We (Gardner Business Media) just completed our fourth annual Media Usage Survey to gain insights about media usage trends and buying behaviors of today's manufacturing technology buyer. I now follow with an overview and what findings mean for suppliers targeting this group.
Brand awareness remains the most influential factor impacting media usage and vendor selection. Industrial buyers rely on sources and suppliers that they recognize and trust. The influence of brand is most apparent when buyers review search results, select vendors and conduct research.
More than 70% of manufacturing buyers look for products or services at least once a week. The majority of manufacturing technology purchases are influenced by at least three people. There is no significant increase in overall mobile use, but significant gains appear in laptop and tablet usage. Primary mobile use is email and web browsing as buyers prefer browsers to apps when accessing web content on mobile devices.
Social media adoption has increased somewhat for the third consecutive year. However, the perception of its usefulness remains flat. LinkedIn and YouTube are the most useful social media sites for manufacturing buyers. Twitter and Facebook are blocked at nearly 20% of responding companies while LinkedIn and YouTube are the most open social sites.
The most influential criteria impacting a buyer's selection of a potential vendor is technology followed closely by service and reputation. Buyers turn to peers, technical articles and tradeshows when forming a perception of prospective vendors. Still, process-related trade magazines delivered in print continue to be the top "push" media influence with buyers.