The various forms of Website tracking available today have created a false sense of measurement and run counter-productive to your efforts in determining a return on your marketing investment. Unfortunately, the days are all but gone when a company would invest in a marketing strategy because “it makes sense” or “it seems like a good decision”. The all important emotional aspect of business that has driven marketing since the inception of commerce has been replaced by spreadsheets and statistics, and is a complete contradiction of established marketing doctrines. We have become so reliant on technology, statistics, spreadsheets, etc. that we assume there is an easy way to automatically determine R.O.I. I’ve heard more than once from long time advertisers, “…if we can’t measure our return, then we can’t commit.” Truth be told, that phenomenon never existed in the past and simply does not exist today!
To further compound matters, most Website activity reports are rarely interpreted accurately and are often generated by a technology department that couldn’t be more separated from the sales and marketing functions of a company.
In my experience less than 5% of companies accurately track new business by asking EVERY new contact EXACTLY how they heard about their company and tracking this information throughout the sales cycle. Too often, marketing performance is evaluated from Website activity reports, which are the furthest thing from black and white marketing metrics.
What has gone wrong here? Accurately tracking web activity is not as straightforward as most imagined or were led to believe. Moreover, the relationship between ROI and activity is very unreliable. The problem is that the vast, vast majority of web activity has no discernable value; only a small fraction converts to customers. The disconnect goes even deeper because most business owners view all visits to a Website with equal value regardless of the originating source of the visitor. Only tacit consideration is given to the notion that visits from industrial supplier discovery sites such as ThomasNet have more value than general search engine traffic. We know that on average, the visits originating from ThomasNet are more important than typical search engine activity. Simply put, visitors from ThomasNet are more likely to result in new customers since supplier discovery is our primary purpose. Conversely, search engines are used for a much wider array of uses by mostly non-industrial buyers. Unfortunately, the common misconception is that search engine placement is more valuable because it is cheap and easy! If you look past the methods of measurement and the technology behind Internet marketing you will see that the core motivation for marketing has NEVER changed: We market because our greatest expense is NOT being considered by buyers when they are searching for our solutions.
This is not to say that all activity outside of ThomasNet has no value, but all Website activity should be scrutinized to determine its true value. After all, at a currency exchange rate of 350 to 1 none of us wants to be the person who is swindled by accepting one thousand Zimbabwe Dollars over 5 American Dollars!
Even the best technology for Website tracking does not directly answer the R.O.I. question. Why not? Because a true measure of R.O.I. cannot be predicted or determined by evaluating the activity leading up to an inquiry, it can ONLY be determined by evaluating inquiries after they come in.
ThomasNet is willing to put in the effort to assist our clients in determining their R.O.I. and all we need is the following:
- Names of new customers since the ThomasNet program began.
- New opportunities still in action/as they come in.
- Date when new opportunity came in.
- Geographic location of the new customers/inquiries.
With this information and our free WebTraxs tracking we can locate how a new customer came to find our client with a high level of statistical accuracy. For the client who is unwilling to provide this information I think it’s fair to ask, “How are we to help you determine R.O.I. without that information? How can anyone for that matter?”
How does offering these services help to make ThomasNet more important to our clients? First, we are willing to put all cards on the table and go the extra mile to help determine R.O.I. We are confident we will uncover that a ThomasNet investment is paying off. We will win confidence and praise from our clients by giving them exactly what they want, a genuine R.O.I. service and the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have made a good decision.
Give this a try and you will be surprised at how effective your business decisions are that simply “make sense” or “seem like a good decision”.
For More Information About Our Industrial Business to Business Internet Marketing Solutions
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