Proving marketing’s value to the CEO was a hot topic at the recent Industrial Marketing Digital Summit. GlobalSpec Chairman and CEO Jeff Killeen shared his insights on why marketing in the industrial sector is more important than ever and how to demonstrate its value and importance to your CEO.

Killeen made a point of saying that it’s no longer business as usual, but in fact business as unusual, given uncertain economic times, caution within organizations, and marketing’s mandate to do more with fewer resources as well as demonstrate ROI.

Killeen says that all CEOs want their marketing departments to succeed. For every company, the mantra is all about growth, and marketing is a vital catalyst for that that growth. As a CEO, he looks for aggressive marketing ideas with a sound business plan behind them and the goals of the organization embodied in them.

Beyond that, as a marketer you need to demonstrate proof of what works. The analytics side of marketing has become essential to the survival of marketing. Killeen quoted from the 2012 Industrial Marketing Trends Survey, showing that 65% of industrial marketers now use an analytics program.

Killeen also touched on marketing channels, saying that digital channels have taken over and are here to stay. But the big question is which of the many digital channels now available should you deploy to achieve your objectives? The options are greater than ever. In the early years, you had product registers, trade magazines, and trade shows. Plus direct mail. Maybe newspapers, radio, and television. Now there is a radically different marketing landscape, with many digital channels and enormous attention given to social media.

As important as digital channels are, it’s equally important to accurately analyze which are working best. Part of the analysis means that marketers must avoid the ‘last click’ mistake, which gives credit to a sale to the last action a buyer takes before purchasing. Companies intuitively understand that no single action leads to the sale, since the industrial buying process can be long and complex, and buyers go through a number of contacts with a company before making their purchase decision. It’s the sum of small actions that lead to the sale, which is why you need to track results and maintain a consistent, strong online presence across digital channels.

Killeen concluded with these tips to help marketers be relevant and pertinent:

1. Tie marketing programs to major company initiatives
2. Create plans that are measurable and can demonstrate an impact
3. Work closely with sales to get their input and participation in marketing programs
4. Test and learn — don’t be afraid to fail
5. Stay up-to-date on the trends that impact industrial marketing

It was extremely helpful and a pleasure to hear first-hand from a CEO about industrial marketing’s changing role. You can view all of Jeffrey Killeen’s presentation from the Industrial Marketing Digital Summit here.

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