Study: Manufacturers to Ramp Up Online Marketing

After lagging behind other business sectors for a number of years, most manufacturing companies are planning to expand their online marketing efforts in 2005, according to a study conducted by SVM E-Business Solutions in cooperation with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

“The key finding of this survey is that manufacturing marketing executives, who have largely been sitting on the sidelines in terms of online marketing, are stepping things up this year,” said Bob DeStefano, president of SVM E-Business Solutions.

The study, which surveyed senior executives at more than 80 U.S. manufacturing firms in various industries, finds that 88 percent of manufacturers haven’t implemented a redesign of their Web sites in the last three to five years. With sales lead generation, growing market share, and strengthening customer relationships at the top of their agendas, roughly 62 percent of respondents say their companies plan to invest in site redesigns in 2005.

“The newest thing for these companies has been to start thinking about their Web sites as more than just an online catalog and begin using them as a strategic marketing tool,” DeStefano said. “They’re also beginning to find that targeted search engine marketing can yield conversions more effectively than advertising in print publications.”

The study finds approximately 50 percent of respondents plan to invest in search engine marketing. One example DeStefano cited from the study is a “food-grade lubricant” business. “That’s not going to be a highly searched term online, but for the company, the clicks on those ads are very valuable leads indicating a specific interest where the chance to convert is high,” he said.

Additionally, 45 percent plan to ramp up their email advertising campaigns, the most popular form being corporate newsletters.

In a potential opportunity for Web analytics companies, the survey also finds that though stepping up their online marketing efforts this year, 45 percent of manufacturing companies currently have no way of measuring the success of their online campaigns, DeStefano said.

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