As the year 2012 draws to a close and you begin to plan your B2B marketing budget for 2013, you may be wondering whether next year will be a year to stick with the “tried and true”, or a year for venturing out into new marketing channels. The answer depends greatly on what we, as B2B marketers, believe the 2013 economy has in store for us. If only we had a crystal ball!
Since our beloved America will have the same President that we’ve had for the past four years, perhaps “more of the same” is what we can expect. Regardless of whether you are pleased or displeased with the way that the election turned out, there are indications that 2013 could be a year of growth for the B2B industry.
In September 2012, manufacturing expanded after a previous three month decline, spurred by a rise in new orders, resulting in more jobs. We are also seeing the return of manufacturing jobs to America as rising labor costs and increased transportation costs in emerging economies like China, make it more economical for industrial companies to maintain their production facilities here at home.
I encourage you to be hopeful for the year 2013. But for those of you who are still on the fence about whether to downsize, increase or maintain your current B2B marketing budget, let’s take an insightful look at two possible scenarios for the year ahead. The first scenario assumes 2013 will bring little to no change. The second scenario assumes 2013 opens a new realm of marketing possibilities for your business!
Scenario A: 2013 = 2012
If 2013 does indeed turn out to be a lot like 2012, what will that mean for us B2B marketers? We would continue to work with tight budgets, and minimal staff. If you are concerned about the economic outlook for 2012 and are considering cutbacks to funding, the allocation of your limited marketing dollars to the wide variety of marketing channels that abound in this day and age, will depend greatly on the revenue generated by your 2012 campaigns.
Regardless of your method of marketing, you will hopefully have some records of which tactics resulted in the most leads and sales throughout 2012. Gather up the reports that chronicle the first 11 months of 2012, and take an inventory of what worked best and what didn’t work so well. For those marketing channels that worked best, reinvest again. Especially the ones that you can prove actually worked, such as Internet marketing.
The great thing about Internet marketing is that it is indeed highly trackable. Internet marketing channels are the heroes of B to B marketers and B to B marketing budgets, because every dollar invested can be tracked to a visit, a subscriber, a lead, or a sale. Web analytics software like Google Analytics can be setup to track any type of online marketing campaign that you wish – so track all of them!
For more traditional methods of marketing, you may find it difficult to tie revenue directly back to a particular marketing campaign. Do the best you can, and consider whether additional mechanisms can be put in place next year to better track the success of these campaigns in 2013. If not, you may wish to switch to a more easily trackable method of marketing, such as Internet marketing, so you will have a better understanding of your performance in 2013.
Scenario B: 2013 > 2012 The year where Opportunity Abounds
Could the year 2013 possibly be better and greater than 2012 was? You betcha! In 2013, not only are you rocking the marketing channels that worked well for you in 2012 … 2013 is the year to try new things!
Perhaps there are marketing channels that you haven’t tried yet for your business or your clients, but that are working well for your competitors. Do some research and find out which marketing channels others in corresponding markets have utilized. A quick online search for B2B internet marketing statistics will yield tons of charts and survey results that outline which Internet marketing channels are most popular with B2B marketers, and even with marketers in the industrial and manufacturing sectors. These surveys can provide you with information about not only which online marketing channels are most popular – but also which ones are actually working.
If you want to know how the competition is doing, type a few key words for the products you provide into Google. If your competitors show up on the first page, they have likely invested in Internet marketing and are being found by buyers who are in the market for your products. For you, 2013 is the year to begin investing in Internet marketing channels and gaining market share – big time! B2B and Industrial buyers, distributors, resellers, dealers and VARs are using the Internet much more than they are using the traditional methods of the last decade (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post in itself).
In Either Scenario:
Even if you are currently restricted by a limited marketing budget, you will want to stay on top of the following B2B Internet marketing channels, which have become standard business tools for increasing leads and growing revenue:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Content Marketing
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- E-mail Marketing
You will also want to stay on top of the most popular B2B Internet marketing catch-phrases; here are several:
- Thought Leadership
- Lead Nurturing
- Marketing Automation
- Database Marketing
- B2B Lead Generation
Once you have launched your campaigns using your 2013 B2B marketing budget, stand ready to prove how your Internet marketing efforts directly result in increased revenues for your business – since proving it will be so easy to do!
Already investing in Internet marketing? Share your favorite B2B marketing channels and catch phrases with us! Email: linda at netsitemarketing.com
About the Author: Linda Titus is a business-to-business Internet marketing specialist with over 16 years of experience. Her specialty is helping B2B, industrial and manufacturing businesses improve targeted traffic, leads and sales by way of SEO, PPC and SMM. She is a Google Certified Partner.