Monday, 22 August 2011

B2B Marketing Fundamentals

A conversation with a friend prompted this blog. He was asking how he should go about developing a marketing strategy for his business as they are due to launch in a new market. We had a long, productive conversation which hopefully put him on the right path; but it struck me during this conversation that maybe other people would benefit from a little help and advice.

So in order to share some of the basics of our collective experience, here are EWA’s B2B marketing fundamentals:

Your Identity & Target

  1. Clearly define and state who you are and what it is you offer (as well as what you’re REALLY good at) – develop a positioning statement you can use across multiple mediums.
  2. Decide on your target market – who do you want to sell your services to, what sort (and size) of businesses are they?
  3. State why businesses should buy from you – what are your USPs? – think about your features and benefits you offer.
  4. Decide on the best people to make contact with at your target companies – which job role would you typically make contact with first? (And who signs the cheques?)
Your Website & Data
  1. Make sure your website is earning its keep – does your site generate enquiries and leads for you, can interested businesses easily find you online?
  2. Track who visits your website – specialist software can give you insight into who visits and what they look at.
  3. Get your data sorted – clean what you have and then buy more if needed and make sure it’s in a proper database, not lurking on a spreadsheet somewhere. B2B campaigns either sink or swim based on the quality of the data used
Your Voice & Interaction
  1. Become thought leaders in your sector – give people a reason to listen to what you have to say – build trust and become a source of information.
  2. Write a blog – share your thoughts, opinions, advice and guidance. It will build trust in your prospective customers (as well as having SEO benefits).
  3. Develop a social media strategy – it’s becoming as important as having a plain old website – make and foster new connections.
  4. Use online business network tools – Make genuine connections and engage in conversations with people looking for your services.
  5. Get help from specialists where you need it – you can’t do everything yourself and engaging the right agencies can make a huge difference (do you know the difference between organic and paid search, how to conduct successful telemarketing, which PR sites to post your stories on??).
Clearly this isn’t an exhaustive list and each point on its own will be discussed in a separate blog post. It’s really just a starting point to bigger conversations so if you consider carefully what marketing you do currently, use the guidance above and make some positive changes, you should join my friend on the right B2B marketing track.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Stop doing any Marketing you can’t Measure

All of your marketing activity should be trackable, right down to the specific campaign and channel which generated every enquiry or sale.


Because if you can’t trace a sale or lead back to its source (how did the person become aware of your company or the product you’re selling), then how can you know whether your marketing budget is being spent on the right things? How can you know which campaign (and channel) is the most effective and which isn’t?

Put simply, you can’t. And you should be able to.

If your marketing activity isn’t generating results (and profit), stop doing it. If you are seeing results and can track where they came from, do a great deal more of it. You’ll only know whether to stop or do more if you’re measuring the results.

Effective data management and customer insight goes a long way to fixing this challenge. Providing you’ve put in the effort up front and used response codes or sent campaigns via traceable mediums such as email, data analytics will tell you exactly which campaign has been successful and why.

Success can be a little subjective but ultimately it’s all about revenue. Did your campaign generate sufficient profit (at the right margin) once you have deducted the actual costs to consider doing more of it? If the answer is yes, then you know what you should do... much, much more!

If you’re scratching your head at this point and wondering how to make your campaigns much more effective, come and talk to us. We’ve a huge amount of experience in designing, implementing and analysing marketing campaigns which have delivered real results for our clients.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Direct Marketing Campaign Planning – Assess and Improve

The final post in our series on direct marketing campaign planning is dedicated to studying the ways to assess where your campaign has been successful and to develop processes which will improve future marketing activities.

The first element of this process is to assess which elements were successful and to learn from the campaign by identifying:
  • The segments which were most successful in terms of responses and revenue generated. It is also important to find out the reasons behind this as this will instrumental in shaping future marketing strategies.
  • Which channels were most preferred by recipients and why.
  • If there are any trends within the data and if there are any conclusions which can be drawn from these trends.
  • The successful calls to action. The importance of the call to action within your marketing messages should never be underestimated and any opportunity to gain data on which have been most popular should be taken.
  • If there were particular combinations of communication channels which was most successful, for example a direct mail message followed by telemarketing or a website/email combination.
  • If there was an ideal time period to follow up on the original marketing message in order to generate the largest revenue.
The second clement is to use this information to improve future campaigns. This can be done by...
  • Collecting and managing the analytical data gained throughout the campaign with the aim of building propensity models.
  • Using these propensity models to create specific audience segments which are statistically most likely to respond to marketing messages.
  • Using data about calls to action to find and implement refined marketing messages on a segment by segment basis.
  • Use all of the data to indentify where and how it is possible to build the relationship over time, encouraging purchasing behaviour in the long term.
Throughout this series we have studied:
  • The benefits of setting the foundations of your campaigns early on in the process by understanding your business and the campaign objective
  • The importance of effectively managing your campaign data,
  • Developing marketing messages which are targeted towards your audience, and
  • How to handle your responses most efficiently and also how to measure the success of the campaign.
This final stage in the process reinforces the cyclical nature of direct marketing. Where the lessons learnt from one campaign form a significant element in the next; helping to improve the return on investment for direct marketing campaigns and build long lasting, profitable customer relationships.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Direct Marketing Campaign Planning – Measuring Success

A key component of your direct marketing campaign is planning the ways in which you will measure success. Success however can only be assessed by looking at your multichannel approach and finding key performance indicators for each individual channel.

Methods for measuring the success of your campaign channels include:

Direct Mail - Measuring the success of your direct mail marketing requires evaluation of the total responses, only possible if effective response handling processes have been enacted (see our previous post).

Online - If you are using a website as a major communications channel there are numerous ways to measure responses. Web tracking technology such as Google Analytics will enable you to track, measure and report on the success of marketing communications. Similarly, this is possible with online advertising mediums where click through rates and interactions should be measured.

Email - If your campaign utilises email the most efficient ways to measure success are to track and assess the number of successful sends, the rate of opens and furthermore, the interaction levels for the emails sent out.

Telephone – The call-to-lead ratio is one of the key indicators for success with direct telemarketing activities. Measurement of success with telemarketing however should be based upon both qualitative and quantitative data.

Combining the insight from each of your communications channels makes it possible to assess the overall success of the campaign. Essentially there are two identifiers for success. The first is whether the campaign costs were exceeded by the attributable revenue - this will tell you whether the campaign was financially successful; in the short term.

The other indicator of success is the amount of new customer revenue the campaign achieved. This figure gives not only gives an idea of the short term accomplishments of the campaign but also provides an idea of the future revenue and the added value provided by the marketing activity.

Measuring the success of your campaign is not however the final element in an effective direct marketing campaign, in our next post will explore the ways in which it is possible to use this data to learn from your campaign and improve future marketing activities.