As you prepare for 2016, one of the early and important tasks you must fulfill as a marketer is to identify your primary marketing goals, your overall marketing strategy, and your supporting tactics. It’s not always easy because there can be confusion about what the differences are among these three components of your marketing efforts. But it’s essential to get this right: your goals, strategy, and tactics will guide all other decisions and determine your success.
A military analogy can illustrate the differences. For example, your goal is to win the war. Your strategy might be to divide and conquer. And you devise multiple tactics that can support the strategy and help achieve the goal, such as executing a simultaneous attack on two fronts, dropping paratroopers behind the front line, destroying the enemy’s supply line, and so on.
Now translate this analogy to the situation facing an industrial marketer. For example, your goal might be to increase sales by 15% across all product lines. The strategy to achieve this goal could be to create engagement opportunities with potential customers in new markets. That’s a measurable goal and a single, clear, and focused strategy designed to help you achieve your goal.
When it’s time to consider tactics, you don’t want to make the mistake of using one or two, but instead commit to a broader mix of channels that will increase your opportunities for success. Research backs this up and shows that your target audience of engineers and other industrial professionals use a variety of digital resources for work-related purposes. As a marketer, you should align your tactics with the behavior of your audience.
Top Digital Resources
The top digital resources industrial professionals use for information at all stages of their buy cycle are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites, according to the IHS Engineering360 research report “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector.” In addition, technical professionals are attending more webinars and other online events than ever before. Last year, two-thirds of industrial professionals attended at least one webinar or online event, and 30% attended four or more. Webinars and online events have proven to be effective marketing platforms, attracting a motivated audience willing to take time out of their busy workdays to attend.
Another channel to consider is digital publications, such as e-newsletters and digital trade magazines. Industrial professionals subscribe to an average of 4.4 digital publications, such as e-newsletters and digital trade magazines, versus an average of 1.4 printed trade magazines, a more than three-fold difference.
You’ve heard of the expression that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Evidence is mounting that multichannel marketing is producing the desired results for marketers. The research firm Outsell refers to this phenomenon as the “cross-media multiplier effect” and found that “cross-media campaigns perform much better for advertisers than single media campaigns.”
There are other reasons to use multiple channels. Because industrial professionals use a variety of online resources for work-related purposes, they will be exposed to your company and message more frequently and in more places if you use multiple digital channels. This can help increase brand awareness and affinity among your target audience as well as distinguish your company from competitors.
Finally, no single online channel is the favorite among engineers. They use a variety of resources during their work process and you should do the same to connect with them. It’s the path to success: one strategy, many channels.