As marketers we tend to start off each new year with a mix of excitement and concern. We’re excited because the marketing canvas is clean, our plans are plentiful, and success lies just ahead. But we’re also concerned— we’re starting from scratch, we have to choose among many marketing ideas, and there’s always the chance we don’t meet expectations.

To stay confident in 2018, adopt some marketing resolutions. Here are five specific strategies and tactics you can resolve to adopt to help you have a successful year in marketing.

1. Stick with the channels your customers use

In this era of digital media, there is a proliferation of channels commanding attention from engineers. Technical professionals have more digital tools and sources of information that help them to do their jobs better and more efficiently. They are also exposed to more companies and have many options when ready to buy. This leaves marketers having to choose among many possible channels for their marketing investments.

Resolve to use the channels that your customers use. This will give you the greatest opportunity to connect with your target audience.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels for technical professionals are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. However, your audience uses many other channels to keep up with the latest technologies and product news. In addition to the top three, continue to invest in e-newsletters, webinars, in-person tradeshows, and industry websites and publications. These are all important industry information sources for your customers.

2. Use both creative and directional advertising

Creative advertising generates awareness for your brand in the marketplace, helping your target audience understand who you are and what you have to offer. Banner ads, webinars, technical articles—these are good vehicles for creating awareness.

Directional advertising is where professionals turn to find a business like yours. They know exactly what they are looking for and simply need to find the right supplier. Online catalogs, e-newsletters, and search engines are marketing tactics often used to capture potential buyers. Your company website can serve as both an awareness and lead generation machine.

By implementing both creative and directional strategies, you will build awareness among the potential customers you want to reach—and be there when they are researching or making a purchasing decision.

3. Deliver the content potential buyers need

Content is critical to the buying process. According to the IEEE GlobalSpec Industrial Buy Cycle Survey, 70 percent of buyers review four or more pieces of content prior to purchases greater than $10,000. Being a provider of valuable, authoritative content positions your company as an expert in your industry; builds trust with your prospects; and ultimately makes it easier to sell your products and services, and drive revenue.

It’s important that your marketing collateral and website are up-to-date. If you choose to enter new markets, you may need to revise some messaging and re-purpose existing case studies, white papers and other materials. Create an inventory of content assets and determine what else is needed to move your customers through the buy cycle. Do it now to avoid long lead times.

4. Be mindful of measurement

You’re likely under pressure to justify marketing expenditures and show a return on marketing investment. You also might need to change marketing plans mid-journey if you are not getting the results you expected. Measurement is the key to supporting marketing decisions and justifying budgets.

Today, the most effective marketing programs are ones that demonstrate branding, awareness and engagement opportunities for your company. Online channels, which easily lend themselves to measurement (views, clicks, conversions, etc.), let you easily see what is working in order to focus marketing dollars on the most successful programs.

5. Work with new media partners

You shouldn’t have to navigate the complexities of industrial marketing alone. The beginning of the year is a good time to consult with an experienced media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach.

Discuss your marketing objectives with your media partners and have them show you an integrated, multichannel media plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives. Remember that media partners are your allies—they want you to succeed as much as you do.

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