Digitising Marketing in the Industrial Sector in 2020

Pedro Jesús González

14 January 2020

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I’m an optimist. I’m also a digital optimist. However, that doesn’t stop me from seeing that digitalisation, in the marketing sector, while it presents us with many opportunities, it also presents us with increased risks, costs, and other negatives, whether or not they’re evident at first glance.

Some time ago, the World Economic Forum shared a related report in which, in addition to reflecting on the erosion of value vs. value created, they distributed the results of ‘cumulative value created’ between different industries, divided by sector. The results are very interesting.


I am of the opinion that most agencies and consulting firms in the marketing world generally neglect industrial companies. Looking at the WEF data, this doesn’t appear to be a coincidence. “The money is not there.” 

Marketing managers working within these sectors probably find it hard to scrape together a budget when competing with their colleagues in operations, engineering or research, for whom the challenges and opportunities of industry 4.0 or X.0 are somewhat more pressing. Within the marketing and sales department there is probably more risk in terms of opportunity cost, and the purchase decision makers are often few and far between.

I believe, however, that 2020 is going to mark a turning point; and I believe this because B2B marketing has already proven itself useful when trying to drive B2B customers to make a decision that benefits industrial companies. 

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  1. In 2018, in some markets, such as Spain, a standard for the digitisation of digital organisations was published, which demonstrated the impact of marketing digitisation within these organisations. 18 months have passed since that report was released, maybe now is the time to start thinking about redefining the B2B marketing processes? 
  2. I firmly believe that, more and more, the micro moment that occurs when a customer makes the decision to purchase is happening in a similar way within a B2B environment. I tend to use the same example – at home and in the office, I’m the purchase decision maker. I’m the same person whether I’m on Facebook or on LinkedIn – but convincing me to make a purchase is usually more expensive when using the latter. I believe that, in 2020, the difference between professional and personal use of digital media is not wide enough to justify the difference in investment. The digital consumer marketing tactics that we’ve used within B2C for decades are already working for B2B businesses. 
  3. The rationale that drives the marketing industry has changed dramatically, and it continues to change at a rapid pace. EMS (event management software) has been successful in improving the events marketing value chain. Companies such as Eventbrite and Meetup have allowed users to integrate their product with CRMs and marketing automation tools, which has given us the ability to measure the return on investment of commercial events, and make improvements next time around. This has led to the digitisation of events which has resulted in increased growth and, against all odds, increased investment in events as a B2B marketing tool

The industrial sector is, once again, undergoing a profound transformation, and in 2020 the marketing of industrial companies needs to level up; both for the benefit of the company itself and the societal value that company creates.