For many industrial marketers, 2020 was unlike any year they’ve faced. And there’s no forecasting what 2021 might bring: more of the same, better, or worse?

But uncertainty doesn’t mean you don’t have any control. One thing you can do is to devote your energy and resources to three specific areas of focus that will help your marketing organization perform better, no matter what market conditions are like.

Concentrate on Digital Channels

Industrial marketers for years have been skewing their budgets in the direction of digital channels such as email, websites, search, webinars, and social. These and other digital assets are the online resources their target audience of engineers prefers to use to connect with suppliers and to find products and services.

The events of 2020 caused an even greater reliance on digital as in-person events were postponed or canceled. Beyond the acute impact of the pandemic, trending influences include a new generation of digital-first engineers as well as technological advances that make digital even more relevant and enticing.

Now, in 2021, our advice to you is to go digital-heavy to increase your visibility and generate opportunities. Webinars, online conferences and meetings, and other virtual events have proven to be highly effective in terms of results and costs. Furthermore, digital channels continue to offer the advantage of being easier to track and measure.

This year, make sure your website is the best it can be, your webinars are engaging, your display ads capture attention, and your email marketing targeted. Your media partners can help you develop an integrated, multi-channel digital marketing program that fits your budget and is aligned with your marketing goals.

Maintain a Consistent Message

Customers prefer to do business with brands they are familiar with and trust. One way to build trust and demonstrate what you stand for is to maintain consistency in your messaging.

Too often companies can become scattershot with their messaging in an attempt to “be everything to everybody” in hopes of not letting a single potential customer slip through the cracks. However, this approach can dilute your message, resulting in confused customers and becoming “nothing to nobody.”

A coherent and cohesive message that spans all of your marketing channels can help you cut through the clutter of intense competition and gain mindshare with your customers. This doesn’t mean you have to say the same thing using the same words every time, but you do want to align all your messaging within your overall value proposition and brand statement.

Use color palettes, visuals, text styles, and layouts to support and affirm your messaging. If your company can become known in the market for a couple of exceptional benefits delivered to customers, you will likely find marketing success in 2021.

Enable the Buying Process

In a survey of more than 250 B2B customers, Gartner found that 77 percent of them rated their purchase experience as extremely complex or difficult.

A data point like that leaves a lot of room for improvement—and opportunity.

The fact is, buyers are in control of the buying process, not marketing, sales, or business development. In addition, the majority of buyers don’t contact a potential supplier until they are well into their buying process.

Our job as marketers is to make the entire buying process efficient and easy for our customers.

We can do that by producing customer-centric content to meet buyer needs at all stages of their buying cycle. Content such as educational articles, white papers and webinars in the early stages, and practical case studies, comparisons, and ROI calculators in the later stages. Don’t try to wow them with fancy content—try to be useful to them.

Get content into the hands of potential customers through an easy-to-navigate website and through the digital marketing channels that engineers use.

Moreover, enable your buyers to connect with you by providing numerous and flexible options, including email, online chat, forums, phone, and social media. Make 2021 about making buying decisions easier for your customers, and you will be rewarded.

From the Maven, we wish you the best in getting off to a strong start in 2021. If you’re seeking additional ideas on where to focus and what channels to use, reach out to a GlobalSpec digital marketing expert or download the 2021 GlobalSpec Media Kit.

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