Most manufacturers and suppliers have shifted a good portion of their marketing budget to online programs to better connect with the industrial audience. Now the issue is how to evaluate all of the available online media solutions that have appeared in the market, from e-newsletter advertisements, to specialized search engines, to virtual events and more.
As usual, choosing the best solution for your company can be found by performing a fundamental analysis that matches your goals to available marketing options. Use this eight-point checklist to evaluate solutions and potential media partners.
1. Connect with your target audience.
First and foremost, does the solution you’re considering help you connect with an audience of engineering, technical, manufacturing and industrial professionals when they are searching for products and services? Will you be able to connect with hard-to-reach decision makers? Will the solution target the specific markets you want to reach? Before committing to any program, have your media partner demonstrate that they have the attention of your target audience.
2. Be frequent and persistent.
Your potential customers can begin their search for products and services at any time, which means you need a highly visible online presence and the ability to be found 24/7. Frequent and persistent exposure to your audience increases your opportunity to make connections and generate leads and new business. Programs such as online directory listings with links to content and searchable online catalogs keep you visible to your market at all times.
3. Ensure quality and quantity of leads.
More and more, suppliers and manufacturers are realizing that the quality of leads is just as important as the quantity of leads. Choose marketing solutions that provide the kind of actionable, detailed information that your sales team needs, including:
- Lead source information
- Contact information for the prospect
- Areas of interest
- Prospect’s preferred communication channel (e-mail, phone, etc.)
- Time interval between generating a lead and delivering it to you
4. Alignment with the industrial buy cycle.
The industrial buy cycle is a well-documented, often complex process that buyers engage in to research, identify, compare, and procure products and services to meet their needs. Look for online media solutions that help you connect with potential customers early in the needs identification phases (specialized search engines, virtual events, e-newsletter advertisements) as well as later comparison phases (part number and standards searches, product specifications) and procurement phases (RFQ submission, prospect contact information).
5. Generate leads and branding.
Although lead generation is the most important marketing goal for most companies, you can gain both lead generation and branding opportunities by deploying online media solutions that always keep you in front of your target audience. Ensure that proposed solutions offer highly-visible and memorable options such as featured positions, premier sponsorships, product images and logos.
6. Require reporting and measurement capabilities.
Online media solutions should provide comprehensive and timely reporting regarding leads and brand exposure, allowing you to measure the performance of your marketing and quantify your return on investment. Online marketing lends itself to measurement because the programs are built around impressions, clicks, and conversions.
7. Customizable solutions ensure the right results.
Some online media solutions are one-size-fits-all programs that may include some components that meet your needs but others that don’t align with your goals. Find a media partner that will help tailor a program specific to your objectives, while leaving out the programs—and their associated costs—that aren’t right for you.
8. Confirm their performance.
Don’t just take a potential media partner’s word for how great their marketing programs perform. Look for a partner that has satisfied customers and documented testimonials demonstrating the success of their online media solutions. Choose the right partner and solution, and you can be on your way to achieving similar success.
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