Marketing Chart: How Will the Emphasis of Your Marketing Team Change Over the Next Five Years?

For the 2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing research report, industrial marketers were asked to look ahead and tell how the emphasis of their marketing teams will change over the next five years.

The biggest shift will be a stronger focus on the customer followed by content creation and distribution, brand awareness and digital marketing initiatives.

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Charts Customer Relationships Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy

The Digital Disruption: Three Digital Usage Trends in the Industrial Sector

Engineers and other industrial professionals are spending more time online and using a variety of digital resources to perform work-related tasks, which has transformed their buy cycle and challenged traditional marketing and sales processes for suppliers and manufacturers. This phenomenon is called the Digital Disruption.

IHS GlobalSpec recently conducted a survey of industrial professionals that helped uncover the key trends leading to the Digital Disruption. You can download the complimentary research report, Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector, to access the results, analysis and recommendations.

Here are three of the key trends:

1. Industrial Professionals Rely More than Ever on the Internet
It’s no surprise that engineers and industrial professionals are going online for work-related information. Forty-six percent visit 10 or more work-related websites in a week, while 23 percent visit 20 or more sites. Fifty-three percent of engineers spend at least 6 hours a week on the Internet for work. In the 18-34 age group, 39 percent spend more than 8 hours a week on the Internet for work.
One of the reasons the Internet is so valuable to engineers is that they can and do perform a variety of work-related tasks online. Eighty-four percent use the Internet to find components, equipment, services and suppliers. This “searching and finding” is the most commonly performed task. Other top uses include comparing products across suppliers, obtaining product specifications, and finding pricing information.

The variety of uses reinforces the need for suppliers to shift away from traditional media to be found by their target audience online and to provide timely, accurate and relevant content that meets the needs of customers and prospects.

2. Customers Wait Longer and Longer in the Buy Cycle to Contact Suppliers
The industrial buy cycle consists of distinct stages: Needs Awareness and Research, Comparison and Evaluation, and Purchase. At one time, suppliers were engaged with buyers throughout the stages of the buy cycle. Today, the Digital Disruption has changed that. Fifty-six percent of buyers don’t contact a vendor until they reach at least the Comparison and Evaluation stage of the buy cycle. Nineteen percent don’t contact the vendor until they are ready to make a purchase. Buyers are relying on digital resources to discover and research information about products, services and suppliers, and to narrow down their options before even getting a vendor involved.

The key takeaway for suppliers: You must be found in the early stages of the buy cycle to be on a buyer’s short list. During the Needs Awareness and Research phase, the most frequently used resources are general search engines, supplier websites, online catalogs, and GlobalSpec.com.

You also must be able to connect with a variety of buyers, recommenders, influencers and decision makers during the buy cycle. For purchases under $1,000, there is only one decision maker 54 percent of the time. But for purchases of more than $10,000, there are three or more decision makers involved 65 percent of the time.

3. The Number of Digital Resources Available for Industrial Professionals Continues to Grow
The Internet isn’t just a single destination for industrial professionals, but rather a collection of innovative, relevant and useful digital resources for helping engineers be more productive and efficient in their work processes.
The top four resources engineers use to find what they are looking for are digital resources: general search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites, and GlobalSpec.com.

While attendance by industrial professionals at traditional tradeshows has declined, the majority of engineers (51 percent) did not attend an in-person tradeshow in 2012, this audience’s participation in webinars and other online events is robust. Nearly two-thirds of industrial professionals said they attended at least one webinar or online event last year. Twenty-six percent said they went to four or more.

Another trend contributing to the Digital Disruption is that digital publications have taken over from print publications. Engineers subscribe to three times as many digital publications, such as e-newsletters, as they do printed trade magazines. Social media is also being used for work purposes. LinkedIn is the most popular channel, with 58 percent of engineers having an account.
Because your target audience relies on multiple digital channels, you must have a highly visible presence on those channels to connect with customers and prospects. Only through a multichannel approach can you achieve effective marketing results.

For a more in-depth analysis of the digital usage in the industrial sector and the Digital Disruption it is causing, read the complimentary report Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector. It will help you make more informed decisions about your marketing strategy and tactics.

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How have you responded to the Digital Disruption? What tips and ideas would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Digital Media Market Research

Five Reasons Why Webinars Continue to Work

Just a few years ago, webinars were the definition of cutting edge digital marketing in the industrial sector. While new digital strategies such as social media, video, mobile and others seem to be getting a lot of the attention lately, webinars continue to evolve and remain an essential piece of your marketing mix. At the same time, they remain an affordable, effective, measurable, and proven B2B marketing platform – exactly what you need in your marketing portfolio. Here are five reasons why:

1. Exceptional Engagement Opportunities
A webinar audience is a motivated audience. These professionals are taking time out of their busy work schedules to attend your event. They have a special interest in the topic you are presenting. They have questions they want answered. And you have their contact information from when they registered. This offers an excellent opportunity for you to engage a motivated audience and to follow up with them and build a mutually beneficial business relationship, as long as you…

2. Tell a Compelling Story
Your primary goal of hosting a webinar shouldn’t be to generate engagement opportunities or boast about your wonderful new product. It should be to captivate and hold your audience’s attention by telling a compelling, relevant story. If you don’t do that, you won’t be able to meet your other objectives. The mystery novelist Elmore Leonard once gave this tip to writers: Leave out the boring parts. Same goes for webinars. Skip the dull stuff and tell your audience something super useful that they don’t already know. Focus on their needs and what they want to learn.

3. Branding and Thought Leadership
If your marketing objectives include raising your company’s brand awareness or demonstrating thought leadership, use webinars. They are an excellent way to convey your company’s position on the state of your industry, to offer innovative ways to solve problems, to present research and analyze trends, and much more. Another effective approach is to work with industry partners and experts to jointly present or sponsor webinars that will help build your reputation and grow visibility.

4. Controlled Interaction
Let’s face it: social media platforms are great for listening to and participating in conversations, and that’s important, but social media is also very unstructured. You never know what comments you might get or where the conversation might lead. Webinars, on the other hand, allow you to control the message yet still interact with your audience in ways that are helpful to them. You can ask poll questions during the event and then display and discuss the results in real-time. You can also have an interactive question and answer period at the end of your presentation—or at any time during the event. Survey your audience to get valuable feedback on your presentation. Webinar platforms also allow you to provide resources – such as research reports, white papers, product fact sheets and more – through the audience’s viewing console, providing your attendees instant access to additional information relevant to your webinar topic.

5. Support Content Marketing Strategy
A lot of marketing today is content marketing: disseminating relevant, useful information to customers and prospects across multiple media channels. Webinars help fulfill this function. You host the live event and offer an archived version of the webinar on demand following the event. And the topics you cover in the webinar could be re-purposed into white papers, blog posts, articles and more to help feed your content marketing machine.

Webinars continue to be a relevant and valuable marketing platform in the industrial sector. If you’d like to see a webinar in action, check out one of our upcoming events.

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What do you love about hosting webinars? How have you found them successful? Or perhaps you’re considering webinars for your marketing mix. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Digital Media Webinars