How to Measure the ROI of Your Manufacturing Marketing Efforts

How to Measure the ROI of Your Manufacturing Marketing Efforts

A person measuring ROI using a tablet.

By Michael James, Guest Blogger

If you’re a manufacturer that markets products and services to the construction, industrial, or manufacturing markets, you must know how much your marketing efforts are paying off. That being said, measuring the return on investment (ROI) for each individual effort can be difficult. However, with the right approach, it’s possible. In this article, we’ll discuss how to measure the ROI of your manufacturing marketing efforts to help you make better decisions about your marketing spending and strategies. More accurately, we’ll cover creative ways to measure different types of engagement. This will help you ensure that every penny counts towards achieving the best outcomes possible.

1 Understand the Basics of Return on Investment (ROI)

A return on investment is anything that brings you a return after an initial investment. More often than not, this is a monetary return, but not always. That being said, one of the most important things for any business is figuring out the ROI. If you know what you are investing into and why, you can maximize efficiency and bottom line. When it comes to manufacturing marketing efforts, as with all marketing efforts, your goal should be to maximize returns while minimizing expenditures. Using metrics like time spent or money saved will help you gauge whether you are on the right track to success or failure. As a result, you’ll be able to make decisions quickly and efficiently.

2 Identify Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Identifying key performance indicators is essential to measure the ROI of your manufacturing marketing efforts accurately. Your KPIs can help you set goals and measure progress. They can also help you prioritize tasks, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction. It can be challenging to figure out which KPIs are relevant for your type of business. This can be especially difficult for manufacturing marketing efforts since it requires specific marketing. However, no matter the type of business, the same principles hold. You need to establish processes that incorporate feedback systems when meeting particular objectives. This will ensure that you accomplish all your tasks thoroughly and efficiently. Additionally, with the data you gather, you will have all the information necessary to make informed decisions that yield results.

3 Analyze the ROI of Different Types of Manufacturing Marketing Efforts

When it comes to marketing efforts in the manufacturing industry, many different options are available. It can be challenging to determine which ones will yield the best ROI. This is where analyzing different types of ROI becomes essential. Understanding how each strategy affects your bottom line lets you decide which methods make sense for you. This is the best course of action if you wish to figure out how to allocate resources accordingly. Doing this is going to allow you to get a complete understanding of the efficacy of your marketing initiatives.

4 Make Use of Software Solutions to Track Your Campaigns

Automation and software solutions make the process of tracking campaigns easier and faster. Not only that, but they free up valuable time to focus on other business processes. By taking advantage of automation, companies in the construction, industrial, and manufacturing markets can get real-time information to track the effectiveness of their campaigns. This data help with making more informed decisions on optimizing their efforts to maximize ROI. Additionally, automation can help identify growth opportunities.

Furthermore, it can show areas where campaigns need tweaking or improvement. Keeping an eye on the performance of your campaigns using software will even give you a competitive edge in your market. That being said, CRM is the best software to use for this purpose. If you can make the most of your CRM, you won’t have issues staying on top of your ROIs.

5 Utilize Data Analytics to Identify Areas for Improvement

By utilizing data analytics, manufacturers can gain greater insight into their customers. Furthermore, they can identify areas in need of improvement. Data analytics allow a manufacturer to compare customer feedback over time. This, in turn, makes it possible for them to detect any changes that may warrant attention. Combing data analysis with target research will also help you recognize customer trends. This is important because staying on top of the changes in your industry will help you adapt quickly and accurately. This assessment of customer preferences allows companies to remain agile and respond to customer demand in a timely manner. As a result, this is going to increase customer satisfaction.

Additionally, harnessing the power of data-driven decision-making can significantly improve multiple aspects of the business. For instance, by leveraging advanced analytics tools and techniques, you can better understand your whole operation and figure out how to improve them.

6 Develop Strategies to Maximize Your ROI

Maximizing your company’s ROI is the key to sustainable growth and profitability. However, you need to understand how to structure your investments across different advertising platforms to achieve this. And, for this to work, you need to create a strategy. When creating a strategy, you must be careful because what’s on paper may not be so cut and dry when you put it into practice. For this reason, you must regularly monitor metrics such as sales volume and cost efficiency to ensure they work in practice. If you don’t do this, there is no way to ensure success.


In order to effectively measure the ROI of your manufacturing marketing efforts, first and foremost, it’s important to understand your ROI. In addition, identifying KPIs can help to ensure accuracy when it comes to the data you collect. Furthermore, software solutions like CRM can help streamline the process. So, following these steps will increase the likelihood that you will hit the right targets with your next marketing effort. Not only that, but you will also be able to accurately measure the ROI and make any improvements if at all necessary.

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If you are looking for a way to improve your business, you need to know how to measure the ROI of your manufacturing marketing efforts.

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About the Author

Michael James is a seasoned marketing professional with years of experience in the manufacturing industry. He has developed a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities of marketing products. In his free time, Michael loves spending time hiking and surfing.

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Trade Show #7 – My Battery Was on Empty…

Trade Show #7 – My Battery Was on Empty…

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect

By the time I reached Indianapolis for the NTEA Work Truck Week, my seventh trade show in just over 52 days, my battery/energy level was running close to empty! Luckily for me there were plenty of batteries and charging stations since electric vehicles were once again the hot topic of the show. You couldn’t walk 10-feet down any aisle without tripping over something EV-related.

As the industry’s transition to electric power accelerates, much of the news coming out of Work Truck Week was related to electric vehicles, including the launch of eight commercial EVs, as well as associated auxiliary power solutions, bodies and equipment.

The Green Truck Summit, NTEA’s full-day advanced fuels and vehicle technology conference, was also sold out for the second year in a row, with nearly 1,000 attendees.

And the overall attendance of the show returned to pre-pandemic levels with 14,885 industry professionals, setting a new record with a 17% increase over the 2022 event.

Here are just a few of the commercial electric vehicles which were unveiled at the show:

-Isuzu Commercial Truck of America and Hino Trucks both chose Work Truck Week 2023 to announce their first all-electric trucks, Isuzu’s N-Series EV and Hino’s M5e and L6e.

-Mack Trucks unveiled its first electric vehicle in the medium-duty segment, the Mack® MD Electric.

-Shyft Group revealed the new Blue Arc Class 5 All Electric Crew Cab, while Ideanomics and VIA Motors introduced the VTRUX® electric work truck.

-Workhorse Group pulled the silk from its new W56 zero-emission step van.

-JB Poindexter & Co business units announced several new products and developments, including Project ZEVX, an EAVX, Reading Truck and ZEVX electric concept, and an all-electric C250 postal truck demonstration vehicle developed by Morgan Olson for Canada Post.

-Ram Commercial showcased its new Ram 1500 Battery-electric Vehicle Concept, and Bollinger Motors provided updates on its new B4 all-electric fleet truck. Meanwhile, Ford Pro marked the one-year anniversary of the Ford E-Transit all-electric van.

And while the commercial EVs dominated the headlines at the show, there was one booth that caught my eye as I was walking the last day of the show. Loop Energy, an industry-leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of hydrogen fuel cell systems for vehicle OEMs and power generation system manufacturers. They were showcasing their newest commercial vehicle solution. Who knows…maybe hydrogen could be the next alternative fuel/power source in the decades to come. I guess maybe we are not that far away from flying vehicles:)

Well, that’s a wrap for the 1Q 2023 trade show season, time to rest up for the Fall trade show circuit!

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Wishin, Hopin, and Prayin Don’t Pay the Bills….More Sales Will

Each month, Alan Sipe, a contributing editor for Professional Distributor magazine, writes a sales skill article targeted to the independent business people who own and operate the various branded tool trucks you see parked at automotive repair shops everywhere. 

As a mobile jobber for a major brand, you either have a set number of technicians on your route or a set geographic boundary controlling your selling efforts. Being an independent mobile jobber, your efficiency, selling time, and logic determine the ground you can successfully cover. Major or independent, there are limits on the number of customer opportunities and realistic hours in the day you can sell. 

It’s always easy to think that you only need a bigger territory or access to larger dealerships to be a Top 100 dealer (but this is probably not going to happen). You could wish for lower prices, higher margins, and fewer backorders (I guarantee that this is not going to happen). And finally, you can hope that one of your competitors drops out of the business since he is a price-cutting pain in your wallet! 

So, if wishing, hoping, and praying are not going to help, there is only one thing remaining. You are going to have to accept the cards (aka, technicians) you’ve been dealt and make the most of it. 

This month we’re looking at ways for you to look at your customer and prospect base and build your revenues with the opportunities you have. 

I imagine you have a good idea of who are all the absolute Tool Nuts, Good Customers, Sporadic Customers, non-customer prospects, and Dead Beats (cash only) that work in your area. I’m guessing that you have some document/spreadsheet/program with all the names of the technicians and shop owners in your area. 

Let’s start with the Dead Beats (cash only) in your area.  No matter how bad at bill paying these technicians are, they still need tools to do their jobs. Granted they are probably buying many of their tools at Harbor Freight or some other discount location, but there are still some specialty products they can only get from a true automotive jobber — like you. Don’t ignore these people. You never know if their financial missteps are over or they are now somehow currently flush with cash.  Talk to them, show them your new cool tools, and discuss a way for them to potentially get in your good credit graces.  Maybe give them a plan that if they buy x amount from you for cash, you will start them out with a small credit line. Talk openly but discretely with them about their issues, it’s often surprising what a little open communication can accomplish. Think of it this way, anything you sell them is 100% plus business, and additionally, you will probably sell to these people at full-boat list price. 

Your next target group should be the people who are buying from someone but not from you. These are your prospects. Continue dropping off your promotional brochures and eye-to-eye thank them for looking at it and while you at it mention that you would appreciate a shot at their business. I’m sure in some cases these non-customers are mad at you, your predecessor, or the brand that is on your truck, and these issues are what you need to get past.  Sometimes a simple request like “how can I earn your business back” may crack the ice and open a conversation. This conversation may not be all peaches and cream at first. 

When they regurgitate whatever the previous sin (in their eyes) was, honor their statement with “I’m sorry that happened, and I’ll do my best to meet your needs as we move forward.”  Sure, the prospect may be a knucklehead and never forgive you for not taking back the broken lugnut socket that he had welded to a pry bar for busting loose frozen wheel nuts. Just keep asking.  If this guy is that odd, he will sooner or later become unhappy with his current supplier and come back to you. The successful action in this instance is to keep talking to them and asking for their business. Again, anything you sell them is 100% plus business. 

The hardest nut to crack is the sporadic buyer.  Are they maxing out their credit with every mobile who calls on them? Are they trying to spread the wealth and keep everybody happy? Are you their primary, secondary, or almost-nothing supplier? 

Firstly, try your best to figure out where you stand with this sporadic buyer.  Are you number 1,2,3, or four on their purchase scheme?  You can mention to them that if they were to consolidate their purchases with you, you could give them something in return. Better terms, cumulative discount, the first shot of what’s new and exclusive. Something to make them feel special.  Setting them up on a try before you buy it, one-week loaner program is a good way to get someone’s interest.  There is no need to give away the store, just make them feel wanted and special. 

The” tool nuts” of which I am one, will buy almost anything new that hits the market.  The challenge here is that except when a tool is new and exclusive to your brand it is probably new and available from you and all your competitors too.  In this case, it is often true that the first mobile in the door with this cool new tool gets the business. 

A great idea for your Tool Nuts is to develop an email or text group list of these technicians and the day you learn of or get your hands on a new tool communicate with this group immediately letting them know about the product and that you will be bringing it to them shortly.  You can even give the recipients of this communique the option of hitting reply and pre-ordering this product from you.  Anything you can do to get them committed to you is the objective. 

And finally, there are your Good Customers.  The acronym KDWYD (keep doing what you’re doing) is your first line of defense.  Keep treating them like gold, telling them every week that you appreciate their business, and always, always ask if there’s anything else you can do for them. As corny as it sounds the motivational phrase “you’re best kept rose will soon wither and die if left unattended” fits your good customers perfectly. 

Now, go sell something. 

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Trade Show #4 Down the Drain – WWETT Show

Trade Show #4 Down the Drain – WWETT Show

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect

There’s a ton of money to be made in the s!@t business…at least that’s what I reminded every year I attend the WWETT Show.

This show does a great job on their education sessions…and this year was no different, with over 100 sessions running over the four days. And I loved their “Button Wall” which was just outside the main entrance of the exhibit hall…the “straight outta toilet paper” and “septic” (which was orange, so obviously had to grab) were the two buttons I picked up.

The exhibit hall was packed (I believe there’s still a waiting list for companies that wish to exhibit at the show). Pipe re-lining and repair was a “hot topic” for this year’s show. It’s been at past shows, but I feel this year it was much more prevalent across the entire show.

One thing I took advantage of this year, which I hadn’t in the past, were the facility tours on the last day of the show. I signed up for the Belmont Wastewater Treatment Plant, Indianapolis’ largest wastewater treatment plant. And this was the first time I had toured a wastewater plant.

It was fascinating and the highlight of the show for me…here are just a couple of nuggets of wisdom I learned on the tour:

-the plant is owned and operated by Citizens Energy Group

-the entire facility sits on over 100 acres

-they have a max daily capacity of running 330 million of gallons through the system (normally daily amount is 120M gallons)

-it only takes 12 hours for the untreated water to go through the entire system and when it is released into the water it’s actually cleaner than the actual water running in the river

-to help deal with surges and overflows from strong storms, they are currently building (scheduled for completion the end of 2025) the DigIndy Tunnel System that’s a 28-miles-long network of 18-foot diameter deep rock tunnels, 250 feet beneath the city, with a main trunk and five fingers which has a 250 million gallon capacity

-I think the gigantic ten screw pumps were my favorite part, followed by the UV light treatment

Typically this shows runs Monday-Thursday and tends to be in the mid/end of February, but the show organizers are shaking things up for 2023, which will now be happening at the end of January (January 24-27) and running Wednesday-Saturday. This 2023 show will also run up against AHR Expo in Chicago and coincide with the World of Concrete Show out in Vegas, so it will be interesting to see how this affects attendance.

Link to Belmont plant:

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Sonnhalter Adds Plumbing, HVAC and Electrical Contracting Services

Sonnhalter Adds Plumbing, HVAC and Electrical Contracting Services

CLEVELAND – April 1, 2023 – Sonnhalter, a leading B2T communications firm marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets, has made the strategic decision to supplement its marketing offerings with plumbing, HVAC and electrical  contracting services due to industry need and demand.

“After careful consideration we’ve made the decision to add plumbing, HVAC and electrical contracting services to our current  business offerings, since there is a growing demand and potential for exponential growth,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect, Sonnhalter Contracting.

“Our philosophy as a marketing firm was always ‘that we are not afraid to get our hands dirty,” explained Sonnhalter. “With more and more tradesmen retiring, the skills gap has become a more urgent crisis in the contracting arena. We feel Sonnhalter can do its part to address this need.”

Every day, the shortage in the skilled trades becomes more acute. Industry experts say the trades lost nearly a million skilled workers during the recession that have yet to be replaced, and as older workers retire, the crunch will get even tighter.

For more information on Sonnhalter’s contracting services, including plumbing, mechanical contracting, general contracting and electrical contracting, please contact: Matt Sonnhalter at

Just kidding… APRIL FOOLS!!!

About Sonnhalter

Established in 1976, Sonnhalter is the leading B2T marketing communications firm to companies that target professional tradesmen in construction, industrial and MRO markets. Sonnhalter is located in the historic Brownell Building in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Sonnhalter’s brand identity highlights its expertise in marketing to the professional tradesmen. Its tagline, “Not Afraid To Get Our Hands Dirty,” promotes the employees’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into clients’ businesses, also, it refers to the market it targets: the tradesmen who work with – and dirty – their hands every day. Sonnhalter developed the acronym “B2T,” which stands for “business-to-tradesmen” to capture the essence of its specialty. For more information, visit the company website at

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