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Media Selection in Industrial B-to-B Marketing?

Selecting the right communication media/channel is an important task for a Marketer. Industrial B-to-B Marketing is no exception!

I just found out on John Sonnhalter’s blog that Gardner Publications recently rolled out a survey (link to the pdf version) on what media are used by manufacturing facilities managers to get their information …

Here are the key findings from this survey :

  • Almost 90% of respondents use trade magazines, search engines, supplier websites or industry websites to find new product and process information.” … that sounds quite logical to me, nothing really surprising.
  • There are surprisingly few differences – no matter the age breakdown – in preference for print vs. digital media on product, process and industry news information. Generational differences are emerging, however, in the use of social media.” … here again, I find it rather logical as professional purchasers are usually under pressure to find better products at a cheaper cost, so they use all the means that they can get their hands on.
  • Trade magazines continue to be the most preferred source for industry news, industry events, and business/market data.” … tradition, tradition, tradition … no reason to walk away from it. Now, online versions of these publications are probably gaining on their printed older sisters.
  • Purchasing influencers in the manufacturing community tend to be older, well-educated and technically minded.” … the impact of the selection and purchase of the wrong part/product can be rather severe, and experience is usually a good safeguard against it.
  • Trade shows remain a strong source of information, with more than 60% using events to discover new products and processes.” … this has always puzzled me a bit … One of my guesses is that professionnal purchasers might see the investment in trade fairs participation as a sign of healthy financial status from their (prospective) supplier?
  • E-newsletters also rank high, with over 50% using them to discover new products and processes.” … another puzzle for me. I have never been a huge fan of Email Marketing, and when I hear the reaction of my colleagues complaining about the number of emails (and/or spam) they’re getting … This being said, there’s a certain comfort in letting the information come to you rather than having to scout for it (I personnaly prefer RSS to that effect, but anyway).
  • The most used mobile device by far is the laptop, used by 70%. Half use some form of smart phone, but only 10% use iPhones.” … I believe that the laptop share will decline in the coming years with the rise of the tablets … A PC at the office is great, but a tablet while on the move is much more efficient!

There is of course also a bunch of data, broken down by job functions, end markets, frequency of information research, media channels … a real godsend for us Industrial Marketers!

Also, the study shows that Social Media Marketing has not yet really penetrated the industrial world. LinkedIn being the most used Social Media.

Social Media Survey Results

This is completely in line with what I’m experiencing in my everyday job …

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