Category: Business to Business Marketing

(from Marketing Maven’s Blog)

2011 is here and that means B2B marketing professionals are evaluating plans and allocating budget for the upcoming year. Each company has unique goals as well as challenges, and what works for one company may not work for another—there are no universal marketing solutions. However, the same key trends will impact every company, and marketers who capitalize on these trends will be better positioned to achieve their objectives.

Buyers Crave Content
Industrial buyers crave useful, relevant content to help build their internal business cases and justify buying decisions. It’s up to you to provide valuable content to help buyers make informed purchase decisions and help your company earn new sales.

Take stock of your existing content and match it to your audience needs. Then fill in any gaps. Maybe you’re short on content aimed at the economic buyer. In that case, create an ROI calculator. Maybe analytical buyers don’t understand your novel approach to solving a problem. That might call for a case study. If you need more visibility and authority in the market, launch a blog.

Also, you don’t have to start from the beginning when developing content. Often you can re-purpose existing content for use across several media. For example, the white paper that becomes a Webinar that becomes a video. Or the technical article that becomes a presentation at a conference that becomes a series of blog entries.

Users Want a Multimedia Experience
As with audiences everywhere, the industrial professional is now reading and watching and listening online. Take advantage of this trend by offering more than just words on paper or screen. Thanks to inexpensive technologies and high bandwidth, media such as video is simple to produce and easy to deliver to your audience.

There’s plenty of source material to create videos. You can record interviews, product demos, presentations—delivering anything from expert analysis and advice, to product announcements, to quarterly results. You can also use videos to promote events before they occur and to record and archive them for future consumption.

Don’t forget to promote your videos everywhere you can: on Web sites using links and banners, in blogs, through e-mail, and via social media tools.

Social Media Requires Your Attention
Many marketers are not sure what commitment they should make to social media right now. While there is a great deal of buzz and noise surrounding social media, adoption in the industrial sector remains low. It’s important to understand how your prospects and clients are adopting social media, and ensure that your level of investment matches your audience’s use.

Your first task is to understand how your target audience uses social media and what platforms they prefer. Our research has identified LinkedIn, video, and Facebook as the most popular social media platforms for the industrial audience. You may want to survey your own base for their social media preferences.

Once you understand how your audience uses social media, you can develop an appropriate social media strategy. Remember that social media doesn’t take the place of other marketing, but is a complement to other marketing efforts. You’ll need to place someone in charge of social media efforts, integrate social media into your existing marketing program, and establish success metrics to measure ROI.

New Marketing Channels Await
With the near universal adoption of the Internet by your customers and prospects, you now have more marketing channels than ever to choose from to reach your target audience. From search engine optimization and paid search, to online directories and searchable catalogs, to social media and e-newsletters.

One marketing channel that’s experiencing significant growth is the online event. These virtual tradeshows offer a complete interactive experience for both suppliers and attendees, with features such as live chat, virtual booths, discussion panels, keynote presentations, content distribution, Q&A and more. Plus, no one has to leave their desk or incur travel and other related costs.

It’s important to integrate all of your online marketing channels into a cohesive program that can become more than the sum of its parts. Work with media partners who understand your needs and can help you pull together the right programs designed to meet your goals.

Maintain Focus on ROI
The requirement for marketers to demonstrate ROI is a trend that is here to stay. For 2011, choose measurable marketing programs and define your objectives and the success metrics against which you will measure your success. It’s an old saying in the business world, but it never really grows old: you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

By making marketing plans for 2011 with these trends in mind, you will put your company in position to gain an advantage, because the decisions you make will help you become highly visible to, and discovered by, more potential customers.

An interesting report prepared by GlobalSpec looks at the future of Business-to-Business marketing. Several key points in the report are the following:

1. The economy is improving and manufacturers are responding with
increased marketing spend.
70% of companies expect sales to increase in 2010 over 2009 levels, a strong indicator that the  economy as a whole and the industrial sector in particular are improving. Only 7% anticipate sales to be down in 2009. In response to improving conditions, manufacturers are increasing their marketing  investments.

31% are reporting an increase in their marketing budgets in 2010.

2. Manufacturers are investing more marketing resources online.
Manufacturers now realize that the vast majority of their target audience goes  online in search of suppliers, products and services—and in response are increasing online marketing investments in 2010 to connect with this audience.

47% of manufacturers will spend more than one-third of their 2010 marketing budget online; 27% will spend more than half of their marketing budget online.

The majority of manufacturers (51%) are increasing the online portion of their marketing budget over last year and 68% are increasing spending in online social media channels. In addition, online marketing channels occupy the top six areas where companies will be increasing marketing spending over 2009.

Conversely, spending on traditional media channels will be down: 25% are decreasing trade magazine advertising and 24% are decreasing use of printed directories.
3. Quality of leads delivered ranked most important when allocating marketing
When asked to rate the importance of various factors in allocating marketing budgets, marketers ranked lead quality most important—8.6 on a scale of one to ten—with fit of audience exposure and reach of audience exposure placing second and third.

Quantity of leads and quantity of clicks to a company Web site placed a distant eighth and ninth,  respectively, out of nine factors. In terms of generating leads, three of the four top sources are online: company Web sites, e-mail marketing and search engine optimization.

4. Industrial marketers face the same challenges year after year.
For the past three years, marketers have listed the same three marketing challenges at the top of their  list: too few marketing resources, not enough high quality leads and a need to improve ROI. While most manufacturers are shifting resources to online marketing, the transition is not happening fast enough or broad enough.

Despite online marketing’s proven ability to deliver high quality leads, 48% of respondents still said they are not generating enough high quality leads for their sales teams. And although online programs deliver easily measurable results, 34% stated they need to improve their marketing ROI. It’s true that 47% of marketers are spending more than one-third of their marketing budget online, but that means 53% are spending less than one-third online. These manufacturers are behind and should increase their online marketing investments to help achieve their goals and overcome their marketing challenges.

Other Highlights of the survey responses include:

• 70% of companies anticipate an increase in sales compared to 2009.

• Marketing budgets are recovering after a down year in 2009, with 31% reporting an increase in their marketing budget this year.

• 74% stated that customer acquisition or lead generation is their primary marketing goal. These have been the top two marketing goals for the past three years.

• The top three marketing challenges in 2010 are having too few resources, not enough quality leads and a need to improve marketing ROI.

• Three of the top four sources of leads are online channels, including the company Web site, e-mail marketing and search engine optimization.

• 68% of companies plan to increase spending on social media in 2010. LinkedIn and Facebook are the most popular social media applications currently being used.

• 47% will spend more than one-third of their marketing budget online, and the majority (51%) will invest more in online marketing in 2010 than they did in 2009.

Will try to delve further into the report in the near future.

An interesting video from Bloomberg television on the move from traditional advertising to digital advertising. Click here to view the link — Bloomberg Video