Marketing ROI: Are You Getting Any?

  1. If we scale back or halt traditional marketing, will we regret it?
  2. If we try something new, what should it be? Is social media the answer?

This ITAC Marketing Roundtable was hosted at the MaRS Centre, Toronto, Ontario.  The discussion was moderated by Bob Becker, Principal, SMA.


  • Kim Vokey-Harris, Field Marketing, Senior Manager, Canada, NetApp
  • Lynn Hargrove, Director, Canadian Marketing and Norton Sales, Symantec
  • Nicole Filiatrault, Marketing Manager, Canada, McAfee
  • Michael Gavarkovs, Director, Canada, Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions

What We Learned

  • Connect with those that understand the metrics for digital marketing to recognize the gap between traditional and digital marketing
  • Realize the potential of social media; still a lot of work to do to incorporate into mainstream marketing activities on and how to best use it and maximize ROI
  • Everyone continues to struggle to some extent in transitioning to digital marketing
  • Be where your customers’ customer is; do not take a one-size-fits-all tactical approach; laser-focus your engagement to that specific customer base.

What is your present marketing mix, traditional versus digital? (Traditional includes face-to- face events, call-out campaigns and direct mail. Digital includes social media, webinars, blogging and web content).  How will your marketing mix change in the next few years?

  • Digital marketing is driven by corporate headquarters; traditional shift to digital is 20% and will increase over the next few years
  • Digital adoption traditional versus digital:
    80/20 enterprise community
    70/30 consumer/small business community
  • Face-to-face is easier to grasp, and there are many challenges with digital marketing
  • Digital marketing directives is coming from U.S. headquarters – would like to see that changed
  • Sales representatives would like to be present and drive marketing development
  • Everything is highly personalized and everyone wants that “one-piece” solution
  • “Product to Solution sell” – marketing needs to change; big gap in understanding what we need to do
  • Ask yourself what is your competency and what is your success rate
  • The challenge continues with how to use social media for ROI conversion

What are the best practices to engage the Sales team regarding marketing initiatives to ensure follow up on identified sales opportunities?

  • Sales should not be ‘blogging’ – it can become too time consuming; Sales needs to focus on traditional face-to-face
  • Sales continues to ask for face-to-face initiatives; Sales is not grasping social media’s ROI
  • Social media is a concern for Sales; it is best to provide ‘cut and paste’ tools
  • Find team members who are passionate about social media; it is a great way for strategic pieces such as a white paper to be  shared
  • Ask one or two individuals to champion marketing initiatives to try something different
  • Be cautious about who conducts social media; provide basic training
  • Do not use/retweet ‘other sales’ messages; it will be watered down
  • Run data analytics to understand clients and market to that growth element
  • It is getting increasingly difficult to  measure social media
  • “Think big – start small” evolution for social media; provide tools for ‘now’ moments
  • The sales process is evolving from a product cycle to a solution cycle
  • Think about “your voice” and/or brand on social media in terms of  what and how you use  it
  • Nobody has it right; if “they” did, we would all be following
  • Use LinkedIn as an engagement tool
  • Sales and marketing activities should work in tandem; we need all pieces to achieve long-term goal

What are the best methods and tools to track ROI during the marketing & sales cycle?  What are the key differences in tracking the ROI of traditional versus digital marketing?

  • With digital media either you have good results or you will need to declare poor ones
  • CRM lead nurturing is getting complex
  • Sales representatives should be responsible for CRM tool that connects lead opportunity with lead nurturing
  • If Sales is not conducting marketing initiative, then Marketing will stop that particular initiative
  • “Test, target and analyze”; don’t focus on data only; use it as an important tool; include analytics such as country dynamics, time of year, local and worldwide economy
  • Alignment on scoring leads continues to be a challenge; the more touches the more complex it is to measure ROI
  • Sales can become uninterested with marketing  with “this is what it is and this is what it will mean to you” messages
  • Complexity is increasing; consider automating campaigns and processes
  • Selling cycle is now increasing from seven to 15 months because sale cycle is changing from product to solution
  • Track nurturing activity; stay with it, with an on-going nurturing cycle, results will improve
  • In the last 12 months, it’s been noticed that a higher attendance at promotional events occurred with a compelling message
  • Consider smaller events with higher quality people

How do you involve the Sales team(s) in social media communications? How do you track and measure results?

  • Change the way you speak about marketing to Sales; get them excited about  opportunities, especially risky ones
  • Use data as proof points; takes the heat off the argument
  • Describe a win landscape – what is a win? Who did what?
  • Ask yourself what is your breakthrough dynamic
  • Numbers, metrics, budget; measure win after six to seven touches
  • Dig deeper into data; focus on a certain number of customers and analyze ROI from this client base
  • Go deeper in analytics not wider on customer accounts
  • Automated processes eliminate the risk of a person doing or not doing actual task; i.e. sending social media content via an automated push process – helps ensure you have something to track!
  • Don’t spend little on everything, but rather a lot on a little; tailor your message

In terms of marketing resources, what activities do you handle in house through your marketing team, and what do you outsource?

  • Step back; ask yourself what you need to be doing – can it be fulfilled in house?  If not, investigate external help
  • Dive into corporate headquarters internal resources – use what makes sense
  • Balance expense and competency; use best competency for major elements, for example a large product announcement. Consider hiring a contract position to focus on major activities
  • Consider using a PR company for message and brand
  • Conduct cost analysis on resources per account
  • Have a strategic focus; don’t change it once it’s in progress
  • Top 100 companies today:  50% did not exist 10 years ago and this will not be reflective of future

Posted By: SMA

Leave a Reply