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Measuring The Marketing Department

“What steps can the marketing manager (or department) take to show their contribution to achieving a company’s market share?”

– Lorie Leitner, Sales Support Manager at ProLift Industrial Equipment Co. in Louisville, KY

Jerry Weidmann 

President 

Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp.

Brookfield, WI

Asked & Answered

The contribution that a marketing department makes to achieving the company’s market share is based on the functions it performs within the marketing department.

In our marketing department the following functions are performed.

1. Brand development and brand recognition. Our marketing department is responsible for the company brand and marketing the brands of the products we sell. Through public relations, articles, advertising, website development, social media and events, our company brand is presented to our customers. The value of brand development is not easily measurable — but is very important to position the company and its products in the marketplace.

2. Customer satisfaction surveys. As part of the feedback system on company performance, our marketing department will conduct customer satisfaction surveys from time to time. These surveys provide feedback on the reputation of the company and its brand in the marketplace.

3.Website analytics. Marketing is responsible for our website. Website analytics can be used to identify the number of visits and the leads generated from the website to quantify the value of website activities.

4.Social media and email marketing. Leads generated through social media and email marketing can be measured.

5. Market research. Our marketing department is responsible for market research to identify prospects/customers for the products we distribute. By identifying the correct market segments for communication, advertising and the sales force, the efficiency of our marketing programs and sales efforts are enhanced. This is measurable based on the number of marketing programs developed andthe campaigns run. The net result is measurable in lead-generation and feedback from sales.

6. Telemarketing or Inside Sales. Our marketing department is responsible for inside sales. Markets are researched, campaigns developed and telemarketing calls are made in conjunction with direct mail and email marketing. The success of these programs is measured by lead generation.

The link between leads and ultimate sales results are more elusive. Sometimes a lead generated for one product or service will lead to the sale of a different product or service. Leads that result in sales calls may take months before they result in business. Linking sales back to leads is indirect but a useful way of identifying results from marketing activity.

In summary, some of the activities of marketing are not directly linked to sales and measurement is more in terms of functions performed than actual tangible results. Activities of marketing that are intended to generate leads or appointments for field sales staff can be measured in two ways, the number of leads/appointments and the sales that result from these activities.

 

Scott Hennie 

President

Elite Supply Chain Solutions LLC

Strongsville, OH

The $64,000 question — am I getting a return on this marketing program? Unfortunately, we tend to go into a marketing campaign with no specific goals, measurements or definitions (at least I do!) of what needs to happen to deem a campaign successful. We allow marketing to become a black hole with no clear metrics to measure success or failure. So, to answer your question, the first step is to meet with ownership and/or executive management and develop a marketing strategy with clear goals and measurements — for each marketing program. Some programs may not be put in place for a specific return on investment, but for image or community goodwill. Make sure that everyone agrees to the purpose of those programs. Sure as the sun rises, the CFO will come back in six months and say “Why did we spend X amount on this program and we haven’t seen a sale from it”!

For those programs developed with the objective of generating sales, make sure everyone agrees to what needs to happen for a program to be successful and what measurements will be made to report the success or failure of the program. Some of the common practices, which you may already have in place, are unique web addresses or phone numbers. If this is the case, the sales manager must be on board to be sure that results are being tracked back to the marketing program.

As you may see, this is a collaborative effort — not just the responsibility of the “Marketing Manager”. If the desired outcomes are not defined and the measurement tools put in place, marketing programs will be scrutinized and difficult to justify.

 

Chuck Frank 

President 

AHS, Inc . 

Cincinnati, OH

Great question! Your timing is good in that we are currently kicking off our own marketing campaign and have asked ourselves the same question. Our primary reason for marketing is focused on the acquisition of new business. We are taking a more rifled approach to our target audience. We are setting up campaigns to target our vertical markets and specific prospects. We will develop the appropriate high-level metrics to track our progress on introductory calls made, opportunities presented, and revenue generated from the defined prospects. As an engineered systems company, we will focus on revenue growth from new business as the primary gauge to our marketing efforts/ success vs. market share.

 

Bill Ryan 

LiftOne

Charlotte, NC

Marketing at LiftOne is all about awareness. Advertising and promoting our brand so that more potential customers are aware of us (the metric for this measure are numbers of leads and leads from new prospects) raises our image in the market place.

The other part of our marketing mission is our “awareness” as measured by the number of deals we are involved in — i.e., orders won plus orders lost divided by the industry bookings. The effectiveness of our marketing department is measured in part by the increases or decreases we see in both of these measures monthly. These two measures of awareness directly affect market share, which is one of the key measures of the dealership’s success.

 

Al Boston 

CEO

AK Material Handling Systems

Maple Grove, MN

We are always looking at what the ROI is on any of our marketing campaigns. We track how many clicks or forms submitted from our websites and where they are from. Organic pages on specific products are the most successful. Adword campaigns are easy to track success through their tools. Local search such as Google maps can be tracked. Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ can all be tracked to determine contribution to your market share. Blogs are a good marketing function that can be tracked. Print media is harder to tell about the contribution to sales unless you have a specific product coupon or unique contact code. Press releases will help build your brand but can only be tracked when your inbound inquirer mentions the press release.

The best way that we are able to track market share gains is by having short concentrated campaigns on specific products or services and then measure sales or quote volume. We make these campaigns short if we see little or no gain.

The marketing manager can also show their contribution by starting with a baseline brand awareness and measure at six month or so intervals. Pick as much low hanging fruit as possible with some of the above mentioned channels The best marketing departments make it look easy and sales ends the discussions about costs.

 

Buddy Smith 

CEO

Carolina Material Handling Services, Inc. 

Columbia, SC

Great question! In our company, we take market share seriously and believe this is not just a sales issue. While we do not have a dedicated marketing function, we do have a marketing committee that meets weekly. This committee is comprised of myself, our sales manager, our IT manager and two other senior members of our management team. Our primary focus is to position the dealership to win more deals. We do that in many ways including:

1) Understanding the dealership’s strengths.

2) Formulating marketing messages which communicate the dealership’s strengths.

3) Communicating these messages through our sales team,website, and other channels.

4) Making sure our website is up to date and getting adequate exposure through Search Engine Optimization.

5) Discussing how social media can help us communicate our message.

6) Staying current with our OEM’s product changes and enhancements and communicating those effectively.

7) Discussing and promoting specific dealership products and services.

As I said, our marketing function focuses primarily (though not exclusively) on promoting the dealership. We have found this to be most effective in positioning ourselves to maintain a healthy market share.

 

Robert Giberson 

Principal 

PeakLogix

Midlothian, VA

Often times the biggest hurdle in figuring out how to achieve marketing effectiveness is in accurately, objectively, assessing your current situation and then moving forward to implement a plan for success. It’s so easy to get carried away with the “next big thing,” especially in a marketing world that changes as frequently as it does today. You will be better off in the long run if you create an environment that encourages dialog within your organization and identifies areas of opportunities that help define the objectives and desired results for your marketing plan.

Linking our marketing strategy with our overall business strategy has provided the roadmap for developing an effective annual marketing plan for PeakLogix. The annual marketing plan PeakLogix has implemented is comprised of several overall strategic objectives and multiple initiatives for each. Each marketing initiative is tied to a metric or key performance indicator (KPI) to benchmark against for that year’s goal. The marketing director at PeakLogix is responsible for ensuring the marketing resources are spent on initiatives that are included in the plan. If something arises that requires a significant amount of marketing resources, the new initiative must be evaluated to see if it necessitates the plan being revised to include the new initiative, or tabled for inclusion in next year’s plan. The marketing plan is critical to measuring the overall success of the marketing initiatives as they translate into our business strategy.

Taken one step at a time, developing a marketing plan can provide significant insight, in and of itself, into where your marketing dollars are being (and should be) spent. Once you have defined and implemented your marketing plan, here are a few things your marketing director should also do to ensure its effectiveness:

• Manage your brand. Ensure your brands’ strategy and essence includes your value proposition highlighting your competitive advantages.

• Communicate the marketing initiatives. Make sure everyone is aware and on-board with your organizations marketing goals for the year.

• Create and track your marketing budget in accordance with your plan. This will help mitigate unnecessary modifications to the plan.

• Streamline marketing workflows wherever possible. Implement templates, control marketing assets, improve re-use of collateral, etc.

• Report on the plan. Once the marketing plan is in place and you begin to report on it (monthly, quarterly, etc.), the contributions of the marketing department can easily come into focus and the director can navigate priorities better.

 

Doug Carson

VP Marketing/Sales 

Fallsway Equipment Company

Akron, OH

It is difficult to tie your company’s marketing efforts directly to market share contribution if we assume you mean ITA market share. There are so many avenues for customers to engage our distributorships, and the initial engagements most likely are not truck buying opportunities. Rather, they are service, rentals, allied equipment, rack or systems, parts or consulting opportunities that may one day lead to an eventual equipment sale.

However, there are plenty of opportunities to demonstrate your marketing department’s efficacy through means other than direct ITA market share. Here are a couple of examples we’ve done at Fallsway Equipment Company:

• Set up a special toll-free number to track responses that could only originate from one particular marketing effort — whether it’s mass advertising or direct marketing.

• Conduct e-mail campaigns using a service that reports e-mail openings and click-throughs that exist on your e-blast.

• With any marketing campaign, ensure there is a call to action that has a special offer tied to your effort — examples are fork inspections, limited time special pricing, safety inspections, etc.

• Provide your sales personnel and technicians with leave behind flyers that have a discount tied to their next purchase through a coupon that must be turned in with their invoice.

• Ensure you website has a unique toll free phone number associated with it so you can track your web-generated phone calls. Also, make sure all of your web pages have a “contact us” function easily accessible with tracking functionality.

• If conducting telemarketing campaigns ensure all leads generated are kept in a database and closed out by salesmen when they ultimately lead to a sale.

It is possible to gather all of these different efforts in a database for regular, long-term review against truck market share. I can’t say that we do this at Fallsway, but we do anecdotally talk about customers, how and why they engaged us initially and the progress of company products sold until they ultimately became a market share statistic — and long-term customer!

 

Mike Vaughan 

CFO

Liftech Equipment Companies, Inc.

East Syracuse, NY

The marketing manager can play a pivotal role in driving market share by defining the buying public and bringing focus to the customer group the sales group should be calling on. This enables the sales group to do what they do best, which is selling, rather than market research. In addition, through effective website development and use of social media, they can bring visibility to the dealership, its products and its services.

 

Daryle Ogburn 

President

Advanced Equipment Company

Charlotte, NC

You ask a really difficult question to answer. It is one we ask ourselves often to justify the many dollars we spend on marketing. Many times we may have success with a new account, but not know if the account came to us because of our marketing efforts, or a referral or due to our salesman’s efforts in the account.

We have done what we think is a good job on updating our website, driving customers and prospects to our website, sending out appealing newsletters to customers and prospects, having our Business Development Manager, with assistance from our suppliers, target prospective accounts and using social media to attract prospects to our company. We use Google Analytics to help us measure the effectiveness of our website in bringing prospects to our website, keeping them on our website, having them go deeper in to our website and reach our goal of contacting us about a project. We also ask new accounts, when we remember to, why they contacted our company. The truth is many times or most of the time we are not absolutely sure why the new prospect or new account contacted us.

One thing we are sure of is that we have to stay diligent on all fronts. Companies who do not know us have policies that make it difficult for us to get to know them. Engineers and Operation Managers shop the web to evaluate potential suppliers before they will contact you for an appointment and we know that cold calls do not work anymore. We must be active on the web, we must have business development successfully targeting prospective customers and we must have a knowledgeable and responsive sales force. It takes all of these things to be successful. If your marketing manager or department can point to a significant percentage of business from new accounts they are highly confident came to you due to their marketing efforts and can defend their claim with facts you are getting the job done. One thing you can never afford to do if back off. You must continually improve on all strategies you use to win new opportunities.

 

Chris Wetle

President

Pape Material Handling

Eugene, OR

Michael Richardson, Pape’s Marketing Manager, shared his thoughts. Marketing managers (departments) can do the following:

• Develop marketing programs that result in tangible numbers. Make marketing’s contribution measurable and relevant to sales efforts, for example, qualified leads through marketing, new customer conversion from campaigns, etc.

• Track marketing’s impact on sales. Marketing isn’t just about driving potential leads; it’s about enabling sales to improve conversions of leads. Track all the campaigns a given customer is impacted by before ultimately buying.

• Deliver consistent, relevant marketing resources. Have the sales team note which resources, such as marketing collateral, digital campaigns, having a marketer on a call, they utilized in closing a deal.