010: the slowly reviving economy and your customers’ increasing use of online resources to find suppliers, products and information. These two factors are also reflective of a number of marketing trends for you to watch for 2010:
Print and Traditional Media will Further Decline While Online Grows
Every year, GlobalSpec publishes research documenting the ongoing decline of print and other traditional media. But at this point, everyone can see the effects first hand: there are fewer print trade publications, and those that do exist are thin. Trade show attendance remains down—from large industry events to boutique shows. These trends are only going to continue as businesses put more resources into online marketing to gain visibility and generate leads, and as customers go online first to locate the companies they want to do business with and the products they want to buy. Check your marketing mix for 2010 to make sure you have allocated enough to online marketing.
Marketers will Align Programs with the B2B Buy Cycle
When purchasing products and services, industrial companies engage in a buy cycle process consisting of four stages: Needs Awareness, Research, Comparison & Consideration, and Procurement. Depending on the stage of the buy cycle they’re in, buyers use different information sources, from Web sites to Webinars, from e-newsletters to search engines and GlobalSpec. Because the information sources that buyers use vary, marketers can gain an advantage in 2010 by building their presence across multiple online channels to make sure they are visible to buyers in the early stages of the buy cycle. During these earlier stages, buyers identify the types of products/services they need and which vendors can provide them. If you aren’t found by buyers early in the cycle, you will likely miss out on potential business.
The Tipping Point will Arrive for Virtual Events
Many marketers have been using virtual events in the form of Webinars. But in 2010, the growing trend of online trade shows will take center stage as your potential customers, faced with shrinking budgets and increasing demands on their time, flock to virtual trade shows and conferences to locate suppliers, products, and services, participate in learning opportunities, network, and stay current on the latest technologies. These online events offer marketers an excellent opportunity to connect with their target audience through presentations, chat, video and other interactivity—and to build brand exposure, gain qualified sales leads and measurable ROI. Look for opportunities to exhibit at virtual trade shows in 2010.
Everyone will Talk about “Content Marketing”
Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of content to attract and engage current and potential customers. What is this content? It could be almost anything—white papers, brochures, Web pages, micro-sites, blog posts, comments, Webinars, video clips, podcasts, e-newsletters, Tweets and more. The idea of content marketing is that you provide relevant, useful information to your audience that will help establish you as an expert, create a memorable and positive impression on your audience, and move prospects through the buying cycle. Fresh content will also help improve your organic search rankings. As audiences become more fragmented and marketing more targeted, content marketing will increase in importance in 2010 because it will help you maintain relevancy with your customers and prospects.
Social Media Adoption will Increase
Many industrial marketers have stayed on the sidelines and watched the social media phenomenon unfold. This will begin to change in 2010 as more marketers begin to integrate social media into their marketing strategies. Unlike other forms of marketing, social media such as blogs, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter offers unprecedented opportunity to engage in two-way conversations with your audiences: customers, prospects, industry followers and others. You can discover what people are saying about your company—both good and bad. You can use those discoveries to improve your company image, positioning, products and policies; and to generate more momentum and brand awareness for your company. As you begin to integrate social media in 2010, make sure you establish social media goals. These could include: growing brand awareness, building relationships with the community, conducting product research, and gaining feedback from your customers and prospects.
More Attention will be Given to Lead Nurturing
With marketing budgets still tight and competition for new customers increasing, every lead you generate must be carefully evaluated and nurtured through the sales cycle. Sales and marketing teams will devote more time and resources in 2010 to working together to better manage existing leads, resulting in better conversion rates and higher ROI on marketing programs. Successful lead management begins with the quality of the leads you generate and whether you gain contact information and other valuable data such as your prospect’s interest area. Seek out marketing programs that deliver this type of information rather than just anonymous clicks to your Web site. And be sure to get your sales and marketing teams working toward common and agreed upon goals for lead management.