How to Succeed with Limited Marketing Resources

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Marketers report that their biggest challenge is a lack of marketing resources—dollars, people and time. This is one of the key findings in the 2017 Industrial Marketing Trends survey conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions.

Not only are marketers struggling in the face of limited marketing resources, and with budgets that have remained mostly steady over the past few years, they are operating in an era of increasing marketing complexity. Technical professionals use more channels than ever to research information and aid their buying process, forcing marketers to allocate limited resources across an array of marketing channels and programs.

No marketer has an unlimited budget, or the time to do everything on their list. Yet many industrial marketers are still achieving their goals and objectives. How do they do it? Here are a number of tips to help you solve the marketing resource challenge.

Make Content Marketing More Efficient

Many marketers are increasing their content marketing spend, but make sure you spend smartly. Developing fresh content on a regular basis can drain resources quickly. Follow these tips to alleviate some of this stress:

  • Re-purpose content from one format to another. For example, a white paper can become an article as well as a series of social media posts, a webinar can become a video, and a support page on your website can become a how-to tutorial. In addition to having more content, your audience will be able to access content in their preferred formats, since preferences vary.
  • Conduct a content audit. You might find you have old content no longer used that can be easily updated. Or, you may decide to purge and stop updating content that no longer serves an appropriate purpose.
  • Curate third-party content. Provide links (and attribution) to content that others produce and will be of interest to your target audience. Curated content is often less salesy because it doesn’t come directly from your company.
  • Rather than always focusing on producing and distributing original content, try commenting via social media or in comments sections on third party content. You can still create brand visibility and focus on your company’s positioning and messaging while providing thoughtful, helpful responses.

Double-Dip On Your Marketing Programs

Most marketers use a combination of programs, some intended to generate engagement opportunities, others to increase brand awareness. Try choosing programs that can serve both masters. Tactics such as sponsored listings on product directories/online catalogs, webinars, e-newsletter advertising and display advertising can highlight your brand while including a call-to-action to create engagement opportunities with prospects.

Work Incrementally On Your Website

Marketers should continually invest in their websites. While a complete overhaul can be cost prohibitive, you may be able to make incremental changes to your website that still create impact. Focus on the home page or on specific landing pages associated with campaigns.  Consider outsourcing a searchable product catalog to a media partner with expertise. Add short video clips—interviews, presentation snippets, tutorials and more—which you can create on a limited budget using a smartphone.

Be Smart on Social Media

Social media, with its array of platforms, can eat up resources. Accounts must be regularly updated and monitored. Rather than spread yourself thin trying to keep up with multiple social media channels, choose one or two (LinkedIn and Facebook are most popular with technical professionals) and focus your efforts on those. If you post interesting information regularly, respond to comments, and comment on postings you follow, you will end up being more effective than you would by having a limited presence on multiple social media platforms.

Find a Trusted Media Partner

This an ideal time to find a trusted, expert media partner who can help alleviate your marketing resources challenges. The right partner can help you optimize your marketing mix, laser-target your audience of engineers and technical professionals and get the most out of your budget, while allowing you to free up some internal resources for other efforts.

Some media companies offer extensive solutions and partnering, including content marketing, co-sponsored white papers and webinars, targeted email marketing, and extensive reporting on program performance. Keep in mind that the right media partner is your essential ally, not only during strategic planning and budgeting, but while you are in the midst of executing and measuring campaign results.

Download This Complimentary Resource

The 2017 Industrial Marketing Trends white paper analyzes and presents the results of the latest survey, and offers recommendations to industrial marketers to help them allocate their budgets, develop a sound marketing strategy and plan effective programs and campaigns. Download your copy today.

 

Content Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy Uncategorized

Don’t Make These Three Marketing Mistakes

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Marketing in the industrial sector is increasingly complex. Your audience of engineers and technical professionals has access to more information during the buy cycle, and are exposed to more buying options than ever.

As a marketer, you must allocate a limited budget across multiple channels in order to best connect with customers and prospects. It can be a daunting process, and errors are often made. Here are three of the biggest errors marketers make and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Failing to Monitor Marketing Programs

The phrase “you can only manage what you can measure” is true. If you don’t know what‘s working and what’s not, then you can’t make appropriate changes to improve your marketing effectiveness.

According to the soon-to-be-published “2017 Trends in Industrial Marketing” report, the top measurements for marketing success are customer acquisition, sales attributed to marketing campaigns and customer satisfaction.

Customer acquisition is relatively straightforward to measure: How many new customers did we gain through our marketing programs? Similarly, you can get a grasp on customer satisfaction easily by looking at customer retention rates and conducting customer surveys.

Sales attributed to marketing campaigns takes more nuance to measure. Don’t fall into the “last click” trap, which attributes sales only to the last action your customer took before purchasing. In fact, many influencing actions took place before the final one. Page views, clicks, completed forms, downloads, shares, comments and more can all be counted.

The point is to keep measuring programs. Count every interaction with customers and prospects, and determine which ones work best and are deserving of more resources, and which need refining or eliminating.

Mistake #2: Moving Ahead Without a Plan

The infamous fourth quarter push is beginning, and the 2018 will quickly follow. Are you developing your road map for the future? Set aside time now to brainstorm your goals and objectives, review your results to date, and plan your tactics for the year ahead, including marketing channels that align with your goals.

Be sure to check in with your sales team to ensure that your channels and campaigns are delivering the kind of exposure and engagement opportunities that ultimately support sales. Include both push/outbound tactics (email, tradeshows) and pull/inbound (online directories and catalogs, search engine optimization, etc.) in your marketing mix.

This is often a good time to plan because budgets for 2018 are being formed. As marketers, you must be able to defend budgets by pointing to past results and forecasting expected ROI on marketing programs. This data takes time to gather and interpret, so again, now is the time to make a plan.

Mistake #3: Neglecting to Maximize Your Media Partner Relationships

While planning and accountability are essential to any marketing program, you shouldn’t be expected to shoulder the burden on your own. Marketers site a lack of resources as their biggest challenge today (2017 Trends in Industrial Marketing). Budgets are remaining mostly steady, while the number of available marketing channels continues to grow.

This an ideal time to find a trusted, expert media partner who can help you optimize your mix of channels and get the most out of your budget, while allowing you to free up some internal resources for other efforts. No matter the size of your company, whether you need strategic advice or detailed planning, the right media partner is your essential ally, not only during planning and budgeting, but while you are in the midst of executing and measuring campaign results.

Uncategorized

Emerging Technologies Enable Relevancy and Engagement

Don Lesem, IEEE GlobalSpec’s Vice President and Chief Design Offer, recently contributed to eMarketers latest report “Email Marketing Benchmarks 2017: Metrics Steady as Data Creates Better Context and Relevance.”

You can view the entire report here.

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Other personalization tactics used by US marketing executives, according to an April 2017 survey from OneSpot and The Relevancy Group, include dynamic content (cited by 65% of respondents), personalized email based on real-time data (e.g., location) and personalized email content based on machine learning (60% and 58%, respectively).

Clients of IEEE GlobalSpec are using propensity models to craft more relevant audience segments, and seeing 30% better open and click rates. “We used data analytics and modeling technology to determine the propensity of subscribers to interact with video content,” said Don Lesem, vice president and chief design officer at the company. “Then we built the list based upon which audience members would be more likely to engage based on past behavior. Because of the technology, we know that if we send these users a certain type of content, they’re going to participate.”

You can learn more about data personalization by downloading the entire report here.

E-Mail Marketing Uncategorized

List Health Practices to Maintain an Engaged Audience

IEEE GlobalSpec’s own Linda Uslaner, Director of Product Management, was interviewed for eMarketers latest report “Email Marketing Benchmarks 2017: Metrics Steady as Data Creates Better Context and Relevance.”

You can view the entire report here.

emarketer

Sustaining and growing subscriber lists is another aspect of email marketing that’s also improved. A July 2016 poll from software services firm Clutch found that roughly six in 10 US email marketers used an opt-in form on their website, social media and online purchases to get new email addresses for their lists. About half as many relied on renting and paying for lists.

List health can decline in two ways, according to [Kyle] Henderick [Yes Lifecycle Marketing Senior Director, Client Services] . First, email marketers will always have users that unsubscribe on their own, but it is also important to consider passive opt-outs, in which recipients become unengaged over time by either deleting emails or just letting them sit in the inbox, unread.

“We’ve increased the frequency of doing list pruning for our clients from once a year to twice a year,” said Linda Uslaner, director of product management at engineering and industrial platform IEEE GlobalSpec. “That’s really helping drive performance and improve metrics across the board. If somebody’s not responsive and they’re really not engaging with the content, they should be removed.”

You can learn more about list hygiene by downloading the entire report from eMarketer here.

Charts E-Mail Marketing Market Research Uncategorized

5 Lead Nurturing Staples to Drive Sales

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Studies have shown that 70 percent of new business can come from long term leads.

To have a high rate of success at converting long term leads, companies must be able to optimize these five important lead nurturing processes.

1. Align marketing and sales teams

Lead nurturing requires buy-in from both your sales and marketing teams. You must come to agreement on your lead nurturing processes, including:

  • What type of leads are sales-ready and what type belong in marketing’s lead nurturing programs?
  • Who is responsible for responding to and routing leads? This can be an individual or a cross-functional team.
  • Who is responsible for updating and tracking leads through the marketing and sales process?
  • What tools and/or software will be used to manage leads?

2. Segment and score leads

Segmenting and scoring leads allows you to provide prospects with relevant information that will help them through their buy cycle.

  • Develop a lead scoring system based on prospect demographics, industry, buying time frame, product interest, digital behavior or other attributes. The relevant attributes are different for every company, so choose what works for you.
  • Apply weights to different lead attributes to come up with a lead score.
  • Determine what to do with a lead based on their score. Example: low-scoring leads stay with marketing while higher-scoring leads are ready for the sales team.
  • Your prospect’s digital behavior should count toward their lead score. Example: if they are actively downloading content or otherwise engaging with your company, their score goes up.

3. Execute disciplined campaigns

Long term leads require long term attention to ensure your company stays top of mind.

  • Develop measurable goals for your lead nurturing campaigns. This could be number of qualified leads passed to sales, new business closed, duration of sales cycle, or other objectives.
  • For each segment of leads, plan a campaign that offers your prospects value, as opposed to sales pitches. Start by sending educational content such as white papers, webinars, articles and videos. Move on to demos, product overviews, and technical specs. Bring them closer to a buying decision with ROI calculators, pricing quotes and special offers.
  • Develop a schedule for when and how often you reach out to prospects. Define the entire campaign in advance, so you will know how to phase your content and messaging.
  • Establish response rules for your campaign. Example: if a prospect downloads a white paper and attends a webinar, their score goes up, or they get a follow-up call, or they are considered sales-ready. Or if a prospect watches a certain video, you send them a topic-specific article. It’s up to you and your sales team to define the rules of the campaign.

4. Measure and improve

When you establish goals, create offers, and define campaign rules, you can track what does and doesn’t work in a lead nurturing program.

  • Eliminate content that doesn’t perform well.
  • Leverage successful content by creating similar offers and re-purposing valuable content into other formats, such as a white paper to a webinar, or an infographic to a video.
  • Follow-up with those responsible for tracking leads throughout the campaign to make sure none have fallen through the cracks. Fix any processes that are flawed.

5. Use marketing automation

While it’s possible to develop and execute a lead nurturing program using only spreadsheets or manual processes, marketing automation is becoming a common tool and an investment in a system might make economic sense.

  • Marketing automation can track your prospect’s digital behavior across websites, social media, blogs and more, helping you improve segmentation, scoring and response.
  • Use marketing automation to score leads, create landing pages, track prospect actions, trigger automatic emails and report on the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Marketing automation vastly improves your ability to report on the effectiveness of various content, can produce analytics and sophisticated reports, and much more.

The IEEE GlobalSpec Tool Kit “The Industrial Marketer’s Guide to Lead Nurturing” has other recommended best practices along with tips for following up on inquiries and creating successful lead nurturing campaigns. Click here to download your complimentary copy.

 

 

 

Lead Management Marketing Strategy Uncategorized

Four Guidelines for More Effective Marketing Measurement

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More than ever, executives are demanding accountability for marketing expenditures.

The need to show return on marketing investment (ROMI) often leaves marketers dwelling on questions such as: How much did this email campaign contribute to the bottom line? How much revenue did that banner ad produce? However, these might not be the best questions to be asking.

It’s highly unlikely that any single campaign or tactic can be correlated on a one-to-one basis with a sale, especially in industries with long and complex buy cycles, and in an environment where your customers use a wide variety of digital tools and information resources to research a potential purchase.

As you begin planning for next year, you might be tempted to drop a marketing program that doesn’t have sales directly associated with it. This may be a mistake, and may lead to abandoning programs that are making real contributions to your overall marketing effectiveness.

Here are four guidelines to help you improve your marketing measurement and ensure that your integrated, multichannel marketing strategy is delivering a positive ROMI. For a more comprehensive analysis of marketing measurement, please download a complimentary copy of the 2018 Marketing Planning Kit.

1. Measure Engagement at Individual Touchpoints

Sixty-two percent of technical professionals wait until at least the Comparison & Evaluation stage of the buy cycle to make contact with a vendor (Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector). They may have already downloaded a white paper, clicked on a newsletter ad, watched a video, explored your online catalog—and finally decided to reach out. Each of these marketing touchpoints exists as parts of an entire ecosystem of campaigns and they all contributed to this engagement opportunity. Since it’s difficult to match a specific campaign to a sale, try measuring activity and engagement at each touchpoint: clicks, downloads, forms completed, etc.

2. Measure Awareness that Leads to Later Sales Opportunities

Multiple touchpoints—especially early in the buy cycle when prospects are assessing their needs—can help your company establish credibility and be considered when it comes time for engineers to make contact with vendors.

Maintain a broad and consistent presence on the channels that your customers use to help you get noticed early in the buy cycle. You can measure brand awareness by tracking metrics such as impressions, page views, social media shares and mentions.

3. Measure Two Types of Leads

There are two types of marketing leads that can turn into customers: the marketing qualified lead and the marketing influenced lead.

The marketing qualified lead is a lead that marketing has generated through one of its campaigns and passed on to the sales team after qualifying it. Qualified leads are gems. You’ve generated interest from a potential client, and routed that prospect through your lead qualification process. Your sales team wants qualified leads that require less effort and are more likely to convert into customers.

The marketing influenced lead is sometimes overlooked because this lead hasn’t gone through the qualification process and been handed off to sales. It’s less visible than the marketing qualified lead.

However, the marketing influenced lead is any person who engaged with your marketing content before becoming a customer. If these future customers haven’t filled out a form (such as a registration), you may not even know about them yet—but they know about you, and they are being influenced by your marketing content. When they eventually make a buying decision and become a customer, your marketing efforts helped define their path and contribute to their decision, and marketing should get credit for this marketing influenced lead.

4. Don’t Measure Only the “Last Click”

The “last click” attributes a sale to the last marketing-related touch point a customer has before making a buying decision. Last click attribution is a mistake because we know the buy cycle includes many campaign touches that cumulatively add up to help achieve a sale. Today’s path through the buy cycle crosses multiple devices, platforms, sites, and user needs and behaviors. Last click ignores the many supporting tactics that help drive a purchasing decision.

Find out more about marketing measurement, plus gain access to tools and recommendations to build a stellar marketing plan, in the just-published 2018 Marketing Planning Kit. Download your complimentary copy today.

 

 

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI Uncategorized

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 Uncategorized

How Many Marketing Channels Are You Using? Why the Cross Media Multiplier Can Work For You

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By this time of the year, you should have a good idea of how your 2017 marketing plan is performing. You may even be looking ahead to 2018.

The recently updated Marketing Planning Kit is designed to help you assess your current marketing mix with an eye toward creating an even stronger marketing plan for next year. Let’s take a look at why the channels you’re using matters.

Many digital channels are available to marketers and engineers.

Technical professionals have more digital tools and information sources than ever before to do their jobs better and more efficiently. When customers have many tools at their disposal, you need to broaden and deepen your presence to engage them in ways that match their searching and sourcing preferences.

With your customers being exposed to more companies and having many options when ready to buy, you might discover competitors you never knew existed.

Only by diversifying your marketing spend across multiple channels can you generate the results you need, including brand visibility as well as contact quantity and quality. Expanding your media program to multiple channels will put your company and products front and center during the early stages of the buying cycle, when prospects are seeking suppliers and before they are ready to make contact.

Simply stated, you will earn higher ROI investing in well-designed cross media campaigns than by relying solely on any single media channel. This is known as the Cross Media Multiplier.

Marketers are expanding the number of channels they use.

Analyst firm Outsell anticipates the number of tools in the marketing stack to increase between the years 2016 and 2018. In 2016, 58 percent of companies used between 1-5 marketing channels and 18 percent used between 6-10. By 2018, 45 percent will use 1-5 marketing channels and 23 percent will use 6-10.

According to the “Industrial Marketing Trends Survey” conducted by IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions, 69%  percent of industrial marketers use both push/outbound marketing channels (email marketing, e-newsletter advertising, et al.) and pull/inbound marketing channels (company website, SEO, catalog listings, et al.)

Content marketing tactics and distribution channels are on the rise.

Most B2B marketers are making extensive use of content marketing to demonstrate thought leadership, increase brand awareness, educate potential customers, and generate quality engagement opportunities.

Research from Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, “2017 Manufacturing Content Marketing,” found that:

  • B2B manufacturing marketers report that their organizations use an average of 8 content marketing tactics, including e-newsletters, videos, white papers, and social media.
  • On average, manufacturing marketers use four paid advertising methods to promote/distribute content.

For your 2018 marketing plan, choose a number of key channels you know work for you, and also experiment with several newer opportunities.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels for technical professionals are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites.

In reality, your audience uses many other digital 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, video sharing sites, webinars and email are all important industry information sources for your customers.

Include your media partners when evaluating marketing channels.

Planning an integrated, multichannel marketing program is no easy task, and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Take time to consult with an experienced digital media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach. Discuss your marketing objectives and have them show you multichannel plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives.

IEEE GlobalSpec Media Solutions produced a Marketing Planning Kit to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your current marketing choices, calculate the value of existing marketing programs, understand today’s marketing landscape, and plan more effective strategies for 2018. Our intent is to help you define and achieve your marketing goals and objectives for the year ahead.

Download your complimentary copy of the Marketing Planning Kit and get a head start on your 2018 plan today.

Uncategorized

Connect with Potential Customers Throughout the Buy Cycle

 Engineers and industrial professionals are problem solvers, and the way they solve the problem of sourcing and purchasing products and services is by engaging in a well-documented buy cycle. The cycle consists of three stages: research and analysis, comparison and evaluation, and purchase.

From the results of the “2016 Industrial Buy Cycle Survey,” we also know:

• Access to information throughout the buy cycle is vital to engineers, and their dependence on proven sources of information is part of what gives them a leg up in their search for solutions and know-how, and to keep current with technology and business trends.
• Purchasing is a collaborative effort, with influence from engineers, management, operations, purchasing and more. Budget authority resides throughout the organization—not just with senior managers.
• The buy cycle averages 12-weeks and the cycle constantly repeats with every new project that comes an engineer’s way, an average of four buy cycles per year for an engineer.

From these facts, industrial marketers can draw two conclusions that will help steer their marketing decisions:

1. Create compelling content—You need to have a consistent overall message to market, but you also need to ensure that you are creating compelling content for and communicating with the entire extended engineering team (including operations, corporate management, and purchasing).
2. Choose the most effective media—A constantly regenerating buy cycle means engineers are regularly looking for products and services, which in turn is always bringing you new opportunities if you are using the most effective media channels to consistently connect with potential customers.

Create Compelling Content
In the early stages of the buy cycle—research and analysis—your engineering audience is searching for approaches to solving their problems, insight on which suppliers might have offerings to fit their needs, or guidance on what new technologies might have an impact on their buying decisions. Your job is to educate them on how you can help solve their problems. It’s too early in the buy cycle to be in selling mode.

As the buy cycle progresses, more team members get involved in the purchasing process. Engineering management, IT and operations, and finance, for example. They want to know not only if your product or service will solve the problem, but also if it will fit into the customer’s environment and deliver a return on investment. Potential customers will compare your offering to competitive solutions. At this stage content such as specification sheets, how-to videos, success stories, product samples, and cost and ROI calculators are important.

In the final buy cycle stages, when the entire team might have a hand in the decision making, you need clear pricing sheets, terms and support policies. For every stage of the buy cycle, your goal should be to develop and deliver content that makes the purchasing decision simple and straightforward, and that gives your buyers confidence. Make sure your messaging focuses on relevant issues and salient benefits, not just glittering generalities regarding supplier capabilities.

Choose the Most Effective Media
The “2016 Industrial Buy Cycle Survey” shows the many different information sources that engineers and technical professionals use throughout the buying process. The takeaway is that there is no single “go-to” resource preferred by industrial professionals at any stage of the buy cycle. Therefore, you need a multi-channel marketing strategy to connect with potential customers. The name of the game is consistency across multiple modes of information delivery.

Asked about which sources of information they typically use when purchasing products and services, engineers and technical professionals have settled on several:
• Colleagues
• Search engines and the websites of suppliers and other industry players
• GlobalSpec.com/Engineering360.com and its e-newsletters
• Catalogs—online or print
• Printed publications, directories and buyer’s guides (including materials from industry standards organizations like IEEE or ASME)
• Trade shows and conferences
• Educational materials such as video as well as white papers and webinars
• Online communities, blogs and social media

Some sources are used consistently throughout the buy cycle—including colleagues, search engines, online catalogs, and supplier and industry websites. You should concentrate on showcasing your products and expertise and maintaining a consistent presence on these channels (except for colleagues, of course), particularly the digital media, where engineers turn first when beginning their buy cycle research. This way, you can increase the odds that you will connect with potential customers during their buy cycle.

Results of the “2016 Industrial Buy Cycle Survey” have just been published by IEEE Engineering360 Media Solutions. You can download your complimentary copy to see all the survey results, read the analysis, and access recommendations for industrial marketers. Click here to download.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends Uncategorized

How to Meet Marketing ROI Milestones

 Measuring the success of marketing programs is nothing new. There has always been a focus among B2B marketers to quantify the reach and engagement of their initiatives. In the past, much of this measurement focused on metrics like the circulation of print publications, the growth of catalog mailing lists, business cards collected at trade shows, and completed magazine “bingo cards.”

Today, online channels command the bulk of B2B marketing budgets, providing marketers access to more data, more metrics, and more insight than ever before. So it’s not surprising that B2B marketers at all levels of an organization are under unprecedented pressure to quantify the return on their marketing investment. In fact, ROI is the number-one objective for B2B marketers in 2016. According to The Content Formula’s Michael Brenner, 93 percent of CMOs state that their greatest challenge is showing measurable ROI. And 81 percent of B2B marketers claim that measuring marketing effectiveness is their biggest riddle to solve.

Whether you are looking to quantify the performance of your current marketing initiatives, or want to have a plan in place for 2017 that will help you reach your ROI goals, these five keys will help you get started.

1. Target your desired outcome. Return on investment is the name of the game, but ROI is not a “one size fits all” term.

According to the 2015 State of B2B Marketing Report from Salesforce, the top three digital marketing metrics for success are revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and retention rates. And when IEEE GlobalSpec asked industrial marketers how they measure the success of their marketing initiatives as part of our annual Industrial Marketing Trends Survey, we found that marketers care most about sales attributed to marketing campaigns, acquisition, satisfaction, leads, and retention.

By having a strong understanding of the goals and objectives of your organization, you have built the foundation for your marketing plan. From there, you can define objectives and tactics that will help you reach your goals.

2. Diversify your marketing mix. Your audience has more digital tools and sources of information to do their jobs better and more efficiently, and they are also exposed to many options when ready to buy. And as companies continue to allocate more of their marketing dollars to digital media, it will become increasingly important to fend off competition online. That’s why diversifying your marketing mix is critical.

Our research shows that a majority of B2B industrial marketers are reaching their target audience via multiple channels and tactics, but many feel like they could be doing more. Not sure how to get started? Consider working with a media partner to develop a multichannel marketing strategy that is measurable and can reach your marketing goals.

3. Understand your customer’s buy cycle. In the B2B space, the buy cycle is often long and complicated, involving multiple stages – needs assessment, comparison, evaluation, and purchase. As a result, it can be difficult to correlate sales to specific marketing channels.

Buyers will often interact with your content and brand many times before contacting you or making a purchasing decision. For example, they may download a technical article they found in an e-newsletter advertisement, attend a webinar that you are hosting, watch a video, type your company name into a search engine, and visit your website – all before beginning a conversation.

Understanding your customer’s buy cycle – and having content that helps them meet their needs at each stage – will help you define and capitalize on the value that your marketing programs deliver.

4. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. It sounds simple enough – reach your audience by understanding what they seek. But remember that a key desired outcome is to reach your target audience where they can be found. Go beyond search engine marketing and consider the websites they rely on, the e-newsletters they read, and more.

Being found in the right place at the right time isn’t enough. Ask yourself, “Are we offering them content they want?” Your ability to answer this question correctly is dependent upon the tools you use to understand your customer and the quality of your analysis. In addition to the product data they are seeking, offer educational materials that position you as a thought leader and help them make a better, more informed decision. White papers, technical articles, datasheets, webinars, and videos are just some of the different content types used by today’s B2B buyers.

5. Implement a formal lead nurturing program. Now that marketing has brought in the leads, it’s time to convert them, right? Wrong.

Very few leads translate into an instant purchasing decision. Adding a clear lead nurturing program to the marketing mix has several distinct benefits that directly tie into ROI. First, you deliver more qualified leads to sales – making them happier and more productive. Next, you can successfully track contacts and inquiries along the sales process, resulting in easier and more accurate measurement. And finally, leads are less likely to fall through the cracks, reducing the potential for lost sales and wasted resources.

Hitting ROI milestones can seem like a daunting challenge. By taking a strategic approach to defining, executing and reaching your measurement goals, you will be well prepared to illustrate the value of your marketing efforts to the c-suite.

Patrick D. Mahoney is President and CEO of IEEE GlobalSpec. IEEE GlobalSpec connects a global audience of engineers and allied technical professionals with suppliers of industrial and electronic equipment, components, materials, and technology. The company combines rich technical product information with comprehensive digital media solutions that deliver measurable awareness, demand, and engagement opportunities at all stages of the buy cycle. Learn more by visiting www.globalspec.com/advertising.  

This was originally published on Marketing Tech News: http://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2016/sep/15/how-meet-marketing-roi-milestones/

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