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Marketers at industrial companies spent a greater portion of their marketing budget online in 2008 than last year, and despite the economic downturn, 38% expect to spend a larger amount this year on marketing as they continue to migrate dollars to online tactics, according to a survey by GlobalSpec.

The survey found that that 30% of respondents reported spending more than 50% of their overall marketing budget this year on online marketing, up from 20% in 2007.

The economic downturn, which has hit other industry sectors hard, has not yet affected industrial-sector revenues, Globalspec said. The majority of respondents (78%) say their 2008 revenues are on or ahead of plan, with only 22% reporting revenues below plan.

Though 42% percent say they don’t expect their marketing budgets to be impacted by the economy this year, they do concede that economic uncertainty may have a negative impact in the future: 40% of respondents indicate their marketing budget may be cut if the economy worsens.

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Additional findings:

  • On average, 37% of a typical industrial marketing budget is spent online.
  • 57% of respondents stated that online marketing will command a greater portion of their marketing budget in 2008 than it did in 2007.
  • 38% of respondents stated their companies will spend more on marketing in 2008 than in 2007; 41% anticipate spending the same.
  • Three of the four top sources of leads for industrial companies are online marketing programs.
  • Online directories/websites and email marketing using in-house lists are the two most frequently used marketing channels.

Top Marketing Challenges

Despite the increased shift of marketing dollars to online media, respondents report facing a number of marketing challenges:

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  • 47% of respondents selected “too few marketing resources” as one of their top three marketing challenges this year.
  • 31% indicated that improving marketing ROI was a challenge for them.
  • 26% report that determining what online marketing programs work best remains a challenge.

The survey results also show that generating leads remains both a top marketing goal and challenge for industrial marketers. Nearly three-quarters (72%) said that either customer acquisition or lead generation was their primary marketing goal in 2008.

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The quality of leads delivered was considered the most important factor when deciding where to allocate marketing budget, with lead quantity being less important, Globalspec said.

About the survey: During the second quarter of 2008, GlobalSpec conducted its third annual Industrial Marketing Trends Survey of marketing and sales professionals in the industrial and manufacturing sectors. The survey addressed marketing trends, objectives, challenges and expenditures within the engineering, technical and industrial communities.The 468 survey respondents represent a wide range of company sizes with annual marketing budgets ranging from under $50,000 to more than $1 million. Some 73% of respon?dents hold management positions in sales or marketing and 11% indicate they are presidents or CEOs. The survey report, “Trends in Industrial Marketing 2008: How Manufacturing Companies are Marketing Today,” is available for download.

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