Dear CEO, Director or Sales Manager, Do you still see marketing mainly as an expense, or as a proven means of boosting your revenue?
A quick perusal of the history books reveals that marketing was mostly applied by B2C brands in the 20th century. The worldwide brand recognition enjoyed by Coca-Cola, Philips and Sony is largely down to marketing. For a long time, B2B colleagues saw little point in marketing, preferring to focus on sales instead. Marketing was just a small section within the communications department that did little more than develop adverts, write newsletters or organise stands at trade fairs.
Although we’ve seen a shift in this perception since the start of this century, my sense is that marketing remains a low priority for many B2B organisations. When important marketing decisions need to be made, the first question is not about ROI but about cost factors. This is common in companies where the marketing manager does not have a permanent seat at the boardroom table. Which brings us straight to my key message: they should. Give marketing the attention it deserves. Then you can provide sales with the essential information they need to find the right leads and ultimately close deals.
A banner here, a logo there – what value do we actually get from these efforts? For a long time, this was cause for many B2B companies not to take marketing very seriously. These days, however, when we can measure the effect of almost every action to the nth degree, this argument is not as compelling.
Here’s an example that relates to Webs itself. Some years ago, our website only attracted around 2,000 visitors per annum. Now we’re fully committed to inbound marketing (read our blog post on this > add link!), visitor numbers easily exceed 120,000. We can also track the funnel from A to Z. An individual visits a page, initially clicks away again, sees our banner on another page, returns, leaves their details, receives a knowledge base article from us and is then invited for a chat.
This prospect’s digital customer journey automatically improves our account managers’ understanding of the customer. Along with their pain points, dreams and challenges. Armed with this information, they can be better prepared for that chat.
We are here to help.
By seeing it this way, you can precisely calculate the ROI from your marketing efforts. Say that a €500,000 budget brings in over €3 million of new business. A simple sum shows what it would take to achieve €6 million, €9 million or €12 million. If your marketing manager can demonstrate this at board level, marketing suddenly stops being a subjective topic involving vague promises and ambiguous outcomes. You and the rest of the management team can make the right decisions, based on data.
Data – I’ve mentioned it now. And I’m not quite done yet. Gathering data is important but what really counts is what you then do with it. A director once proudly showed me a YouTube video about his company that had been viewed over 800,000 times. “Great, but what do you get out of it?” I asked him. He didn’t know where these visitors came from. They had also forgotten to add a CTA to enable click-through. While this is what marketing is all about: the insights you gain from the data you gather.
But as you embark on this journey, keep sight of the most crucial insight: the realisation that marketing is the best way to accelerate your company’s growth. So... maybe add that seat at the boardroom table?