Planning for 2011: 3 Questions to Ask (Part
By the Marketing Maven Blog
Last week in this two-part article about
planning for 2011, three questions were asked to
help you evaluate current marketing practices and
next year’s plans (view
Part 1 article here). This week will cover
three marketing strategies that will help position
you to achieve your goals.
1. Maintain a persistent, comprehensive marketing
The industrial buy cycle is a well-documented and
often complex process that buyers engage in to
identify and procure products and services meeting
their needs. It is essential that manufacturers and
suppliers get found in the early research phases of
the buy cycle, when potential customers are looking
for vendors who can meet their needs. Otherwise, you
may be shut out of a number of business
In order to be found early in the buy cycle, you
must maintain a persistent marketing presence where
buyers begin their products and services
search—online. Research shows that buyers have
significantly reduced their reliance on traditional
information sources such as printed catalogs, trade
shows and trade magazines, in favor of online
resources. The Industrial Buy Cycle Survey reported
the top three most frequently used sources for
searching for products and services to purchase are
search engines, supplier websites, and online
From the beginning to the end of the buy cycle, the
supplier that is eventually selected is exposed to
the buyer many times. The company may have first
become visible through an Internet search, or
exposure to its online catalog, or a banner ad on an
industrial site, or any number of other ways.
Therefore, build a comprehensive and persistent
online presence to reach buyers and increase
opportunities to gain customers.
2. Commit to marketing programs that deliver real
leads, real fast.
By real leads, we mean real people with full contact
information and an expressed area of interest. Real
fast means you get leads in your hands almost as
soon as they are generated. This type of data and
timing is what your sales team needs to be
successful, and it’s marketing’s responsibility to
While branding and visibility do play an important
role in marketing, lead generation is still a top
priority. Think twice about investing in lead
generation programs that deliver only anonymous
clicks to your website. Your sales people can’t do
anything with that list—and, you can’t follow-up for
In the same vein, avoid marketing programs that
deliver leads after they’ve already gone cold. Your
prospects are on Internet time, and if they express
interest in your company and products, they expect a
response in 24 hours or less. If they don’t get it,
they will move on to other vendors.
Marketing programs such as GlobalSpec.com provide
you with leads containing full contact information
and area of prospect interest. And, as soon as the
lead is generated, it is available to you online,
helping ensure that you can reach out to a potential
new customer in a timely manner.
3. Discuss your marketing challenges and goals
with media partners.
Each year presents new challenges in marketing
planning, whether it’s a tough economy, constrained
budgets, company strategy shifts, a decline in
effectiveness of traditional marketing, or changes
in the buying behavior of your customers.
You don’t have to face these challenges alone. You
should take the time now to discuss your marketing
challenges and goals with existing or potential
media partners. Before committing program dollars
for 2011, find the partners you are most comfortable
with and who offer the best programs to meet your
needs. Here is a checklist of questions to ask media
partners; based on their answers, you should be able
to better allocate your marketing dollars and choose
• Do they have the attention of your target audience?
• Can they keep your company visible to prospects and customers at
all times? In other words, help you maintain
• Do they offer a variety of integrated marketing solutions aligned
with your goals rather than trying to fit you into
• Do they deliver targeted, quality leads with full contact
information in a timely manner?
• Do they provide reporting you can use to measure the performance
of your marketing and justify your marketing
---Source: Marketing Maven Blog Sept.
28, 2010 (www.marketingmaven.globalspec.com).