Recruiting Engineers? Marketing Can Help

The widespread shortage of technical and engineering skills has been exasperated further by the pandemic. Even though some companies have been forced to downsize due to the pandemic, the demand for engineering talent still far exceeds supply, according to research from Terminal, a company that builds remote engineering teams for its clients.

Likely none of us are too surprised by this. According to the EE Times, over the course of the next two decades, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day. Engineering will represent only a fraction of that number, but retirements will leave a large hole in talent for many companies, and the upcoming talent pool of young engineers is smaller compared to the previous generation.

In other words, the war on hiring engineering talent is coming.

If your company is like many others in their need to recruit engineers into its workforce, marketing can help play a role. Working with human resources or talent acquisition teams, marketing can bring branding, messaging, and channel skills to bear that can help overcome the recruiting challenge.

Fine-Tune Brand Messages

According to research in the 2021 Pulse of Engineering report, the most important career factors for engineers are interesting work/projects, good work/life balance, learning, and respect. Compensation was only the fifth most important factor.

In your recruitment ads, company boilerplate, website, and other messaging platforms, let potential hires know how your company accommodates these career factors that are important to engineers. Even subtle placements help. Quotes from your subject matter experts in press releases or blog posts might mention something about an interesting project or new insights discovered while working at your company.

Help Train the Next Generation

The 2021 Pulse of Engineering also found that engineers often turn to online training courses, webinars, and professional development courses to help increase their knowledge and skills.

Consider offering free online training or paid certificate courses on topics that your company can demonstrate expertise and leadership in. You can also look into hosting and moderating technical discussion or Q&A forums for engineers. Produce webinars on the latest trends in your industry to show that your company is on the forefront of industry change.

Promote the Latest Technology

Engineers are commonly interested in working for companies that are at the leading edge of technology. Top talent won’t want to spend their time using outdated programs, so ensure your tech stack is up to date. If your company uses the latest technology tools and platforms, be sure to promote this aspect as a way to make your company more attractive to engineers.

Offer a Vision

Before accepting a position, engineers want to get a sense of what their career might look like at your company. In your communications, provide a short- and long-term sense of your company’s mission, vision, and core values. But don’t be generic. The engineering workforce is specialized, and your vision should be too.

Align with Today’s Preferences

The research conducted by Terminal reported that 8 out of 10 engineers want options for working remotely. Seventy percent of engineers report they are more productive when working at home.

If your company offers flexible and remote working options and remote-specific benefits such as technology and productivity tools or stipends, you should be able to attract more talent from a much broader pool of candidates located around the world.

In addition, mental health services are in high demand today in every profession. Benefits like access to virtual therapy can help make your company more attractive.

Conduct Targeted Recruitment Advertising

Consider advertising on GlobalSpec for your employer brand promotion and talent acquisition needs. GlobalSpec’s audience consists of the world’s top engineering and technical professionals, which puts us at a unique advantage to help market your employer brand message to the people working in the industries you’re targeting.

Companion Piece

For more tips on attracting engineering talent and preserving and protecting your company’s specialized engineering knowledge, download our new whitepaper, “Hiring the Correct Engineering Talent and Decreasing the Knowledge Drain.”

Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends Multichannel Marketing Public Relations
Seven Ways Content Can Make You More Competitive

Seven Ways Content Can Make You More Competitive

Seven Ways Content Can Make You More Competitive

The rise of the digital era has in many ways increased competition in the industrial sector and leveled the playing field between small and large companies. Smaller companies with a robust online presence have more opportunities than ever to attract an engineering audience, while larger companies can defend their brand and market positions.

But one way for a company of any size to rise above its competitors is to use content to its advantage. Here are seven ways content can give your marketing efforts a lift.

1. Educate, Don’t Sell

When it comes to producing content, consider the Golden Rule: treat others as you wish to be treated. In other words, you don’t want the hard sell, and neither do engineers. What they want is educational information: facts, statistics, information, objectivity. They want to learn how to do their jobs better, not get pressured into buying something they may or may not need to complete a project.

The more you make your content educational, the more helpful you are to your audience, and the more likely they will turn your way.

2. Right Content, Right Channels

Engineers use a variety of content types and access that content through several different preferred channels. According to the 2021 State of Marketing to Engineers research report, datasheets, case studies, white papers, and product demo videos top the list as the most valuable content types engineers use.

To maintain and advance their professional skills, engineers gravitate toward content such as online training courses, webinars, and white papers, as reported in the 2021 Pulse of Engineering.

With many tradeshows and in-person events canceled over the past year due to the pandemic, the most popular channels for accessing information are supplier/vendor websites, online trade publications, publication email/e-newsletters, and vendor email/e-newsletters.

Make these content types and channels part of your marketing mix and you might be able to separate your company from the pack.

3. Fill the Knowledge Gap with Content

The Pulse of Engineering report also found that a major concern for industrial companies is the knowledge and expertise that is lost when employees leave the company. Many do not have formal processes for preserving and passing on domain knowledge. Savvy suppliers and vendors can help fill the knowledge gap and become important allies to their customers by providing valuable content through online training courses, webinars, and white papers.

4. Use Gated Content to Build Your Database

Sometimes the best defense against the competition is a comprehensive database of customers and prospects. While some companies are hesitant to gate content behind forms in fear of turning away potential prospects, engineers are willing to fill out forms for highly technical content. White papers and CAD drawings are the most popular premium pieces of content. Video tutorials, webinars, and product configurators are also desired by technical buyers. Our research shows that engineers are most likely to fill out contact information forms for these valuable resources.

5. Produce Content for the Entire Buying Cycle

Research consistently shows engineers rely upon online content heavily during the buying process. Online content supports over 50 percent of the buyer’s journey, as reported in the 2021 State of Marketing to Engineers. Sixty-two percent of respondents complete more than half of the buying process online, and when looking at engineers age 45 and under, the online journey lengthens to over seventy percent.

Make sure you have plenty of content such as educational articles, white papers, videos, webinars, and technical documentation for the early phases of the engineer’s buy cycle when they are analyzing their needs and searching for potential suppliers and products. Content such as ROI calculators, case studies, and warranty policies can help close the deal later in the buying cycle.

6. Keep Producing Content

Content isn’t something you pay attention to only at the beginning of the year or to support specific events such as product launches. Content marketing is an ongoing process of producing, repurposing, posting, and tracking content. Your audience as well as search engines are both hungry for fresh, relevant technical content. You have to keep feeding the beast to rise above.

7. Stay on Message and Brand

Is your content consistent in its messaging as well as its look and feel? Even when you have a variety of content types, your company’s brand essence and key messaging points should come through on each piece. Consistency and continuity of content help engineers identify and remember you. Find the common threads that are important and stitch them into all of your content.

Content Marketing Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing

2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit – Part 2

Last month in Part 1 of our 2020 Marketing Planning series, we offered advice on how to assess the performance of your current marketing program, account for industry trends that will affect your strategy moving forward, and align your marketing plan with your company’s overall business goals and objectives. Read Part 1 here.

This month, in Part 2, we are offering tips to help you develop the optimal marketing plan that fits your budget, provides measurable results, and targets your audience of engineers and industrial professionals.

Focus on the channels your target audience uses.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels that engineers use are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. These channels are foundational elements in your marketing mix.

E-newsletters, industry websites, social media, email, webinars, and trade shows are all important information sources for your customers and have influence on their buying decisions. At the same time, your audience relies on other channels to keep up with the latest technologies, including industry news, products, and companies.

Of course, you can’t use every possible marketing channel available to you, since resources are always limited, but you also can’t focus solely on only one or two channels. Instead, try to diversify your marketing spend across multiple channels to generate the results you need.

Seek efficiency and integration across channels.

The marketing channels where you allocate budget should work together to reach your audience at every stage of their buy cycle. Early buy-stage resources such as search engines and websites should point the way to useful, educational content that you can distribute through email, social media, webinars, and other channels.

Plan to use multiple channels for important events such as new product launches, updates, or technology announcements. Make sure each channel upholds a consistent brand message and contributes to your stated marketing goals. When your marketing efforts are integrated across channels, you will experience a spike in efficiency and will likely achieve better results.

Plan your cornerstone content.

Engineers and technical professionals are constantly in search of content to help them solve problems, understand new technologies, and make more informed buying decisions. Being a provider of valuable, authoritative content helps position your company as an industry expert, builds trust with prospects, and ultimately makes it easier to sell your products and services to drive revenue.

While impromptu content needs will pop up throughout the year, you should plan several cornerstone pieces of content. What key white papers, webinars, or articles will you need to support your goals in 2020? By planning now, you can avoid the long lead times that producing quality content requires.

In addition, plan what channels you will use for distributing content. Here’s where your multichannel strategy pays off. For example, you can promote a webinar in an e-newsletter advertisement or on social media and drive prospects to your site to register.

Set aside budget for new markets.

Given the almost instant worldwide reach of digital marketing channels, you should plan to explore new, untapped sectors where your products and services may be a good fit. Manufacturers that can display their products and services simultaneously across multiple markets will have the best opportunity to gain new customers.

You may need to tweak your content or messaging in order to appeal to customers across different sectors. Focus on your core value propositions. Ad networks and targeted e-newsletter advertising are effective ways to reach specific customers in new markets.

Determine your measurement strategy.

Everyone knows the saying that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. How will you measure your marketing ROI?

Many manufacturers are allocating a greater percentage of their marketing budget to digital programs, which your audience turns to first for researching work-related purchases and are easily measurable.  Views, opens, clicks, shares, downloads, and conversions are all trackable data points.

Marketing automation is growing in popularity as a way to measure results, as well as to manage campaigns and content distribution. Marketing automation makes it easier to track the multiple touches that a prospect will typically have with your company throughout their buy cycle, helping you understand the contribution of each channel. There are a number of low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market.

Work with media partners.

Preparing an integrated, multichannel marketing plan is challenging, which is why it’s best to start now. But you shouldn’t have to do it alone. As you begin, consult with an experienced media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach. Discuss your marketing objectives and have your media partners show you an integrated, multichannel media plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives.

2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit

GlobalSpec created the 2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit to help you develop an effective marketing plan that targets your audience of engineering and technical professionals. Get a jump on 2020 and add this valuable resource to your planning efforts today. Click here to download.

Content Marketing E-Mail Marketing Marketing ROI Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing

Multichannel Marketing: Are You Doing It Right?

hans-peter-gauster-252751-unsplash

Most industrial marketers have adopted a multichannel marketing strategy. They’ve realized it’s not enough to just have a website or to exhibit at a trade show every year to achieve their marketing goals.

These marketers have recognized and adapted to the three key trends that drive multichannel marketing:

  1. Industrial professionals have many tools to choose from when sourcing products, requiring marketers to broaden and deepen their reach to engage prospects in ways that match their searching and sourcing preferences.
  2. Engineers prefer to search independently and wait to contact vendors until later in their buy cycle, so suppliers must be seen early and often in the buy cycle to have a chance at the sale.
  3. The internet has leveled the playing field and increased competition as more companies allocate more marketing dollars to various digital media channels.

The analyst firm Outsell reported that 63 percent of large companies and 17 percent of small companies used more than five tools in the marketing stack in 2017. In addition, according to  “Trends in Industrial Marketing: How Manufacturers are Marketing Today”, 50 percent of marketers use a mix of push/ outbound (email, tradeshows) and pull/inbound marketing tactics (corporate website, online catalogs).

But multichannel marketing can be a complex undertaking, and blindly adding more channels to your marketing mix is not a viable strategy—and may in fact be a waste of resources. Follow these tips to ensure your company can successfully compete in a multichannel marketing environment:

Maintain consistency

Across all the channels you use, maintain a consistent presence and make sure your messages complement one another in order to reinforce your brand and value propositions. Use the same colors, brand imagery and fonts. Hone in on core messages and differentiators. If you start mixing messages or varying your look and feel, your audience can become confused. They might not know what your brand represents.

Don’t try to be everywhere

Multichannel doesn’t mean you need to be everywhere at once. That would be a futile strategy and blow away your budget. Instead, as you expand, start out small. Experiment. Use the channels that your customers use.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels for technical professionals are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. Those should be on every marketer’s list.

But in reality, your audience uses many other channels to keep up with the latest technologies, product news, companies and brands—all of which influence buying decisions. E-newsletters, industry sites, social media, webinars, email, in-person tradeshows, conferences, and industry publications are all important industry information sources for your customers. Try a few new channels in Q4 this year and see which ones work best for you.

Coordinate your team and resources

Make sure that your entire team, from employees to vendors to partners to agencies, are all on the same page in terms of strategy, messaging and responsibilities. It helps to have a single, secure location for storing, accessing and editing marketing assets. Content version control becomes essential when you are using the same or similar content across multiple channels.

Don’t forget to engage your sales team. They should be aware of, and on board with, every program and channel you have in place. They are the ones likely fielding inquiries from prospects who noticed your marketing.

Manage better with marketing automation

You can still manage, track and measure using spreadsheets, but the task is manual and will be cumbersome once you are juggling multiple channels and programs. If possible, use one of the low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market today. Marketing automation will help you keep much better track of campaigns and prospect activity through their buy cycle. Your overall marketing efforts will be much more efficient.

Prepare for more complex ROI measurement

Here’s another area where marketing automation can help. As prospects connect with your company through multiple channels, the influence of each of those channels on a purchase decision becomes harder to calculate. Some companies place too much emphasis on the first touch with a prospect, others on the “last click” before purchase.

The fact is that every touch contributes to a sale. To find out more about measuring marketing ROI, check out this Marketing Maven article from earlier this year: “Tips for Measuring Marketing ROI.”

Rely on trusted media partners

The right media partner, one with expertise in your industry and the ability to reach your target audience, can help you develop, execute and measure a multichannel marketing campaign that is specifically designed to meet your marketing goals.

Your partner can help you select the appropriate channels and optimize your marketing mix, so that your entire program runs in an efficient, coordinated fashion.

Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing

The Two Types of Marketing Essential to Your Success

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Most industrial marketers are familiar with the terms push and pull marketing. Others use the phrases outbound and inbound marketing, or creative and directional. Whatever their names, these two types of marketing are essential to your success.

Though they are different, creative and directional advertising must work together to form an integrated marketing strategy. As you begin your initial marketing planning for 2018, keep these two approaches in mind.

Push, Outbound, Creative

These are the classic marketing tactics, where you push your message out to create brand awareness or raise a need in your audience.

  • Examples: Direct mail, email blasts, online ads, mobile text marketing, event marketing, telephone calls
  • Benefits: The marketer controls the timing, channel, content and frequency of outbound promotions. Tactics help build brand visibility in the market and awareness among your audience.
  • Challenges: Because push marketing is disruptive, many of those you reach will have no interest in your message at the time when it arrives. Also, while the marketer is in control of the campaign, the customer decides whether or not to pay attention to your marketing efforts.
  • Best practices: Segment your audience as much as possible by advertising on industry-specific sites or emailing only to a target audience.

Pull, Inbound, Directional

Although this type of marketing has been around for years (i.e., a person with a recognized need used to turn to the yellow pages), the rise of the internet and the digital age has led to the dramatic growth in pull marketing.

Directional advertising is placing your business in front of people who are actually looking for your product or service. Your audience has a recognized need and is searching for a solution. Your goal is to make sure they find you.

  • Examples: Supplier websites, presence on industry websites, search engine optimization/paid keyword search, social media recommendations, public relations/article placement
  • Benefits: Ability to connect with your target audience when they are motivated and searching, particularly early in their buy cycle before they make contact with a vendor. Typically, lower cost per opportunity generated
  • Challenges: Requires optimal allocation of resources across the variety of channels that your customers use today to access information and search for products, services and suppliers
  • Best use: Focus on maintaining an effective company website as well as building a broad and visible presence on industry sites that your customers use on a regular basis

Putting Creative and Directional Together

You need both creative and directional tactics to execute an effective marketing program. By implementing both strategies, you will build awareness among the potential customers you want to reach, and be highly visible to them when they are researching or making a purchasing decision.

Push and pull tactics work hand-in-hand for greater efficiency and effectiveness. For example, a web page optimized for specific search terms (pull) that you also drive prospects to using email blasts or banner advertising (push).

Another example is a supplier hub on Engineering360.com where engineers can find you when searching for solutions like those you offer (pull), and where you can also drive traffic to your hub or products through display ads on the site or by advertising in a targeted e-newsletter.

According to the upcoming Trends in Industrial Marketing research report, 69 percent of industrial marketers use both push and pull marketing tactics, but say they could be diversifying their mix more. How do you find the right mix? You can get more tips about creative and directional advertising, plus tools and recommendations to build a stellar marketing plan, in the just-published 2018 Marketing Planning Kit. Download your complimentary copy today.

Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing

Why Print Media Should Still be Part of Your Advertising Mix

For the past few years, the B2B marketing world has been buzzing about the rise and relevance of digital media. It’s true that there are many digital channels available to help companies connect with their potential customers. From social media to webinars, online catalogs to video, email to apps—B2B marketing has experienced a sea of change.

Conversely, spending on print is declining. According to research from CMO Survey, investments in traditional advertising have consistently dropped by single digit percentages each year for the last half decade. Digital marketing spend, by comparison, has consistently grown by double digit increments year after year.

And yet, data shows that print media still plays a role in a successful multichannel marketing strategy:

• The CMO Survey also found that digital spend is only a portion of total marketing spend for most businesses, and that companies are also spending marketing dollars on offline/traditional media.
• Fifty-seven percent of B2B marketers use print or other offline promotions as part of their marketing mix.. (2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends – North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)

The Benefits of Print
There are many benefits to reaching your customers using print media. Print is still a top-of-funnel medium, and can help you establish the value of your brand. Additional benefits of print include:

• With print circulation down, readership for most publications has been culled to only the most engaged, targeted audience, which is a desirable trait from an advertising standpoint.
• Print is perceived to offer credibility, especially in the B2B industrial space.
• Readers of print are not interrupted by targeted digital ads being served up in real-time based on browsing history or digital footprint.
• Readers are more focused when engaged with print, rather than multitasking like they do when consuming digital content.
• Print offers pass-along exposure among colleagues.
• Print offers high visibility—fewer ads mean more impact.

Finding Where Print Belongs
Research by the sales and marketing firm Outsell showed that marketers are increasing the number of tools in their marketing stack. Research from Lewis PR found that 84 percent of senior marketers worldwide state multichannel marketing is a key focus of their current marketing strategy.

Print advertising can still have a place within your stack of tools and overall marketing mix. . The question is finding the right fit in an integrated and multichannel marketing program.

When choosing print media, keep in mind that the real value in print advertising may be in brand awareness and perception, and in getting your message or offer to stick over the long run. By simultaneously using both print and digital media, you can achieve concurrency of media and have a greater opportunity to connect with your target audience in different settings—whether they are at their desks, on their mobile device or offline.

Measuring the effectiveness of print is easier than in the past.. Do this by integrating print and digital efforts. Marketers can include scannable QR codes, or set up ad-specific URLs and corresponding landing pages so that they can track how much traffic is generated from a particular print promotion.

Digital channels are more plentiful, and offer concrete measurements and flexibility. Plus, the majority of the technical audience goes online first when searching for product, services and suppliers. However, a well-planned print should still play an role in your marketing mix – as long as it’s integrated with
digital in your multichannel marketing strategy.

Tell us – Where do you see value in print advertising? How are you merging digital and print?

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing Thought Leadership

The Case for a Multichannel Marketing Strategy

 The internet has evolved from its early days to offer a collection of innovative, relevant and useful digital resources for helping technical professionals be more productive and efficient in their work processes. Engineers turn first to digital channels to locate and research suppliers, products and services when engaged in their buy cycle.

Using digital media for work-related purposes is now “business as usual” for engineers and industrial professionals. Not only do technical professionals have more digital tools and sources of information at their disposal, they also have gained exposure to more companies to buy from. The result is that buyers have more choices, more individualized preferences, and more power than ever before.

In addition, during the early phases of their buy cycle—researching and comparing suppliers and products—engineers are using digital information sources and working independently of suppliers. Most do not contact a supplier until they have already created a short list of potential vendors.

Three trends pointing toward multichannel marketing
These three trends are the primary reason why industrial marketers must embrace a multichannel digital marketing strategy:

1. Industrial professionals have many digital tools to choose from and a have variety of searching and sourcing preferences
2. The internet has leveled the playing field and increased competition as more companies allocate more marketing dollars to digital media
3. Suppliers must be noticed by and attract potential customers early in the buy cycle in order to be in the running to make a sale

Multichannel marketing allows industrial companies to stay abreast of these trends and offers brand cohesion for industrial suppliers: your brand and products can appear in those places where customers might expect to find you, and you can maintain a consistent and persistent presence and message to reinforce your brand and value propositions.

But which digital channels to use?
With so many digital channels now available, marketers need to allocate their budgets wisely in order to achieve the greatest possible impact. Few companies have the resources to blanket every channel with marketing campaigns, nor would you want to do this even if you could.

Instead, you should focus on those channels your audience uses the most. According to the research report “Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector,” the top three work-related digital resources for technical professionals of any age have stayed the same in recent years: general search engines (used by 89 percent), supplier websites (75 percent) and online catalogs (74 percent). Online communities have seen a significant growth among younger engineers, with 39 percent now using them.

You can also allocate marketing resources to align with your customers’ buy cycles. To be noticed and remembered by prospects in early stages of their buy cycle, when they are identifying needs and beginning research, tactics such as banner ads and articles on industry sites, online catalogs, and advertising in industry e-newsletters can help you raise brand awareness, get your message across and be remembered by prospects.

As buyers begin comparing potential vendors, you need to get closer to prospects and provide more specific and differentiating information. Webinars, how-to videos, demos and product specs on your website are good choices here.

How to keep track
While most industrial marketers understand the need for a multichannel strategy, it can be challenging to make sure a multichannel marketing program is integrated and trackable across all channels you use. Some marketers can fall into the “last click” trap, which attributes a sale to the last action your customer takes before making a purchase decision.

This is a mistake, because almost every sale made is the result of creating multiple touchpoints with prospects. They might start by viewing your banner ad or finding your online catalog, then downloading a white paper, followed by attending a webinar or watching a video. All of these prospect behaviors and touchpoints help contribute to the final buying decision. That’s why it’s so important to be able to track digital behavior. It’s equally important to work with media partners who can provide comprehensive reports about who is accessing your content and on the performance of your programs.

Any investment in multichannel marketing requires analytics and a commitment to channel integration. Ultimately, it’s worth it. You’ll have in place a marketing platform and strategy that can see you through the complex era of digital marketing, and you’ll realize better results and return on your marketing investments.

Multichannel Marketing

In Marketing, You Need to Push and Pull

 There has been agreement in recent years about the need for industrial marketers to combine both push marketing and pull marketing strategies. In theory, the line between push marketing and pull marketing is clear, but in practice it is blurred, because successful marketers seamlessly weave the two strategies together.

Push marketing, also called outbound marketing, is casting a net to reach your audience. Examples of push marketing tactics include e-newsletters, direct mail, and print or online advertising. The marketer maintains control in terms of targeting the audience, owning the message and selecting the channel. A question related to push marketing is: “How many can I reach?”

Pull marketing, also called inbound marketing, is a way to draw in potential customers, making it easy for them to find and engage with you when they recognize and begin searching for a product or service similar to what your company offers. Search engine marketing, your company website, online catalogs, and social media accounts are examples of inbound marketing. With pull marketing, the customer is in complete control in terms of choosing to engage with you, and your task is to provide useful, relevant content. A question related to pull marketing is: “Who can I help?”

A majority of industrial companies (53%) use a combination of both push and pull marketing strategies, according to the recent IHS Engineering360 research report, “Trends in Industrial Marketing.” However, only a quarter of these marketers are satisfied with their push and pull mix. What’s the source of their dissatisfaction?

The path to a better push and pull mix
A number of factors could contribute to industrial marketers recognizing a need for better diversification between push and pull marketing. These include:

Too slow to shift to pull strategies. Traditional marketing methods are heavily weighted toward push strategies: cold calling, direct mail, and print ads, for example. On the other hand, pull marketing came of age with the digital era. Now the vast majority of engineers, technical, and industrial professionals turn first to digital channels to search for information, news, products, services, and suppliers. If you haven’t caught up to your customers’ behavior, you may not be getting the results you want.

It may be time to take a closer look not only at your push and pull diversification, but also your online and traditional marketing mix. Whether your tactics are push or pull, you should probably be devoting the majority of your marketing budget to digital channels.

Viewing a channel as valuable exclusively for push or pull. One mistake marketers might make is deciding that a channel is exclusively push or pull, and then using it only in that manner. The reality is that many channels can accommodate both push and pull tactics, and in fact the line between push and pull is often vague.

For example, writing a guest article for publication on an industry website is a pull tactic that can draw your audience in, but paying for an advertorial on a website is more of a push tactic. Posting to your social media accounts and earning shares and mentions are pull tactics, while paying for social media advertising is a push tactic.

Marketers should first choose which channels are best for helping connect with their target audience and to achieve their marketing objectives, then deploy both push and pull strategies on those channels for greater impact.

Not integrating push and pull efforts. You may use both push and pull marketing tactics, but are you weaving together your efforts into an integrated marketing strategy? No single tactic should stand in isolation. For example, you might advertise in an e-newsletter to drive prospects to a page on your website where they can register for a webinar or download a white paper. You may also have optimized this page to rank high for specific keyword search results. Or if you publish a searchable online product catalog on an industry website, you can display ads based on the user’s search and results. Take these concepts to a higher level and discover ways to integrate all of your push and pull strategies.

Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends Multichannel Marketing

Top Priorities and Challenges for Industrial Marketers

 In the recent IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions research report, Trends in Industrial Marketing, we revealed the top priorities and challenges that industrial marketers are facing today. The priorities that matter to industrial marketers include customer acquisition and retention, brand awareness, and content production and distribution. The list of challenges includes increased competition, generating leads, and measuring success.

That’s a lot to manage for any marketing team. The Maven is here to help. We’ll look at each of these priorities and challenges and put them into context for you. Why are they important? And what can you do to best manage your priorities and conquer your challenges?

Priority: Customer Focus
Customers are the lifeblood of every business. Industrial marketers know this. Customer acquisition is the primary marketing goal for 43% of survey respondents, earning it the top spot six years running. In addition, focus on customer retention has grown every year for the past several years, with 15% stating it is their primary marketing goal in 2015. Moreover, 54% state that customer acquisition is used to measure marketing success.

To stay focused on customers, industrial marketers are investing in digital programs such as email marketing, e-newsletters, webinars, and catalog programs to get closer to customers and potential customers. They also are focusing on working with media partners who best understand the customer and can offer programs that produce significant levels of awareness and engagement.

Priority: Brand Awareness
Over the next five years, industrial marketers indicated their marketing teams will be placing more emphasis on brand awareness. Having a brand that is positively recognized in your market puts your company in a position to shorten the sales cycle and win more business.

Marketing programs that deliver a consistent and persistent presence – such as your website, online catalogs, and banner ads – can increase the visibility of your brand. Webinars and content marketing initiatives can help personalize and strengthen your brand.

Priority: Creating and Distributing Content
Another area of focus for marketing departments will be creating and distributing content. Engineers and other industrial professionals are constantly looking for relevant, educational content to help them do their jobs better, such as webinars, articles, how-tos, white papers, spec sheets, and more.

Fifty-one percent of industrial marketers increased spending on content creation in 2015. However, 39% are just getting started with content marketing, and only 12% can show how content marketing contributes to sales. Marketing teams should develop a content marketing plan and schedule, which will help them produce needed content and get it into the hands of customers and prospects using the digital channels they prefer.

Challenge: Increased Competition
For the first time, industrial marketers report that increased competition is their number-one challenge. The digital era and its multitude of channels has largely leveled the playing field for competitors. Engineers and technical professionals now have more resources than ever at their disposal to discover information and research purchases, making it harder for marketers to be highly visible and to differentiate their company, products, and services.

The solution is to diversity your marketing presence across the channels your customers prefer to use. Putting too much emphasis on one area, such as the company website, can leave you vulnerable to competitors who are increasing visibility and generating engagement opportunities across a variety of digital channels. Past research demonstrates the performance benefits of diversifying your marketing spend across multiple digital media channels versus relying on a single platform.

Challenge: Generating Qualified Leads for Sales
Thirty-five percent of industrial marketers report that generating enough qualified leads for sales is one of their top three marketing challenges. What’s more, demand generation is the second most important marketing goal for industrial marketers and a precursor to the top priority — customer acquisition.

The key to overcoming this challenge is to invest in marketing that generates valuable engagement opportunities for you. You can often measure the worth of a contact or inquiry in its timeliness. Engagement opportunities coming to you in real time, as they are generated, are more likely to convert to a sale than those weeks or even just days old.

In addition, marketers should have lead nurturing processes in place to help transition early-stage leads into qualified prospects ready for your sales team. For additional advice and best practices in this area, download the complimentary white paper, “Best Practices for Managing and Increasing Engagement Opportunities.”

Challenge: Measuring Return on Investment (ROI)
The top measurements for marketing successes are sales attributed to marketing campaigns and customer acquisition. Because the industrial buy cycle can be long, complex, and involve multiple decision makers, you will likely engage with customers along a number of marketing touchpoints before they make a buying decision.

For example, a customer may first see your banner ad, later visit your website, download a white paper, and eventually attend a webinar. It’s important to track all of these interactions along the buying journey in order to measure the effectiveness of individual marketing tactics and your program as a whole. This will also prevent the mistake of attributing a sale to the last touchpoint with a customer, because rarely is any one interaction, or even the most recent one, the sole contributor to marketing success.

Download the white paper “2015 Trends in Industrial Marketing” for an in-depth look at the goals, challenges, budgets, and plans of industrial marketers, along with recommendations on how you can strengthen your marketing efforts in the coming year.

Content Marketing Customer Relationships Demand Generation Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing ROI Marketing Trends Multichannel Marketing

Three Tips for a More Effective Multichannel Strategy

With engineers and technical professionals using a variety of digital resources for work related purposes, industrial marketers must deploy a multichannel strategy to attract new customers and connect with current ones. But it takes more than simply placing advertising in different digital media channels.

Instead, you must be able to deliver a seamless, consistent experience across multiple channels in order to build confidence and trust among your target audience and increase opportunities to win business.

Being consistent and seamless requires that the attributes and value of your brand come across to your customers at all times, on all channels. Many customers might be exposed to your company through multiple channels: e-newsletters, websites, online catalogs, webinars, online events, banner ads and more.

You don’t have to—and shouldn’t want to—use the exact same message across channels, or make all your creative and layout look the same, but you should find the appropriate threads to weave through your marketing that will cause potential customers to recognize and understand your brand at every digital touch point. Here’s how:

Cross Media Multiplier Effect

1. Anticipate multiple exposures
There’s a theory that a potential customer has to interact with your company up to seven times before they’re ready to make a purchasing decision. If you’re truly deploying a multichannel strategy, you should work under the assumption that engineers and technical professionals will be exposed to your company numerous times across multiple digital channels.

For example, the person who sees your ad in an e-newsletter might click through to your website and later might view a video on your YouTube channel and read one of your tweets or blog posts. Provide visual consistency by using similar colors, layouts, fonts and other design elements across channels and content.

Provide message consistency by reminding your audience of your brand value. How do you want your audience to perceive you: Are you a technology innovator? A low-cost provider? Known for stellar customer service? Find a way to reinforce your major brand message, even if the specific marketing campaign is more focused.

2. Plan your content
Be the company that is always putting out fresh content on multiple digital channels. The latest news on your products or trends in the industry. A new white paper, video or webinar. If you strive to constantly refresh your content, it will be easier to maintain consistency and deliver a seamless experience across channels.

In addition, create a schedule for publishing content so that you know when and where your content will appear. This will help you avoid, for example, having last month’s story still promoted on your social media platforms while this week’s e-newsletter concerns itself with more recent topics. Remember that not every channel has to carry the same message or news (which would be dull), but they do have to work together and you have to be aware of what’s appearing where.

3. Tie it all back to your website
A good portion of your marketing effort is likely devoted to funneling customers to your website where they can accept your offers, make a purchase, contact you or interact with your company, brand and content in other ways. Whether a potential customer is exposed to your company through a banner ad, e-newsletter, online catalog, social media post or other channel, every potential customer that clicks through to your website should immediately recognize something familiar, whether it’s a message you want to continually reinforce or a consistent look and feel you want to promote.

If you integrate all the components of your multichannel marketing strategy in these ways, not only will you provide a consistent, seamless and memorable experience to your target audience, you will create the impression of being everywhere in the digital sphere. Customers will see and recognize your presence, which will help form a stronger and longer lasting connection with your brand, company and products.

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How do you deliver a seamless, consistent experience across multiple digital channels? What advice would you give to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Marketing Strategy Multichannel Marketing