Survey: Industrial Marketers Must Optimize their Digital Mix

The good news is industrial marketers are making the evidence-based decision to invest more in online marketing. On the other hand, they still need to optimize their digital mix. This was one of the key findings from IHS GlobalSpec’s latest research report, 2014 Trends in Industrial Marketing, based on a recent survey of marketing and sales professionals in the industrial sector.

2014 Trends Industrial Marketing

The results provide new insight into the strategies, budgets and tactics industrial marketers use today.

Here are the highlights:

Diversifying the marketing mix
Currently, corporate websites command about 25 percent of online budgets, which amounts to more than twice the spending on any other channel. There’s no question your company website is important and will continue to be, but establishing and maintaining a broad and deep online presence is critical in this age of digital disruption, when technical professionals have at their disposal a variety of digital resources to find the work-related information they seek. Your target audience doesn’t primarily rely on a single channel, so why should you? Industrial marketers should consider shifting a portion of their budget to other online channels such as e-newsletters, webinars and banner advertising on industry websites.

Playing catch-up to customer behavior
Forty-nine percent of industrial companies are increasing their online marketing budgets, but on average less than half (46 percent) of the overall marketing budget is spent online. While this online marketing percentage is up from 40 percent last year and 32 percent back in 2007, it still may not be enough to keep pace with the behavior of your customers. It may also be a contributing factor to the level of satisfaction industrial marketers feel about their online marketing efforts. Twenty-nine percent are still dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their online marketing efforts and 40 percent are feeling neutral.

Customer acquisition is still king
Year over year, customer acquisition tops the list of marketing goals in the industrial sector. Almost half (47 percent) of industrial marketers said customer acquisition is their primary marketing goal in 2014, up from 38 percent in 2012. Related to customer acquisition is lead generation; 29 percent of industrial marketers say it is the biggest challenge in their profession. In addition, customer acquisition is a key measurement of success for 55 percent of companies, along with sales attributed to marketing campaigns (64 percent) and leads (47 percent).

Preferred marketing channels
E-mail marketing using in-house lists, tradeshows, content marketing and search engine optimization are the top marketing channels in the industrial sector. Direct mail using rented/purchased lists, mobile marketing and podcasts are at the bottom of the list. Five of the top six channels used are digital channels, indicating that many marketers understand the importance of devoting resources to a mix of digital channels. Fifty-five percent say they use both inbound (pull) and outbound (push) marketing programs but state they could better diversify their mix.

Content marketing efforts must mature
Sixty-one percent of industrial marketers are now using content marketing as tactic and 54 percent are planning to increase their spending on content creation. This reflects marketers’ understanding that their prospects and customers are hungry for relevant content that will help them do their jobs better and make informed buying decisions. On the other hand, 44 percent of marketers are just getting started with content marketing, just 29 percent have a content marketing strategy, only nine percent can demonstrate how content marketing contributes to sales and only 15 percent align their content with the different phases of their customers’ buy cycle. These results reveal the need for industrial companies to mature their content marketing efforts in order to be more efficient and effective.

Marketers are more social-media savvy
Industrial marketers have gotten more savvy in how they use social media. They are now focusing their efforts on those objectives that social media best fulfills. Seventy-eight percent use social media for branding and 72 percent for content delivery. Only 34 percent use social media to generate leads, down from 59 percent in 2011. The most popular social media channel is LinkedIn. Twenty-seven percent are satisfied with their social media efforts, up from 17 percent in 2012. As industrial marketers continue to get more comfortable using social media and understanding its place in their marketing mix, they will likely achieve better results and their level of satisfaction will continue to increase.

Marketing budgets are steady
Over the past three years, marketing budgets have remained constant. Thirty-five percent are spending more in 2014 than they did in 2013; only 17 percent expect to spend less in 2014. About half are spending the same. For those companies with marketing budgets of $1 million or less, the average marketing budget is $166,000. Forty-two percent of companies have marketing budgets under $50,000 and 12 percent of companies have marketing budgets greater than $1 million. Forty-one percent of industrial marketers are spending at least half of their 2014 budgets for online marketing.

This annual survey can help you evaluate your marketing strategies in relation to your competitors, fine-tune your marketing programs and keep pace with your customers and the market. For complete survey results, along with recommendations for industrial marketers, download your complimentary copy of 2014 Trends in Industrial Marketing.

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What do you think of the survey results? Should industrial marketers diversify their online marketing spend and marketing mix? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Digital Media Marketing Trends Marketing, General

Your 2013 Marketing Budget: Five Ideas for Making the Tough Decisions

You’re probably putting together your 2013 marketing budget about now — at least we hope so. If not, get going. Given the unsettled economic climate in the industrial sector, there’s probably not enough in that budget pie to feed all your hungry marketing ideas. Which means you may need to make some tough decisions about your budget. Here are five ways to make those decisions a little easier.

First: Know your marketing goals. This is almost a no-brainer, but it never hurts to be reminded that you should have a firm grasp on your marketing goals for 2013. Whether your company is launching new products, entering new markets, developing a thought leadership position, raising the visibility of your brand, or focusing on engagement opportunities for your sales team, make sure everyone, from leadership to the marketing associate, knows your marketing goals. Everything that follows depends on it.

Second: Prioritize. How would you answer the question about which of your marketing goals are most important? Please don’t answer that they’re all equally important, because they simply can’t be. This is reality. It’s the law of sacrifice: to successfully meet your most important goals, you may need to abandon — or at least set aside — some of the lesser goals. And prioritizing goals is the only way to know where to fund and where to cut when dollars get tight. Fund your marketing budget from the top down — in other words, from the “must achieve” marketing goals to the ones that would be “nice to achieve.”

Third: Learn from history. What were your most effective marketing programs this past year? For online marketing programs, you should be able to easily determine the answers, because impressions, clicks, and conversions are all measurable with online programs. It also helps that almost all of your target customers use online resources to find manufacturers, components, products, and services. If you have some of the same goals year over year, and your marketing programs aligned to those goals are working, then keeping those programs alive is an easy decision to make and to defend.

Fourth: Get more bang for your buck. Let’s say your top two goals for 2013 are increasing the visibility of your brand in a new market and generating interest from prospects. Look for programs that can help you achieve both of those goals. For example, advertisements in industry-specific e-newsletters can get your brand noticed, and you can use those ads to make an offer (such as white paper or Webinar) that will generate interest from prospects. The best advice here: share your marketing goals with media partners and listen to their recommendations on the most efficient way to combine programs to meet those goals.

Fifth: Plan for sunny days and dark skies. No one can predict the year. And all marketers know that the marketing budget “set in stone” at the beginning of the year can suddenly become very elastic as the months roll by. Your budget plan is likely tied to key corporate goals, especially supporting sales and growth. So rather than start the year with a single budget and marketing plan, create two budgets, or better yet three. Plan for the most likely scenario for 2013 as best as you can predict. But be prepared in case you need to re-allocate funds during the year. However, you may receive more money for your initiatives as the year goes on if your company is hitting its goals. It’s best to be prepared for all of these situations so you can act quickly.

For more advice on planning your strategies and initiatives for the year ahead, download our complimentary 2013 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit.

Have you started your budget planning? What tactics do you use to determine where and how to allocate time, resources, and money? Let us know in the comments section below.

Content Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General

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