Digital disruption (1)

If you haven’t as yet heard about ‘digital disruption’, then here’s your chance to get fully genned up on it. Basically this represents a fundamental challenge to the conventional ways of running a business. Because of it engineers, procurement managers and other industry professionals are spending an unprecedented amount of time online (using various digital media channels and Internet-based resources) as part of their day-to-day work. The growing influence of digital media has resulted in radical changes to how buying cycles are completed. Furthermore, it has significantly altered sales and marketing processes for both manufacturers and suppliers.

There are many companies who have failed to effectively respond to the digital disruption phenomenon. They haven’t been quick enough to reapportion their marketing budgets to accommodate online options that match audience migration. A new survey on the subject, compiled by GlobalSpec has highlighted some of the issues. According to the survey, digital disruption is in full swing within the industrial sector, but a large proportion of companies don’t know how to respond or (even worse) simply aren’t even aware of it. Here are some of the key points that have been covered.

Use of digital media

Technical and engineering staff are accessing numerous digital resources everyday while working. 46% visit more than 10 websites that are related to work, while 25% visit more than 20 such websites. 55% of those taking part in the survey spend at least six hours a week on the Internet while they are working. Within the age group of 18-34, 40% spend more than eight hours a week online for purposes related to work.

84% of those surveyed use the Internet to find components, services, items of equipment and suppliers. Other common uses include comparing products across a number of suppliers and finding information on price. Such uses reinforce the need for the suppliers to be recognized by their target audience and offer relevant content to meet their needs (just having a web presence is not enough). They should therefore apply a digital perspective to all of their future marketing activities.

Expanding spectrum of digital tools

Undertaking Internet searches is not the only reason for industry professionals to be online. It is also because of the growing collection of digital resources – From community forums to webinars, online catalogues to e-newsletters – that can help them to become more operationally efficient and productive.

Buy cycles complete before buyers meet vendors

The buying cycle consists of different stages; research, needs awareness, comparison and evaluation. It is only after these stages have been completed that a purchase occurs. In most cases industry professionals are into the second or third stage before they contact the vendor. In the near future buyer/vendor contact will be almost totally eliminated from the vast majority of buy cycles. Hence, if you’re an engineer or product marketing manager looking to create brand awareness, you should strategically review how all aspects of digital media (including social media) may be able to help you achieve your objectives.