2016 Budgets: How Much are you Going to Spend on Social and Mobile Marketing?

November 17, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter


Now that it’s time for budgeting for next year, the question is, where are you going to allocate your dollars? There’s always more opportunities than there is money to fund them.

Social media – have you tried some efforts in it this past year? What were the results? What were management’s expectations?

Mobile marketing – Has this been on your radar screen? Do you have plans to be mobile friendly in 2016?

I recently read a post from Jeffrey Cohen at Social Media B2B that highlights the latest CMO results on B-to-B Statistics on what and where money is being spent. You can get complete details here. What’s amazing is that only 23% of marketing projects run by B-to-B product companies use marketing analytics.

Here are some highlights on budgets:

  • Marketing makes up 10% of overall company budget
  • Product companies currently spend 8% of their marketing budgets on social media
  • In the next 5 years, they will spend 18% of their marketing budget on social media

Here are some highlights on social media impact:

  • 54% of B-to-B product companies have proven impact of social media on their business
  • 40% of B-to-B product companies have a good sense of the impact of social media on their business
  • 6% of B-to-B product companies have not been able to show impact on their business

Here are some highlights on mobile and internet:

  • B-to-B product companies currently spend 5% of their marketing budget on mobile
  • In the next 3 years, B-to-B product companies will spend 14% on mobile
  • B-to-B  product companies complete 7.5% of their sales over the internet

Hopefully these numbers will help you in your upcoming budgeting processes.

Are Industrial Distributors Missing Opportunities by Not Participating in E-commerce?

October 28, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

We’ve had conversations here before about independent industrial distributors missing sales opportunities by not keeping up with the latest technology available.

According to Forrester Consulting, a 2014 study shows that 52% of business buyers expect at least 50% of their purchases to be made online in 3 years’ time. This should be an eye opener for distribution, but some are ignoring the facts. The big boys like Grainger (40% of their sales are from the internet) and MSC Industrial (over 50% of their sales come from online) are certainly taking advantage. Shouldn’t that set the tone for the independents? Forrester forecasts that B-to-B e-commerce will exceed $1.1 trillion and comprise 12% of all B-to-B sales by 2020.

I’ve said in the past that for smaller industrial distributors to survive, they need to use the internet. They can’t count on the business model of contractors coming in at 7 in the morning or around lunch time to pick up what they need. Time is money, especially for them.

Industrial Distribution magazine recently released some research on The state of B2B e-commerce in Industrial Distribution. Here are some highlights:

  • Independent distributors are slow-moving in implementing e-commerce programs.
  • Technical challenges are making sites user-friendly, making it aesthetically appealing and staying ahead of the competition.
  • Primary reasons of not engaging online was lack of demand, technical obstacles and lack of marketing/promotional resources.

Customer satisfaction and the customer experience are the key factors in developing an online presence. Ironically, that’s how the independent distributor built their business in the first place. Now they just need to transfer that to a different platform, not only to keep existing business, but to grow additional revenue.

Figure 4

Source: Industrial Distribution

My worse fear is that the Amazons and the Alibabas of the world are going to make the independent extinct in a few years. I understand that the AD buying group has just instituted a new program to help members deal with some of these issues. It’s too early to tell if it’s making an impact, but at least they recognize the issue and are trying to help.

If you like this post, you may want to read:

What’s the future of small independent distributors?

Are independent industrial distributors helping Amazon to succeed?

Distributor Strategy: What’s yours?

Aesthetic issues (product descriptions, product images, graphics, logos) 22.1%

Cost 7.1%

Keeping pace with or staying ahead of competitors 18.6%


Does Your Lead Nurturing Deliver Strong Results?

October 7, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

First of all, do you have a lead nurturing program? If the answer is no, you may want to consider one and here’s why.

In a recent article in eMarketer.com, there were some interesting findings in a study done by Demand Gen Report (DGR) in July of 2015

  • Over 50% of U.S. B-to-B marketers said nurturing programs outperformed their counterparts from 10-30%.
  • These leads outperformed others in moving through the sales funnel, and respondents reported a 10-30% increase in sales opportunities.

Types of Lead Nurturing Campaigns Currently Used by US* B2B Marketers, July 2015 (% of respondents)

The key in lead nurturing is being able to define specific markets and subsequent messaging. You need to be relevant. Email was the most widely used tactic with over 94% using it.

Another interesting stat is that 42% of consumers will delete an email if it isn’t mobile friendly, so keep that in mind.

So do some of these stats resonate with what you’re doing?

If you like this post you may want to read:

Lead Nurturing: What Industrial Marketers Need to Know.

For Your Lead Nurturing Program-Where do you Find Good Content?

What’s the Difference Between Lead Nurturing and Follow-up Calls?

Does Your Company Have the Patience for Content Marketing?

October 6, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

We live in a society that expects immediate gratification. This spills over into our business lives, and companies expect an immediate ROI on almost everything today — Content Marketing is no exception.

Some companies are putting more eggs in the content marketing basket and are expecting big results in a short period of time. The problem is, to build a loyal audience, it takes time. They need to get to know, like and trust you and that doesn’t happen overnight.

If you want immediate results, use traditional outbound tactics like direct mail to generate short-term activity.

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute found in interviewing a number of entrepreneurs for his new book, Content Inc., that it took at least 15 months to grow a loyal audience.

This is no surprise for those of us who have been doing this for some time. For those that are trying to get a content program going they need to do some ground work to let management what to expect and when to expect it.

Joe offers some suggestions on getting in the game while you try to build a case for the BIG push.

  • Do a pilot program  choose a market category and put metrics like increases search engine ranking or number of leads that will demonstrate to the bean counters that it’s working.
  • Fear Factor – analyze your competition and make the case that your company is losing web visibility.
  • Find a sugar daddy – identify solutions to key pain points for your sales leaders and you may find that they not only will become your advocate, but may find funds short term to fund your efforts.

The bottom line is that it takes time, so be patient!

Reaching Professional Tradesman: Why Content Marketing Works When Advertising Might Not

September 30, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

Contractors and professional tradesman often don’t have time to read the latest trade publication or look at the magazines’ website on a regular basis and might miss your message. Chances are, unless you only make one product, their interest at any given time may be on another product.

When they do go looking for things, the first place most go to is the internet, and the chances are that they are looking for a solution just as much as they are looking for a specific product. That’s why search is so important in the big scheme of things, and what makes you go up in search – good meaningful content!

Heidi Cohen had an interesting article regarding advertising vs. content driven messages that had some good points for the B-to-B market.

B-to-B lags behind the consumer counterpart in doing research before they contact a manufacturer or distribution point. But even at 57%, you’d better have some skin in the game from a search perspective or you’re going to be left at the curb.

Best Lead Generation Tips

Razorfish found that:

  • 50% of U.S. consumers will do anything to avoid ads
  • 75+% of U.S. consumers hate hearing or seeing ads multiple times
  • 65% of U.S. consumers use a DVR to skip ads

Those are some scary numbers, and even though they are consumer driven, remember that those same consumers may be buying your products at their workplace. So what’s the alternative?

  • 86% of U.S. consumers value brands that are useful over those that have interesting advertising.

Translation: give your customers the info they need when they need it. Here are some tips:

  1. Leverage the social media platforms where your customers hang out.
  2. Supply product info for potentials to seek out.
  3. Tap into sources your customers trust, like trade associations.
  4. Make sure the info you give prospects enhances the product value.
  5. Skip the promotion and show them best practices when using your products.
  6. Re-promote your content. Once is not enough.

So the question is, how much effort are you using to create great content?

Which Works Better for Reaching Contractors – E-blasts or Direct Mail?

September 2, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

email2 direct mail2





I have this running conversation with clients about which is better, a traditional direct mail program or an e-blast. It’s a tough question to answer and I’m not too sure there is only one answer. There are challenges for using both methods and we have seen it become more and more difficult to get emails delivered even if we use opt-in lists from trade publications and have them send it out under their name.

I think that when reaching out to our target market, the professional tradesman, you have just as good, if not better of a chance, of reaching them with traditional snail mail.

We recently did a sampling program for a client who wanted to focus more on the electronic side of things and wanted to use more, if not most, in this media. They assumed that direct mail was a thing of the past and was too costly (neither of which are true). We convinced them to give both a try and the results were surprising.

The direct mail portion of the program outperformed on average 3-to-1 over the e-blasts. We used the same criteria for both lists and did both within 2 weeks of each other. We’re doing a second test using the same message and list parameters and it will be interesting to see if it still holds true.

We’ve all used both of these marketing tools. My question to you is, have you found one better than the other in reaching contractors or the professional tradesman?

B-to-B Marketers: Why it takes more than three calls to make a sale

August 25, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

We’re all focused on generating more leads these days, but I find it ironic that most companies don’t do much with them once they get them. Simply fulfilling a request is not the answer, but yet many companies do just that. According to a survey of people who have requested info suggests that 80% of all sales are made on or after the third contact. The survey polled over 700 respondents with only 8% buying after the first call.

David Frey, the senior content editor and author of several marketing books advises, “An educated prospect is your best prospect, and if they haven’t become a customer, it’s because you haven’t fully educated them on the value of your product and developed a relationship of trust.” Why do many businesses have a problem following up with their prospective customers? Mr. Frey explained, “The problem is not that small businesses don’t have the capacity to follow-up with prospects, it’s that they don’t have the systems in place to do it well.”

In his recent newsletter, “Follow-Up Marketing: How To Win More Sales With Less Effort,” Mr. Frey advised, “A good follow-up marketing system should have three attributes:

  1. It should be systematic.
  2. It should generate consistent, predictable results.
  3. It should require minimal physical interaction to make it run.

This leads to a more pressing issue and that is, what is the difference between sales lead management and a CRM tool? According to Russ Hill, President of Ultimate Lead Systems: Sales lead management is a sub-function within an overall CRM strategy. Traditional CRM programs like Salesforce.com, SalesLogix, ACT, Goldmine, Maximizer and others focus on the sales person entering and managing his own data and pushing it “up” to management.

Sales lead management starts with management generating and capturing leads from all sources, fulfilling information requests and delivering them to the sales channel and tracking follow-up and sales results to measure marketing return-on-investment.

Here are some other interesting facts:


  • 67% of all inquiries are from legitimate prospects with real needs.
  • 34% have current needs that must be satisfied within 6 months!
  • 70% did not know the company made the product before seeing their ad … making them NEW PROSPECTS!

A six-year study* of nearly 60,000 inquiries conducted by Penton Media Company also found that:

  • 43% of inquirers receive literature and information too late to be of use.
  • 72% of inquirers are NEVER CONTACTED by a salesman.
  • 25% of sales contacts are made at the inquirer’s request.
  • 40% of inquirers purchase the advertised product, a competitive product or change their suppliers.
    * NED Reader Action Reports

The key is to get a lead management system in place that can help your CRM convert those leads into sales.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 761 other followers