B2B Manufacturers Fall Short in Digital

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros
Caterpillar was one of only two brands ranked as “genius” in their digital marketing effort in the report.

Sixty-two percent of B2B manufacturers are below average in their digital marketing performance, according to a new report from Gartner.

U.S-based manufacturers from four key sectors—energy, healthcare, industrial and materials—were studied in the report, which considered performance in several areas, including SEO, site functionality, content marketing and social media. Of the 87 companies analyzed, only two, John Deere and Caterpillar, reached the top status of “genius.” The majority were classified as “challenged” or “feeble” in their digital proficiency.

More than half of respondents (51 percent) rank their current digital experience as average at best. Twenty-six percent described their experience as good, three percent as very good, and 13 percent as poor. B2B brands are clearly struggling to meet expectations of consumers, 41 percent of who describe an effective buying experience as one that moves quickly to completion.

“As more of their buyers allocate an increasingly large portion of their time learning how to buy online, brands must follow the money and follow suit,” says Kyle Rees, director at Gartner. “If B2B marketers can’t get digital marketing right, they could seriously jeopardize the success of their company’s future digital business strategies, or worse, fail to protect themselves against looming competitive threats.”


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One big issue is that sites simply aren’t doing an adequate job of helping visitors find what they need. Only 34 percent of B2B manufacturers with site search tools allow site users to their queries, and only 26 percent leverage auto-fill technology. Even fewer (24 percent) provide corrections to users’ search queries.

“Leader brands are those that deploy digital marketing strategies based on a deep understanding of their customers’ digital journey to drive consumer engagement and conversion at scale,” said the report. “There is a wide gap between brand sites with tools that work as intended and those with tools that fall short.”

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