Industrial Marketers Planning for 2022 – Part 1

Many industrial marketers are deep into planning for 2022. If you haven’t started yet, now is the time, and we’ve got resources to help you.

By beginning your planning process now, you can gather evidence to justify your expected expenditures, receive executive endorsement for your budget, and be ready to launch when the calendar changes. Companies getting an early start on their marketing plan can get a jump on competitors and be better positioned to win business going into the new year.

This two-part series (Part 2 is coming in December) will help you create an effective marketing plan for 2022 that will fit your budget and capabilities, align your market and customer trends, and help achieve your marketing goals.

Part 1 focuses on evaluating your current program and understanding the industrial marketing trends that will affect your strategy for 2022. Part 2 will offer tips to help you develop the optimal marketing plan.

Assess the performance of your current plan

How are your current marketing programs performing? The complimentary GlobalSpec “2022 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit” offers a number of tools to help you measure the performance of your marketing. The kit includes a chart to plot the engagement and branding capabilities of your current programs and to identify gaps, a grid to compare the quality of your leads to your ideal customer profile, and a matrix to help you analyze the effectiveness of your expenditures across various media channels.

Access your complimentary copy of the “2022 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit” here.

The foundation of any performance assessment of your current marketing is the ability to measure marketing results. Measurability is just one of many reasons why industrial marketers are increasing their use of digital media, along with the engineering audience’s preference to seek information through digital channels.

Digital marketing programs offer the inherent advantage of measurement through page views, clicks, downloads, shares, conversions, and other trackable metrics. If your current channel mix is not mostly digital, then you should consider allocating more budget towards online in 2022.

Account for all channels

Keep in mind when evaluating current programs that your customers typically have multiple interactions with your company and content before they make a final purchasing decision. They might meet you at a trade show, visit your website, click on an e-newsletter advertisement, watch a video, and attend a webinar all as part of their buying journey.

Each of these marketing touches contributes to the eventual sale—not just the first action they took to connect with you or last action they took before making a purchase decision. Be sure to track all of these activities to properly evaluate marketing performance.

Five trends that can influence your plan

Before you begin to plan 2022 marketing programs and choose channels, you should familiarize yourself with industrial marketing trends that will influence your decisions. These include:

  1. Digital assets dominate, and the events of 2020-21 have created an even greater reliance on it. Our recommendation to you: go all in on digital. According to McKinsey & Company, more than 70 percent of B2B buyers and decision makers prefer digital or remote interactions with vendors. In 2022, make sure your website is easy to navigate and packed with fresh content, your webinars are engaging, your display ads capture attention (try adding video snippets), and your emails are targeted and compelling.
  2. Around half of all content on the web is consumed through mobile devices. Having a responsive website that renders content in an easy-to-consume format on mobile devices is no longer a luxury item for marketers. It is a requirement. According to the website management company SWEOR, it takes less than a second for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave. The company also reported nearly 8 in 10 customers would stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device.
  3. Industry research firm Demand Gen Report found that B2B buyers rely more than ever on content to educate themselves. Expect this trend to continue. Top content formats B2B buyers have engaged with during their buying experience include video, white papers, blogs, webinars, case studies, and research reports. But in the early stages of purchasing research, buyers rely more on shorter, quick-hitting content types. Specifically mentioned were listicles, infographics, blogs, and video. Make sure these shorter, visual content types are part of your content portfolio.
  4. If you’re not already using marketing automation, do your homework for 2022. Marketing automation can improve lead scoring, personalization, targeting, segmentation, campaign management, and tracking of metrics. That’s a significant list of benefits. You can save time and staff resources using marketing automation, and you don’t have to break your budget to get started. There are a range of low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market, for small companies and large, and most of them are easy to learn and get up and running.
  • Manufacturing marketers use multiple digital channels to connect with their target audience and generate engagement opportunities. The channels need to work together as part of an integrated, holistic approach to marketing. One recommendation we can make is to consult with one of GlobalSpec Media Solutions’ marketing experts. We can help you design a multichannel marketing program for 2022 to reach the right audience at every point in the buy cycle including newsletter advertising, display ads, searchable catalogs, and more. Contact us today.

Study your company’s 2022 business plan

If your company is planning to introduce new products, expand to new markets or customer segments, or launch other strategic initiatives in 2022, you will need to build your marketing plan and create content to account for these initiatives.

Meet with executives to learn about the timing of new plans. You should also meet with sales leaders to understand revenue growth objectives. This will not only give you information you need to create your marketing plan, it will demonstrate that you are proactive about developing a plan that supports your company’s goals and objectives.

2022 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit

GlobalSpec created the 2022 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit to help you develop an effective marketing plan that targets your audience of engineering and technical professionals. Add this valuable resource to your 2022 planning efforts today. Click here to download.

Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends Marketing, General Product Marketing

How to Overcome Three Common Content Marketing Challenges

Research from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) states that 55 percent of content marketers rate their organization’s overall level of content marketing success in the past 12 months as moderately successful, with 29 percent saying they have been very or extremely successful.

Despite those successes, content marketers still grapple with a number of challenges. Here are three of the most common challenges and tips for overcoming them.

Finding Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

During the pandemic, a lot of people left their current organization to pursue other opportunities; leaving many companies short on SMEs, or Subject Matter Experts. Research shows that when people walk out the door, a lot of expertise and institutional knowledge goes with them if there are not rigorous processes in place to preserve, protect, and pass on technical knowledge.

Even if you do have in-house SMEs, finding someone with both technical expertise and good writing skills is no easy task. In addition, some of your more seasoned SMEs likely have full plates, and would not look with favor on a request to write a blog post or technical article to support your marketing efforts.

One way to get around this challenge is to not ask your SMEs to do the heavy writing for you. You can ask them to jot down thoughts on a subject, or list bullet points on a topic, or simply to have an interview-type conversation with you, and then use a writer to turn the source material into compelling content.

Another approach is to seek outside SMEs. CMI’s research shows that half of companies outsource at least one content marketing activity. The top challenge for B2B marketers who outsource is finding partners with adequate topical expertise.

Look on social media, such as LinkedIn, for professionals who post about topics relevant to your company. Reach out to ask if they could produce a bylined article or other content for your company. They’re in the brand-building business as well and may be inclined to help. If they can’t, maybe they can recommend someone else that would be a good fit.

You could also reach out to presenters at industry webinars or conferences, or contact experts who write for industry trade journals. Additionally, you can post on an industry or professional association a notice you are seeking SMEs.

Creating Content for Different Roles

Another challenge is creating content for multi-level roles within your target audience. It’s tempting and easier, yet ultimately ineffective, to produce “one-size-fits-all” content. If your content is not targeted to your audience’s information needs, they will ignore you. They may also ignore your brand.

Whether you create separate content for different audience roles, or address them separately within the same content piece, you can segment your audience and their needs into three types of buyers: analytical, economic, and technical.

Analytic buyers want to know they will be able to solve a problem using your products or technology. You’ll need to answer questions such as: What functions does the product perform? What are its specifications? Why is your product better than another product? Or: How does your service meet my needs?

Economic buyers want to know the financial impact in terms of return on investment for purchasing your products and services. The benefits to economic buyers might be measured in terms of expected time savings, increased efficiency, uptime, product lifespan, reliability, warranties, opportunity cost, or other factors.

The technical buyer is often behind the scenes and may not come into play early in the buy cycle. They are concerned with the bigger picture of whether your product, component or service will fit into the larger technical infrastructure, environment, or policies at their company. For example: Are your products compatible with other products the customer uses? Do your products integrate well or will modifications elsewhere be necessary? How is support provided? These questions are particularly relevant with software and hardware purchases, but also for other industrial products.

Differentiating from Your Competition

Seventy-eight percent of the most successful content marketers differentiate their content from the competition, while only 23 percent of the least successful ones do. If you can differentiate, you can stand out.

What’s required is that you zero on your unique advantages. A solid mission statement can be your source. It can help you focus on what’s unique and special about your company.

It might come down to being better, faster, or cheaper than your competition (rarely all three). But stay away from unsubstantiated claims of being the leading, the best, the first, or the most customer-focused—unless those are true advantages and you can back them up with evidence.

If so, play to those strengths in all of your content. If your differentiator is service, support, or warranty, make sure you promote those attributes in your content. If you update your products more often than your competitors do, get that message into your content.

Any company would be fortunate to be known for one differentiating factor that appeals to their customers. Find out what yours is and keep hammering away at it.

Content Marketing Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends Marketing, General

A Simple Approach to Prioritizing Marketing Investments

Most industrial marketers are busy prioritizing their marketing investments for 2022. If you’re behind in getting started, it’s not that difficult to catch up when you follow this four-step process:

  1. Measure your marketing results in 2021 to date
  2. Use ROI evidence to plan for 2022
  3. Account for special conditions
  4. Prepare to justify your budget requests

1. Measure Your Marketing Results in 2021 to Date

Every company has its own way of measuring ROI. There’s no one correct way to do it. Some companies use a formula that track sales in relation to marketing expenditures or leads that become customers. Other companies account for a prospect’s every marketing touch throughout their buying journey. Some calculate ROI for each individual program.

However you track ROI, you should try to avoid a common measuring mishap: Attributing a sale solely to the first or last marketing touch.

The first marketing touch brings the prospect into your universe and the last marketing touch precedes the sale. However, a prospect likely interacts with your company, content, and campaigns in multiple ways before making a purchase decision.

If you can’t measure how every marketing touch contributes to a sale, at least measure the popularity of your programs. Clicks, page views, ad impressions, downloads, comments, shares, email opens—these are all ways to measure engagement with your marketing and the popularity and value of your content. This will give you some sense of how well these programs perform and contribute to ROI.

2. Use ROI Evidence to Plan for 2022

If a program is performing well for you in 2021, chances are it will continue to deliver benefits as long as your audience hasn’t changed, and market conditions aren’t dramatically different.

For example, if you had good results from advertising in a newsletter, make this program a priority again. You will likely want to refresh your creative and possibly look for similar newsletters that can reach your target audience.

Programs that have been disappointing in 2021 may need to be scrapped, or you may want to do more research first. Did you give the program enough time to gain traction? Are you confident you measured its results accurately? Did you reach the right target audience, but your message didn’t resonate?

It’s in this step that you lay out your 2022 priorities based on this past year’s results. Once that’s done you massage those priorities.

3. Account for Special Conditions

Here’s where your priorities might get rearranged a bit. If your company is recalibrating its business goals, then marketing priorities will change as well.

Perhaps you have a significant product launch coming in 2022. Your company might be planning to enter a new market or leave an underperforming one. If a merger or acquisition is in the cards, it would certainly affect marketing priorities.

By accounting for business goals and special conditions, you can not only come up with a better marketing plan, but you can also demonstrate to executives who must approve your budget that you have your finger on the pulse of your company’s goals and the market situation.

4. Prepare to Justify the Marketing Budget

To justify your marketing budget, you must be able to project the results of your marketing programs. The best indicator of future ROI is past performance. Any changes you’ve made should be defended based on revised business goals, better audience targeting, or better marketing channels fit for your objectives.

It’s also helpful to propose three different budgets, demonstrating you understand that uncertainty always exists, and markets are always fluid. 

  • Best-case scenario—if business is robust, what is your best-case budget and how will you allocate it to achieve your marketing goals?
  • Worst-case scenario—if the economy drags or markets suffer, what are the bare-bones marketing priorities that you must continue to fund? Such as your company website or your email campaigns.
  • Realistic scenario—Chances are neither the best nor worse cases will come to be. Prioritize your marketing investments for 2022 around the most likely situation, and you’ll still be ready to make changes as needed because you’ve already modeled different scenarios.

When planning for 2022, you want to make sure you cover all of your bases. Download our 2022 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit for the perfect guide to crafting a marketing plan that best targets your audience and grows your business

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI Marketing Strategy Thought Leadership