Electronics components distributor Digi-Key Corp. generates about 98 percent of revenue through its Website. So it makes sense that the company buys in to a pretty extensive social media and search engine marketing strategy. Tony Harris, the company's chief marketing officer, declined to disclose the company's marketing budget, but analyzing the extent of the campaigns suggests the majority goes online.
More business-to-business (B2B) enterprises began using social media earlier this year as part of their marketing strategies. Some have found that social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube help them reach customers on a more personal level. Research firm eMarketer cites a Web survey, conducted in May from iTracks, which finds 89 percent of US B2B companies use social media marketing.
As for Digi-Key, the company produces a variety of YouTube videos to explain products, services, and procedures -- in fact, about 935. Although a little out of the box, the video series, dubbed "Another Geek Moment," demonstrates how engineers can build components into products. And since buyers have little time to absorb information, another feature, Procure Minute, provides insight into procurement. A continuing stream of new tutorials, while short and informative, goes live weekly.
Digi-Key not only produces videos and uploads them to its YouTube channel, but participates in the video site's advertising program called Promoted Videos, which allows companies and individuals to promote videos on the YouTube site. The videos are targeted and built on the Google AdWords auction system. Google account holders set the daily maximum bid price for each campaign. They appear above or alongside the YouTube search query results.
Google's YouTube provides other ad formats, such as TrueView video ads, a family of ad formats. They give viewers choice on whether or not to watch the ad, which can appear as a lower third in the video clip. Advertisers are only charged when a viewer chooses to watch more than 30 seconds of the ad, not just when an impression or ad gets served in the video.
Along with Digi-Key, Mouser Electronics has a YouTube channel with about 33 videos that highlights products.
Harris wouldn't go into details on how Digi-Key monitors the backend metrics, such as "likes" and click rates -- the number of times the videos have been viewed -- but said the company's marketers don't use Google Analytics. "It's like asking Willy Wonka how he makes the chocolate," he said. "Or what makes the chocolate stream run."
Digi-Key also uses search engine marketing (SEM), optimizing organic search query results on Google.com, Bing.com, or Yahoo.com, as well as paid search marketing -- those text ads that serve up in search query results either on the right rail or above the organic query listings. Typically these ads will identify themselves with a headline, description, and image. In the case of Digi-Key, the ads show up at the top of the Google.com search page with six Sitelinks below the company name directing searchers to specific pages on the company's Website. Think of these pages, called "landing pages," as mini campaigns or ads.
Aside from YouTube, Harris said Digi-Key runs Twitter contests @digikey, and LinkedIn and Facebook promotions. Companies such as @CUIInc become sponsors.
It doesn't stop there. Digi-Key also has a mobile strategy, which Harris said supports high download rates from iTunes. The company no longer prints a paper catalogue, but it does have an iPad and an iPhone application supported by ads.