The manufacturing sector is showing early signs of recovery: 70% of industrial-sector marketers expect their sales to increase in 2010 over 2009 levels and 31% plan to increase their marketing budgets—with much of those dollars earmarked  for online channels, such as video, social media, and search, according to a survey from GlobalSpec.

One-half (51%) of surveyed industrial marketers say they are increasing their online portion of their marketing budget over 2009 levels; 68% plan to increase spending on social media, 68% cite video, 59% cite search engine optimization, and 56% cite webinars.

By contrast, spending on traditional channels is expected to fall: 25% of industrial marketers say they plan to decrease spending on trade-magazine advertising and 24% plan to decrease their use of printed directories.

Below, other findings from the report Trends in Industrial Marketing 2010 by GlobalSpec, Inc.

Hard hit by the global economic downturn, 42% of industrial marketers say customer acquisition is their companies' primary marketing goal in 2010; 32% cite lead generation, 13% cite branding, and 9% cite customer retention.

Quality of Leads Delivered Most Important

When allocating their marketing budgets, marketers cite lead quality as their top concern—rating it 8.6 on a scale of 1-10, followed by fit of audience exposure (7.7) and reach of audience exposure (7.6). Quantity of leads (6.9) and quantity of clicks to a company website (6.6) placed a distant 8th and 9th.

Lead Sources

Three out of the four top sources of business leads are from online sources: Company websites (70%), email marketing (33%), and search engine optimization (25%).  However, industrial marketers also rely heavily on tradeshows (44%) for lead generation.

Activities such as webinars (6%) and social media (4%) rank near the bottom as a source of business leads—though most industrial marketers plan to increase spending in those areas: 59% and 68%, respectively, say so.

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Social Media Adoption

Among social media technologies now in use, LinkedIn is the most popular (59%), followed by Facebook (40%), Twitter (32%), a company blog (26%), online communities (24%), and video (23%).

In the future, more industrial marketers plan to adopt social media, led by LinkedIn (53%) and Facebook (41%).

Though only 23% of industrial marketer now use video (e.g., YouTube), 37% plan to do so in the future.

Other key findings:

  • 47% of industrial marketers say they plan to allocate more than one-third of their 2010 marketing budgets to online channels; 27% say they will spend more than one-half of their marketing budget online.
  • Industrial marketers say their greatest challenges are limited resources (49%), lack of high-quality leads (48%), the need to improve ROI (32%), and the need to drive more website traffic (32%).
  • The top features and functionality that marketers now have on their websites are product specifications (75%), request for quotation features (57%), site search (50%), searchable product catalogs (42%), product availability features (34%), video content (33%), part-number search (28%), and Web analytics capabilities (24%).

About the data: Findings are from the GlobalSpec survey of 464 marketing professionals in the industrial sector, conducted in the first quarter of 2010. Respondents are from companies of various sizes, with marketing budgets ranging from under $50,000 to over $1 million.

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