Measuring Results: Design Your Marketing With ROI in Mind

If marketing ROI feels like a monkey on your back, you’re not alone. According to a 2013 CMO Survey conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, two-thirds of top marketers feel pressure to qualitatively prove the value of marketing to company executives and board members—but only 36 percent feel able to do so in the short term, and even fewer in the long term. To make the task even more onerous, many companies tend to focus on the quantity of leads, rather than their quality, as the measure of success, and to emphasize short-term results over long-term ones that stretch across the customer lifecycle.

The good news: Thorough planning on the front end can make your life much easier when ROI reporting time rolls around, and Agency Ingram Micro can help. With that in mind, here are our tips for designing your 2015 marketing strategy to make measuring ROI as simple and effective as possible:

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Seizing the Vertical Opportunity

Smart solution providers know that vertical markets are the way forward. Gartner predicted earlier this year that the worldwide retail IT market alone would reach a staggering $175.8 billion in 2014, while Research and Markets predicts that North American healthcare IT will grow 7.4 percent annually to reach $31.3 billion by 2017. That’s a lot of opportunity.

In addition to overall growth, vertical markets offer solution providers an unprecedented opportunity to get closer to their customers. Instead of having shallow, transactional relationships with a broad swath of end users, they can become specialists, discovering all the ins and outs of their chosen industry, gaining an intimate knowledge of pain points, and learning how to “talk the talk” so end users will regard them as trusted advisors. Simply knowing how to install a network or roll out a fleet of mobile devices isn’t enough—a vertically focused solution provider needs to understand issues such as:

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Why Delivering the Right Offer at the Right Time Works

How do you market to the channel? One size fits all? Or do you follow a different approach for each reseller and their role within their particular company?

Delivering a message that resonates with resellers can be a challenge because they’re busy selling, implementing and acquiring new customers. With potentially hundreds of emails to review, they simply don’t have time to engage the vendors that don’t speak to their specific pain points. Vendors that can deliver the right message at the right time, tailored to an individual’s role, will cut through the clutter and connect. A growing number of marketers in the channel are leveraging buyer personas to help deliver timelier, more effective campaigns that don’t get passed over.

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Why Technology Won’t Make You a Better Marketer

When it comes to marketing, you can’t afford to ignore the massive changes that technology is driving. Sure, there are new marketing technologies that enhance your decision-making, track lead scoring and the like. But the real change is coming from how prospects are educating themselves about the purchases they want to make.

The simple truth is that prospects behave differently now. They do more research on their own, and more people are weighing in on (or arguing about) the right solution. They contact you later in the sales process–if at all.

Consider these important facts from DemandGen about B2B buyers:

  • 65% said that the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision.
  • 72% said that they used social media to research vendors, while 22% connected with vendors directly on social media.
  • 46% said that search engines were their first source when starting their product research.

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Branding: Are You Doing It Right?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once described consistency as “the hobgoblin of little minds.” When it comes to your company’s brand, however, consistency is the key to building an identity that inspires trust and loyalty in your channel customers. And when you consider that 91% of customers that switch brands never return, according to consulting firm Lee Resources International, trust and loyalty should be right at the top of your list of priorities.

When you have a strong, consistent brand:

  • Your customers—both solution providers and end users—can easily understand what differentiates your company from competitors.
  • You create a positive image of your company and what it stands for in your customers’ minds.
  • Communication becomes clearer and simpler because you have an established identity and message to work from.

A strong brand also increases the chances that your customers will recommend your solutions to others. If you’re wondering just how effective word of mouth can be, social software maker Lithium Technologies reports that 92% of customers trust recommendations more than any other form of advertising. Turn your customers into fans, and they’ll promote your company’s products and services for you.

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