Engineers, perhaps counter-intuitively, can make great marketers because of their analytical and quantitative abilities. And yet, as an engineer by education and training, I've always been frustrated by marketing. Especially early in my career, I would struggle to find a way to accurately correlate a how much my company was spending on trade shows and print ads and the outcomes we reaped from those investments.

While we might get a customer directly out of a trade show event once in a great while, it just didn't all seem to add up. I found it hard to justify spending thousands of dollars if I didn't know if we were going to net a positive return on that investment (ROI) or not.

Enter digital marketing: the nirvana of quantifiable marketing.

Now, you young marketers already understand the power of digital marketing--so you're excused from today's class. But for those of you who don't understand what I'm talking about--and my experience is that there are a surprisingly large number of you out there--read on.

In short, digital marketing now allows us to intelligently spend our marketing dollars because it allows us to accurately tie that spend to landing new orders and customers.

When you spend money on, say, Google AdWords, LinkedIn Ads, and sponsored content, you can now embed code that tracks which people saw your ad and what they did after. You can tell if they visited your website, what pages they viewed, and how long they stayed on each page. You can also see which of those visitors entered your sales channel by signing up for email alerts, downloading a piece of content, scheduling an appointment or even placing an order.

Ultimately, you can look at your conversion rate to see which of those leads turned into an actual revenue generator for your business. That's powerful--and a long ways from throwing money at a print ad or plunking down thousands of dollars for a trade show booth and hoping that you get some new business out of it without ever really knowing if you did or didn't.  Here you can measure money in and money out of your marketing process and specifically which channel works the best.

The beauty of digital marketing is that is also allows you to cheaply experiment with different ad combinations until you arrive at the most effective approach. We now use this approach in my business, where we are aggressive advertisers on Google and LinkedIn. We have spent the past two years experimenting with different ads--sometimes running a dozen campaigns simultaneously--until we refined our approach to where we now have two campaigns that are highly effective at attracting new prospects that we can convert into paying customers.  We now run those ads constantly - and they still work.

And it's a process we will continue to refine and improve over time where we will continue to experiment and invest in the most effective campaigns while also cutting back on those that have an inferior ROI. The flexibility of digital marketing means you aren't stuck to any one approach for any length of time. It's all about supporting the campaigns that produce results. And experiments are cheap.

Again, this is very different than more traditional advertising that forces you to make an upfront static investment with no guarantee of results. Now, every dollar you invest in your digital marketing can be easily quantified and measured quickly --which makes the engineer inside me very happy.

Digital advertising now allows you to track your prospects from initial contact all the way through their order, it allows you the opportunity to experiment on different campaigns, and it allows you to measure your ROI.

Add all that up and you have a very powerful platform to make the most of your resources in helping turn your business into a growth machine.

Published on: Jan 2, 2018