With 2012 just around the corner, it’s time to finalize your marketing strategy for next year. Right now you may be facing important and challenging decisions about how to best allocate a finite budget to achieve the greatest return on your marketing programs. Take advantage of the following tips to ensure that your marketing plan for the year ahead delivers the results you want.

How to Analyze the Effectiveness of Marketing Programs
The key to making improvements in your marketing program is the ability to analyze your current and planned marketing choices, which will enable you to make informed decisions.

Important factors to consider when analyzing marketing programs include:

Quality of lead information delivered — While most manufacturers are implementing online programs today, not all online marketing delivers the same quality of leads. For example, a click to your Web site from a general search engine is not a lead at all; the only information you get is an IP address of where the visitor came from. At the other end of the spectrum, there are online marketing programs that offer individual contact information on your prospect and other valuable data such as specific area of interest and time frame for purchase decision.

Level of branding and visibility — If your brand is visible to and recognized by prospects, you can shorten the sales cycle because people prefer to buy from companies they know. You can increase brand visibility if you implement marketing programs that keep you in front of your target audience at all times. That way, you can be sure that you are reaching them when they are actively searching for products and services.

Timeliness — In the digital age, leads grow old quickly. Some traditional marketing programs might not deliver leads to you until days or weeks have passed. By then, your prospects have likely moved on to other potential vendors. When working with your media partners, ask them how fresh are the sales and marketing opportunities you receive. Are they available to you as soon as they are generated, so you can follow-up in a timely fashion?

Marketing Mix — Your customers and prospects use a variety of information sources: supplier Web sites, specialized search engines, online catalogs, industry e-newsletters, online events, Webinars, social media, and more. Do you include different channels in your marketing mix? Doing so will allow you to connect with more prospects in more markets.

Measurement — Marketing is being held more accountable than ever for achieving a return on investment. Fortunately, two things work in your favor here: your prospects have migrated to the Internet to find suppliers, products, and services; and online marketing is built for measurement. Impressions, click-throughs, and conversions can all be counted and measured — something that can’t be done with traditional marketing channels such as print ads. The ability to measure results will help you allocate your budget better and continually achieve improvements in your marketing ROI.

Get Started
Even if your budgets aren’t settled for next year, don’t wait to create your marketing plan. To help you get started, GlobalSpec created the “2012 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit: How to Develop Marketing Strategies That Target Engineering, Technical, Industrial and Manufacturing Professionals.” Download your complimentary copy.

The Marketing Planning Kit offers you tools to:
• Evaluate how well your current marketing channels deliver leads and branding visibility
• Measure the quality of leads you currently generate, and may generate using other marketing channels
• Compare the effectiveness of your marketing expenditures across various media channels
• Re-allocate budget to more effectively reach your industrial target audience

The kit also contains a six-point checklist for success, a list of questions to ask media partners, and a top ten list of the most common marketing mistakes to avoid.

Use the tools available in the Marketing Planning Kit to proactively plan your marketing efforts and justify your expected marketing expenditures. This way, you’ll be ready to go as soon as possible and may have an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

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