Sometimes with manufacturing companies, the first thing to get axed in difficult times is the marketing budget, as money is re-distributed into sales effort. This article, from Helen Christopher, Head of Marketing at Bürkert Fluid Control Systems, explains the importance of ROI and gives her top tips regarding which metrics to measure and how to measure them.
The importance of investing in Marketing
Bürkert UK & Ireland view marketing as a real driver of the business. I have a very good relationship with our sales team and other departments and they know that the marketing budget and effort works for us. If your team believe it’s beneficial then that’s half the battle! Bürkert continually invest, even in times of crisis – especially in marketing. We actually increased our marketing efforts at the cusp of the recession as we wanted to reassure our customers (and potential customers) that we are available. If we stop talking to our customers, they stop talking to us!
Bürkert’s long term reputation is important and we have to look at where we are now and also think about our future, therefore it’s not all about immediate lead generation. This is particularly important where we are being considered as a supplier for projects as our customers are looking to rely on us for a long term relationship and the value of the project is high. They want reassurance in periods of uncertainty so even if they receive a posted newsletter saying “hello” with an update or see a post on LinkedIn about free training, a technical article giving process advice in a trade journal or on PIF, they know we are a stable, healthy company with the latest technology.
The importance of measuring marketing ROI
Any professional marketer worth their salt would continually evaluate and monitor any efforts to justly the marketing spend and make recommendations. If the ROI is quantified, then it helps to justify marketing spend for the future.
Marketing communications reinforces the fact that our customers have made the right decision in choosing Bürkert, so sometimes it is difficult to measure the ROI for everything. However, I make sure I still meet and talk to customers regularly and that way I get valuable feedback.
Helen’s Top Marketing Tips:
1. Plan ahead
Agree activities for next few months which you can share with your team so they can spread the word and will be mindful to report back any successes i.e. a phone call to the sales office after reading an online technical article. A bit like with holidays, it is sometimes better to book early to take advantage of early bird rates.
2. Have contingency
You can plan ruthlessly but no-one has a crystal ball so keep some budget aside for unexpected campaigns.
3. Treat suppliers well
It might seem basic, but, be a good customer! Get artwork in on a timely fashion, pay your bills on time. Yes, try and get value for money but remember they too have to make a profit to survive. So while other companies were pulling adverts in the height of the recession, we honoured our placements and this strengthened our relationship with the media.
4. Maximise marketing opportunities
But not to the point of annoying! – Make your communications go further e.g. when Bürkert went to the Total Processing and Packaging show this year, we took advantage of sending out VIP invites beforehand, doing “live” updates on Twitter and a post-show review with a video of the exhibition. I know some companies who don’t maximise their marketing opportunities but spend thousands of pounds exhibiting at the trade shows, but do little to no marketing before and after the event.
5. Don’t rest on your laurels!
We stopped habitually doing large trade shows in the UK as the footfall decreased so much. It was not a cost cutting exercise, in fact we reinvested the money into free Bürkert training and a new to the industry Virtual Exhibition stand. It was a brave move, which paid off.
6. Invest in a good CRM system
Not only does it give you a 360 degree view of your customer base, but it’s great for tracking successes and seeing the touch points with customers.
7. Vertical and horizontal checks are good
It’s not always easy to trace every single enquiry back to a particular activity – especially if you are visible across a number of channels, but a number of checks like looking at web stats do help to see a pattern.