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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.