Five Trends to Watch in 2008

The last few years have witnessed an ongoing shift in the industrial
sector from traditional to online marketing. Suppliers, manufacturers
and service providers are allocating more of their mix to online
programs to build a stronger presence on the Web where their customers
and prospects are.

Will this trend continue in 2008? Is anything new on the horizon? Here
are five 2008 trends relevant to suppliers and manufacturers.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

Everything I Learned About Sales I Learned Selling Cookies

By:  Chris Chariton

I’m the mother of two Girl Scouts and every year I face the challenge
of selling cookies.  The Girl Scouts don’t mess around with cookie
selling.  There are sales goals for each girl based on previous year
sales and of course the goal increases each year.  And let’s not forget
sales incentives (prizes) are available to the girls based on volume
sold.  Sound a little like your sales organization?

Chris' Corner Marketing, General

Is it Time to Start a Company Blog?

While engineering, technical and industrial professionals have fully embraced the Internet for work-related purposes, their use of some of the newest online media is lagging. In a recent GlobalSpec survey, only 4% of engineers use podcasts for work-related purposes, and only 3% use RSS feeds. On the other hand, blogs are starting to gain some traction among this audience, with 13% using blogs for work related purposes.

With the new year underway, now is a good time to evaluate whether launching a corporate blog is a good strategy for your business.

Weblogs

Top 10 Marketing Planning Mistakes

Manufacturers, distributors and service providers in the industrial
sector have more marketing choices than ever before, making it easier
to maximize your marketing budget. However, even the most seasoned
professionals sometimes fall prey to mistakes that are easily
avoidable. The list below details 10 common pitfalls to avoid when
planning your marketing initiatives for the year ahead.

Chris' Corner Marketing, General

Tradeshows: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By:  Chris Chariton

ChrisChariton

Every year, the same story is repeated at many manufacturing and industrial companies. I’ve experienced it many times myself. You spend three or four days at a tradeshow, complaining about light traffic, standing around with nothing to do, and having very few conversations that seem as though they might really go somewhere. You swear, and so does other key management, that you should really re-evaluate whether or not to attend next year. But six to eight months later you find yourself sending in a booth deposit, starting the same cycle all over again.

Why does this happen?

Chris' Corner Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

Search Engine Friendly Web Sites

With engineers and other technical professionals
regularly using the Web to search for components and suppliers, you
need a Web site that shows up well on search engines. In an ideal
world, optimizing your Web site for search engines is a task that
begins in the planning stages of building your site.

That sounds fine, but who has the luxury of working
in the ideal world? Your company already has a Web site, but you don’t
have the budget or time in 2007 to tear down your entire site and start
from scratch. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your existing
site more search engine friendly.

SEM Web Sites – Design & Usability

E-mail Communications to Retain Your Customers

Every company spends a lot of money to acquire new customers, so investing a bit more to keep them is well worth the price. It’s widely acknowledged that the cost of acquiring a new customer can be upwards of five times greater than the cost of retaining an existing one. That means marketing tactics aimed at customer retention should be a priority.
One smart, effective, and efficient customer retention tactic is an integrated e-mail communications program.
E-Mail Marketing

Get Started on Your 2008 Marketing Budget

It’s that time of year again. If you haven’t started on your 2008
marketing plan and budget, it’s time to pick up your planning tools.
Remember, good planning means fewer fires to put out later.

Whether this is your first time building a marketing plan or your
twentieth, before you get down to specifying tactics and programs, make
sure you have a solid grasp of your company’s strategy. Every decision
you make in preparing your marketing plan and budget should be in
support of executing your company’s strategy, so keep it in mind as you
define your marketing objectives and build your plan.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

Don’t Fumble When Handing Off Leads to the Sales Team

What happens when you pass a lead to your sales team too soon? The
first few times it happens, the salesperson might follow up, only to
discover the lead is not qualified, does not want to speak to a
salesperson and is nowhere near a buying decision.

Soon enough, salespeople will ignore or discard these early-stage leads
in favor of short-term opportunities they can close. Don’t blame the
salespeople. Their job is to sell; they are rewarded for it.
Passing unqualified leads to the sales team results in a culture of
salespeople rejecting marketing leads. Some industry experts estimate
that early-stage leads which are lost, ignored or discarded by
salespeople represent between 40-60 percent of missed sales.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

Making the Most of the Season of Giving

By: Chris Chariton
My father was a purchasing agent and growing up, each December brought daily packages of fruit from Florida, liquor, nuts, candies, logoed golf accessories, and more from various companies.

Today there is less corporate gift giving. Many companies have strict policies on accepting gifts and limit it to a certain dollar amount.

Let’s face it: sending gifts to your customers is not an altruistic act. The purpose is to thank your loyal customers, strengthen your brand, keep your name top of mind, and further develop your relationship with that company, ultimately resulting in customer retention and additional revenue.

Marketing, General