Curious about how your peers and the competition are spending their industrial marketing dollars? You are in the right place at the right time.
I just finished reading the research report, 2018 Budget Trends in Industrial & Technology Marketing published by engineering.com. To put their findings in the right perspective, the top three segments of their demographics were:
- 32% Manufacturers
- 20% Software companies
- 16% were companies that provide Consulting/Engineering services
See the chart on the right for a complete breakdown.
The average industrial marketing budget is under $100,000 for more than half (52%) of these companies. There are a few (7%) with a budget of more than a million. Raise your hand if you are one of them!
Budgets are growing in 2018 for industrial and engineering marketers
More than absolute size of the industrial marketing budgets, what I found most encouraging is this statement from the report, “2018 has the highest levels of growth (45%) and the lowest reported levels of shrinking budgets (4%), of any of the last five years.”
That has got to be music to the ears of any marketer whether you are part of an in-house team or an outside industrial marketing consultant like me. Even better news – more than half (54%) of manufacturing marketers expected their budget to be larger in 2018. This is the highest level of growth recorded among the top three industry segments.
Industrial marketing challenges
However, it’s not all good news for industrial marketers. There are still some challenges to overcome.
Creating relevant content for engaging engineers and technical professionals is still a challenge and for the first time, it has been cited as the top challenge. You could look at this issue in a more positive light. What do I mean by that?
“Engineering and industrial marketers have learned some hard lessons. Pumping out more content doesn’t help. Most of these companies know who their prospects are and yes, it is a limited pool no matter how big it may be. Getting in front of these people and engaging with them in meaningful conversations is a bigger challenge. This is not something that’s quick and easy to fix.” (That’s my direct quote from the report).
In short, the focus of industrial content marketing has shifted from quantity to quality. That is a very good sign indeed!
Pay attention to the part about dealing with a limited pool of qualified prospects. This means it will become harder and harder to generate good quality leads because your competition is also fishing at the same pool. Rising above the noise and differentiating yourself will become even more important. (See Content Can Differentiate Industrial Companies When There’s Parity in Value Propositions).
John Hayes, President of ENGINEERING.com, Inc. shared a similar view when he said, “I think lead generation is going to be a major problem for many marketers in 2018 and beyond.”
Budget allocation and trends in industrial marketing
It should come as no surprise that almost every digital marketing tactic will get a bigger share of the budget in 2018 as compared to 2017. The two exceptions are webinars and eblasts. Keep in mind that eblasts are not the same as targeted email marketing. I’ve not used contests for any of my clients, so I can’t speak to that. This doesn’t mean traditional media is dead. Budgets for both trade shows and print magazines will increase in 2018.
Is digital marketing for industrial companies living up to its hype?
Ah, now comes the litmus test. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?
I’ll let the chart below show you how industrial companies that have adopted digital marketing are outperforming in terms of revenue growth those who are still resisting the shift.
As you can see, both “digital pragmatists” and “digital enthusiasts” are out performing the competition who are “digital skeptics” by a wide margin (45% from each of the first two groups vs. 17% from the third group).
You can download the complete 2018 Budget Trends in Industrial & Technology Marketing report from engineering.com. There are expert comments by John Hayes of engineering.com, Shawn Fitzgerald of Thomas Publishing Company and yours truly.