Why manufacturers need to get onboard with digital marketing

By Soumik Roy, 5 April, 2019 for techwireasia.com

MANUFACTURERS, especially in the B2B space, tend to find it hard to drive marketing efforts in an increasingly digital world.

Although companies that are leading this space are doing exciting things in terms of digital marketing to reach their audience, the mid-sized businesses still rely on events and conferences to market to customers.

However, its time this niche segment got onboard with digital marketing. A new Gartner study that evaluated the digital performance of 87 B2B manufacturing brands found that 62 percent fall below average.

The truth is, most B2B manufacturers are struggling to build digital marketing strategies and purchase guidance needed to help buyers make the most informed decisions.

“Marketing leaders at B2B manufacturing companies must make a commitment to building effective digital marketing strategies. As more of their buyers allocate an increasingly large portion of their time learning how to buy online, brands must follow the money and follow suit,” said Gartner Director Kyle Rees.

“If B2B marketers can’t get digital marketing right, they could seriously jeopardize the success of their company’s future digital business strategies, or worse, fail to protect themselves against looming competitive threats.”

Digging deeper into the need for digital marketing

According to Gartner’s research, 41 percent of B2B buyers describe an effective buying experience as one that progresses quickly to completion, but B2B brands struggle to meet this expectation.

In fact, more than a third of the B2B manufacturing brands Gartner studied feature no guided selling tools or content on their website.

On the other hand, the best B2B brands deploy digital marketing strategies based on a deep understanding of their customers’ digital journey to drive engagement and conversion.

B2B buyers are voting with their money and they’re more inclined to make an investment in those brands that at least make an effort to empower the buyer.

Many B2B marketers feel that creating these digital tools are not only time consuming but also costly. Some even feel that it gives away their power to explain their products in a way that they feel will be most useful to the customer.

However, as customers look for information online during their research, they won’t be able to discover brands that haven’t established a strong online B2B marketing presence.

Best-in-class B2B brands develop synergies by embracing the unique value proposition offered by different marketing platforms. Leader brands reject homogeneity across their marketing strategy to create a nuanced and well-rounded brand experience.

“Instead of just using digital marketing as a means to create demand and fill the top of the funnel, B2B manufacturers should leverage digital to advance and support new and existing business opportunities — an undertaking that has thus far proven difficult,” concluded Rees.