Traditionally, Industrial companies saw themselves as very limited in who they would market to. Above the line tactics – such as mass media advertising – weren’t effective for industrial markets, and in most respects, with the exception of Intel, still aren’t. Below the line activities – such as direct tactics, advertising in trade journals – were proven more effective.

A 2012 report from Global Spec titled Trends in Industrial marketing 2012, over 300 management level staff in industrial companies were surveyed on their views to online marketing.

One of the main conclusions the report led to was that while online marketing for manufacturing and industry sectors has increased, that management more and more need to see the direct ROI in delivering leads and sales.MarketingPLan

According to the survey, more than half (57 percent) of industrial companies are engaged in social media marketing efforts. Thirty-seven percent are spending more on social media this year than they did in 2011, with LinkedIn (73 percent), Facebook (55 percent), and Twitter (40 percent) leading the way. However, a large number of those surveyed were unhappy with their understanding of the objectives of social media – and how they are delivering on sales objectives.

Before engaging in social media for a highly industrial business, industrial marketers need to establish a clear set of objectives before engaging in social media—i.e., fostering brand awareness, demonstrating thought leadership, generating engagement opportunities—industrial marketers can then measure their social media efforts against those objectives. Facebook, for example, offers users a robust set of statistics that can help calculate reach and interactively with fans; on Twitter, users can measure their followers, mentions, and re-tweets.

We’ve said before 2013 is the year of measurement and metrics. With a huge suite of advanced analytics tools at our fingertips, Industrial marketers can provide the type of measurement and reporting needed to measure ROI of online marketing and social media in delivering in actual dollar terms for the business.