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Driven by the need to compete more aggressively in their core markets, nearly nine in ten American manufacturers (86%) say they are investing in online marketing in 2012, and 52% are increasing those investments over 2011 levels, according to a survey from

Among the manufacturing professionals surveyed, websites are central to online marketing efforts:

  • 47% cite customer service as a key benefit of their Web presence.
  • 45% say their website has opened up new sources of revenue.
  • 32% report their website has contributed to new revenue growth.

Below, additional findings from's Industry Market Barometer (IMB) survey.

More than one-half (53%) of manufacturing professionals say their businesses grew in 2011, and that trend is expected to continue: 75% expect their businesses to grow by the end of 2012.  

Among industrial professionals overall, 46% say their businesses grew in 2011 and 70% expect their businesses to grow by the end of 2012.

Encouraged by the upward trend, manufacturers are reinvesting their futures: 72% say they are increasing their efforts to compete more aggressively in their core markets this year. 

Other investments are targeted toward specific challenges. For example, 48% of manufacturers are struggling with customers cutting back or going out of business. As such, 66% say they plan to direct more resources toward customer retention and customer service in 2012.  

In addition, most manufacturers are pursuing opportunities in new industries (58%) and investing in new and/or innovative products or services (66%).

To further those goals, 83% of manufacturers say they plan to direct more resources toward increasing production capacity, 71% plan to upgrade their facilities, and 66% plan to add new lines of products or services.

About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 3,766 business professionals (owners, purchasers, engineers, sales people, and marketers) working in industrial companies in North America, including more than 1,600 manufacturers. Respondents were invited to participate via various ThomasNet Industry newsletters and outbound email to registered users and clients of, Jan 9 to Feb 17, 2012. 

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