Yes You Can! Get Return on Investment with Marketing

    Guest: Michael Brenner, CEO Marketing Insider Group 


    • Michael Brenner's book (co-authored with Liz Bedor), The Content Formula - SlideShare presentation 
    • Marketing has a marketing problem, meaning that marketing is typically associated with advertising and not associated with the overall marketing strategy. It is up to marketers to communicate and redefine the term and perception of marketing. [3:20]
    • If you think your customers are not online, think again. They are online. [5:10]
    • If all you're doing for marketing is placing ads, they you are likely frustrating your audience.  We (people) avoid ads and content is what we tune in to. Create the content people want, not the content they try to avoid. [6:40]
    • The formula for return on investment (ROI) is:  ((revenue - investment) / investment) where an increase in ROI means reducing investment or increasing revenue. [8:25]
    • The first step is to stop investing in the things that do not produce revenue. [12:05]
    • Reach metric - Michael shares an idea about how to value your online visitors. [13:45]
    • Engagement metric - value per subscriber to your content [14:20]
    • Conversion to leads metric - create more top of funnel content than bottom of funnel content. [15:40]
    • Retention metric - early and middle stage content also works for retention. [17:10]
    • Michael share a few examples of content initiatives that created significant return on investment. American Express Open Forum, Intel IQ, GE Reports [19:20]
    • "The simple truth of marketing is to share what you know, not what you sell." [24:35]
    • Be ready to show the return on investment ROI of marketing when leadership comes around and wants to cut marketing. Show them the cost to cutting marketing. [29:50]
    • Google Analytics (a free tool) can help track conversions. Calculating ROI does not require a big investment in technology and tools. [31:30]

    Interview Questions:

    Question 1 –   Let’s talk about this perception that marketing has no return or that it is impossible to measure the return of a marketing investment. What is your take on that perception? (with a slant to the B2B manufacturing sector)

    Question 2 –  How do you define and calculate return on investment or ROI for the marketing function? What are some metrics manufacturing marketers should be tracking?

    Question 3 –   Could you share a success story with the audience about a B2B manufacturer or a B2B company who was able to successfully measure ROI and what were the positive outcomes to the business and the marketing department as a result?

    Question 4 –  Let’s imagine a manufacturer or a marketing director at a manufacturing company out there listening. He has 1 or 2 people on his staff, not much budget and when times are tough, marketing is the first place where budget gets cut. What are some initial steps he could take to start to prove a return on the marketing investment, change the perception of marketing as a black hole expense and even begin to position marketing as a direct source of revenue?

    Challenge Question –  This week our challenge question comes from a robotics manufacturing company in northern Indiana. Here it is “I’m a VP marketing at a mid-size manufacturer and I have a strong passion for marketing by educating our customers to help them solve their problems. I’m new here and I’m having trouble getting buy-in for a content marketing strategy that is not completely about the products. I have 2 questions; how can I break through the culture barrier that says we can only market by pitching the product?  Second, how long does it usually take to prove the concept of content marketing?”

    • Resist the natural instinct to just promote products, people don't care about your products, they care about your expertise. This draws an audience.
    • After a few dozen product messages (or 8 product messages on mobile), people start to associate negative feelings with the brand and sales to decline.
    • Prove the concept of content marketing not about the products with a pilot program.


    • There is no magic bullet for return on investment with marketing, start by stopping those activities that show no results.
    • Start creating content that helps your customer. Helping your customer helps your business.

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