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.

If this article was helpful to you, please spread the word using the share buttons below.

What trends do you see in industrial marketing? Are you focusing more on the customer and/or shifting more resources to digital channels? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Customer Relationships Digital Media Industrial Marketing and Sales Market Research Multichannel Marketing Social Media

What Your Digital Media Strategy May Be Missing

Almost every industrial company engages in digital marketing now. But if all you have are a website and newsletter, you’re missing out on something important — visibility and a better opportunity to connect with customers and prospects.

In this era of digital media teeming with innovation, industrial professionals and the companies that market and sell industrial products and services are faced with an influx of digital channels. From the introduction of general search engines, to an increase in specialized search, to the rise of social media, industrial professionals have more digital tools and sources of information than ever to do their jobs better and more efficiently. They also gain exposure to more companies to buy from. The result is that your customers have more choices, more individualized preferences, and more power than ever before.

A recent white paper from IHS GlobalSpec, “Marketers Require Multichannel Solutions to Achieve the Cross-Media Multiplier Effect,” documents the reasons why industrial marketers are rapidly adopting a multichannel digital marketing strategy and provides the benefits of diversifying your marketing spend across multiple digital media channels.

There are two primary reasons why industrial marketers are adopting a multichannel approach:

1. Customers have many digital tools at their disposal, and as a marketer you must engage them in ways that match their varied searching and sourcing preferences.

2. As an increasing number of companies allocate more of their marketing dollars to digital media, you must fend off increased competition online.

The evidence is mounting that multichannel marketing is producing the desired results for marketers in terms of improved campaign performance and a higher return on marketing investment. This phenomenon is known as the “cross-media multiplier effect.” It’s a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Marketers are getting savvy
Marketers are demonstrating their savvy in regards to multichannel marketing. Many are abandoning single campaigns and instead adopting broader campaign strategies that integrate multiple digital channels and produce the cross-media multiplier effect.

But that doesn’t mean you can simply spread your budget across all the online channels available to you and expect to be successful. Marketers must allocate their budgets wisely. Certainly you need to invest in your company website. Beyond that, you must evaluate digital media to determine those channels that will help you most efficiently and effectively connect with customers and prospects.

The channels that are right for you are the channels that your customers use—and the channels your prospects use in new markets you want to penetrate. For engineers and other industrial professionals, the top channels they use to research a work-related purchase are general search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. But they also use many other digital channels to keep up with the latest technologies, product news, companies and brands. E-newsletters, social media, industry websites and directories, and online events are all important information sources for your customers, and all exert influence over their buying decisions.

Follow these two recommendations
1. With many channels to choose from, it’s not always easy to know which ones are best given your target audience. Reach out to experts such as your digital media partners for recommendations on multichannel, integrated solutions that can help you achieve your marketing goals.

2. Download your complimentary copy of, “Marketers Require Multichannel Solutions to Achieve the Cross-Media Multiplier Effect” and share it with others on your marketing team. It offers you a better understanding of the multichannel mandate.

If this article was helpful to you, please spread the word using the share buttons below.

Have you formulated a multichannel digital media strategy to reach industrial professionals? What tips and ideas would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Demand Generation Multichannel Marketing