Outlook improving for manufacturing

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Chris Chariton is VP-marketing services and product management at GlobalSpec Inc., a vertical search, information services and e-publishing company for the engineering, manufacturing and technical market segments. BtoB recently spoke with Chariton about the results of the company's June report, “Trends in Industrial Marketing 2010: How Manufacturers Are Marketing Today.” The survey, which was conducted online, had 646 respondents in management or C-level positions at manufacturing companies (including both clients and nonclients of GlobalSpec). BtoB: What did the survey reveal about the economic outlook among manufacturing professionals? Chariton: One thing that was a big change from last year's [survey] was 70% of companies told us they anticipate an increase in sales this year compared with 2009. We're seeing a lot more optimism this year than we did last year. Also, people are telling us that marketing budgets are recovering after a down year in 2009. That's not to say things are out of the woods, but 31% reported an increase in their marketing budgets this year over last year. The top marketing goals for this sector were definitely customer acquisition and lead generation. The top three [challenges] were not having enough resources, not enough quality leads and a need to improve marketing ROI. BtoB: What kinds of changes are manufacturing companies making in how they allocate marketing spending? Chariton: Budgets are shifting online: 47% [of respondents] are spending more than one-third of their marketing budget online, [according to the survey]. A little more than half, 51%, are going to invest more in online marketing this year than they did in 2009. Some of the biggest decreases in terms of marketing tactics were traditional trade magazines, printed directories, trade shows and direct mail. In terms of increases, 68% said they were increasing spending in social media. —M.E.M.
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