Within the IT/Hi-Tech industry, marketing is too often seen as a cost or a fluffy expense that can be cut when times get tough. It is of course an investment opportunity proven to increase revenue (if done well!) and provide strategic direction for the business.
Investment in IT marketing may not impact ROI straight away due to the frustrating yet necessary lead times associated with influencing the market and gaining sales traction. For organisations with lengthy sales cycles this can be a particular challenge.
So how can a business assess the value from their investment in IT marketing and be confident that they are focusing on the right things?
Set marketing objectives with specific KPI measures that are aligned to your business goals and monitor their rate of change. You need to accurately measure marketing KPIs (ideally in real time using best in class tools) and fine tune your marketing strategy and blend of tactics to get the highest ROI possible.
Focus on setting marketing KPI measures with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic and Timely) targets that align with factors which are critical to achieving the business goal. Measure and monitor your performance metrics to determine what really drives your business. The relevance criterion is particularly noteworthy as we seek to perfect the right mix of ingredients that have the greatest impact on business performance.
Furthermore, the relative importance of specific marketing KPIs will vary according to the type of IT organisation. Don’t look at marketing KPIs in isolation either. For example you could have the best marketing and zero sales if the product was developed without the customer in mind or if the business is heavily dependent on winning business through personal selling and its sales people are the weakest link!