5 Common Objections to The Exchange (and Why They Are no Good)

By Lisa Richter posted 03-10-2020 10:54


With Spring in-person events getting cancelled and/or postponed (thanks COVID-19!), it’s more important than ever to ensure your digital presence is rock solid. Because with fewer F2F opportunities, potential buyers will double down on their online research efforts.

Bang head here

But if I’m going to be honest, I have to admit that, even in business-as-usual times, a little part of me dies any time I hear about a company passing up the opportunities available via the Industrial Automation Exchange. (As a side note, if you are a CSIA member, you automatically get an upgrade to Bronze level, so for the love of baby Yoda, please, at the very least make sure your profile is taking advantage of those perks.)

TL;DR: Beef up your durn profile.

(Maybe this isn’t even up to you – maybe it’s the marketing-is-a-scam CEO, or the get-me-some-of-that-Snapchat CMO, or the coffee-is-for-closers director of sales – in that case, you need this info for ammo.)

So, here it goes, the top 5 objections for not maximizing Exchange opportunities.

1. Insert-Channel-Name drives more traffic/conversions, so it’s better.

Okay, couple of things here.

  • Success follows investment: Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you invest resources into social, guess what? Most likely it will get better results. It’s not that social is inherently more successful, it’s more likely it’s reflecting effort.
  • Every channel serves a different purpose: Again, using social as an example, do you use social to drive conversions? Probably not, it’s typically used for engagement. Your profile on The Exchange lives at the top of the funnel; it can convert, but more likely, it’s acting as an assist.
  • Assists vs. last click: Speaking of which, if you are using a first-touch or last-touch attribution model, I’m afraid I’m going to have to respectfully ask you to stop that. With the complex B2B buying journey, it’s unlikely that one touchpoint among many is doing the heavy lifting on a lead/sale.

Source: The New B2B Buying Journey by Gartner

2. We already have a website.

A current, robust website with relevant content is, without question, your most powerful digital asset. Not gonna lie. Thing is though, a potential customer might start there. They might end there. But there’s that mushy middle where they are checking multiple sources. In fact, research indicates that B2B buyers review an average of 10.4 sources in any buying situation. And, spoiler alert: Engineers look to directories as their No. 2 most valuable source of information, according to 2020 Smart Marketing for Engineers research conducted by Trew Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec.

Source: 2020 Smart Marketing for Engineers research conducted by Trew Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec.

Source: 2019 Smart Marketing for Engineers research report by Trew Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec.

Source: 2019 Smart Marketing for Engineers research report by Trew Marketing and IEEE GlobalSpec.

3. We’re too big. We’re too small.

This one seems contradictory, but it really isn’t because if you are responsible for a division of a big organization, you are competing for attention against all divisions, especially as it relates to branded keywords. If you are a smaller company, you are competing against bigger budgets and more robust marketing teams. Whether you are a small part of a corporate monolith or a little guy going up against the Goliaths, The Exchange supports your SEO efforts and can help you dominate page 1 of SERP.

Source: Google search, screengrab of results just under a CSIA member company’s website listing.

In addition to branded keywords, The Exchange also supports SEO by serving up two of Google crawlers’ favorites: Content and backlinks.

Content is important because Google crawls different sites looking for keywords – and it is getting pretty sophisticated at ranking those keywords based on user intent (that is, what the user is actually looking for when they are typing their query into the search box). No point in keyword stuffing, but good, timely and valuable content is your best friend. And good news: You don’t have to create new content to post on The Exchange to benefit. As long as you site the original source, you can repurpose previously published content. Yay! (Google is not a fan of duplicate content though, so stay strategic in your approach, and by that I mean, don’t just copy and paste crap all over the interwebs.)

Backlinks – or links from one site to another -- are important because they help Google determine a site’s credibility.

One final point about SEO: The collective power of The Exchange – the aggregate, keyword-rich content – allows a sort of, well, herd SEO if you will.

He's not wrong.

4. I’m not getting any leads.

Radical candor ahead: The Exchange is not a growth hack. But neither is social, or PPC or display advertising. The truth is, there is not any one channel that is going to make it rain. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet, only incremental wins, and that’s okay. Having said that, the leads (referral traffic) The Exchange generates are high quality because users coming from the Exchange to your site have self-selected. Keep in mind also that it’s entirely possible the visitor got what they came for from The Exchange profile – such as contact info or a brochure –  and went along their merry buyer’s journey way, so referral traffic does not tell the whole story. (It also can be misleading, so there’s that.)


5. It's too expensive.

In an ideal world, marketers would use customer lifetime value in their ROI calculations and to calibrate spend. But given what the average marketer has on their plate, that’s most likely just plain magical thinking on my part. But I still think the concept can frame a discussion – the CLV is most likely a decent stack of Benjamins --  it is possible then that the customer acquisition costs would correlate?

Source: How to Calculate Customer
Lifetime Value
, by Clint Fontanella

And with that perspective, the costs associated with purchasing/maintaining/maximizing an Exchange profile are a slap-your-grandma* good value. In fact, when it comes to valuing marketing qualified leads (in this discussion, referral traffic), Exchange profile’s with upgrades are well below the average.

So that’s it – those are the common objections I hear from organizations not taking advantage of The Exchange. If you made it this far, and are interested in talking about your Exchange profile, send me an email.

Oh, and wash your dang hands properly.

Additional Resources

If you  want to learn more about the CSIA Industrial Automation Exchange, here is a YouTube playlist.

If you want to learn how to update your CSIA Industrial Automation Exchange profile, here is a YouTube playlist.

*Please don’t really slap your grandma. That’s not nice.