Internet Marketing Is at the Core of Any Growth Strategy

For most of the online era, companies were able to maintain two separate growth strategies: a traditional marketing plan and a web/e-commerce plan. Not anymore.

Buyers, from consumers to professional B2B purchasing agents, have changed. It is now imperative to include your website, search engine optimization, search engine market­ing, social media marketing, email marketing, and web ana­lytics as integrated pieces of your overall marketing plan.

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Written by CIRAS project manager Paul Gormley

Effective growth strategies use a complex mixture of online and traditional toolsets to find new customers. Nearly half of today’s B2B buyers are millennials. They are “online first” and make 60 to 90 percent of their purchasing decisions be­fore they ever engage with a potential supplier. To succeed, you need to get people’s attention through search, social media, email, and other marketing tools; keep that interest with effective messages and authentic content; help buyers take action; and use the data generated by these activities to improve your process.

CIRAS is seeing signs that social media marketing has now become an effective part of that growth strategy. In our 2015 manufacturing survey, we found that social media marketing was not meeting company expectations. How­ever, our most recent survey (conducted last summer) indicates that social media marketing is generating tangible results and sales growth. Specifically, several companies commented that they are engaging B2B buyers and gener­ating new sales through social media.

The first step in integrating your internet marketing strat­egy is to go back to basics. Learn which people are making the buying decisions—their habits, their approaches to find­ing suppliers—and focus your marketing strategy on them.

Feel free to seek help if you don’t understand something. There are plenty of great companies out there that can assist you. But make sure you remain involved. Be certain you understand what you do and don’t want to do and are able to tell whether you’re getting the results you desire.

In short, to grow strategically, you need to own your inter­net marketing strategy.

> For more information, contact Paul Gormley at gormley@iastate.edu or 319-721-5357.

 

 A version of this article was published in the Winter 2018 edition of CIRAS News. To read more of that edition or others, please explore elsewhere on our website.