The Industrial Marketing Trends Research Report is compiled from an annual survey conducted by GlobalSpec of marketing and sales professionals in the manufacturing sector. The survey reported that many companies are increasing their marketing spend in 2012, especially their online marketing. Thirty-five percent of companies are spending more overall on marketing in 2012 compared to 2011, and 42 percent are increasing the percentage they allocate to online marketing. Hiring is increasing as well, with 22 percent of companies adding marketing headcount in 2012.

Of the top ten areas where marketing spending is increasing, eight of those are online channels. In addition, four of the top six demand generation sources are online: company Web sites, e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, and online directories.

The most prevalent area for increased spending is on Webinars, with 68 percent of companies stating they will increase spending on this channel. This includes both Webinars that companies host on their own and custom Webinars produced in conjunction with a media partner to connect with a broader, yet still targeted audience.

Some trends are lasting
Year over year, industrial companies report that their top two marketing goals are lead generation and customer acquisition, although brand awareness is trending to become a strong third. Sixty-seven percent of companies stated that customer acquisition or lead generation is their primary marketing goal in 2012, the same top two marketing goals for the past six years. Twenty percent said brand awareness was their top marketing goal.

Marketers face many challenges
Industrial markers state the top challenges in their profession are generating leads for sales, measuring marketing ROI, and understanding how to incorporate social media into their marketing efforts.

If you can relate to any of these challenges, there are steps to overcome them. For instance, a diverse mix of marketing programs that offer both engagement opportunities and brand awareness can help your lead generation efforts. Those struggling with measuring ROI would benefit from using online marketing programs, which not only help you connect with the industrial audience where they are today, but also lend themselves to measurement through the tracking of impressions, views, clicks, and conversions.

Also, a Web analytics program can help you measure the performance of your company Web site. While 68 percent of companies are using Web analytics, that still leaves 32 percent who are not able to track the effectiveness of their Web site.

Integrating social media into your marketing can be facilitated by choosing digital channels such as online directories and Web sites that offer marketers opportunities to integrate their social media presence.

Speaking of social media
The survey demonstrates that social media has become part of the equation in the industrial sector. The majority of companies (57 percent) now use social media applications in their marketing efforts. The most popular applications are LinkedIn (used by 73 percent), Facebook (55 percent), and Twitter (40 percent).

However, social media presents its own set of challenges. While marketers understand that social media now belongs in their marketing mix, only 17 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with their company’s social media efforts, while 32 percent are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Only 7 percent have a full-time employee dedicated solely to social media.

If you are struggling with incorporating social media into your marketing mix, you can find some good advice and recommendations in the GlobalSpec research report, Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector.

A strengthening industrial economy
A significant majority of industrial sector companies — 83 percent — anticipate an increase in sales compared to 2011. This indicator of a strengthening industrial economy represents the third consecutive year the economic climate has been positive in the manufacturing sector.

Trends in Industrial Marketing 2012
A complimentary copy of the “Trends in Industrial Marketing 2012” research report will be available on Wednesday, July 11. View the survey results in graph form, read in-depth analysis, and discover recommendations to help you optimally allocate your marketing budget and plan marketing programs more effectively.

Chris Chariton, Senior Vice President, Product Management and Supplier Marketing at GlobalSpec, will present “Industrial Marketing Trends Survey Results: What You Need to Know” at the Industrial Marketing Digital Summit on Wednesday, July 11. This is the only online event focused on marketing in the industrial sector. Free to attendees, industrial marketers will lead educational sessions on using social media, driving more leads, capitalizing on your content and more. You can also connect with your peers in real-time and chat with marketing services companies about their latest products. Register now.

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