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Guest blogger - Marilyn Cox, PMP - VP Marketing at The Second City
Manufacturers recognize the potential in leveraging channel partners. The same potential resides in digital channels. Traditionally, digital communications are relegated to emails, a website, and maybe some social media. Digital advertising, if done at all, is broad and ineffective. On average, digital ads only reach 33% of their intended target. The more specialized your product or industry, the harder it becomes to reach your intended audience. Now, with the right approach to strategy and use of available tools, digital advertising can become a new partner. Targeting and personalization can allow manufacturers to better service and educate their audience, understand engagement and interest, and communicate return on investment. It can deliver inbound results and provide continual pull through a sales cycle. First, ask yourself this question:
"WHY DO WE WANT TO DO DIGITAL ADVERTISING?"
The first question Manufacturers must ask when approaching digital advertising initiatives is "Why do we want to do it?" Your ad strategy must have a clear purpose and, by defining the "why", you can better pinpoint that purpose. Once the purpose is determined, develop baseline metrics for your expected results and ensure that the metrics you choose align with your goals. You also need to consider the duration of your ad campaign. Develop a project plan for your digital ads just like you would for any other marketing communication. Finally, remember that display advertising is an excellent way to reach prospects at all stages of the funnel. Even if you have a goal of driving more conversions or leads, display does well to fill the top of the funnel with the right audience and can be used to educate and nurture them down the funnel until they are ready to convert.
Consider the following possible scenarios.
We want to recruit new channel partners: Most manufacturers depend on channel partners for anywhere between 20% -100% of their sales volume. Channel partner engagement thus becomes as critical as customer engagement. Trade promotion management (TPM) continues to be one of the primary cost drivers and benefits challenge areas in the consumer products (CP) industry. Digitally connected and informed consumers with higher expectations of products and services and fragmented customer loyalty have been driving an explosive growth in cross channel, M-commerce, social media, group buys, and location-based offers. We would like to leverage multi channel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our partner opportunity to 20%. We would also like one new engaged partner by the end of our 90-day campaign.
We want to drive interest in a new product through sample trial requests: Sampling and trialing can be a manufacturer's most effective marketing tool, but it can also be a very expensive activity. In some industries, it is an essential part of the buying process. According to the Promotion Marketing Association's Sampling and Demonstration Council, 83% of consumers agreed that experiencing a product or seeing it demonstrated live increases their comfort level when purchasing. Manufacturers who offer product samples and trials on their web site or at trade events should ensure that the product trial experience is a positive one for the customer so as to maximize the likeliness of a sale. We would like to leverage multi channel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our trial request form conversion rate to 20%. We would also like two new customers by the end of our 60-day campaign.
We want to increase product registrations: Manufacturers must be able to obtain and use key information about their customers, like who they are, their purchase history, and their intended use of the product. Without this information, it's very difficult for a manufacturer to grow business within its existing customer base. It's also important that manufacturers work with the channel partners to collect this data. Manufacturers must be able to segment customers based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use as well as customer preference for receiving information and updates about a particular product (not directly sales related), and notification of offers and promotions (sales related). Manufacturers and channel partners alike want to capture information about the end user to either deliver incentives (manufacturer to channel) or receive incentives (channel from manufacturer). By capturing this data both manufacturers and partners can report on product registration, usage, cost, and engagement. We do not currently use digital advertising to drive product registration. Our product registration form conversion is 6%. We would like to leverage multi channel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our product registration form submissions to 15%. We would also like one new up-sell or cross-sell opportunity at the end of the 90-day campaign.
We want to increase up-sell and cross-sell opportunities: Manufacturers are requesting post-acquisition Customer Lifecycle Management tools and processes to nurture customers towards cross-sell and up-sells, education and service offerings, and maintenance contracts. Research indicates that the ability to cross-sell or up-sell products or services decline sharply 90 days after the initial purchase. In order to leverage this 90 day period, manufacturers must build a relationship with their customers, incent their channel partners to provide customer registration information, and respond to known contacts that abandon the e-commerce process. We do not currently use digital advertising to drive up-sell or cross-sell opportunities. We have not calculated our up-sell or cross-sell revenue before. We would like to see 1 new up-sell or cross-sell opportunity at the end of the 90-day campaign.
The next question you should ask yourself:
"WHO DO WE WANT TO REACH AND WHAT DO WE WANT THEM TO DO?"
Manufacturers then need to ask "Who do we want to reach?" You must be specific. This is where strong persona understanding is imperative.
67% of all ads are served to unintended targets.
Ensure that your display ad spend goes only to business audiences you care about, not the other 67%. You need to consider both behavior and demographics when identifying your audience. Your display ads should map to the business segments of the buyer, customer, or partner, as well as where they are in the buyer's journey. Additionally, recognize that communication doesn't stop at the ad click. Integrate your digital advertising with your marketing automation system. This will allow you to score and nurture contacts based on their digital body language, and reach prospects outside of their inbox with relevant display ads wherever they travel on the Web. Evaluating where contacts have engaged is important when considering retargeting.
Let's consider our scenarios again.
We want to recruit new channel partners: Our target audience consists of potential channel partners that reside in the Midwest and have previously navigated to our "Partners" webpage. The value message to our potential partners is: "The value and contribution of our channel partners are paramount. We recognize all that our partners deliver, which is why we provide the tools and resources necessary to better enable and empower their efforts. Join our channel partner organization and benefit from the resources available to you. With a shared vision and commitment to the customer, together we can mutually benefit and grow our businesses."
Activity against the digital ad will drive a potential channel partner into an automated channel partner recruitment campaign. The objective of this campaign is to drive channel engagement through recruitment, nurturing, and onboarding. The campaign should leverage prospective channel web registration, educational content, product launches, and other manufacturer driven marketing initiatives. The campaign journey and content delivery will be determined by the engagement of each contact.
We want to drive interest in a new product through sample trial requests: Our target audience is Supply Chain Managers in Southern Ohio who recently visited the product page for PRODUCT A. The focus of this campaign is to drive registration and participation in sample/trial offers. This campaign will provide sample/trial offers through several inbound and outbound communications. The campaign will also contain an educational nurturing path. Content will contain personalized messaging relative to the contact's digital body language. The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered. The other 2 communications will contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact's digital body language and purchase history. At the completion of the campaign, contacts will be assigned to the appropriate post-campaign process. Sampling/trial data will demonstrate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the sample/trial process. Manufacturers will better employ the sample/trial registration process, drive more meaningful engagement, and understand the return on their sample/trial investment.
We want to increase product registrations: Our target audience is fabricated metal customers who recently purchased PRODUCT A in the last 90 days. The focus of this campaign is to encourage the registration of Product A by the end user. The content of the campaign will extend beyond the "register now" message and will communicate the additional value the partner or end user will receive by registering. Through this campaign, the manufacturer will obtain key information to better understand the buyer, segment and deliver 1:1 communications, and develop brand loyalty. Information obtained within this campaign can be used in an up-sell cross-sell campaign.
We want to increase up-sell and cross-sell opportunities: Our target audience is fabricated metal customers who recently purchased PRODUCT A in the last 90 days, submitted the product registration form, and engaged with at least one piece of content on the website related to PRODUCTS B thru Z. Up-selling and cross-selling is a natural fit for manufacturers. With multiple product and service offering, growing revenue within an existing customer, or channel partner, is often an effective way to ultimately grow the business. To do this effectively you must build on existing relationships with customers, channel partners, and known contacts.
To build those relationships and communicate the right offer at the right time you must understand your customers' purchasing behavior. You must also pay attention to those who did not purchase. Offers in these campaigns must communicate the additional value to the customer. This campaign will deliver 1:1 personalized communications and offers based on digital body language and previous purchase history. The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered. The other 2 communications will contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact?s digital body language and purchase history.
"WHERE CAN I REACH THEM ONLINE?"
In one consolidated view, marketers can access all of their marketing data to build and refine key target audiences to use in numerous campaign scenarios. This includes 1st party data, data the marketer collects on proprietary assets -- or contained in enterprise systems -- and on 3rd party data pre-integrated into the platform, or data purchased from branded providers or lists.
Through digital advertising, you can use these business demographics to precisely target ads to your exact audience wherever they travel online. This results in more efficiently spent ad dollars, and gives you the ability to reach more of your target audience, more often, and strategically guide them through the buying cycle from building brand awareness through to driving conversions and sales.