One Good Lead is More Valuable than a Fistful of “Non-Starters”

Faced with stiff competition in niche markets, industrial marketers are “working and spending smarter” to win new business in 2012, according to new research from Thomas Industrial Network. Rather than wasting limited resources trolling for leads, they are increasing their investments in online strategies that will reach the most qualified prospects, especially improvements to their own websites.

In its January 2012 The Industrial Marketer® quarterly survey Thomas asked product and custom manufacturers, distributors and service companies about their marketing challenges, goals and spending plans for 2012. Nearly half (41 percent) of the 2,500 respondents cited “marketing to qualified prospects in a niche market” as their top challenge, and generating high quality leads and new customers as their top goals. To reach these prospects, eight out of 10 (80 percent) will update or completely overhaul their websites this year, and more than half (55 percent) will increase their budgets for this purpose.

“For industrial companies, one good lead is more valuable than a fistful of ‘non-starters.’ Quality wins over quantity every time,” said Susan Orr, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, at Thomas.  “Companies with a robust online marketing strategy, including content-rich websites, are in the best position to attract the most qualified leads, and to anticipate and answer the questions that everyone involved in the purchasing decision is likely to have.”

In response, industrial companies are making a definitive shift in their marketing strategies. Indeed, five out of six of their top strategies now involve online marketing.  In addition to website updates, these strategies include search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM/PPC), e-mail marketing, and vertical search, including a presence on ThomasNet.com, the website for supplier discovery and sourcing of industrial and MRO products and services.

“A content rich website acts as a lynchpin to a comprehensive online marketing strategy. Suppliers should be sure that these sites offer the kind of content that will engage prospects and guide them toward a buying decision, from online catalogs and CAD drawings, to information on their firms’ capabilities,” said Ms. Orr.

One company that can attest to the importance of an effective website is Astro Manufacturing & Design, Inc., a custom machining and fabricating company based near Cleveland, OH.  Astro saw a 20 percent increase in qualified RFQs, achieved double-digit revenue growth, and secured one of the largest accounts in its history after launching its site and retooling its Internet strategy. “Our new website is our primary driver of new business leads, bringing us highly qualified prospects from all over the country,” said Rich Peterson, Vice President of Business Development, Astro.

To download a copy of the research brief, visit: results.thomasnet.com/IndustrialMarketingTrends.html

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