One of the most common questions I am asked in my role as the head of the professional services team at a company that sells multi-channel distributed marketing automation solutions is how our clients measure distributed marketing success.
I don’t want to sound like a dissembling politician trying to cover up a scandal, but it depends on the definition of “marketing success”. Last year, we embarked on a review of our clients to see how they were using our products, and what kind of results they achieved. We came up with a summary of “typical” results that looked like this:
- 25% increase in marketing efficiencies
- 15% reduction in compliance costs
- 10% reduction in support and maintenance costs
- 10% increase in sales conversions
Of course, not all clients measure marketing communications success the same way. Some of them don’t even use our products for traditional marketing – that is, they don’t use them to sell products and services to potential customers. Instead, they use them to manage their channel communications, educate and train their field and channel sales teams, and deliver the information that sales people can use to sell products and services.
More importantly, how clients measure marketing success depends on the problems or pain points in the marketing process that caused them to begin searching for a distributed marketing solution in the first place. It’s true that (like all marketers), the ultimate goal of any kind of marketing investment is to sell more products or services. But that may or may not be the reason that clients make the decision to buy a distributed marketing automation tool or service.
Here’s one example of what I mean – it’s a short case study that outlines why one of our clients made a purchase, what marketing initiatives were selected to solve the identified problems, and what results the client obtained.
Solving Insurance Carrier Challenges
One of our clients is a large, well-known insurance carrier that sells life insurance, personal lines insurance, and commercial insurance. Why aren’t I naming them here? Because they consider their multi-channel distributed marketing automation solution to be such a competitive advantage that they won’t let me use the company’s name.
I worked with this client to help them identify the major challenges which needed to be solved through a distributed marketing automation initiative. The three major challenges the company faced were:
- Aggregating customer & prospect data into an easy-to-use agent portal
- Managing multiple internal & external data sources
- Empowering agents to send localized, customized campaigns without jeopardizing brand or regulatory standards, and allowing corporate marketing to send personalized campaigns “on behalf of” agents
After an analysis of existing marketing processes, and specific recommendations on how to use marketing automation to improve them, the company opted for a proof-of-concept pilot in one division. Soon, corporate marketing and field sales were able to leverage:
- Customizable, personalized multimedia email templates
- Single-click personalization for microsites and landing pages
- Centralized access and tracking for customized forms and surveys
- Real-time tracking and reporting across all channels and users
Corporate marketing used rules-based user management tools and near real-time visibility to track results in ways they never could before. Built-in brand and regulatory tracking eliminated approvals bottlenecks that had slowed down the process of getting information to prospective customers.
Those benefits, plus transparent reporting for all campaigns combined with measurable ROI to make it an easy decision to transition to a full deployment of the system after the pilot program.
At the end of 2011, the company’s results included:
- An 11% increase in qualified leads
- A 17% increase in agent program usage
- A 25% reduction in ad hoc customization requests from local offices
Will Your Results Measure Up?
Could your company get similar results if you purchased and used a distributed marketing solution? I don’t know – as I said at the beginning, it depends on your situation. But after months of looking deeply into the reasons why customers buy our solutions, and what kinds of results they are achieving, I’ve learned one thing for sure.
If you don’t see measureable results, and you don’t see a clear improvement in the efficiency of your marketing operations, then you shouldn’t be spending money on the technology solution that promised to deliver those results. I know what my company’s solutions are doing for our clients, and how to show prospective companies whether or not our solution is right for them.
If you’re in the market for a solution – or just looking for ways to solve common multi-channel marketing problems – you should expect any vendor you talk with to be able to do the same. One size doesn’t fit all – and one solution doesn’t solve all problems. So take the time to find the one that’s right for you. I’d be happy to help!
In the meantime, if you’d like to see a new digital flip-book that includes case studies from six insurance companies, simply click here.