Survey: Industrial Marketers Must Optimize their Digital Mix

The good news is industrial marketers are making the evidence-based decision to invest more in online marketing. On the other hand, they still need to optimize their digital mix. This was one of the key findings from IHS GlobalSpec’s latest research report, 2014 Trends in Industrial Marketing, based on a recent survey of marketing and sales professionals in the industrial sector.

2014 Trends Industrial Marketing

The results provide new insight into the strategies, budgets and tactics industrial marketers use today.

Here are the highlights:

Diversifying the marketing mix
Currently, corporate websites command about 25 percent of online budgets, which amounts to more than twice the spending on any other channel. There’s no question your company website is important and will continue to be, but establishing and maintaining a broad and deep online presence is critical in this age of digital disruption, when technical professionals have at their disposal a variety of digital resources to find the work-related information they seek. Your target audience doesn’t primarily rely on a single channel, so why should you? Industrial marketers should consider shifting a portion of their budget to other online channels such as e-newsletters, webinars and banner advertising on industry websites.

Playing catch-up to customer behavior
Forty-nine percent of industrial companies are increasing their online marketing budgets, but on average less than half (46 percent) of the overall marketing budget is spent online. While this online marketing percentage is up from 40 percent last year and 32 percent back in 2007, it still may not be enough to keep pace with the behavior of your customers. It may also be a contributing factor to the level of satisfaction industrial marketers feel about their online marketing efforts. Twenty-nine percent are still dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their online marketing efforts and 40 percent are feeling neutral.

Customer acquisition is still king
Year over year, customer acquisition tops the list of marketing goals in the industrial sector. Almost half (47 percent) of industrial marketers said customer acquisition is their primary marketing goal in 2014, up from 38 percent in 2012. Related to customer acquisition is lead generation; 29 percent of industrial marketers say it is the biggest challenge in their profession. In addition, customer acquisition is a key measurement of success for 55 percent of companies, along with sales attributed to marketing campaigns (64 percent) and leads (47 percent).

Preferred marketing channels
E-mail marketing using in-house lists, tradeshows, content marketing and search engine optimization are the top marketing channels in the industrial sector. Direct mail using rented/purchased lists, mobile marketing and podcasts are at the bottom of the list. Five of the top six channels used are digital channels, indicating that many marketers understand the importance of devoting resources to a mix of digital channels. Fifty-five percent say they use both inbound (pull) and outbound (push) marketing programs but state they could better diversify their mix.

Content marketing efforts must mature
Sixty-one percent of industrial marketers are now using content marketing as tactic and 54 percent are planning to increase their spending on content creation. This reflects marketers’ understanding that their prospects and customers are hungry for relevant content that will help them do their jobs better and make informed buying decisions. On the other hand, 44 percent of marketers are just getting started with content marketing, just 29 percent have a content marketing strategy, only nine percent can demonstrate how content marketing contributes to sales and only 15 percent align their content with the different phases of their customers’ buy cycle. These results reveal the need for industrial companies to mature their content marketing efforts in order to be more efficient and effective.

Marketers are more social-media savvy
Industrial marketers have gotten more savvy in how they use social media. They are now focusing their efforts on those objectives that social media best fulfills. Seventy-eight percent use social media for branding and 72 percent for content delivery. Only 34 percent use social media to generate leads, down from 59 percent in 2011. The most popular social media channel is LinkedIn. Twenty-seven percent are satisfied with their social media efforts, up from 17 percent in 2012. As industrial marketers continue to get more comfortable using social media and understanding its place in their marketing mix, they will likely achieve better results and their level of satisfaction will continue to increase.

Marketing budgets are steady
Over the past three years, marketing budgets have remained constant. Thirty-five percent are spending more in 2014 than they did in 2013; only 17 percent expect to spend less in 2014. About half are spending the same. For those companies with marketing budgets of $1 million or less, the average marketing budget is $166,000. Forty-two percent of companies have marketing budgets under $50,000 and 12 percent of companies have marketing budgets greater than $1 million. Forty-one percent of industrial marketers are spending at least half of their 2014 budgets for online marketing.

This annual survey can help you evaluate your marketing strategies in relation to your competitors, fine-tune your marketing programs and keep pace with your customers and the market. For complete survey results, along with recommendations for industrial marketers, download your complimentary copy of 2014 Trends in Industrial Marketing.

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Digital Media Use Survey Shows Different Work Habits by Age

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost half the engineering workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next few years. A younger generation of technical professionals will be taking their place, a group that exhibits different online work habits compared to their older colleagues.

This finding from the 2014 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector research report will impact your marketing strategy. You must make an effort to attract and cultivate younger technical professionals early in their careers as they form habits and opinions about their industry and the suppliers and products available to them. You can download a complimentary copy of the survey results including charts, detailed analysis and marketing recommendations.

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Trends Among Younger Technical Professionals

  • At greater rates than older technical professionals, those under 35 years old use the Internet for collaborative design, career research, to compare products across suppliers, for competitive information, to download software demos, and to purchase parts.
  • Forty-two percent of technical professionals visit more than ten work-related websites each week. In the under 35-year-old age group, significantly more respondents than any other age segment visit more than 20 websites each week.
  • Younger technical professionals are more likely to use the Internet for research and product comparisons, whereas the older crowd is more likely to be obtaining product specifications and finding components, equipment, services and suppliers.
  • Year-over-year comparison shows the growing importance of general search engines, industry-specific search engines and webinars among the under age 35 group, whereas online catalogs and supplier websites grew in importance among those over 35.
  • Technical professionals are mostly passive users of social media. They prefer to read and watch rather than to create content or join discussions. However, younger technical professionals are more likely to actively participate in discussions than are older technical professionals.
  • Technical professionals under age 35 conduct significantly more product searches and read more news and e-newsletters on their smartphones than their older colleagues do. We can expect the use of mobile devices to continue to grow. Suppliers should consider creating websites and e-newsletters that have response design features, which improves rendering and increases their usability on mobile devices.
  • Industrial professionals over age 49 have more autonomy with purchasing decisions than do their younger colleagues, regardless of the spending amount.

Findings Applicable Across All Age Groups

  • Technical professionals average six hours per week on the Internet for work-related purposes, with 29 percent spending nine or more hours.
  • The primary uses of the Internet for technical professionals are to find components, equipment, services and suppliers (74 percent); obtain product specifications (73 percent); compare products across suppliers (69 percent); find pricing information (68 percent); and perform research (66 percent).
  • The top digital resources technical professionals use for work are general search engines (89 percent), supplier websites (79 percent), online catalogs (76 percent) and industry-specific search engines such as GlobalSpec.com (54 percent).
  • Only 41 percent of technical professionals contact a vendor in the early needs analysis/research stage of their buy cycle. Fifty-nine percent wait until the comparison/evaluation or purchase stages. You must connect with potential customers early in their buy cycle in order to be a contender later when they are ready to make a purchase decision.
  • Almost half of all technical professionals (49 percent) did not attend an in-person tradeshows in 2013. On the other hand, seven out of ten technical professionals attended at least one webinar or online event. Thirty-two percent said they went to four or more. Webinars and other online events continue to be effective marketing programs in the industrial sector.
  • Technical professionals subscribe to an average of 4.9 digital publications, such as e-newsletters and digital trade magazines, versus an average of 1.5 printed trade magazines, a difference of more than three-fold. Digital publications make it easy to connect with your target audience.

Access All Survey Results

The Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector research report offers industrial marketers valuable intelligence you can use to help evaluate your own marketing strategies and optimize your marketing programs. The age of your target audience has become an important consideration when making marketing decisions.

Our new research report includes all survey results, along with charts and graphs and key recommendations for marketers. Get your complimentary copy today.

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How do you market to industrial buyers through digital media? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Nine Tips to Make Your Marketing Videos More Engaging

The use of video as an information source is growing among your target audience. About half of technical professionals use YouTube or other video sharing sites for work-related purposes, making video a strong channel for industrial marketers.

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Video belongs in your marketing mix. But just because you can create a video doesn’t mean it will be visually interesting or engaging to your audience. Follow these tips to deliver more powerful videos that your customers and prospects will watch from beginning to end and be more likely to remember.

1. Give technical professionals what they want
Not all video content is equal in the eyes of your audience. Technical professionals aren’t looking for big-budget, flashy marketing videos with all the bells and whistles. They simply want information to help them do their jobs better. The three most-watched types of videos among this audience are product demos, how-to videos/tutorials, and training videos. What’s common among these video types is they are focused on how to use something or do something practical and relevant to their work. Your audience also likes educational videos that present information on new trends and technologies.

2. Length doesn’t matter—but keep it short
The assumption is that if your content is compelling enough, your video can be long as you want. But let’s face it: none of us are Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino. And attention spans in the Internet age are notoriously short. A good rule of thumb is to keep your video under five minutes in length – and even that might seem long. If you have a multi-step or complex how-to video, you can break it down into several shorter segments.

3. Provide good lighting and a neutral background
If you’re filming product demos, you’re likely showing computer screens. But if you have people talking in your videos, you need to be aware of lighting and background. Avoid casting shadows or uneven or harsh lighting. Make sure your subject is well lit. Don’t have anything that’s visually distracting in the background such as items on a desk, papers on a wall, or people passing by.

4. Eliminate noise, improve sound
There are two ways you need to deal with sound. One is to eliminate background noise: humming machinery, traffic, talking, the soda machine, etc. The other is to use a good microphone to clearly capture your speaker or narrator’s voice. Also, give your video some life by adding introductory, transitional and closing music. You can try lowering the volume and keeping the music throughout the video to provide a pleasant and subtle aural texture (as opposed to background noise). Most video editing software comes with music clips you can add.

5. Follow basic principles of composition
The “Rule of Thirds” has you break down the image window for filming or photography into sections so that you can better frame your subject and provide greater visual interest. Here’s a good primer on it. Apply these principles and you’ll notice a difference in your video quality.

6. Brand your video
Make sure to include your company name/logo at the beginning and end of every video. Use other brand elements such as colors in a consistent fashion so that your videos all have the same brand identity. Perhaps choose a few pieces of music that becomes part of your brand—if your audience consistently hears the same few pieces of music they will associate them with your brand. Use branding elements during video transitions.

7. Include a call to action
At the end of the video embed a call to action to a landing page or other resource. Ask your viewers to do something: watch the next video, download a white paper, attend a webinar, or learn more. Thinking about a call to action will also get you in the frame of mind to consider how any one video is integrated into and complements your overall marketing mix.

8. Share your videos
You need to spread the word about your videos. Post your videos on YouTube or other video sharing sites. Create thumbnail graphics and link to them in your email newsletters. Embed them on your website and in your social media platforms. Show them on your GlobalSpec.com page.

9. Track performance
Video sharing sites such as YouTube offer metrics you can track to analyze how well your videos perform. Number of views, number of shares, and length of viewing are all important. If you find that viewers are not watching your entire video, you may need to dig deeper and do some testing. Is the content not relevant? Is the video too long? Use the metrics to gain insight on how you can improve your video production. Maybe you do have some Spielberg in you.

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3 Rules for Developing a Digital Media Strategy

It’s the digital age. Engineers and other industrial professionals are spending more time online than ever before. They use a variety of digital resources to perform work-related tasks, transforming their buy cycle and, in turn, challenging traditional marketing and sales processes for suppliers and manufacturers. This phenomenon, often called the Digital Disruption, has ushered in a new digital era and a mandate for suppliers to develop an effective digital media strategy.

The Digital Disruption is fully explored in the new IHS GlobalSpec white paper: “A Strategic Approach to Digital Media: How to Develop a Budget, Create a Strategy and Measure ROI.”

The majority of industrial marketers already use digital channels to connect with customers and prospects. However, their efforts do not always generate desired results. Only 35 percent of industrial marketers are satisfied or very satisfied with their online marketing efforts, according to the research report “2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing.”

1. Take a multichannel approach
The main reason there is so much room for improvement is that many marketers think of digital as a single tactic. They are not taking a holistic or strategic approach to digital marketing. Just as “traditional” (print advertising, trade shows, direct mail, etc.) was never a single marketing channel, “digital” is also a broad term encompassing many online marketing strategies and tactics.

Because industrial professionals have many digital tools and sources of information at their disposal—from general search engines to specialized search, from industry websites to supplier websites, from online events to e-newsletters, digital catalogs, social media and more—suppliers must deploy a multichannel digital marketing program to be successful.

Of course, you can’t be everywhere, but you can make strategic decisions about where to allocate your resources. You should focus on the channels that:

1. Your target audience prefers
2. Align with your goals and objectives
3. Match your customers’ buy cycle behavior

One point to consider: Many industrial buyers do not initiate contact with a vendor until they have completed the early stages of their buy cycle and are close to a purchase decision. Therefore, it’s important to build and maintain brand visibility and awareness as part of your multichannel approach, so you can be discovered by customers at all times during their research.

2. Create a digital media budget
The first step in creating a budget for digital media is to consider reallocating resources from marketing programs that have performed poorly or are difficult to measure into digital channels that your target audience is using.

Industrial marketers are making the shift to digital, some faster than others. Fifty-four percent of manufacturers report they are spending more for online marketing in 2013 than in 2012. However, half of companies are devoting at least 36 percent of their overall marketing budget to online media and only 30 percent are devoting the majority of their marketing budget to digital efforts. With a target audience that has already made the shift to online resources, industrial marketers have to ask themselves if they are committing enough budget and resources to reach and engage their customers and prospects through digital channels.

3. Meeting the Challenge of Measuring Marketing ROI
Many marketers swallow hard when the discussion turns to measuring marketing ROI, and there’s no question that this measurement is a challenge. At the same time, there’s no doubt that marketers need to be more accountable.

Here are several ways to get started measuring ROI:

1. Commit only to measurable programs. Fortunately, the best-performing programs today are digital media. And digital media by its nature is measurable. You can track impressions, clicks, inquiries, conversions, time on page, length of view, and more.

2. Focus on those measurements that provide valuable insight leading to decisions that will improve your marketing program. These include the volume of engagement opportunities, the value of a lead in terms of revenue it helps to generate, the speed with which a lead converts, cost per inquiry, and brand awareness (such as reach and exposure numbers).

3. The industrial buy cycle can involve multiple decision makers and include many marketing touch points. It’s not easy to determine which touch point(s) contributed to a sale, even for companies using sophisticated marketing automation software and having the benefit of tight integration and communication among sales and marketing to share data and insights. Most likely, all touch points contribute to a sale. You may need to assign a weighting to different tactics to help measure ROI.

The white paper, “A Strategic Approach to Digital Media,” includes four additional tips for measuring ROI. Plus recommendations on developing a multichannel marketing approach and reallocating your budget to the digital side. It’s a valuable resource for every marketer. Download your complimentary copy.

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Industrial Marketing Trends: Shift to Digital Continues; Focus on Customers Intensifies

All marketers know you can’t achieve business success without paying attention to your customers, but this year the focus on customers is especially intense in the industrial sector. Forty-three percent of industrial companies say that customer acquisition is their primary marketing goal, according to the recent IHS GlobalSpec research report, 2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing, which is based on a survey of marketing and sales professionals in the industrial sector.

You can download the research report to access complete results along with analysis and recommendations.

The survey also found that customer acquisition, customer satisfaction and customer retention represent three of the top four ways industrial marketers measure success. In addition, focusing on the customer will be the number one area of emphasis over the next five years in marketing departments.

It’s not a surprise that customers are receiving so much attention. They have more control over the buying process (often not contacting vendors until they are near decision time), more information resources than ever before, and more suppliers to choose from. In response, industrial marketers are putting more effort and budget into digital channels to connect with customers, forge stronger relationships, and keep customers in the fold.

Industrial marketers face challenges, make spending changes
Marketers are feeling the pressure to demonstrate ROI from their efforts. Thirty-one percent say it’s the biggest challenge in their profession, while 58 percent consider sales attributed to marketing campaigns as a measure of success.

At least most marketers are shifting more of their budgets to digital channels, whose performance is easy to measure in terms of impressions, clicks and conversions. Fifty-four percent of industrial marketers are spending more on online marketing in 2013 than they did last year. Fifty percent will spend at least 36 percent of their overall budget on online channels. Five of the top seven most popular marketing channels are digital.

Traditional marketing channels will experience a decrease in spending. Direct mail, printed directories and trade magazine advertising are among the channels taking the biggest budget hits by marketers in the industrial sector.

In terms of overall marketing spend, 32 percent of companies are spending more on marketing in 2013 than they did in 2012. About half are spending the same as last year.

Content plays an important marketing role
Content continues to play an important role in industrial marketing as engineers and other technical professionals seem to have an insatiable appetite for information and education to help them do their jobs better. Fifty-one percent of industrial marketers will spend more on content creation this year. Video (58 percent) and webinars (49 percent) will see increases as well. In addition, creating and distributing content will play a major role in marketing plans over the next five years.

Social media finds its place
After a number of years of experimenting with how to use social media, industrial marketers are settling on branding and content delivery as their top goals for these platforms. LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform in the industrial sector, with 72 percent of marketers now using it.

It’s time to evaluate marketing efforts
While industrial companies are wisely reallocating resources to digital channels, just 35 percent of companies report satisfaction with their online marketing initiatives. This is a good time to evaluate the initiatives you are employing, before planning begins for next year. Are you allocating your marketing resources to those same channels that your target audience of industrial professionals relies on most frequently? Your audience is fragmented online, using multiple platforms. You need to use those same platforms to build awareness and generate engagement opportunities.

Download the full results, analysis, and recommendations of the 2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing research report.

To get a better sense of how your target audience is using digital media and the best ways to reach industrial professionals online, download these complimentary reports: Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector and New in Digital Media: Marketers Require Multichannel Solutions to Achieve the Cross-Media Multiplier Effect.

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The Digital Disruption: Three Digital Usage Trends in the Industrial Sector

Engineers and other industrial professionals are spending more time online and using a variety of digital resources to perform work-related tasks, which has transformed their buy cycle and challenged traditional marketing and sales processes for suppliers and manufacturers. This phenomenon is called the Digital Disruption.

IHS GlobalSpec recently conducted a survey of industrial professionals that helped uncover the key trends leading to the Digital Disruption. You can download the complimentary research report, Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector, to access the results, analysis and recommendations.

Here are three of the key trends:

1. Industrial Professionals Rely More than Ever on the Internet
It’s no surprise that engineers and industrial professionals are going online for work-related information. Forty-six percent visit 10 or more work-related websites in a week, while 23 percent visit 20 or more sites. Fifty-three percent of engineers spend at least 6 hours a week on the Internet for work. In the 18-34 age group, 39 percent spend more than 8 hours a week on the Internet for work.
One of the reasons the Internet is so valuable to engineers is that they can and do perform a variety of work-related tasks online. Eighty-four percent use the Internet to find components, equipment, services and suppliers. This “searching and finding” is the most commonly performed task. Other top uses include comparing products across suppliers, obtaining product specifications, and finding pricing information.

The variety of uses reinforces the need for suppliers to shift away from traditional media to be found by their target audience online and to provide timely, accurate and relevant content that meets the needs of customers and prospects.

2. Customers Wait Longer and Longer in the Buy Cycle to Contact Suppliers
The industrial buy cycle consists of distinct stages: Needs Awareness and Research, Comparison and Evaluation, and Purchase. At one time, suppliers were engaged with buyers throughout the stages of the buy cycle. Today, the Digital Disruption has changed that. Fifty-six percent of buyers don’t contact a vendor until they reach at least the Comparison and Evaluation stage of the buy cycle. Nineteen percent don’t contact the vendor until they are ready to make a purchase. Buyers are relying on digital resources to discover and research information about products, services and suppliers, and to narrow down their options before even getting a vendor involved.

The key takeaway for suppliers: You must be found in the early stages of the buy cycle to be on a buyer’s short list. During the Needs Awareness and Research phase, the most frequently used resources are general search engines, supplier websites, online catalogs, and GlobalSpec.com.

You also must be able to connect with a variety of buyers, recommenders, influencers and decision makers during the buy cycle. For purchases under $1,000, there is only one decision maker 54 percent of the time. But for purchases of more than $10,000, there are three or more decision makers involved 65 percent of the time.

3. The Number of Digital Resources Available for Industrial Professionals Continues to Grow
The Internet isn’t just a single destination for industrial professionals, but rather a collection of innovative, relevant and useful digital resources for helping engineers be more productive and efficient in their work processes.
The top four resources engineers use to find what they are looking for are digital resources: general search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites, and GlobalSpec.com.

While attendance by industrial professionals at traditional tradeshows has declined, the majority of engineers (51 percent) did not attend an in-person tradeshow in 2012, this audience’s participation in webinars and other online events is robust. Nearly two-thirds of industrial professionals said they attended at least one webinar or online event last year. Twenty-six percent said they went to four or more.

Another trend contributing to the Digital Disruption is that digital publications have taken over from print publications. Engineers subscribe to three times as many digital publications, such as e-newsletters, as they do printed trade magazines. Social media is also being used for work purposes. LinkedIn is the most popular channel, with 58 percent of engineers having an account.
Because your target audience relies on multiple digital channels, you must have a highly visible presence on those channels to connect with customers and prospects. Only through a multichannel approach can you achieve effective marketing results.

For a more in-depth analysis of the digital usage in the industrial sector and the Digital Disruption it is causing, read the complimentary report Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector. It will help you make more informed decisions about your marketing strategy and tactics.

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How have you responded to the digital disruption in the industrial sector?

Industrial professionals have shifted work-related activities, such as finding components and suppliers, comparing products, research and obtaining product specs from traditional media outlets to the web and other digital platforms. How have you, as a marketer seeking to reach and engage this audience, responded to this digital disruption?

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Only Online Event Focused on Marketing in the Industrial Sector Returns June 6

Hosted by IHS GlobalSpec, the Industrial Marketing Digital Summit (IMDS) is the only online event focused on marketing in the industrial sector. This year’s event takes place on Thursday, June 6. Registration is free and you can attend from the convenience of your desk.

Industrial marketers will lead educational sessions on content marketing, lead management, digital media use in the industrial sector and more.

In addition, leading marketing experts will discuss customer relationships and demand generation.

Register today for this informative event and get the ideas and knowledge you need to deliver more effective marketing, better connect with your target audience and gain a competitive advantage in your marketplace.

Educational sessions include (view complete agenda):

Keynote: Marketing – The New Normal
Stephanie Buscemi, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, IHS

Panel: Opportunity for Growth through Efficient Lead Management
Laura Hoffman, Vice President, Global Marketing, Red Lion Controls
Greg Livingstone, Chief Marketing Officer, Fluitec International
Amy Campbell, Owner and Director of All That Happens, The Red Checker

Maximizing Thought Leadership through Online Events
Ralph Bright, Vice President, Marketing, Interpower Corporation

Winning with Customers
Keith Pigues, Dean of the School of Business at North Carolina Central University and co-author of Winning with Customers: A Playbook for B2B

The Digital Disruption and What it Means to You
Chris Chariton, Senior Director, Digital Media Solutions, IHS GlobalSpec

Demand Process: Taking a Strategic Approach to Demand Generation
Adam Needles, Chief Strategy Officer at ANNUITAS and author of Balancing the Demand Equation

Ten Practical Ideas for Content Marketing
Bob Russotti, Senior Director of Marketing, ANSI

Exhibitors include Annuitas, Business Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine and Exact Target.
 

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Five Reasons Why Webinars Continue to Work

Just a few years ago, webinars were the definition of cutting edge digital marketing in the industrial sector. While new digital strategies such as social media, video, mobile and others seem to be getting a lot of the attention lately, webinars continue to evolve and remain an essential piece of your marketing mix. At the same time, they remain an affordable, effective, measurable, and proven B2B marketing platform – exactly what you need in your marketing portfolio. Here are five reasons why:

1. Exceptional Engagement Opportunities
A webinar audience is a motivated audience. These professionals are taking time out of their busy work schedules to attend your event. They have a special interest in the topic you are presenting. They have questions they want answered. And you have their contact information from when they registered. This offers an excellent opportunity for you to engage a motivated audience and to follow up with them and build a mutually beneficial business relationship, as long as you…

2. Tell a Compelling Story
Your primary goal of hosting a webinar shouldn’t be to generate engagement opportunities or boast about your wonderful new product. It should be to captivate and hold your audience’s attention by telling a compelling, relevant story. If you don’t do that, you won’t be able to meet your other objectives. The mystery novelist Elmore Leonard once gave this tip to writers: Leave out the boring parts. Same goes for webinars. Skip the dull stuff and tell your audience something super useful that they don’t already know. Focus on their needs and what they want to learn.

3. Branding and Thought Leadership
If your marketing objectives include raising your company’s brand awareness or demonstrating thought leadership, use webinars. They are an excellent way to convey your company’s position on the state of your industry, to offer innovative ways to solve problems, to present research and analyze trends, and much more. Another effective approach is to work with industry partners and experts to jointly present or sponsor webinars that will help build your reputation and grow visibility.

4. Controlled Interaction
Let’s face it: social media platforms are great for listening to and participating in conversations, and that’s important, but social media is also very unstructured. You never know what comments you might get or where the conversation might lead. Webinars, on the other hand, allow you to control the message yet still interact with your audience in ways that are helpful to them. You can ask poll questions during the event and then display and discuss the results in real-time. You can also have an interactive question and answer period at the end of your presentation—or at any time during the event. Survey your audience to get valuable feedback on your presentation. Webinar platforms also allow you to provide resources – such as research reports, white papers, product fact sheets and more – through the audience’s viewing console, providing your attendees instant access to additional information relevant to your webinar topic.

5. Support Content Marketing Strategy
A lot of marketing today is content marketing: disseminating relevant, useful information to customers and prospects across multiple media channels. Webinars help fulfill this function. You host the live event and offer an archived version of the webinar on demand following the event. And the topics you cover in the webinar could be re-purposed into white papers, blog posts, articles and more to help feed your content marketing machine.

Webinars continue to be a relevant and valuable marketing platform in the industrial sector. If you’d like to see a webinar in action, check out one of our upcoming events.

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