Developing a good digital marketing strategy and then executing it is complex enough but measuring ROI is proving to be a bigger challenge for marketers within manufacturing and industrial companies.
Thirty-one percent of industrial marketing professionals stated that measuring ROI is the biggest challenge in their profession. That is one of the findings from IHS/GlobalSpec’s 2013 Trends in Industrial Marketing report.
If you have trouble attributing sales to your various industrial marketing efforts, it is going to be difficult to calculate ROI correctly. Not knowing what is working and what is not will lead to frustrations and dissatisfaction. That is not conjecture but a statement of fact. Here’s another chart from the same report that illustrates my point.
It is not surprising then to find that 64% of the industrial companies surveyed by GlobalSpec said that they do not use a marketing automation program.
Does that mean technology is the answer to the problem?
Not exactly! I say that based on my own experience of using two or three different marketing automation packages for a few years with different industrial clients. What I’ve seen produce the best results is a combination of inbound marketing with content and marketing automation. Use content marketing tactics such as blogging, SEO, social media, PR and traditional marketing tactics to fill the top of the funnel with qualified traffic. Deploy landing pages to convert traffic into leads. Then implement Marketing Automation to optimize the middle of funnel by qualifying leads, nurturing them and handing off only qualified sales opportunities to Sales. Complete the process by tracking and measuring ROI.
There is a conundrum here. Marketing Automation by its nature is best suited for handling a high volume of leads. That is usually not the case in industrial marketing. The pool of qualified prospects for most manufacturers and industrial companies is limited. The competition is usually also fishing at the same pool.
In my opinion, the single biggest advantage of using Marketing Automation is its ability to triage leads. Instead of handing off half-baked leads just because someone has downloaded your free content, technology helps you score and grade leads for your sales team. This leads to a much higher quality of opportunities that can turn into wins.
Not that anyone is going to close every single marketing generated lead but with feedback from Sales, Marketing can refine the rules for lead scoring and create better content that is more relevant and engaging for your audience. Over time, this helps to really sharpen your industrial marketing strategy.
Another key benefit of using Marketing Automation is that it allows you to track your marketing tactics. That is a bit of an oversimplification but it is good enough for this post. I use Google Analytics to tell me what is happening on my client’s website and then use Marketing Automation to get insights on who is on the website. Such granularity is important to understand the behavior patterns of visitors, their interests and needs. This ultimately leads to proper attribution of marketing’s contribution to sales and revenues instead of attributing conversions to the last click.
So I see Marketing Automation playing a very important role in accurately measuring ROI but it is not a magic bullet for all the challenges of industrial marketing.
Do you use Marketing Automation in your company? If so, how has it helped you measure ROI?