The State of Industrial Digital Marketing, 2017

Posted on Jul 26, 2017 by Kerry O'Malley

As digital marketing continues to offer ever increasing options over traditional marketing, more industrial marketing professionals are turning to it. The digital marketing wave is presenting businesses with increasingly complex, and at times, confusing options. Marketing and sales challenges are being addressed by emerging trends that are changing how we do business.

Latest Industrial Digital Marketing Study

Those interested in the current state of digital marketing may already be familiar with Hubspot’s State of Inbound Marketing report. For anyone wanting a brief overview of the 2017 report, below are some of the highlights.

  • 70% of marketers cited converting leads to customers was a top priority.
  • Getting more traffic to the website was next at 55%.
  • On getting more inbound traffic, 61% said growing SEO and their organic presence was a top priority
  • Blog and content creation came in second at 53%
  • 71% of all global organizations conduct digital inbound marketing as their primary marketing strategy.
  • Despite the fact that video was labeled the “main disrupter” online, only 24% thought “how-to” videos on their products were a top priority.

Industrial Digital Marketing and Video

So what does one do about the video dilemma? First off, know the platform. YouTube remains the leading way to share videos among C-level executives, VP/Directors, and managers. However, Facebook video edged out the giant for individual contributors as their preferred channel for videos. Instagram and other sharing apps came in third and fourth, respectively. An anonymous respondent said that video is getting bigger with visitors wanting raw, honest content. They also said that visitors want to feel a personal connection to the companies they do business with.

Marketers are expected to increase or at least maintain their presence on YouTube and Facebook. Some even looked into utilizing apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat in their efforts. With no reduction in the creation of videos and a possible increase, it is more crucial than ever to create videos with real employees, clients, managers, etc. discussing why you are the best at what you do. Stock whiteboard videos with stale audio and graphics are likely to get lost in the hustle.

Industrial Digital Marketing in 2017 and the Buying Cycle

Everyone wants more sales, and it’s no surprise that closing deals was the top priority for marketers in 2017. Sales people reported they wanted to further optimize the sales/buying process even if it required major shifts. This included an improvement of the sales funnel and expanding into social sales. Other interesting trends included an increase in building stronger partnerships with customers and introducing “thought leadership” to start conversations.

The main sales disruptor for 2017 was changing preferences in the buyer. This included smarter buyers doing more research and trending towards staying away from sales people altogether. A shift from the title “sales person” to a sort of concierge is forming and is expected to grow in the next few years.

One of the best strategies to meet this challenge is to understand how buyers are modernizing and meet their needs by:

  • Spending more time researching all available platforms before making decisions
  • Testing multiple channels to see which work
  • Meeting customers where they want to be met
  • Creating targeted content

Industrial Digital Marketing & Information

While no two industries are the same, the trends in digital marketing continue to lean towards third parties when buyers research companies. It is important to remember that your best marketing tool is your satisfied customers. With no agenda of their own concerning your or anyone’s business practices, they are essentially ambassadors for you. In fact, independent opinions dominated the results for most trusted sources of information when making a purchase decision. In the instance of business software purchasing, the numbers were as follows:

  1. Word of mouth at 54%
  2. Customer references at 45%
  3. Media articles 39%
  4. Vendor materials 39%
  5. Analyst reports 33%
  6. Crowd-sourced reviews 23%
  7. Sales person 19%

It remains evident that an ever-changing, multi-channel digital marketing strategy has the best chance of success. If your industrial business needs help putting together a plan like this or wants to build on an existing online marketing presence, we’re here to help.


Author: Kerry O'Malley

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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