2011 Marketing Trends Survey Reveals Social Media A Legitimate Player in Industrial Sector

According to the results of GlobalSpec’s annual Industrial Marketing Trends Survey, not only do 87% of companies anticipate an increase in sales this year, but the majority is planning on using social media to help them achieve their marketing goals in 2011. Download your own copy of the Survey results here.

The survey also reveals that as marketing spending increases, the top eight channels for increased marketing spend in 2011 are all online, and even more interesting, the top three channels are video, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Specifically, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, video and blogs are all seeing increased usage in 2011 over 2010. LinkedIn is the most popular social media application, now used by 69% of companies. 64% of companies are increasing spending on video; and 47% of companies are spending more on online events.

And while these results are really not surprising, because as marketers we realize that the vast majority of our customers and prospects go online first when searching for information, the presence of social media as a top channel may be a little unexpected.

So what does this mean? That after a few recent years of cautious “wait and see”, social media is now being regarded as a legitimate tactic for increasing branding and awareness, promoting thought leadership and interacting with customers and prospects.

But what if your company is not in the majority, and has yet to implement social media? Well, now might be the time to start evaluating these tactics. Although make sure you understand the specific reasons and goals for your own social media strategy. For example, the top reasons industrial companies use social media are branding and lead generation, yet only 3% of companies report that social media is one of their top three sources for leads. So it’s safe to conclude, at least for now, that, increasing brand awareness is the goal most effectively achieved via social media.

If you are considering social media you ought to remember it should never be “instead of” other marketing tactics; it should always be “in addition to” other marketing efforts and integrated with your overall marketing strategy.

You don’t want to take budget, time and resources away from existing marketing efforts that are performing for you and put them toward social media. Although social media tools are free in terms of establishing accounts, there is a learning curve and they do require time and effort. For more information on how to develop your own social media strategy, read GlobalSpec’s white paper, “Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector“.

Clearly most industrial marketers are not only online, but now more than ever see the value in social media applications as a way to interact with customers and prospects, increase brand awareness, promote thought leadership, and so much more.

Is your company in the majority when it comes to using social media? What tactics have you found to be most effective? Facebook? Your company blog? Twitter? Share your own experiences, and suggestions here!

Industrial Marketing and Sales Market Research Marketing, General Social Media

First Social Media and Now Mobile Marketing?

Does Mobile Marketing Have a Place in the BtoB World?  Sure, we all know by now that Social Media can be a very strong complement to our marketing programs. After all, online is where the industrial audience is primarily conducting their work.
It took a while, and some of us are still in the wait and see phase, but I think it is widely accepted that social media, when integrated into an overall marketing effort, offers another opportunity for businesses to engage in conversations with their audiences: customers, prospects, industry followers and others.
It can also be used effectively to promote your product line or share industry news, trends and technologies. And while our Social Media tactics don’t necessarily generate an abundance of leads, it does maintain name recognition in the marketplace with the continued, consistent branding and exposure that it offers.
And there are even ways out there to monitor your company’s social media activity. You can measure metrics such as number of fans/followers and activity (page views, discussion threads, comments, etc.).
But another new technology  trend, mobile marketing (sending marketing communications to a recipient’s mobile device) is still a big question mark. Do business professionals really use their mobile devices for work?
According to Christina Kerley, author of the B2B Mobile-Marketing Guide, there are 5 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, and more than 70% of under-40 executives consider their mobile devices to be their primary communications tools.
However, Kerley stresses that while not every b2b company will need a mobile app, every single one will need a mobile website. She declares that mobile devices are poised to become the “first-screen” Internet device within a couple of years. And as business people are almost never without their smartphones, not having a mobile-friendly site in the very near future may be the equivalent of not having a website 10 years ago.
Kerley points out that “mobile is how professionals stay in contact with their teams, stay abreast of breaking developments in their industries, and stay competitive in a 24-7 global business world. Moreover, the perception held by many B2B marketers that mobile is purely a consumer marketing media is akin to thinking that professionals “disconnect” when they arrive at work… when exactly the opposite is true.”
So just as when Social Media emerged as the next “big” thing, you should take time to do your homework regarding marketing for mobile devices in the industrial space, as much remains to be seen. 
But you probably don’t want to take budget, time and resources away from existing marketing efforts that are performing for you and put them toward something that is yet untested. 
 Read the entire BtoB article “Mobile and social marketing: The dynamic duo” by Paul Gillin.  

And be sure to read GlobalSpec’s white paper, “Social Media Use In The Industrial Sector ” to learn just how your target audience is using social media and get practical recommendations for using social media resources effectively across your integrated marketing efforts.

 Are you marketing with mobile devices in mind? Do you have a mobile-friendly site or even an app? Share your thoughts!

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General Social Media

How B2B Marketers Can Leverage The Power of YouTube

Looking for a relatively easy and inexpensive way to enhance your current marketing programs? Why not try Video? After all, it appears that the age of experimentation and uncertainty is over regarding Social Media. 2011 is the year to keep doing what you’ve been doing in 2010, and even expand your Social Media initiatives.
So maybe you have a blog, a Facebook page, maybe you “Tweet”, but is your company using Video? Video is just another facet of Social Media to embrace, as well as a great way to accomplish a number of goals – including:
• Building brand awareness and visibility
• Positioning your company as a thought leader in your field
• And even generating leads

Video can also foster good relationships with current customers and prospects– for example, if you post your Videos to a video sharing site like YouTube, viewers can comment and in turn you can respond to them. In fact YouTube, according to comScore, has over 233 million unique visitors each month, and even with its consumer focus, YouTube, can also be an effective b2b marketing tool.
So as a b2b marketer, how can you leverage the power of YouTube? In BtoB’s article “YouTube for b2: How to use the popular video site to expand your branding” several key components are shared that can help you build a successful video strategy. Among them, create engaging, even humorous videos – as experts agree funny videos have the best chance of going viral and boosting your brand’s image. Another idea is to incorporate people in your videos that allow your company to have a human face.
And, after you have developed a video, make sure to get the word out using other social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and your blog. And beyond the obvious, why is how often your video is watched so important? Because the more plays your video gets, the higher it will place in YouTube’s search rankings.
For more great suggestions read the full BtoB article, get taping, and then share your experiences with us!

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General Social Media

5 New Year’s Resolutions Worth Sticking To.

As marketing mavens, of course we can think of  more than five resolutions to stick to, but let’s be realistic. Change is tough.

#1 Spend less time planning and more time reviewing. Often, we get so wrapped up in what we need to do that we forget to understand the results of what we’ve already done.

#2 Synergize to optimize. Go out to lunch with your sales team on a regular basis. Stay fresh with what’s really being said out there.

#3 Make some mistakes. Get your hands dirty with testing new ideas. 

#4 Avoid repeating them. This will take some true reflection, but growth is the point.

#5 Wear the right shoes. Make sure that they look an awful lot like the pair your prospects and clients are wearing this year.

Share your resolutions with us. We need to go shoe shopping…..

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

Becoming a Thought Leader: What’s in it for You?

Positioning your company as a thought leader establishes credibility and positions you as a trusted advisor and partner – benefits beyond what a marketing or advertising program can deliver on its own. And while thought leadership is not a strategic objective on its own, it can certainly support other objectives such as lead generation, growth of market share, increase of share price—or all of these.

But just what does becoming a thought leader mean? It’s more than just a buzzword – thought leadership means having a reputation in the market as a company with unique, innovative, and important ideas about your industry, the forces shaping it, the challenges confronting it, and the future awaiting it.

 To get started, you’ll need to develop a unique point of view for your company – one that will be new, relevant, valid, and practical. A point of view that meets these criteria and that brings something new to the discussion will motivate people to follow you and take actions that you recommend.

If you’d like to learn more about how to develop a successful strategy for becoming a thought leader in your market space, download “How to Become an Industry Leader in the Online Era,” a complimentary white paper from GlobalSpec. This  paper provides insight into establishing a thought leadership position, and answers the following questions:

  • What exactly does it mean to be a thought leader?
  • How does your company gain – and sustain – a thought leadership position?
  • What tactics will help you become a thought leader in the online era?

You’ll also get a checklist of seven questions to help you determine your company’s thought leadership point of view. Download your complimentary copy now.

Have you already taken steps to becoming a thought leader? How did you accomplish this? What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced as a result? Share your story with us!

Marketing, General

Survey Results Show Preparation For Growth

The 2010 GlobalSpec Industrial Indicators Survey provided some hopeful data about the industrial sector. 67 percent of industrial professionals stated that their company revenue is above or on target for 2010. The worst of the economic downturn appears to be over, with many companies now focusing on growth-oriented initiatives they were unable to support last year. For example:

  • 18 percent of industrial companies have increased headcount, compared to only five percent a year ago.
  • Almost twice as many companies have increased spending (13 percent) this year compared to a year ago (7 percent).
  • 15 percent of companies are increasing research & development spending, a 50 percent increase over last year.

What areas of business are beneficiaries of this growth-oriented spending? 47 percent of companies are focused on improving production efficiencies, 42 percent on quality and 39 percent on new product development.

In order to support the development of new products and improvement of production processes and quality control, companies will need to spend on components, parts and services in the second half of 2010. 71 percent of survey respondents stated that the component and services spending they directly purchase or influence will increase or remain the same in the second half of 2010 compared to the first half, indicating stable or increasing budgets.

The takeaway for suppliers and manufacturers is to continue to market or ramp up efforts so that their company, products and services can be found by customers and prospects. Be sure to include online marketing as an integral part of your marketing mix, as research has shown that over 90 percent of engineers use the Internet to locate suppliers, components and products.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Market Research Marketing, General

Adding Podcasts to Your Industrial Marketing Mix

It’s time to consider incorporating podcasts into your marketing mix. Podcasts are a convenient, portable way to communicate with your audience and build your company’s visibility and brand. They are cost effective to produce and have a reputation of growing virally through users sharing links to podcasts.

“Podcast” is one of those terms often used synonymously with webcast or cybercast. There really are no definitions set in stone for these terms. For our purposes, a podcast is an audio file that can be accessed on demand over the Internet. Most browsers know how to handle and stream an audio file that is clicked on, and most users have the broadband connections necessary to deliver audio.

Users can either play the audio file right in their Web browser or can download the podcast to their hard drive, iPod or other MP3 device and listen to it later. That’s one of the advantages of a podcast from the user’s point of view: they can gain control and can listen to the content at the time and place of their choosing.

Marketing, General Social Media

Cautious Optimism Revealed in the Industrial Sector

GlobalSpec just released its 2010 Industrial Indicator Survey white paper – and the news is encouraging. All indications point to cautious optimism in the marketplace – a nice change from last year’s Survey results.

This paper shares the results of our 9th Industrial Indicators Survey – which provides an understanding of how current U.S. economic conditions are impacting organizations in the manufacturing sector. For example, some of the highlights are:

  • 51% stated their company’s 2010 revenue will be higher than 2009 revenue, a large percentage increase over the 24% who reported increased revenue in 2009 over the previous year.
  • 67% stated their company is on or ahead of target for revenue projections set for 2010.
  • 18% of companies have increased headcount in 2010, more than triple the 5% that increased headcount in 2009; 15% have increased overtime, compared to only 6% that increased overtime in 2009.

The survey paper also offers practical recommendations for you can use to tailor your marketing programs based on how your own audience is behaving. Specifically, the paper reveals:

  • How the buying habits of customers changed in the past year
  • What the biggest concerns facing companies within the industrial sector are
  • How can you adjust your marketing dollars to match what your customers are doing

Read the full report here and share your own insights and thoughts with us on what the results could mean for your company.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

By Definition: Keywords are Key to SEO Success

What is the reason for all of the mixed messages surrounding SEO? The tactics required to achieve high search engine rankings are complex and ever-changing. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of identifying and using the right set of keywords in your SEO efforts.

According to our 2010 Economic Outlook Survey, your prospects and customers use the Internet to do research, request price quotes, purchase parts/products, compare suppliers and perform other work-related activities. More and more, you need to get your online presence ready to attract attention and rank higher on search engines.

None of this may be news to you. There is plenty of buzz today around online marketing terminology such as SEO, keywords, web crawlers and search engine ranking. What most of us don’t understand is what this boils down to in terms of commitment, tactics and what the trick is to actually getting results.

Industrial Marketing and Sales SEO Web Sites – Design & Usability