Should Marketing Take a Summer Vacation?

If your business is barbecues, sunglasses and beer, then summer is a hot time for your marketing efforts. But what if you’re in the industrial sector and your prospects are engineers and technical professionals, many of whom have visions of summer vacation in their heads? If they are in the office, will they pay the slightest attention to your carefully crafted email offer, take the time and read your whitepaper, or register for your webinar? And if they’re out on vacation, then what?

Beach
Photo by Luke Ma / CC BY

Some industrial marketers believe that dollars budgeted for marketing programs during summer months are dollars better saved for the cooler days of other seasons. They reason that their customers and prospects are either 1) out on vacation; 2) cramming at work getting ready to go on vacation; or 3) buried because they’ve just come back from vacation. Email goes unopened. Newsletters aren’t read. Online events are an afterthought.

In reality, summer is not the time to take a break from marketing. Here are five reasons why marketing is for all seasons:

1. The numbers game.
Let’s say every engineer takes a vacation in summer. There are nine weeks in the summer season of July and August. That averages out to 11% of technical professionals being on vacation in any given week (if everyone takes a summer vacation, and not everyone does). So you might ask: Can you afford to spend on marketing programs when 11% of your prospects might not get your message during the week it arrives? A better question is this: Can you afford not to market when in fact 89% of your target audience will receive your message? By the way, if you don’t market, it’s guaranteed that 100% of your prospects will not receive your message.

2. Summer is catch-up time.
Summer may be a slower time for some engineers and technical professionals, which gives them more time to take in a webinar or pay attention to your e-newsletter. Data from IHS GlobalSpec shows that attendance at webinars for engineers and technical professionals held during the summer is consistent with other times of the year and clicks on e-newsletter ads are the same if not better during the summer. It’s a good time for you to catch technical professionals who are catching up or simply have more time on their hands.

3. Frequency, consistency.
Everyone knows one of the keys to successful marketing is maintaining frequency and consistency. Because you’ve been regularly marketing to technical professionals all winter and spring—building brand awareness, cultivating relationships, generating engagement opportunities, filling the pipeline—if you stop or slow down in the summer months, you’ll feel the negative impact later in your customers’ buy cycle. Plus, you may not be the first thing on your prospects’ minds. They can and will forget about your company, products and services if you stop keeping in touch. And maybe they’ll remember your competitor instead, who decides that marketing in summer is a worthy endeavor.

4. It’s budget time.
For many companies, summer is the season when they start planning the following fiscal year’s budgets. If you’re in front of customers and prospects now, they’re more likely to remember that you can solve a problem they’re struggling with, increasing the likelihood they’ll include an investment in your solution as part of their next budget. In fact, summer is a good time to remind them to do just that.

5. Always connected.
Sure, we all take vacations, but we also all have our jobs to do. For better or worse, more and more technical professionals are staying connected to work when they’re not on the job, and many of them might take along a work version of summer reading to stay up-to-date on recent news, industry trends, hot new technologies and other information they seek. This is a good time to send out a key white paper or an important article, maybe even labeled “Summer Reading.”

Hope everyone enjoys the summer. Keep your marketing going!

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How do you market during the summer months? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

Search and Discovery: Why Both Should be Part of an Industrial Marketing Plan

Industrial marketers know the importance of being found online on GlobalSpec.com, Datasheets360.com, search engine results pages, and other resources when potential customers search for relevant products and services.
These searches tend to be based on customer needs. They are related to early and middle stages of the buy cycle: needs awareness, research and comparison and evaluation. Customers are motivated because they have a problem to solve and are searching for suppliers, products, and services that can help solve the problem.

That’s why marketers invest in online catalogs, search engine optimization, and pay-per-click marketing programs—to rise to the top for relevant searches and increase opportunities to engage with customers and prospects.

But search isn’t the only aspect of digital media that’s important to marketers, because search isn’t the only work-related activity industrial professionals do online. They also spend significant amounts of time reading news, keeping up with industry trends, learning about the latest technologies, seeking out educational opportunities and more. It’s during these work-related activities that their customers are performing when suppliers and manufacturers need to be “discovered.” Even though your audience many not have an immediate and pressing need, you still want to be in front of them because they could be a potential customer.

Allocating some of your budget to the discovery aspect of marketing will help raise the visibility and awareness of your products and services among potential customers. Your brand will become recognized by and familiar to potential customers, so that when they do perform a targeted search and your company, products and services appear, they will be more likely to choose you because industrial professionals—like anyone else—want to do business with a company they know and has a positive reputation in the industry. In this way, search and discovery work hand-in-hand.

Here are ideas for pumping up the discovery side of your marketing program. And all of them are easy to implement with the right media partner and to track in terms of impressions, clicks, and conversions:

  • E-newsletter advertisements: Engineers and related professionals subscribe to an average of 5.8 digital publications making newsletters a primary information source for work purposes. Look for opt-in e-newsletters focused on your industry or product area. Be sure to study audience demographics and profiles to make sure you are reaching the right people.
  • Online events and webinars: Nearly two-thirds of industrial professionals said they attended at least one webinar or online event last year. Twenty-six percent went to four or more. Exhibiting at an online event is a great way to build thought leadership and distribute content such as white papers, articles, videos and case studies.
  • Industry websites: Maintaining a presence on targeted industry websites (such as Electronics360.com) keeps you in front of potential customers while they are performing work-related tasks. Engineers spend time on sites reading recent news and learning about the latest technologies, as well as searching for products and services that meet their needs.
  • Banner ads: Banner ads that appear across a network of targeted industrial sites offer you broad and deep exposure to potential customers who might otherwise not know about your company or are hard to reach. Your banner ads can link back to your website, online catalog, or any other online destination that is useful to your target audience and meets your marketing goals and objectives.

Search AND Discovery—both are important to your marketing success. When planning for 2014, be sure to allocate marketing budget to both types of programs.

If this article was helpful to you, please spread the word using the share buttons below.

How do incorporate both search and discovery into your marketing plan? What tips and ideas would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Content Marketing Demand Generation Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Strategy

A Game-Changing Way to Engage Electronics Professionals

It can be a challenge to connect with electronics professionals. Their information needs change quickly as they move through the product design lifecycle.

When electronics professionals start this process with their initial research, they are gathering information on potential solutions that fit their needs. To begin, they may only have one part specification to go on but there are a number of resources that electronics professionals can turn to for information on possible products.

As they move into the consideration and comparison phase, they have shortened their list of potential solutions, put together a full list of specifications and turn to datasheets and other resources to help them further refine their search.

When a product has been identified and it’s time to buy, they’ll look for procurement information, distributor pricing and product availability and then Bill of Materials (BOM) tools and product lifecycle data during the parts inventory management phase.

And across all stages of the product design lifecycle, electronics professionals seek community and education through editorial, news, research and analysis.

As a result, each phase of the electronics product design lifecycle is a silo and suppliers and manufacturers have had to divide their advertising and marketing budgets across many media channels in hopes of reaching this splintered audience. You end up spread too thin, which is an inefficient and frustrating use of marketing dollars and resources. But now the game has changed.

The recent acquisition of GlobalSpec by IHS brought together the strengths of both organizations and has transformed the way engineers and industrial professional make critical decisions.

Leading companies rely on the expertise of IHS in the end-to-end electronics value chain to shape their businesses. IHS is also the pre-eminent global leader in critical information and insight for electronics professionals. IHS GlobalSpec provides the largest platform to reach this audience. It’s the single source for the critical information electronic professionals are seeking—at every point in the product design lifecycle.

Recently launched information resources—combined with IHS GlobalSpec’s e-newsletters, online events, ad network, and webinars—give electronics professionals access to all the information they need, and at the same time give suppliers a comprehensive platform to connect with decision makers.

Electronics360: Your opportunity to build brand
One example is Electronics360, considered the premier source for the latest trends, information, insights and analysis for the entire electronics value chain—end to end. Electronics360 is supported by the world’s largest electronics and media research team at IHS that delivers featured articles, research, daily blog entries, webcasts, surveys and polls, white papers and more. Featuring industry thought leaders delivering wholly unique, widely respected editorial and content and IHS industry analysts and experts discussing key topics in the electronics field, Electronics360 is a trusted destination for electronics professionals, decision makers and influencers alike.

Datasheets360: Be there for decision time
Another compelling new resource for electronics professionals is Datasheets360, a comprehensive source for electronic component datasheets and distributor pricing and availability information. It’s searchable by partial and exact product numbers. This is where your audience goes for product information in order to make procurement decisions.

Be there for every stage
These new resources compliment IHS GlobalSpec’s well-established platform of digital media solutions to reach and engage electronics professionals. A suite of more than 70 industry- and product-specific e-newsletters features 22 titles specific to the electronics industry and an audience of 2.6 million opt-in subscribers for these electronics-related newsletters. Titles include Electronic Components, Sensors & Switches, Wireless Technology, and many more. Readers use these newsletters as a primary way to keep abreast of new suppliers, products, technology and solutions—valuable information for early and middle stages of the product design cycle.

IHS GlobalSpec also hosts online events throughout the year on topics such as Aerospace Technology, Alternative & Renewable Energy, Electronic Components & Product Design, and more. Attendees take advantage of high-quality learning, networking and meaningful engagement with exhibitors.

An electronics ad network, datasheet promoter, custom webinars and online catalogs and directories help round out the possibilities for connecting with electronics professionals.

If you’re seeking to connect with electronics professionals at any point in their product design lifecycle, it’s time to check out IHS GlobalSpec. You no longer need to parse out your marketing budget trying to reach a splintered audience. They’re all in one place, and IHS GlobalSpec is built to help you reach your marketing goals: building awareness and delivering demand and engagement opportunities for your sales teams.

For more information on these opportunities, download our media kit for the electronics industry.

Digital Media Electronics Marketing, General

Online Events as Part of the Marketing Mix

Engineering, technical and industrial professionals have already adopted online events as a convenient and engaging method to learn about new trends and technologies within their specific industries, and to engage with manufacturers.  With online events growing in popularity, now is the time for industrial marketers to consider how they can be an effective addition to their marketing mix.

Learn more about online events and how they can provide value to your company’s marketing initiatives by downloading the latest GlobalSpec white paper, “Online Events: What Every Industrial Marketer Needs to Know.”   This complimentary white paper offers industrial marketers a comprehensive look at online events, including:

  • What are online events, and how their usage within the industrial sector is increasing
  • Benefits of online events for both attendees and exhibitors
  • Criteria to consider when evaluating an online event
  • The top four best practices for a successful event

Whether you are just beginning to look at online events as a marketing channel, or if you have attended/exhibited at an online event in the past, this white paper will give you valuable advice on how to make the most of your event experience.

Events Industrial Marketing and Sales