Industrial Marketing Blog

The More Industrial Marketing Changes, the More it Stays the Same

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I’m not trying to be clever or facetious with my headline. 67 percent of manufacturers, industrial and engineering companies stated that customer acquisition or lead generation is their primary industrial marketing goal in 2012, the same top two marketing goals for the past six years.

That’s one of the findings from a survey done by GlobalSpec during the first quarter of 2012. The online survey addressed the marketing trends, challenges, and expenditures within the engineering, technical, manufacturing, and industrial communities.

The primary goal of industrial marketing has not changed even though marketing strategies and tactics have changed significantly in the past 5 years. Either that or we industrial marketers haven’t quite figured out the lead generation puzzle yet.

Here are some other key findings from their report:

  • 83% of the companies expect their sales to increase in 2012 and 35% of them are spending more on marketing in 2012 than they did in 2011.
  • 47% of the industrial companies spend more than a third of their overall marketing budget online.
  • 68% of these companies will increase spending on Webinars in 2012, making it the top channel where industrial companies will increase spending.
  • 73% of the respondents use LinkedIn, 55% use Facebook and 40% use Twitter. However, only 17% of these companies are satisfied with their social media efforts.

Just like the paradox in my headline, there is one in the mix of industrial marketing tactics/channels planned for use in 2012. This chart from the same report will illustrate my point. (Click on the image to enlarge).

Inustrial Marketing Channels for 2012 - GlobalSpec

Notice how the top marketing channel planned for lead generation in 2012 is tradeshows, not a tactic usually recommended in inbound marketing.

The next favored channel is email marketing, an old workhorse despite all the rumors of its death thanks to the current buzz about social media. (See my post, “Industrial Companies shouldn’t Replace Email Marketing with Social Media”)

Also notice that more traditional marketing tactics such as trade magazine advertising, PR and direct mail have made it to the top ten marketing channels in 2012. I have used all three tactics this year for two different manufacturers with good results.

For me the key takeaway is not to count on any one marketing tactic just because it is the shiny new toy. An integrated industrial marketing approach may be a better strategy depending on your target audience’s preferences and your sales process. I have written about this in my post Inbound Marketing Alone May Not Be Enough for Industrial Companies.

You can download “Trends in Industrial Marketing 2012: How Manufacturers are Marketing Today” from GlobalSpec’s Website. It does require registration if you aren’t already.

Let me know what you think. Do you agree or do you have a different point of view about industrial marketing?

Achinta Mitra

Achinta Mitra calls himself a “marketing engineer” because he combines his engineering education and an MBA with 35+ years of practical manufacturing and industrial marketing experience. You want an expert with an insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s objectivity who can point you in the right direction immediately. That's Achinta. He is the Founder of Tiecas, Inc., a manufacturing marketing agency in Houston, Texas. Read Achinta's story here.
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  1. Fascinating post on the GlobalSpec report Achintra. I wonder if the low percentage of respondents that are satisfied with social media efforts relates to the firms providing some of those services. I’ve seen some of the efforts in content marketing done by firms that really have no industrial or technology expertise. Copy produced by non-technical writers can miss the mark. Those firms might do a great job driving consumer-focused leads but not in the industrial and factory atuomation industry. As more companies look to specialized firms such as yours for assistance the level of satisfaction in social media efforts might improve.

    • Doug,
      Thanks for your comments and your kind words. You are spot on about non-technical marketing firms force-fitting their general or B2C marketing tactics in the industrial sector. I agree, blaming social media as a marketing channel would be a mistake.

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