The rate of change is fast and furious in marketing these days, making for both exciting and challenging times for industrial marketing professionals. Engineers and technical professionals use more resources than ever before to find information, products, services and suppliers—from general search engines and suppliers websites to online catalogs, directories, events, social media and more. Which means as an industrial marketer you must be able to evaluate and manage the effectiveness of these new channels. And it seems that more new marketing channels are popping up all the time.
Today’s marketers also need a broader skillset. They must be both strategists and tacticians. They need to integrate and manage multi-channel marketing campaigns. They need to be analysts to evaluate opportunities, interpret reports and calculate marketing ROI. They need technology skills to understand how to use mobile and social and to assess new tools such as marketing automation.
On top of this, marketers may be asked to manage this rapid change without an increase in budget or resources.
It’s a lot to handle. A recent survey conducted by Forrester and the Business Marketing Association found that 34 percent of marketers feel overwhelmed by the change occurring in B2B marketing and 21 percent feel the skills they were hired for are now obsolete.
You’re not alone if you’re feeling these pressures as a marketer. And the good news is you can do something to alleviate the pressure and better handle the rapid pace of change. Here are three ideas to help you:
Collaborate with other internal teams and external experts.
There’s no reason for marketers to work on an island and do everything alone. Think about teaming up with people from IT to help streamline reporting or more efficiently manage your lead nurturing and scoring processes. Customer support reps are close to the customer and can provide useful feedback about your marketing efforts, strengths and weaknesses of products, and overall impressions of your brand. You can save a lot of time and effort if you work closely with the sales team to make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of roles and responsibilities for managing leads through the sales cycle.
External help is available too. Work with media partners to develop more integrated, multi-channel programs whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts in terms of reach, visibility and generating engagement opportunities. Also, seek out research and information to help guide your marketing decisions. IHS GlobalSpec publishes a helpful library of industry research and reports specifically designed to keep industrial marketers up-to-date on industry trends in the manufacturing sector.
Rethink your marketing strategy and reevaluate priorities.
Rapidly changing times require you to take a step back and assess your marketing situation. You may have new responsibilities and expectations now. For example, according to the IHS GlobalSpec report, “2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing,” measuring ROI is the biggest challenge industrial marketers face today. Ease this challenge by devoting marketing resources to programs where it’s easier to measure investment vs. return. Digital channels—which are most frequently used by your target audience—offer almost instant metrics in terms of impressions, clicks and conversions. Media partners should offer convenient and robust campaign reporting.
Marketers also say that customer acquisition is their primary marketing goal and that customer acquisition, customer retention and customer satisfaction are important measures of marketing success. Plan marketing strategies that focus on your customers.
Create efficiencies through technology.
Technology can help reduce many labor intensive processes in marketing, and as more technology tools and platforms become available to support marketing, IT and marketing departments are working closer together. Thirty-six percent of industrial companies now use a marketing automation tool, which can vastly increase efficiency in managing, integrating and tracking marketing campaigns. There are many affordable, cloud-based offerings available that don’t drain internal IT resources, but that your IT team can help you evaluate to make the right implementation decision. There are also tools that let you monitor social media networks for mentions of your company, brand and products. You should also consider a content management system (CMS) to manage your website. Again, there are many good choices on the market that your IT department can help you evaluate.
Change is inevitable, in marketing and all other aspects of work and life. Sometimes the change happens fast. Collaborate with others, evaluate your priorities, and use technology to help you keep pace and come out ahead.
If this article was helpful to you, please spread the word using the share buttons below.
Have you handled rapid change in your job? What tips and ideas would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.