Being the go-to advisor for engineering clients around the world provides Pinnacle with unique insight into the key public relations and marketing communications trends in a variety of technology sectors and vertical application areas. Here’s some thoughts from members of our team on what the future holds for B2B marketers.
Pinnacle Marketing’s director, Simon Flatt, observes that the value of gaining online editorial coverage with digital publications and websites associated with the leading media outlets now goes beyond brand building. It is also becoming increasingly important in supporting strong search engine rankings. He comments: “Gaining this coverage is only possible through high-quality content – content that help designers, engineers, purchasers and other specialists and that can be re-used/re-purposed for other areas of marketing communications, further increasing ROI from PR budgets.”
He also adds: “Meeting the needs of the press remains extremely important in any technology marketing communications campaign, but public (as opposed to ‘press’) relations isn’t just about the media – it should encompass every channel available to communicate with audiences,.
“On this basis, good PR campaigns should look to integrate activities ranging from speaking at industry events and forums to interacting directly with those digital communities where customers and prospects are most likely to be engaged in online conversations.”
Simon Krelle, Pinnacle’s Client Services Director, believes that because the technology, and not least the electronics sector, moves so quickly, it’s important for component manufacturers to stay ahead of the curve to make sure they are leaders as opposed to followers.
“Market and industry surveys can provide a great way of helping build an understanding of needs and perceptions and ensure that technical marketing campaigns and product development activities are on the right path and have the right emphasis,” says Krelle.
Matt Wilkinson, Account Director, predicts search engine marketing and content marketing will continue its steady rise in importance, with companies increasingly needing to combine on-site content and search engine optimisation (SEO), off-site content, pay-per-click advertising and remarketing to maintain influence along all possible pathways of the buying journey. This will ensure that no matter how complex the offering, customers maintain interest in specific technologies, products and services from the initial awareness phase through to making a sale.
“In an online world where we see videos of cute animals getting millions of views it’s obvious that rich media will continue to grow as part of the marketing communications toolbox,” says Pinnacle account director Ian Jarrett, “The written word will remain important but more and more companies will seek different visual ways to engage and keep their audiences on their sites, whether this be through videos, infographics or rich presentations.”
When it comes to social media it is important to understand the differences between what works in a B2C environment and what makes most sense in terms of technology marketing communications and B2B campaigns.
“There’s a good chance you’ll be wasting time and money in producing a Facebook page if you are targeting engineers,” says digital specialist Rowley Cubitt. “Producing the world’s best viral video and sharing it via Facebook might well lead to somebody sharing it with their friends and family, but this is unlikely to be a core target market for the majority of technology B2B and engineering-orientated companies.
“The key is always to take a strategic approach and ‘fish where the fish are’ – to identify those platforms that your audience is most comfortable using and engage directly with them via those channels. In the B2B sector this is often long-standing forums and LinkedIn.”
Matt Wilkinson adds: “And you should never under-estimate the power of well-crafted, well-targeted e-mail campaigns. Email is possibly the most under-used social channel for engineers and scientists – they all use it every day and it is THE only guaranteed channel that people will share.”