How to Maximize Marketing ROI with a Marketing Portal

Marketers are overwhelmed and under-budgeted. That's not news&#x2014;it's a given in this economy. But what if marketers had a way to calculate the ROI of a marketing solution that not only would help them effectively handle additional responsibilities due to decreased staffs and budgets, but also show management a payback on the solution in as little as three months? That would be sweet.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The good news is they can&#x2014;with a Marketing ROI Calculator. Using a Marketing ROI Calculator, a marketer can justify implementing a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-enabled marketing portal&#x2014;one that lets technology do much of the work currently handled by marketers themselves. With it, they are able to show that replacing disparate on-premises marketing solutions with one central marketing portal could result in:<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> &#x2022; A payback on their initial investment in just three months.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> &#x2022; A ROI on an annual basis of 700 percent.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> &#x2022; An increase of between 300 and 400 percent in the number of leads.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> &#x2022; A 70 percent reduction in staff time managing marketing assets, both print and digital.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> &#x2022; A 55 percent increase in the number of internationally supported sales staff without adding marketing staff.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> &#x2022; An 80 percent increase in the number of people accessing marketing assets.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> A Marketing ROI Calculator captures in actual dollars the real business value of a marketing portal. It draws on real customer experiences and factors in the savings that such a portal provides from within the marketing department, the sales department, Web management, IT operations, and e-commerce&#x2014;time and cost savings, as well as productivity increases.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Why a Marketing Portal?</b><br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> 
SaaS-enabled marketing portals are designed for marketers who need to deliver more marketing/sales programs, more leads, and more sales tools in the face of reduced headcounts and tight discretionary budgets.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> A marketing portal helps marketers create and maintain a searchable, online repository, which promptly communicates mission-critical materials and information to salespeople, sales channels, marketing partners, customers, and others. A marketing portal helps manage the ever-growing volume of a company's information assets and keeps them current. It simplifies and improves the process of communicating these assets to internal and external audiences, promotes collaboration and information-sharing, and meets the demand for quick responses to requests from sales and partners. At the same time, marketing portals cut overhead, waste, inventory, and fulfillment costs.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>How Do You Determine Marketing ROI?<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Marketing Department</b><br clear="none" /> You begin by looking at the actual dollar savings on print collateral that will be realized if you switch to electronic documents and print-on-demand only. Factor in the savings on print fulfillment costs and shipping costs of CDs. Would the savings be in the thousands of dollars? Hundreds of thousands? Regardless of the size of your organization and number of marketing assets, the savings will be real.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Not only will you save on print costs, you will eliminate print waste&#x2014;a cost not only to your company but also to the environment.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Next, look at the reduced dependence you will have on your outside creatives and agencies. When you can manage and update changes to your collateral in-house, you can cut these outside fees substantially.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> How about staff time savings and utilization? When sales can access, download, and localize/personalize marketing assets themselves, your staff won't need to support them as much. So you can assign staff to other more important tasks, and avoid adding headcount as your organization expands its reach globally.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Sales Department</b><br clear="none" /> Significant time savings will be realized when direct sales, telesales/telemarketers, sales managers, channel managers, and international managers all can access marketing materials themselves when needed, rather than ordering them from marketing and waiting for them to be delivered. In addition, a marketing portal helps salespeople increase their conversion rate because they can spend more time selling and better tailor their interactions with prospects. This results in more contacts, more positive responses, and more deals that close.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Distributors and dealers are given a competitive advantage, thanks to a marketing portal. With their own password-protected area of the portal, they are able to develop their own branded point-of-purchase materials, and can generate more cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>Web and IT</b><br clear="none" /> Those maintaining the company Website (or multiple Websites) no longer will have to manually maintain marketing content on the company site, support or upgrade software and hardware, train new users, or worry about integration support. Time savings add up here.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> The business case for implementing a marketing portal is simple. Compelling savings and increased sales effectiveness result from placing all of your marketing/sales materials in one central online repository and providing rapid yet secure direct access for all authorized users.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Marketing portals are being adopted by more companies every day because they provide many layers of benefits to those in marketing/sales and their customers. That they also provide a quick and substantial ROI that can be captured is essential in a tough economy.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <i>Scott Richardson is president/CEO and co-founder of Longwood Software, Inc. (Maynard, MA), developer of <a href="" target="_blank">TagTeam</a>, an on-demand technology solution for Marketing/Sales. He has more than 20 years experience in marketing asset management, and has worked with hundreds of companies to help them optimize their business processes in this area. Contact him at <a href=""></a>.</i>