For the past six years, more than two thirds of manufacturers and industrial companies have said that lead generation or customer acquisition is their top marketing priority according to the latest industrial marketing survey released by GlobalSpec.
The same survey also found that 42 percent of these companies have increased their budgets for digital marketing in 2012 and 47 percent of the respondents spend more than a third of their overall marketing budgets online.
Despite all the encouraging findings about the use of digital marketing within the industrial sector, it is common to find websites that are several years old. I have talked to owners and marketers from manufacturing and industrial companies of various sizes that sounded enthusiastic about launching an industrial blog and moving forward with inbound marketing with content but it seems easier for them to do nothing and maintain their digital marketing status quo. They are hoping that their lead generation problem will somehow solve itself if they continue to do business as usual.
I agree that some of the resistance and inertia may be coming from a variety of external factors such as the economic uncertainties, 2012 being an election year and the looming fiscal cliff are all causing a lot of angst among businesses in general. You and I have very little control over those issues but it would behoove you to find out how much it is costing you in terms of lost sales opportunities by maintaining your digital marketing status quo.
Call me cautious or conservative but I advise my clients to do a strategic industrial marketing assessment before spending the money on deploying the digital marketing tactic du jour.
I understand your skepticism since you don’t really see the value in doing an in-depth marketing assessment because you’ve already identified the problem – not enough high quality sales leads. To me, that is only the symptom that you are experiencing. We need to diagnose the underlying cause of your lead generation problem before prescribing the right medicine for the cure. That is why I wouldn’t recommend a one-size-fits-all kind of marketing assessment or the freebies that are nothing more than bait for lead generation for the service provider.
An honest and professional digital marketing assessment must, at the very least answer these questions for you.
- Why do you need to implement a particular industrial marketing tactic?
- What are the gaps in your current marketing program(s)?
- How will different digital marketing tactics work together as an effective digital marketing strategy for you?
- How will digital marketing improve your sales process without being disruptive?
- What will it cost and how long would it take to produce measurable results?
- What tangible results can you expect from your digital marketing journey?
Just like any other business decision you make, it would be difficult for you to justify spending the money on any form of digital marketing unless and until you have the facts based on discovery and analysis. You must be satisfied with the answers to those questions before you can feel confident and comfortable changing the status quo.
Not everyone is going to need a full-blown marketing assessment. This is where a good industrial marketing consultant’s knowledge and familiarity of your industry come into play – knowing the right questions to ask to discover the issues quickly and efficiently without learning at your expense and overcharging you. It is also possible to roll the assessment into developing a particular digital marketing strategy instead of doing a stand-alone evaluation. If you are planning on redesigning your industrial website, read my earlier post, “Website Evaluation Comes Before Site Redesign” and download our free whitepaper, Step-by-Step Guide to Web (re)Design.
You shouldn’t expect a marketing consultant to spend his/her time doing an in-depth marketing assessment for you for free. It will cost you some money but the initial investment will save you thousands of dollars and countless hours of frustration in implementing hit or miss digital marketing tactics.
I strongly believe in this industrial marketing philosophy and it has produced good results for my clients. What are your thoughts on doing an assessment before implementing any industrial marketing tactic? How has maintaining a digital marketing status quo hurt your lead generation efforts and sales?