As marketers in the industrial B-to-B space, I think we all recognize that our potential customers have several options beyond the traditional ones we’ve used for years. The challenge for us is to identify where they are getting their info and to make sure we’re there when they start looking. That means we need to embrace the digital world, and a recent study by IHS GlobalSpec shows that only about 35% of industrial marketers are satisfied with their online efforts.
IEEE GlobalSpec offers a white paper, Taking a Strategic Approach to Digital Media that gives you some guidelines and recommendations on developing a plan and monitoring results.
Some highlights that I found interesting were:
- Almost half of the industrial professionals visit 10 or more work-related websites each week.
- Top four resources for these professionals are search engines, online catalogs, supplier websites and GlobalSpec.
- 56% of buyers don’t contact a vendor until the research phase is done, and 19% wait until they are ready to buy.
What does that mean to us who don’t want to miss these opportunities?
- It means that we need to identify the channels that our customers use to gather info. The best way to do that is ask them.
- Once you identify the channels, you need to develop content for the different stages in the buying process for your product.
- Implement and monitor a program. The beauty of digital is we can immediately get feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
Don’t let digital scare you. It’s just another way to communicate with customers. Don’t worry about reinventing the wheel on content. Chances are you already have great stuff, you just need to identify it and maybe change the approach of features/benefits on how your products can help customers with their issues.