As VP-strategic media programs at Godfrey, a Lancaster, Pa.-based b-to-b marketing communications agency, Stacy Whisel works with several clients in the manufacturing market. BtoB recently spoke with Whisel about trends and best practices for marketing to this audience.
BtoB: What trends should marketers keep in mind when targeting manufacturing professionals?
Whisel: Media fragmentation is a trend we're seeing overall. The proliferation of new media options makes it more and more difficult to reach your audiences. We work hard with our clients to nail down who specifically their client is. Is it the person making the influence? Are they the specifier? Is it somebody else on the buying team? Once we have that really nailed down, we try to figure out how to reach them. People are getting their information in many different places, so it's not as easy as it used to be. Even though the manufacturing industry is a little bit risk averse and may be slow to change, you can't just put an ad in a trade magazine and think you'll reach your audience. We recommend a full approach to media channel planning and strategic media programs, getting a real sense for what the audience wants and needs. You can't just put your ad out there and think they'll come to you. It's about knowing where your audience is and being there for them.
BtoB: What challenges do marketers face when targeting this audience?
Whisel: It's the same with any audience—trying to be accountable. Some of these new media have a lot of measurement [tools] available that we didn't have before. Reader service cards were great, but they have pretty much gone away. So we have all these new media tools that make it [much more] measurable. But then it's learning to do a continuous cycle of improvement. So when you reach someone and you're working with them, and all of a sudden the prospect falls off the list, you have to try to find out why. Measurement is great, but it doesn't always close the loop either. There's that anonymity that can come with [reaching a prospect through] a Web site. —M.E.M.