It takes watching more than just the sales numbers.
More and more these days, that’s what marketing execs at automotive OEM suppliers are being asked to do: Prove that the ROI on their company’s marketing expenditures is healthy. That the marketing is positively impacting the company’s bottom line. That the company should continue to spend at the current level, or even increase their spending.
Is your marketing paying off?
Traditionally, the answer to the question “Is our marketing working?” has been derived from sales and sales alone. Some companies can make the direct connection of marketing to sales. Some cannot. Some are only able to connect marketing to the number of leads. That may be enough to win the argument temporarily, but it’s just a validation of past actions.
What about the future?
The future actually requires a look back.
Why do automotive suppliers – or any company, really – market in the first place? The quick and easy answer is, to generate sales. But it’s also about generating awareness and impacting perceptions.
Ask yourself two basic questions:
- How many people know our company/brand?
- What do those people think of our company/brand?
Do you know the answers?
If not, measuring the success of your marketing can be difficult.
Awareness: A key metric.
Regarding awareness: Does it make sense that the more people who know you, the more sales opportunities you have? Does it also make sense that as a metric, awareness is as important as sales? Yes, but only if you’re actually measuring it. Your brand awareness is a valid performance metric that should be part of your annual ROI review. If you’ve increased awareness, you’ve increased the sales prospect pool, and taken the first step towards new sales. No one can buy from a company they don’t know.
Perception: Also important.
After awareness, perception takes over. Does it also make sense that how people perceive you can positively or negatively their purchasing decisions? Do you know what people think of you? Is what they think of you accurate? If their impression of your company is limited or inaccurate, your sales can be hindered severely. An assessment of your perceptual position in the market should also be a part of your annual ROI review. If you can demonstrate that you’ve positively changed perceptions of your brand, the likelihood for consideration among prospects can be increased, and those prospects can be moved further down the purchase funnel.
Awareness and perception can be measured at the same time with a well-thought-out customer research plan. A few simple surveys on a regular basis can yield data that show how your marketing efforts are impacting customer mindsets and improving their understanding of your brand and what it stands for. That’s a tremendous asset when it comes to showing how marketing resources are impacting customer prospects—which is a measure of ROI.
Tracking sales is absolutely essential, a no-brainer. Tracking awareness and perceptions should be, too.