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Getting the right message to the right person at the right time
If there is an upside to a recession, it's that it inevitably refocuses marketers' attention on the mantra that customer communications must reach the right person, at the right time, with the right message. Here's a brief refresher on how to achieve this.
Use aggregated data
Just as cheap and nasty raw materials affect the quality of the eventual product, so too does poor quality data affect the ROI on any campaign. Finding decent B2B data isn't always easy. However the problem has been eased somewhat by the advent of aggregated databases that blend data from Companies House and Thomson Directories (among others) together with telephone research files.
Specialist organizations are becoming increasingly cognizant of the value of their databases and, perhaps more significantly, more professional in the way in which they maintain and market them. RIBAMail, for example, is RIBA Enterprises' own specialist mailing list and direct marketing service, and includes details of over 13,000 architects and construction industry professionals, 19,400 building services and environmental engineers, and 900 CPD contacts within RIBA registered practices. All data is opted-in and broken down by contact name, job title, company, address and telephone number. B2B data decays at a staggering rate each year, so it pays to buy from a reliable outlet that regularly refreshes its sources.
Develop a 'single customer view' (SCV)
To truly eradicate the 'scatter gun' approach to customer communications one has to treat name and address data as only the starting point. The real journey begins through developing a single customer view (SCV) for every customer. Although the subject of much discussion in marketing circles, in reality only a few companies have been able to achieve this to date. The problem stems from the inherent complexities of collating and using data within large corporations. Building a SCV takes time, however once achieved opens the door to truly intelligent B2B marketing. Imagine the value, for example, of knowing what kinds of project your target market works on, or their areas of specialisation, or their ideal contract size. Knowing this for every business would allow predicative modelling, highlight up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and help identify buying cycles and business growth.
Overlay the customer profile
Once a SCV has been created one can really start making progress. By overlaying the customer profile against the wider business universe one can identify similar hot prospects. Analysis and profiling can be used to develop marketing strategies that engage with the prospect at key stages within the buying cycle. Identifying the most appropriate channel(s) through which to communicate is imperative. RIBA Enterprises has invested considerably in this area, developing individual communications channels that target all types of building specifier at every stage in the specification process. Knowing how specifiers look for, and then use, information about building products has resulted in printed directories being supplemented by online directories, banner ads, contextual advertising, email newsletters, direct mail – the list goes on. Yet each performs a specific function and targets a particular customer type.
Ignore this at your peril
B2B marketing may historically have been viewed as the ugly duckling of the marketing world, but this certainly shouldn't be the case today. Progress in the last five years has been significant. Businesses are embracing intelligent B2B marketing strategies, and have achieved unprecedented ROI as a result. But nowadays if you're not moving forwards you're going backwards. Business needs to embrace these approaches to survive, let alone thrive. Ignore this advice therefore at your peril.
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