It's never been easier for manufacturing companies to track the results of their marketing spend. Ironically, this has also made it one of the most difficult times for manufacturing companies to feel comfortable about their marketing efforts. Knowing that the possibility to use digital marketing metrics to track the return on investment of every single dollar invested into marketing puts a lot of pressure on companies to do so — and to get it right.
But the modern manufacturer must push through this and develop a metrics plan. Without an understanding not just of the top-level analytic possibilities, but also of the details of how to execute them, they won't be able to maximize the ROI of their efforts. Ultimately, that translates to lost opportunities for revenue and profit.
It's unrealistic for manufacturing companies to expect to become marketing analytics experts overnight. However, there are several key marketing metric concepts manufacturers must understand.
Below, we look at how to conceptualize content marketing metrics at the top level, before digging into eight of the most important individual marketing performance metrics manufacturers should be looking to implement.
How to Conceptualize Key Marketing Metrics
Before you can begin thinking about the specific metrics that you want to use, you have to have a thorough understanding of what you actually want to be tacking. Knowing the marketing metrics that are most important to you is the first step toward creating a plan.
Work Backwards From Your Goal
The best way to do this is to frame it within the concept of revenue. Start with the overall revenue goal that you're looking for from your marketing and then work backwards to establish your marketing effectiveness metrics.
If you know that prospects with short sales cycles are more likely to convert, that should inform what kind of metrics you want to achieve for your sales pipeline, which in turn will inform what kind of metrics you want from the original leads you require.
Bottom line, measure twice, cut once. Spend time thinking about what your goals are, what you want to measure, and why before you begin to zero in on any of the specific metrics mentioned below.
Have a Solid Tracking System in Place
If all of that sounds labour intensive, you’re correct. Keeping track of marketing metrics properly so that you can use them to get valuable information at every stage of the pipeline requires a modern content management system (CMS) that can track KPI digital marketing efforts. Fortunately, this is one area where you can also get a lot of help.
HubSpot is an example of a powerful CMS that has everything manufacturers need in order to track the marketing performance metrics that are important to them. If you've never used HubSpot, or have but aren't sure how to get the most out of it, partnering with a HubSpot certified agency, like Roketto, is an excellent option. We know how to set up tracking to get you the data you need, and then analyze it afterwards so you can maximize your marketing operations. Plus, if you marketing with a HubSpot certified agency, you skip the mandatory onboarding fee of $3000.
It's a great way to shorten your learning curve and get the most benefit from your new focus on key marketing metrics in the shortest amount of time.
8 Marketing Metrics for Manufacturers
Now is a good time to reiterate that every manufacturer should choose the metrics that they track based upon their specific situation. But that being said, there are certain common concepts that every manufacturer should also keep in mind.
Influence of Marketing on Sales
The following marketing metrics establish a direct relationship between your marketing efforts and sales. The overall goal is to look at the individual pieces of your marketing campaigns and try to figure out how much each one is contributing, on average, to every sale you make. You can then increase ROI by doubling down on what works.
Metric #1 — Marketing Cost Per Sale: Measure the average amount of money you spend on marketing per sale. This is a powerful metric, but it’s not a catch-all. Having the overall picture is helpful, but it doesn’t do anything to drill down into the minute of what is happening with each individual marketing channel or customer type.
Metric #2 — Customer Lifetime Value: Measure the total amount of revenue you can from a customer across all purchases. Reselling to customers who have already converted is one of the best ways to generate revenue. Digital marketing metrics that keep track of Customer Lifetime Value lets you establish the common characteristics of prospects who continually convert on multiple sales. That's valuable information for where to target your future marketing efforts.
Metric #3 — Cost Per Lead: Measure the average amount of marketing spend you make for every lead you acquire. This is another important metric for a general overview, but should also be approached with caution. Not all leads are created equal; the type of leads your marketing efforts attract will have a huge impact on the actual ROI.
Sales Qualified Leads Generated
The following key marketing metrics examples look not just at the number of leads that your marketing efforts are bringing in, but the quality. Like we said, not all leads are created equal, and understanding whether or not your marketing is attracting leads that are likely to convert and drive ROI is very important. The idea here is to see whether your marketing is bringing in not only “interested” people, the people that your sales team will actually want to talk to. We call them high-quality sales leads.
Metric #4 — Percentage of leads that are sales-qualified: Measure the number of leads who come into the pipeline from marketing assets that match the profile of leads your sales team is targeting. There is no exact percentage you should shoot for with this metric; it should simply be as high as possible.
Moving Prospects Through the Pipeline
As you're measuring the alignment between leads generated by marketing and those desired by sales, you can also use additional KPI digital marketing techniques to measure how quickly those leads are moving through the pipeline.
The following metrics seek to understand how effective marketing is at holding up its end of the bargain. And the more effective marketing is, the higher ROI your organization can expect.
Metric #5 — Sales Cycle length: Measure the number of days, weeks, months, or even years it takes to go from bringing a prospect into the sales pipeline all the way through to converting them into a sale.
While it may seem intuitive to believe that you want the sales cycle to be as short as possible, that's not always true. Compare the data from this metric with your customer lifetime value. These key marketing metrics may show that nurturing leads for longer results in more loyal customers who ultimately have a higher lifetime value.
The optimal sales cycle length will vary by manufacturer and by product.
Metric #6 — Number/Type of TouchPoint: Measure the number of touch points that prospects have with your marketing content, and also keep track of which specific content pieces people interact with.
These content marketing metrics establish the amount of additional nurturing that marketing is doing after initial contact is made and the prospect is sent on to sales. Be aware of the fact that a low number of touch points does not necessarily correlate with success, nor does a high number of touch points necessarily correlate with failure.
A low number could indicate that leads have all the information they need. It could also indicate that there are gaps in the content marketing to address questions leads have later in the sales cycle. Conversely, a high number could indicate that early stage content is not informative enough, or that late stage content does a great job of addressing concerns.
Maintaining an Active Relationship With Prospects
Getting down into the most granular performance metrics examples, we have those that are designed to measure how well you are capturing the attention and trust of your prospects, leads and customers.
Metric #7 — Referrals: Measure the number of prospects that come into your pipeline because customers suggested that they do business with you due to their own positive experience.
This is arguably one of the most important performance metrics examples for a number of reasons. For starters, customers who are willing to encourage their colleagues or friends to do business with you doesn’t cost you anything additional in marketing spend. Moreover, referral leads are usually more likely to convert because they already trust you.
Metric #8 — Long Tail Keywords: Measure and track where your company ranks in specific long tail keyword searches within your industry or product.
Long tail keywords are longer phrases that prospects put into Google when they're looking for information. They differ from the more traditional and well-known “keywords” for several reasons. First, they are usually less targeted by marketers. Second, if a company appears in the search results for them, the company is considered somewhat of an authority on the broader subject matter.
Ranking high in these types of searches means that your reach on the topic or subject is long. That gives you the ability to draw prospects at the earliest stages of the buying cycle into your pipeline. When your marketing performance metrics are achieving that kind of brand recognition and reach, it goes a long way towards increasing overall ROI.
The Most Important Digital Marketing Metrics Prove ROI
In the past, manufacturing companies could get by without using marketing effectiveness metrics for one simple reason — the capability to do so didn't exist. This meant that not only did they not know what they were spending their marketing budget on, they actually had no way of maximizing their marketing spend.
Today, the opposite is true. The incredible analytical capabilities of CMS systems like HubSpot give you the ability to measure and track the performance of your marketing efforts. And with the resources available to help you use those tools effectively, there truly is no excuse not to do so.
The symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing, the quantity of quality leads brought into the pipeline, the efficiency and effectiveness of your team at moving them through the pipeline together, and even the long-term reach and thought-leadership of your company — all of it can be measured, and all of it can be quantified.
Manufacturing companies that adopt this analytical approach will be able to optimize the ROI of their marketing efforts. Those that insist on continuing to operate in the dark will not only leave money on the table — they will also continue to operate at a disadvantage to those more advanced competitors that embrace manufacturing marketing metrics.
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