2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit – Part 2

Last month in Part 1 of our 2020 Marketing Planning series, we offered advice on how to assess the performance of your current marketing program, account for industry trends that will affect your strategy moving forward, and align your marketing plan with your company’s overall business goals and objectives. Read Part 1 here.

This month, in Part 2, we are offering tips to help you develop the optimal marketing plan that fits your budget, provides measurable results, and targets your audience of engineers and industrial professionals.

Focus on the channels your target audience uses.

When researching a work-related purchase, the top three channels that engineers use are search engines, online catalogs, and supplier websites. These channels are foundational elements in your marketing mix.

E-newsletters, industry websites, social media, email, webinars, and trade shows are all important information sources for your customers and have influence on their buying decisions. At the same time, your audience relies on other channels to keep up with the latest technologies, including industry news, products, and companies.

Of course, you can’t use every possible marketing channel available to you, since resources are always limited, but you also can’t focus solely on only one or two channels. Instead, try to diversify your marketing spend across multiple channels to generate the results you need.

Seek efficiency and integration across channels.

The marketing channels where you allocate budget should work together to reach your audience at every stage of their buy cycle. Early buy-stage resources such as search engines and websites should point the way to useful, educational content that you can distribute through email, social media, webinars, and other channels.

Plan to use multiple channels for important events such as new product launches, updates, or technology announcements. Make sure each channel upholds a consistent brand message and contributes to your stated marketing goals. When your marketing efforts are integrated across channels, you will experience a spike in efficiency and will likely achieve better results.

Plan your cornerstone content.

Engineers and technical professionals are constantly in search of content to help them solve problems, understand new technologies, and make more informed buying decisions. Being a provider of valuable, authoritative content helps position your company as an industry expert, builds trust with prospects, and ultimately makes it easier to sell your products and services to drive revenue.

While impromptu content needs will pop up throughout the year, you should plan several cornerstone pieces of content. What key white papers, webinars, or articles will you need to support your goals in 2020? By planning now, you can avoid the long lead times that producing quality content requires.

In addition, plan what channels you will use for distributing content. Here’s where your multichannel strategy pays off. For example, you can promote a webinar in an e-newsletter advertisement or on social media and drive prospects to your site to register.

Set aside budget for new markets.

Given the almost instant worldwide reach of digital marketing channels, you should plan to explore new, untapped sectors where your products and services may be a good fit. Manufacturers that can display their products and services simultaneously across multiple markets will have the best opportunity to gain new customers.

You may need to tweak your content or messaging in order to appeal to customers across different sectors. Focus on your core value propositions. Ad networks and targeted e-newsletter advertising are effective ways to reach specific customers in new markets.

Determine your measurement strategy.

Everyone knows the saying that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. How will you measure your marketing ROI?

Many manufacturers are allocating a greater percentage of their marketing budget to digital programs, which your audience turns to first for researching work-related purchases and are easily measurable.  Views, opens, clicks, shares, downloads, and conversions are all trackable data points.

Marketing automation is growing in popularity as a way to measure results, as well as to manage campaigns and content distribution. Marketing automation makes it easier to track the multiple touches that a prospect will typically have with your company throughout their buy cycle, helping you understand the contribution of each channel. There are a number of low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market.

Work with media partners.

Preparing an integrated, multichannel marketing plan is challenging, which is why it’s best to start now. But you shouldn’t have to do it alone. As you begin, consult with an experienced media partner that understands and has the attention of the industrial audience you need to reach. Discuss your marketing objectives and have your media partners show you an integrated, multichannel media plan that will help achieve your goals and objectives.

2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit

IEEE GlobalSpec created the 2020 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit to help you develop an effective marketing plan that targets your audience of engineering and technical professionals. Get a jump on 2020 and add this valuable resource to your planning efforts today. Click here to download.

Content Marketing E-Mail Marketing Marketing ROI Marketing, General Multichannel Marketing

Has Your Marketing Reached its Expiration Date?

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Like fresh produce, meat or seafood, marketing programs have an expiration date after which they become stale or spoiled. For instance, ad fatigue can set in among an audience that has seen the same creative over and over.

No marketing campaign is designed to run indefinitely. While the marketing channels you use will likely remain relevant, the creative itself—content, imagery, messaging, calls-to-action—has a much shorter shelf life.

Here are some signs that it’s time to freshen up your marketing:

  • Declining metrics. Results are the most important signal that you need to make a change. If metrics such as click-throughs, page views, conversions, shares, engagement opportunities or other key performance indicators are showing sagging performance, your creative has likely run its course.
  • New offerings. When your company comes out with a new product or service, it’s definitely time to update your creative to promote the latest offerings.
  • New strategy. Companies shift gears all the time. What was important last quarter might be on the back burner this one, with new priorities coming to the forefront. You need to adjust campaigns and creative to reflect these changes.
  • New customer needs. If your product marketing teams identify new customer needs that can be met by your products or services, you’ll want to update your advertising to take advantage of the situation.
  • Timing-sensitive offers. If you’re advertising an event or tradeshow, make sure to swap out creative as soon as the event ends. Similarly, offers with deadlines should be removed as soon as the deadline passes. Poorly timed advertising is not making the best use of your media buys.

How to Freshen Up Your Marketing

Any one of the above signs could indicate the need for you to perform a complete overhaul of your creative and messaging. However, making smaller tweaks to creative or campaigns can often extend the life of your marketing programs and keep them performing well.

  • Update the headline in an advertisement to focus on a different benefit. This is a relatively minor but often highly successful tweak that can add freshness when products offer more than one significant customer benefit. You’ve already reached everyone you can touting the first benefit. Now extend your reach by extolling another benefit.
  • Replace imagery. You don’t want to start messing with your logo or company brand, but if you’re using stock photography or illustration, swap in something new. If you’re using product photos, show the product from a different angle, in a different setting, or in a different image style. Changing typeface and colors is also an easy way to give creative a fresh look and feel.
  • Change the offer. Maybe you’ve had a white paper offer whose performance has trailed off in terms of conversions. That means it’s time for a new content offer, but you may not have to start from scratch. If the white paper is still relevant in its content and messaging, try re-purposing it into a webinar and change your creative to promote it.
  • Advertise in a different e-newsletter. Media partners such as IEEE GlobalSpec offer dozens of targeted e-newsletters. If you’ve been focusing your media buy on only one e-newsletter, experiment with another, closely-related publication that also reaches your target audience. In this case, you might not be changing your creative, but slightly adjusting your media buy.
  • Exhibit at a different event. If you’ve been attending the same tradeshows year after year, look for a new event where your message can resonate and you can connect with your target audience. There might be boutique events that are targeted but very worthwhile. If your tradeshows are your tradeshows no matter what, come up with a new theme to promote when you exhibit.

To get the most out of your media buys, you not only have to choose the right channels to reach your audience, you also have to adjust your creative strategies to keep your message fresh and relevant and to capture your audience’s interest.

Marketing ROI Marketing Strategy Marketing, General

How Industrial Marketers Track ROI

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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.

Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI

5 Tips for Measuring Marketing ROI

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Marketers of all kinds agree that they’re under pressure to demonstrate ROI on their investments. While this is necessary to avoid wasting resources, marketing ROI can be difficult to measure, even in today’s digital-centric world.

To improve your ability to measure ROI—and to gain the insight you need to make meaningful adjustments to your marketing programs—follow these tips:

Define what marketing ROI means to your organization

Every marketing organization has its own unique vision for and definition of success. The first thing you must do is agree upon and document your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Even within your organization,  definitions of success may vary. For example, the chief marketing officer may be interested in cost-per-qualified-lead, whereas a content manager might define success by the number of downloads or shares of content. When having the ROI discussion, make sure multiple stakeholders have their voices heard.

Use marketing automation

If at all possible, take advantage of the low-cost marketing automation solutions on the market today. They will help you keep much better track of campaigns and prospect activity, making ROI measurement a lot easier and your overall marketing efforts more efficient.

You can still get the ROI job done with spreadsheets if you keep your definition of success and metrics simple. However, your task will be more manual and cumbersome and your results perhaps less accurate.

Beware of the single attribution methodology

The simplest and easiest way to measure ROI is to assign the revenue from a deal to the first point of contact a customer had with your company, and then calculate ROI from there Here is an example of single attribution: A prospect downloads a white paper and you add that lead source to their record. Eventually they purchase. The sale is then attributed to the white paper campaign.

Another method is to attribute revenue to the “last click” a customer has or the last action they took before buying, under the reasoning that this is what finally motivated them to buy. But single attribution, whether it’s first touch or last touch, has severe shortcomings, including:

  • It doesn’t account for the way most engineers and technical professionals engage in the buying process. Engineers typically have multiple contacts with a company over a period of time, with each touchpoint helping the buyer move closer to making a buying decision.
  • Single attribution gives too much credit to lead generation programs and not enough to lead nurturing touches or individual contributions from your sales team.
  • Results can be skewed by deal size or time. A particularly large deal would make the attributed source appear wildly successful. A long sales cycle might diminish the importance of the single source.

Account for multiple touches

A more accurate and defensible method of measuring marketing ROI is to account for multiple touches with a prospect over what could be multiple different campaigns. Here’s where your marketing automation helps a lot, as complexity of measurement increases.

In multi-touch attribution, you track every touch made with a prospect along their buying journey. For example, Prospect A from Company X may have attended a webinar, clicked on an e-newsletter ad, watched a video, and downloaded a spec sheet. That’s four distinct touchpoints before a purchasing decision was made.

You could attribute one-quarter of the revenue to each of these four campaign tactics. More likely, you might choose to weight some touches over others based on when they occurred in relation to the sale or the action that delivered value—but beware the “last click” mistake.

You also might give more weight to programs that touched the key decision maker than programs that affected other influencers.  Or you might choose to weight certain types of touches more heavily than others based on the level of engagement. For example, attending an hour-long seminar may have more impact than a simple website visit. How you weight touches is entirely up to you.

Multi-touch attribution for calculating ROI offers a number of benefits:

  • Accounts for longer-term nurturing touches as well as lead generation.
  • Especially useful for long buying cycles that include multiple prospects and many touchpoints.
  • Focuses on all contacts and touchpoints associated with a deal, not just the first or last.

While multi-touch attribution for calculating ROI has significant advantages over single attribution, you should be aware of potential pitfalls and how your findings might be challenged:

  • You have to make assumptions based on weighting touches, and your assumptions could be wrong. On the other hand, if you weight all touches equally, you run the risk of over-crediting low impact touchpoints.
  • It’s still difficult to account for “hidden” contributors, including sales activity and unattributed online activity.

Accept a learning curve

It’s a challenging task to measure marketing ROI, but you must do it in order to justify budgets and optimize expenditures. It will likely take time to get good at ROI measurement, but you are not alone. According to a MMA/Forrester/ANA study, 87 percent of senior marketers did not feel confident in their ability to impact the sales forecast of their programs.

The most important aspect of measuring ROI is to get everyone on the same page in terms of how you define success and what measurements contribute to determining your level of success. From there, move forward as your skills and tools allow, always focusing on improving your methodologies, increasing your confidence in your results, and adjusting programs based on data.

 

 

 

 

Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI Marketing, General

Four Guidelines for More Effective Marketing Measurement

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More than ever, executives are demanding accountability for marketing expenditures.

The need to show return on marketing investment (ROMI) often leaves marketers dwelling on questions such as: How much did this email campaign contribute to the bottom line? How much revenue did that banner ad produce? However, these might not be the best questions to be asking.

It’s highly unlikely that any single campaign or tactic can be correlated on a one-to-one basis with a sale, especially in industries with long and complex buy cycles, and in an environment where your customers use a wide variety of digital tools and information resources to research a potential purchase.

As you begin planning for next year, you might be tempted to drop a marketing program that doesn’t have sales directly associated with it. This may be a mistake, and may lead to abandoning programs that are making real contributions to your overall marketing effectiveness.

Here are four guidelines to help you improve your marketing measurement and ensure that your integrated, multichannel marketing strategy is delivering a positive ROMI. For a more comprehensive analysis of marketing measurement, please download a complimentary copy of the 2018 Marketing Planning Kit.

1. Measure Engagement at Individual Touchpoints

Sixty-two percent of technical professionals wait until at least the Comparison & Evaluation stage of the buy cycle to make contact with a vendor (Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector). They may have already downloaded a white paper, clicked on a newsletter ad, watched a video, explored your online catalog—and finally decided to reach out. Each of these marketing touchpoints exists as parts of an entire ecosystem of campaigns and they all contributed to this engagement opportunity. Since it’s difficult to match a specific campaign to a sale, try measuring activity and engagement at each touchpoint: clicks, downloads, forms completed, etc.

2. Measure Awareness that Leads to Later Sales Opportunities

Multiple touchpoints—especially early in the buy cycle when prospects are assessing their needs—can help your company establish credibility and be considered when it comes time for engineers to make contact with vendors.

Maintain a broad and consistent presence on the channels that your customers use to help you get noticed early in the buy cycle. You can measure brand awareness by tracking metrics such as impressions, page views, social media shares and mentions.

3. Measure Two Types of Leads

There are two types of marketing leads that can turn into customers: the marketing qualified lead and the marketing influenced lead.

The marketing qualified lead is a lead that marketing has generated through one of its campaigns and passed on to the sales team after qualifying it. Qualified leads are gems. You’ve generated interest from a potential client, and routed that prospect through your lead qualification process. Your sales team wants qualified leads that require less effort and are more likely to convert into customers.

The marketing influenced lead is sometimes overlooked because this lead hasn’t gone through the qualification process and been handed off to sales. It’s less visible than the marketing qualified lead.

However, the marketing influenced lead is any person who engaged with your marketing content before becoming a customer. If these future customers haven’t filled out a form (such as a registration), you may not even know about them yet—but they know about you, and they are being influenced by your marketing content. When they eventually make a buying decision and become a customer, your marketing efforts helped define their path and contribute to their decision, and marketing should get credit for this marketing influenced lead.

4. Don’t Measure Only the “Last Click”

The “last click” attributes a sale to the last marketing-related touch point a customer has before making a buying decision. Last click attribution is a mistake because we know the buy cycle includes many campaign touches that cumulatively add up to help achieve a sale. Today’s path through the buy cycle crosses multiple devices, platforms, sites, and user needs and behaviors. Last click ignores the many supporting tactics that help drive a purchasing decision.

Find out more about marketing measurement, plus gain access to tools and recommendations to build a stellar marketing plan, in the just-published 2018 Marketing Planning Kit. Download your complimentary copy today.

 

 

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI

Why You Should Take Time for a Mid-Year Marketing Checkup

Believe it or not, you’ve been executing your 2017 marketing plan for six months. How’s it going? Whether you’re floundering or charging full steam ahead, we recommend you perform a mid-year marketing checkup.

A mid-year checkup will help you take steps to keep your marketing plan healthy and on course. You’ll discover what’s working, what’s not, and what you can do to improve results (there’s always opportunity for improvement). This post offers you several ways to approach the checkup and how to take action based on what you find.

Analyze Quantitative Data

If measurable marketing objectives are part of your plan, you can compare a snapshot of current marketing data against those benchmarks. Gather up reports from your online media partners, social platforms, and web analytics programs, as well as your in house reporting tools. Take a good look at your click-through rates on e-newsletter ads, attendees and engagement opportunities from webinars, video views and time spent viewing videos, and white paper downloads.

Are you halfway to your goals? Are there any surprises—pleasant or unpleasant?

A challenge arises if you didn’t set up measurable goals at the beginning of the year, are using programs that are difficult to measure, or established only general objectives such as “increase brand awareness in our target markets” or “generate leads for sales” or “increase customer satisfaction.”

If this is your situation, take time now to determine what metrics are important, re-allocate resources to measurable programs, and commit to tracking performance for the remainder of the year.

Collect Qualitative Data

Talk to sales people about their volume and quality of engagement opportunities. Ask if they have any feedback on your marketing programs. Ask if any of their customers have said anything (positive or negative) about your company’s marketing presence or messaging.

Speak to customer service managers to find out what customers are saying. Ask your company’s executives what they’re hearing in the market. Perhaps the best strategy would be talking to a few customers or prospects and asking them what they find engaging about your market presence.

If you work with partners or distributors, make sure you check in with them. Are they aware of your marketing programs? Have they noticed anything about your company’s presence in the market?

Look for common themes in the anecdotal information you compile. What story does it tell? Between quantitative data and qualitative data, you’ll have a great understanding of how marketing is performing.

Look ahead

If you’re halfway to or ahead of year-end goals, you deserve congratulations. But if the metrics and anecdotal evidence show that your marketing is not as healthy as it needs to be, now is the time to make adjustments. If your business is dependent on the seasons or if the fourth quarter is always your biggest, you should account for those variations before drawing conclusions and jumping to make changes.

When deciding where to make changes for the second half of the year, follow these tips:

• Take resources from programs that aren’t working or whose performance you can’t measure, and put them into measurable programs that are more specifically aligned with your goals.

• Add more resource to programs that are working well. Keep in mind that at some point a program could be “saturated” and you’ll experience diminishing returns.

• Diversify your marketing spending across a greater variety of programs—as long as each one can laser target your audience and the programs work together as a cohesive whole.

• Share your results with your media partners and/or your marketing agency to get their recommendations.

• Change your marketing goals. This isn’t the cover-up it might sound like. If your industry or the economic climate has changed, or if something occurs beyond your control (budget reduction, acquisition, elimination of product line), you may need to change your plans for the second half of the year.

• Pick one or two new or revised objectives you want to achieve over the rest of the year, determine the measurements of success, and adjust your marketing resources to achieve them.

Most of all, stay optimistic, make decisions based on data whenever possible, work hard, and keep marketing. You’re halfway there.

Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI Marketing, General

How to Meet Marketing ROI Milestones

 Measuring the success of marketing programs is nothing new. There has always been a focus among B2B marketers to quantify the reach and engagement of their initiatives. In the past, much of this measurement focused on metrics like the circulation of print publications, the growth of catalog mailing lists, business cards collected at trade shows, and completed magazine “bingo cards.”

Today, online channels command the bulk of B2B marketing budgets, providing marketers access to more data, more metrics, and more insight than ever before. So it’s not surprising that B2B marketers at all levels of an organization are under unprecedented pressure to quantify the return on their marketing investment. In fact, ROI is the number-one objective for B2B marketers in 2016. According to The Content Formula’s Michael Brenner, 93 percent of CMOs state that their greatest challenge is showing measurable ROI. And 81 percent of B2B marketers claim that measuring marketing effectiveness is their biggest riddle to solve.

Whether you are looking to quantify the performance of your current marketing initiatives, or want to have a plan in place for 2017 that will help you reach your ROI goals, these five keys will help you get started.

1. Target your desired outcome. Return on investment is the name of the game, but ROI is not a “one size fits all” term.

According to the 2015 State of B2B Marketing Report from Salesforce, the top three digital marketing metrics for success are revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and retention rates. And when IEEE GlobalSpec asked industrial marketers how they measure the success of their marketing initiatives as part of our annual Industrial Marketing Trends Survey, we found that marketers care most about sales attributed to marketing campaigns, acquisition, satisfaction, leads, and retention.

By having a strong understanding of the goals and objectives of your organization, you have built the foundation for your marketing plan. From there, you can define objectives and tactics that will help you reach your goals.

2. Diversify your marketing mix. Your audience has more digital tools and sources of information to do their jobs better and more efficiently, and they are also exposed to many options when ready to buy. And as companies continue to allocate more of their marketing dollars to digital media, it will become increasingly important to fend off competition online. That’s why diversifying your marketing mix is critical.

Our research shows that a majority of B2B industrial marketers are reaching their target audience via multiple channels and tactics, but many feel like they could be doing more. Not sure how to get started? Consider working with a media partner to develop a multichannel marketing strategy that is measurable and can reach your marketing goals.

3. Understand your customer’s buy cycle. In the B2B space, the buy cycle is often long and complicated, involving multiple stages – needs assessment, comparison, evaluation, and purchase. As a result, it can be difficult to correlate sales to specific marketing channels.

Buyers will often interact with your content and brand many times before contacting you or making a purchasing decision. For example, they may download a technical article they found in an e-newsletter advertisement, attend a webinar that you are hosting, watch a video, type your company name into a search engine, and visit your website – all before beginning a conversation.

Understanding your customer’s buy cycle – and having content that helps them meet their needs at each stage – will help you define and capitalize on the value that your marketing programs deliver.

4. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. It sounds simple enough – reach your audience by understanding what they seek. But remember that a key desired outcome is to reach your target audience where they can be found. Go beyond search engine marketing and consider the websites they rely on, the e-newsletters they read, and more.

Being found in the right place at the right time isn’t enough. Ask yourself, “Are we offering them content they want?” Your ability to answer this question correctly is dependent upon the tools you use to understand your customer and the quality of your analysis. In addition to the product data they are seeking, offer educational materials that position you as a thought leader and help them make a better, more informed decision. White papers, technical articles, datasheets, webinars, and videos are just some of the different content types used by today’s B2B buyers.

5. Implement a formal lead nurturing program. Now that marketing has brought in the leads, it’s time to convert them, right? Wrong.

Very few leads translate into an instant purchasing decision. Adding a clear lead nurturing program to the marketing mix has several distinct benefits that directly tie into ROI. First, you deliver more qualified leads to sales – making them happier and more productive. Next, you can successfully track contacts and inquiries along the sales process, resulting in easier and more accurate measurement. And finally, leads are less likely to fall through the cracks, reducing the potential for lost sales and wasted resources.

Hitting ROI milestones can seem like a daunting challenge. By taking a strategic approach to defining, executing and reaching your measurement goals, you will be well prepared to illustrate the value of your marketing efforts to the c-suite.

Patrick D. Mahoney is President and CEO of IEEE GlobalSpec. IEEE GlobalSpec connects a global audience of engineers and allied technical professionals with suppliers of industrial and electronic equipment, components, materials, and technology. The company combines rich technical product information with comprehensive digital media solutions that deliver measurable awareness, demand, and engagement opportunities at all stages of the buy cycle. Learn more by visiting www.globalspec.com/advertising.  

This was originally published on Marketing Tech News: http://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2016/sep/15/how-meet-marketing-roi-milestones/

Marketing Measurement Marketing ROI Marketing Strategy Marketing Trends

Top Priorities and Challenges for Industrial Marketers

 In the recent IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions research report, Trends in Industrial Marketing, we revealed the top priorities and challenges that industrial marketers are facing today. The priorities that matter to industrial marketers include customer acquisition and retention, brand awareness, and content production and distribution. The list of challenges includes increased competition, generating leads, and measuring success.

That’s a lot to manage for any marketing team. The Maven is here to help. We’ll look at each of these priorities and challenges and put them into context for you. Why are they important? And what can you do to best manage your priorities and conquer your challenges?

Priority: Customer Focus
Customers are the lifeblood of every business. Industrial marketers know this. Customer acquisition is the primary marketing goal for 43% of survey respondents, earning it the top spot six years running. In addition, focus on customer retention has grown every year for the past several years, with 15% stating it is their primary marketing goal in 2015. Moreover, 54% state that customer acquisition is used to measure marketing success.

To stay focused on customers, industrial marketers are investing in digital programs such as email marketing, e-newsletters, webinars, and catalog programs to get closer to customers and potential customers. They also are focusing on working with media partners who best understand the customer and can offer programs that produce significant levels of awareness and engagement.

Priority: Brand Awareness
Over the next five years, industrial marketers indicated their marketing teams will be placing more emphasis on brand awareness. Having a brand that is positively recognized in your market puts your company in a position to shorten the sales cycle and win more business.

Marketing programs that deliver a consistent and persistent presence – such as your website, online catalogs, and banner ads – can increase the visibility of your brand. Webinars and content marketing initiatives can help personalize and strengthen your brand.

Priority: Creating and Distributing Content
Another area of focus for marketing departments will be creating and distributing content. Engineers and other industrial professionals are constantly looking for relevant, educational content to help them do their jobs better, such as webinars, articles, how-tos, white papers, spec sheets, and more.

Fifty-one percent of industrial marketers increased spending on content creation in 2015. However, 39% are just getting started with content marketing, and only 12% can show how content marketing contributes to sales. Marketing teams should develop a content marketing plan and schedule, which will help them produce needed content and get it into the hands of customers and prospects using the digital channels they prefer.

Challenge: Increased Competition
For the first time, industrial marketers report that increased competition is their number-one challenge. The digital era and its multitude of channels has largely leveled the playing field for competitors. Engineers and technical professionals now have more resources than ever at their disposal to discover information and research purchases, making it harder for marketers to be highly visible and to differentiate their company, products, and services.

The solution is to diversity your marketing presence across the channels your customers prefer to use. Putting too much emphasis on one area, such as the company website, can leave you vulnerable to competitors who are increasing visibility and generating engagement opportunities across a variety of digital channels. Past research demonstrates the performance benefits of diversifying your marketing spend across multiple digital media channels versus relying on a single platform.

Challenge: Generating Qualified Leads for Sales
Thirty-five percent of industrial marketers report that generating enough qualified leads for sales is one of their top three marketing challenges. What’s more, demand generation is the second most important marketing goal for industrial marketers and a precursor to the top priority — customer acquisition.

The key to overcoming this challenge is to invest in marketing that generates valuable engagement opportunities for you. You can often measure the worth of a contact or inquiry in its timeliness. Engagement opportunities coming to you in real time, as they are generated, are more likely to convert to a sale than those weeks or even just days old.

In addition, marketers should have lead nurturing processes in place to help transition early-stage leads into qualified prospects ready for your sales team. For additional advice and best practices in this area, download the complimentary white paper, “Best Practices for Managing and Increasing Engagement Opportunities.”

Challenge: Measuring Return on Investment (ROI)
The top measurements for marketing successes are sales attributed to marketing campaigns and customer acquisition. Because the industrial buy cycle can be long, complex, and involve multiple decision makers, you will likely engage with customers along a number of marketing touchpoints before they make a buying decision.

For example, a customer may first see your banner ad, later visit your website, download a white paper, and eventually attend a webinar. It’s important to track all of these interactions along the buying journey in order to measure the effectiveness of individual marketing tactics and your program as a whole. This will also prevent the mistake of attributing a sale to the last touchpoint with a customer, because rarely is any one interaction, or even the most recent one, the sole contributor to marketing success.

Download the white paper “2015 Trends in Industrial Marketing” for an in-depth look at the goals, challenges, budgets, and plans of industrial marketers, along with recommendations on how you can strengthen your marketing efforts in the coming year.

Content Marketing Customer Relationships Demand Generation Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing ROI Marketing Trends Multichannel Marketing

Six Tips to Get the Best Return from Your Webinars

One of the key reasons why webinars are an effective marketing tactic is that your attending audience tends to be motivated and interested. Think about it: they are taking 30 minutes to an hour or so out of their busy day to listen to your message and interact with your presenters. That takes a lot more effort on their part than, for instance, scanning an email or reading a web page.

If you aren’t already, you should integrate webinars into your marketing mix. If you currently are using webinars, you can make them stronger and more successful. Here are six tips (plus a bonus!) on how to be efficient and earn a higher return on your webinar efforts.

siemens plm software
WeBINARS ATTRACT MOTIVATED AND ENGAGED ENGINEERS AND TECHNICAL PROFESSIONALS. mAKE THEM WORK EVEN HARDER FOR YOU WITH THESE SIX TIPS.

1. Leverage content you already have

You might have an existing presentation from an industry conference, technical report, white paper, product demo, customer testimonial or other content that can make a strong foundation for a webinar or at least help generate ideas for a webinar. You don’t have to start from scratch every time. Another benefit of leveraging existing content is that it helps you deliver a consistent message to the market.

2. Be clear on your topic and the audience you want to reach

You need to be honest with your audience on what to expect during your webinar or they will lose trust in your brand and company. Webinars are ideal to deliver thought leadership content. If your webinar is about how additive manufacturing is transforming the automotive industry, then it shouldn’t be about your 3D printers. It’s standard practice for the host or sponsor of a webinar to deliver a brief promotion about its products. However, if you want to devote an entire webinar to the benefits of your products, then that needs to be clear in your webinar promotions.

Before creating your webinar, you not only need to define your topic but also the audience you wish to attract. Leveraging your existing content can again provide an advantage here. For example, you might invite everyone who downloaded a certain white paper to a webinar on a topic related to the white paper. That way, you are matching topic to audience, and will increase the likelihood of keeping your audience engaged.

3. Promote the webinar through multiple channels

First follow the tip above about identifying your topic and the audience you want to attract, and then determine the best channels to promote your webinar. Your in-house email list is a likely choice as are your own website and social media platforms. You might consider reaching farther out to connect with a wider audience, as long as your content is relevant to them. Advertising in industry-specific e-newsletters is an effective way to reach a potentially new, yet still targeted audience. If you are working with a partner on the webinar, reach out to their email list in addition to your own. For an even broader audience, try promoting your webinar through banner ads on industrial websites, distributing press releases, or posting on your directory listings.

4. Generate new content during the live webinar

Today’s webinar hosting platforms offer sophisticated features such as real-time polls and live Q & A. Not only can you deliver educational content to your audience, you can capture content from your audience in return. Poll questions can serve as effective transitions between topics, help involve your audience, and return to you valuable information. You can display answers in real-time and offer comments on the results, making the webinar even more interactive. After the webinar, results of your polls can be the basis for blog articles, social media postings, infographics and more.

At the end of the webinar, you will typically leave time for a question and answer period. Again, you can gain valuable information from your audience based on the questions they ask. You might be able to use this content to create an FAQ document to share on your blog, website and through social media.

5. Extend the shelf life of your webinar content

Your webinar content can remain useful long after the live event itself is over. You can archive the webinar on your website for on-demand viewing. Post it to YouTube or SlideShare. Write a blog post re-cap of the event. These other channels provide an opportunity for those in your audience who missed or didn’t know about the webinar to access the content. On-demand availability also gives you another opportunity to reach out to your email list (Sorry we missed you, now you can view the webinar at your convenience…). You can reasonably ask for registration information from visitors who want to view recorded webinars, resulting in additional engagement opportunities for you.

6. Follow-up with attendees

An engineer or technical professional who attended your webinar has demonstrated an active interest in your content. Be sure to have in place a marketing process to stay in touch with those attendees. Some of them might have expressed enough interest to qualify as a good engagement opportunity for your sales team; others may be better suited to a longer-term nurturing program. However you score these opportunities, be sure to deliver relevant content to them based on their interest in your webinar topic.

Bonus: Sponsor a webinar featuring an industry thought leader

If you would like to take advantage of the engagement opportunities generated by a webinar, without putting together and executing the actual presentation, you may want to consider sponsoring a webinar delivered by an expert in your industry.

These types of webinars are usually on a pre-determined topic (although the sponsor may have some input) and feature a trusted authority in the market presenting on a topic of interest to your audience.

The sponsor receives branding and association with the expert’s thought leadership as well as exposure to an audience they might not otherwise have attracted to their content.

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How are you using webinars in your marketing strategy? What advice or tips would you give your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Learn more about webinar solutions from IHS Engineering360 Media Solutions.

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2015 Marketing Planning Part 2: Measuring Return on Marketing Investment

Financially focused executives are putting unprecedented pressure on industrial marketers to demonstrate return on marketing investment (ROMI) for their initiatives.

This pressure often leads marketers to examine each marketing program individually, asking questions such as: How many new customers did our webinar deliver? How much revenue did our e-newsletter ad produce?

Not only are these questions extremely difficult to answer in isolation, they may not be the best questions to be asking. The reason is it’s unlikely that any single campaign or tactic can be correlated on a one-to-one basis with a sale, especially in the industrial sector where the buy cycle can be long and complex.

Still, you need to demonstrate ROMI and should be making your marketing plans for 2015 with that in mind. Here are five tips to help you.

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1. Understand the relationship between ROMI and the buy cycle
The industrial buy cycle consists of multiple stages, from needs assessment to comparison and evaluation, to a final purchasing decision. In most cases, buyers will interact with your brand and content multiple times through a variety of digital channels, often before they contact you, and each interaction and channel influences the buying decision.

For example, a prospective buyer might download a white paper, attend a webinar, watch a video, connect with you at an online event, search your online product catalog, and type your company name into a search engine—all before contacting your sales team. Each of these touch points are part of your broader marketing plan of creating brand awareness, building thought leadership and generating engagement opportunities. And all of them contribute to moving a prospective buyer closer to a sale. Therefore, it’s difficult to measure ROMI on any given tactic. However, you can measure relevant metrics for each tactic.

2. Commit to measurable programs
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Yes, it’s a cliché, but only because it expresses a universal truth. By committing only to measurable programs in your 2015 marketing plan, you are laying the foundation for determining ROMI. Fortunately, the best-performing programs today, and the channels technical professionals turn to most for work-related purposes, are digital media. And digital media by its nature is measurable. You can track impressions, clicks, inquiries, shares and likes, conversions, downloads, time on page, length of view and more.

3. Measure ROMI for early stages of the buy cycle
Although many customers don’t initiate contact with a vendor until later in their buy cycle, you can still demonstrate ROI of marketing efforts that support customers in the earlier buy cycle stages.

For example, web page accesses, clicks, content downloads, video views, webinar attendance, and mentions or shares on social media can all be tracked and tied to your marketing efforts. These important metrics measure customer awareness, interest and engagement with your brand, products and services. If your measurements in these areas continue to increase over time, then you can assume your marketing is helping potential customers through the early stages of their buy cycle and contributing to the engagement opportunity when they do contact your sales team.

This type of ROI measurement is every bit as important as tying tactics to sales, because without effective marketing in the early buy cycle stages, you won’t gain nearly as many opportunities for your sales team.

4. Maximize your digital presence
Your products, solutions and brand need to be found in various places online in order to connect with technical professionals, all of whom have individual preferences for what digital media channels they prefer. Technical professionals have many options and visit multiple websites to discover new suppliers and learn about products during the course of their work. Allocating your marketing investments across a balanced mix of channels keeps you from missing potential engagement opportunities, plus you can compare performance across channels.

5. Don’t make the “last-click” assumption
The “last click” assumption attributes a sale to the last marketing touch point a customer has with your company before making a buying decision. This is a mistake because the buy cycle includes many touches that cumulatively add up to help achieve a sale. Today’s path through the buy cycle crosses multiple devices, platforms, sites, and user needs and behaviors. Last click ignores all the other marketing touch points and tactics that help drive a purchasing decision.

It’s better to take the position that multiple exposures to your brand, especially early in the buy cycle, will have a cumulative effect and will help a prospect think of your company as a preferred/considered brand, and therefore more likely to contact you at some point. While this makes the last marketing touch point relevant, other exposures to your brand can contribute just as much or even more to your success.

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How do you measure your marketing efforts in relation to the buy cycle? What advice would you give to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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