More and more, marketers are being tasked with proving the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing initiatives. This can pose a challenge, because there are many ways to determine the results and value of each campaign. For our most recent Marketing Maven survey, we wanted to know more about how industrial marketers handle proving ROI and what challenges they encounter.
For our most recent Marketing Maven survey, we wanted to know more about how industrial marketers handle proving ROI and what challenges they encounter.
First, we asked them for which marketing channels they measure ROI. Traffic to the company website was the most popular answer, with 62 percent of respondents measuring ROI. Other popular answers are email marketing and tradeshows. 12 percent of respondents don’t measure ROI at all. Only 22 percent track ROI on webinars, 19 percent track e-newsletter advertising, and 17 percent track display advertising.
Industrial marketers that measure metrics focus on clicks first and foremost, with 60% reporting that they look at that metric when comparing the performance of their media spend and making purchasing decisions. Engagement rate (CTR) was the next most popular metric, followed by cost per click and cost per lead. Acquisition channels and cost per sale were the least commonly tracked metrics.
The majority of industrial marketers (53 percent) run campaign performance reports monthly. 19 percent choose to run them quarterly, and 10 percent check every week. Two thirds of respondents don’t have an outside partner that handles any part of their reporting and tracking.
When it comes to challenges in reporting, industrial marketers report a variety of issues. 24 percent of industrial marketers say their greatest struggle is that their data is too siloed. 21 percent have trouble showing ROI for their investments/marketing programs. 12 percent aren’t sure which factors to pay attention to.
Overall, these results show us that many industrial marketers aren’t digging extraordinarily deep into their metrics. Only three marketing channels are tracked by over half of respondents. In the same vein, clicks are the only metric that over half of marketers track. Additionally, ROI might not be top of mind for all marketers, who tend to run reports monthly. We understand that marketers today wear many hats, and tracking analytics can be overwhelming and easy to put on the back burner. However, tracking the ROI of your marketing programs will only lead to more successful and efficient portfolio of campaigns. Consider transitioning some of your programs to a media partner that can help you track and interpret their results.
Increasing your company’s visibility in the marketplace is essential
to capture the attention of your target audience. High visibility equates to
high brand awareness, and potential customers want to do business with brands
they recognize and trust.
Additionally, high visibility helps your company get discovered
by engineers and other technical professionals in the early stages of their
buying process. Because engineers prefer to search and research independently
and wait to contact vendors, you must be seen early and often in the
marketplace to have a chance at the sale.
Programs and Channels that Increase Visibility
Marketing visibility is a function of three variables:
Reach—are you using marketing
programs that allow you to be discovered by your target audience?
Frequency—are you maintaining a
regular presence on your marketing channels?
Timing—are you reaching your
target audience when they are actively searching for products and solutions?
You can increase marketing visibility by choosing marketing
programs that help you optimize these three variables, such as:
Company website—Your number one brand ambassador, and always on so that your audience can always find you
Email—allows you to stay in touch with your house list and keep your brand top of mind with customers and prospects
E-newsletters—Advertisements in industry-focused e-newsletters can extend your reach to new markets, build brand awareness and drive qualified traffic to your website.
Social media—Regular updates on social media channels that your target audience prefers (LinkedIn, Facebook) help keep you front and center with engineers. Relevant posts can be easily shared by users, helping to further increase your reach.
Display advertising—Used on a network of targeted industrial sites, display ads offer high visibility and brand awareness.
Industry-specific websites—Directory listings, content hubs and online catalogs offer you an opportunity to level the playing field with companies of every size and reach potential customers during their search process.
Media relations—Public relations efforts such as pitching stories, writing by-lined articles, providing expert opinions on newsworthy topics, and sending press releases can increase the number of mentions your company receives.
Webinars—Whether hosted by your company or with an industry partner, webinars are powerful branding opportunities that deliver a captive audience.
Tradeshows—Still an effective way to increase visibility – choose the one or two events that are most important to your company.
Video—One of the fastest growing marketing tactics for manufacturers, watching video is soaring in popularity among engineering and technical professionals.
Metrics that Help Measure Visibility
All the above-listed marketing programs can help increase your
visibility. The challenge is to track the relevant metrics so that you can
measure performance. The most important factor about metrics is not what they
reveal in a single snapshot of time, but trends over time. If your results
increase month over month and quarter over quarter, you’ll know that your
visibility is increasing as well.
Another point to keep in mind is that measuring visibility is a
lot easier if you use technology. According to the Content
Marketing Institute the top technologies that manufacturers use to help
manage their efforts are social media
publishing/analytics, email marketing software, and analytics tools.
Key metrics to track include:
Website traffic: Measuring new vs. returning visitors gives a sense of
visibility with a new audience. If the percentage of new visitors rises in
relation to returning visitors, your visibility is increasing because new
audiences are discovering you.
Search volume of your brand name: How often users type your company name
into search engines is a good measurement of brand awareness.
On industry-specific websites, the number of visitors to your directory
listing or content hub measures visibility; additionally, the number of
click-throughs to your website measures engagement.
Social media metrics such as the number of followers, shares and retweets
all measure visibility. Shares and retweets, along with comments and likes,
also measure engagement.
The number of times a user sees your display ad or page, measured by
impressions, is a simple metric that is easy to measure and provides a strong
indication of visibility. Clicks on display ads measure engagement with your
content. These metrics hold true for e-newsletter advertisements as well.
Video metrics are available through video sharing platforms such as
YouTube. Number of views measures visibility. Length of view and comments
To measure the impact of media relation efforts, use the free service
Google Alerts, which will notify you of specific keywords mentions such as your
company name, product names or other relevant keywords in news articles, blog
posts web pages.
Visibility and Engagement are Both Important
As some of the metrics above
demonstrate, you can measure both visibility and engagement. Both are
important. Visibility is exposure, but engagement goes one step further and
indicates audience interest. To increase both factors, stay active with your
marketing programs, produce and deliver content that is relevant to your
audience, and make your content easy to share.
Although manufacturers exhibit at fewer tradeshows now than in the past, and engineers attend fewer, tradeshows can still be a very effective marketing tactic if exhibitors tweak their marketing approach.
For exhibitors, tradeshows offer visibility in a market, an
opportunity to meet prospective buyers and a chance to keep tabs on
competitors. In addition, according to a recent
survey by TREW Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec, 86 percent of engineers say
that tradeshows are a somewhat or very valuable source for seeking information
on the latest engineering technologies, industry trends and products or
However, this is the digital age, and manufacturers must use
digital tactics before, during and after tradeshows in order to achieve success
and produce positive ROI from a traditional and often resource-intensive
Generate Pre-show Momentum
Give prospects a reason to seek you out at a tradeshow by
building excitement about your presence.
Create show-specific display ads to run on industrial sites. This will make your brand highly visible and give potential attendees a reason to visit your exhibit.
Use advertisements in targeted industrial e-newsletters to announce the tradeshow. This is great way to connect with a hard-to-reach audience that is not part of your house list yet may be interested in meeting you.
Email your internal list on multiple occasions leading up to the tradeshow, giving prospects an opportunity to register and make travel plans.
Reach out via email to individual customers/prospects, bloggers, influencers and media professionals. Try to set up one-on-one meetings at the tradeshow with the most important people.
Announce your upcoming tradeshow presence on your website. Include a form for those who’d like to request a meeting.
Post to all of your social media accounts that you will be exhibiting at the tradeshow. Promote the benefits of attending and give your audience reasons to stop by your booth, such as hands-on opportunities with your products or a special presentation.
At the Show
Tradeshows used to be places where prospects collected
brochures and other content. Now all of that information is available online on
your website. Today, tradeshows are all about engagement and building
Make sure all of your booth staff are trained
regarding your goals for the show.
Use digital data capture capabilities on site for
gathering prospect information for post-show follow-up.
Continuously run a video in your exhibit space.
This doesn’t have to be a one-time-use video. You can also post the video on
your website and link to it from emails and social media to get extra return on
Take digital photos—lots of them—and identify
the people in each shot. A great follow-up after the show is to send your
prospect of photo of themselves with people from your team.
Use social media during the show to post updates
and share the experience. Shows will often have their own hashtag to use.
Make sure you have a comfortable space to
conduct face-to-face meetings, either within your exhibit area or in a
convenient space nearby.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking your marketing efforts
are over when the tradeshow ends. Often, your marketing is just getting into
Quickly follow-up via email with everyone you met at the show to say thank you for visiting your booth. Offer links to exclusive content related to the show, including educational information such as white papers and articles as well as fun stuff such as event photos and videos.
Segment or score your attendee list into prospects who deserve immediate attention you’re your sales team and those who belong in your lead nurturing program.
That video you premiered at the tradeshow? Make sure it’s posted on your website and other platforms where prospects can view it.
Follow-up with any contacts you made with media professionals, bloggers or other influencers. Remind them of what you spoke about. Try to make appointments with those you’ve missed so you can pitch your story.
Despite the time, resources and person-power required to
exhibit, tradeshows can still be an effective marketing program. Just make sure
to integrate your efforts with digital market at all phases: pre-show, on-site