Is industrial marketing this boring?

The magazine for every B2B Marketer

BtoB Magazine has its hands full, trying to offer content for different types of B2B marketers: Agencies, technology companies, big companies, small companies.

The August 16 issue has a two-page feature on ‘manufacturing marketing’ with three articles and a list of manufacturing trade pubs. (Barely a feature, but it did pull a full-page ad from Penton Media, see it below.)

Okay, I thought, this is my vertical … let’s see what the latest and greatest is.

Marketing like it’s 2002.

The articles all talk about online marketing like its something new. Here are the articles and a taste of what they had to say, and my reaction:

Online proves its ROI mettle: This main article talks about resumption of web initiatives by manufacturers as the economy improves. Sample point: “Manufacturing marketers are moving online because Web advertising and search engine marketing are much more measurable.”
Dave says: MEASURABLE? We know that! How about the web is way more functional for B2B marketing.

Outlook improving for manufacturing A two question interview with GlobalSpec’s Marketing Maven based on their benchmarking surveys. Interview response: “Budgets are shifting online: 47% [of respondents] are spending more than one-third of their marketing budget online.”
Dave says: BUDGETS SHIFTING? That ended eight years ago, IMHO. (Okay, the next article proves me wrong, but hey …)

On Site Gas manufactures leads with Web effort
A case study from an agency that helped move a $150K marketing budget to online and overcome lead-management issues. Marketing tactic: “Search marketing efforts included country-specific pay-per-click campaigns as well as an aggressive organic program.”
Dave says: PPC AND SEO? Playing catch-up with the competition?

I shouldn’t be so cynical

So manufacturers are increasingly relying on online marketing tactics? That’s been going on for a decade. I admit we still have a long way to go in improving and maximizing the value of the internet. But we have all committed to online marketing at some level, which makes these articles sound patronizing, thus my reaction.

Like we do any better with print…

Bonus: I also received BtoB’s annual reader survey that highlights a few ads for our opinions. This year was no, different … they were mediocre at best. (See my 2006 comments.)
(Hover for my snark, click for a closer look.)

12 Replies to “Is industrial marketing this boring?”

  1. I'm with you Dave. Industrial marketers move to online media at snail speed. There is actually active resistance. Things that my 12-year old son does in 5 minutes take 6 months in our organisation. Change is always difficult and often feared. But in the case of adopting online marketing for industry, it's simply ridiculous. I wonder where this comes from.

  2. My experience is that many industrial companies have an inherent fear not of the internet but of people who perform internet marketing. They understand the benefit of advertising in trade publications and trade shows and so it makes sense to them. But the internet is Greek to them and they just aren't sure if they are getting ripped off. I often begin by implementing a low cost PPC campaign for companies just to show them the potential that the internet provides in their market. Once they see the results from that, it's usually easy to get them to commit more resources online.

  3. Interestingly, I read a job description of an industrial firm looking for their first CMO. Then I visited their website. It was 2001 all over again! I passed on it. That’s why this post rang true.

    Congratulations on being named a top B2B marketing blog. That’s quite an honor. I’m pleased to share the news that Fearless Competitor was also named to that great list. It’s nice to meet you.

    Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor
    Find New Customers

  4. Jeff– Dysfunctional companies are so behind the eight-ball, it’s scary. It looks like an easy turn-around, until you find out why their website is from 2001.
    John– They almost have to do it themselves first, to understand it, and see the value of what you can do for them. (See also my comment to Jeff!)
    Hans– Even b2b/industrial online-only businesses seem to move at a glacial pace. Web directories are still stuck in 2001, too.

  5. Dave,

    I hope you realize how much you are ahead of your equals in the B2B manufacturing space. I deal with marketers from the industrial and manufacturing world every day. You would be shocked to know how many of them direct you to the receptionist/office manager for marketing decisions. I’m sure you are aware that some have not embraced the internet I just wonder if there is a way for you to know the percentage that fit that equation. There is still a shift to the internet in B2B manufacturing. In many cases its barely a trickle.

  6. I would have almost ignored the complement except that we just had some new reps in for training. They jumped from a competitor. They repeatedly complemented my website and said it made them quite envious. My top competitors have seemingly good marketing managers, I just can’t tell what they do all day.

  7. Some industries are apparently way behind the trend! Not surprising at all though, because I run into many who still haven’t realized the value of Internet Marketing..shocking I know.

  8. I had one client who didn’t want a website for fear that their competitors would discover their trade secrets. Smaller industrial manufacturers are reticent to do much in the way of consistent marketing since they don’t have systems in place to track where their new business comes from.

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