How Can Manufacturers Get the Most Out of Their Marketing?

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter

Being able to accurately show how well your efforts impacted a company’s bottom line is one of the biggest challenges marketing teams face every year. For years, the easiest indicator of a marketing team’s success was measured mostly in sales and lead generation. But with the rise of content marketing, influencer relations and social media in marketing plans, it’s sometimes difficult to accurately quantify exactly how all these tactics improve ROI. Regardless of where you stand on the value of these tactics, even the most stubborn skeptics will need to face the reality that content marketing, social media and other tactics for the digital age are here to stay. Unfortunately, most marketing budgets have yet to catch up with the financial and personnel resources necessary to successfully utilize these tactics.

Many of these challenges and concerns were addressed in IEEE GlobalSpec’s “Trends in Industrial Marketing Survey,” which surveyed 326 marketing and sales professionals in the industrial sector on marketing trends within the engineering, technical, manufacturing and industrial communities. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits from the survey:

  1. Breakthroughs in marketing analytics have made it easier to calculate the ROI of a company’s marketing efforts.

“Marketers are under steady pressure to demonstrate ROI for their marketing programs. The need to improve ROI is one of the top challenges industrial marketers face. To meet this challenge, marketers use leads as their number one measure of success. But generating high-quality leads for sales is also one of the top marketing challenges. This may sound like a vicious cycle, and some marketers would agree, but the point is that measurement matters. Other measures of success include customer acquisition and sales attributed to marketing campaigns. Marketing automation software, which can improve tracking and measurement capabilities, is used by only 37 percent of industrial marketers.”

Most social media channels provide free analytics that outline shares, clicks and other metrics that express value. For more advanced analytics, find a media partner or software that can help get the numbers you’re looking for to accurately display your ROI contributions.

  1. Most companies are not adding marketing personnel and are spending less on marketing tactics.

“The leading marketing challenge is lack of resources — in terms of dollars, people and time. It was reported as a top-three challenge by 37 percent of marketers, and as the single biggest challenge by 21 percent. Headcounts and budgets are staying steady for the majority of companies, further constraining resources. Only 25 percent of companies are adding marketing people; just 31 percent are spending more on marketing.”

If your company is short on internal marketing personnel, it might be time to reach out to a media partner that can help you get the most out of your marketing efforts.

  1. Content is still king in the Digital Age.

“Sixty-one percent of industrial marketers currently engage in content marketing and the majority are increasing spending on content marketing. Content creation and distribution will be the second biggest area of emphasis (after customer focus) for marketing teams over the next five years. Forty-five percent re-purpose content so it can be used in different formats. None of these results are unexpected—relevant, educational content helps an engineer make a smart, informed buying decision. Marketers are tuning into the information needs of their audience.”

The easiest way to get started with content marketing is to create a content calendar that will outline topic ideas for blog posts, social media posts, videos and other types of content. Writing out these topics will make it easier to stay on track throughout the year and hold yourself accountable in creating more content. For companies that are thin on resources, be sure to share your content across all channels to get the most out of your efforts. Check out this blog post to learn more about how you can incorporate content marketing into your marketing plan.

  1. Marketers are thriving by using a variety of tactics.

“These five tactics are being used by more than half of industrial marketers in the upcoming year: email marketing using house lists, content marketing, SEO, organic social media and trade shows. Other popular tactics include online directories/websites, company blogs and trade magazine advertising. Eighty-one percent of marketers use both push/outbound (email, trade shows) and pull/inbound marketing tactics (corporate website, online catalogs), but the majority believe they could be diversifying more. Spending is increasing on company websites, social media and content creation/distribution.”

At Sonnhalter, we understand that potential customers are using a variety of channels to find the products they’re looking for. Therefore, it is important not to put all your eggs in one basket and have a variety of channels and tactics for connecting with these customers. In this short video, we further explain what it means to have an integrated marketing campaign.

Have questions on how you can get more out of your marketing resources? Want to know which of the new tactics would work best for your company? Contact msonnhalter@sonnhalter.com.

 

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