Is the overall economy improving for the industrial sector? The answer is yes, according to the recent 2010 Economic Outlook Survey of GlobalSpec’s registered user base of engineering, technical, manufacturing and industrial professionals.

  • 47% of survey participants expect their company’s sales to be up in 2010. Compare that to 2009, when only 23% said sales would be up. What’s especially encouraging is that gains are expected across a number of industries.
  • Two of the hardest hit industries last year are expected to improve in 2010—the Semiconductor & Electronics industry, where 61% expect sales to be up and the Automotive industry, where 59% expect sales to be up. Other industries expecting gains in 2010 include Consumer Products/Electronics (58%) and Chemicals, Plastics & Rubber (57%).

There is also an increase in departmental budgets, with 18% reporting a budget increase. Areas of focus include entering new markets, new product design and development, and new technology research. Other projects on tap for 2010 include those to help save energy, reduce waste, and increase production capacity of existing lines.

What the Outlook Means for Industrial Marketers
With the overall prognosis for the industrial economy much brighter than it was a year ago, marketers—especially those who have cut back recently or watched from the sidelines—should concentrate on getting back in the game.

But that doesn’t mean running back in with an old playbook. It’s time for a fresh look at your marketing.

  • A key survey result reveals that the industrial audience continues to increase the amount of time it spends online for work and has clearly demonstrated a preference for online information sources over traditional print media.
  • Online media represents four of the top five resources used by engineers to search for suppliers, products, components and services.
  • One action suppliers should take as they plan to ramp up marketing is to determine if their products and services can meet customer needs in those sectors and project areas that are growing in 2010.
  • In order to influence buyers in these areas, suppliers may need to adjust their messaging and re-purpose existing or create new product data sheets, white papers, application notes, and other marketing collateral and online content to target these customers. For example,
  • How can your products specifically meet the needs of the Automotive industry?
  • How do your products help increase the capacity of production lines?

Maybe you have a higher quality product that lasts longer and keeps production lines running. Here’s another example: suppliers that offer value-added consulting or complimentary design services will find market opportunity because companies are spending less time and effort on outsourcing in 2010 and may not have enough time or internal resources available to them.

Another important shift for industrial marketers is to allocate marketing resources to where your potential customers are looking for you. The top online work-related activities of your customers are obtaining product specifications and finding components, equipment, services and suppliers. Your customers also use the Internet to perform research, request price quotes, purchase parts/products, compare suppliers, and other work-related activities.

This means suppliers should maintain a strong and visible presence on search engines (general and specialized), targeted e-newsletters, online directories and other online channels your customers use to locate suppliers, products and services.

Because the industrial buy cycle tends to be long and complex, it’s important to build and maintain an online market presence where customers can find you now, during the research phase of their buy cycle.

In the white paper, 2010 Economic Outlook Survey: How Industrial Companies can Succeed in the Current Economy, GlobalSpec presents detailed survey results and analysis. The paper also offers five specific marketing strategies suppliers should consider for 2010 to take advantage of the changing economic outlook. Click here to download the paper.

We’d also like to know how you personally and your company is responding to changing economic conditions. Are you adjusting your marketing strategy? In what ways?

Please post your comments below.

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