BtoB

How does a centralized approach to e-mail help b-to-b marketers?

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Answer: You don’t have to be a large consumer-focused retailer to benefit from a centralized approach to e-mail. While b-to-b companies typically have smaller e-mail volumes than their consumer brethren, the challenges posed by having separate functional areas—customer service, marketing, promotions, sales and e-commerce—manage e-mail deployment are the same. That’s because a “siloed” approach to sending e-mail is inefficient and costly, not to mention potentially confusing for prospects.

Because the revenue stakes per e-mail recipient are much higher in a b-to-b model, it’s even more important to have a coordinated approach to sending that allows controls to be put in place to prevent over-mailing, inconsistent branding and general lack of coordination between departments.

That last thing you want is to have two different departments send e-mails to a recipient with conflicting messages. Not only will such a scenario reduce response rates, it can lead a recipient to question whether this lack of coordination might be a problem that exists in other areas within your business.

For b-to-b, a centralized platform for customer e-mail provides the visibility and data integration needed to manage complex e-mail streams. For example, by having all customer e-mail managed from one centralized system, e-mail marketers can better coordinate sales and marketing initiatives. Marketing messages could contain a cross-sell offer based on the company’s overall licensing agreement or include an account update for a specific business unit. In the context of a global campaign, offers vary by geography and region but still maintain brand integrity.

When it comes to finding a centralized solution, b-to-b marketers are increasingly looking at on-premise solutions for marketing and transactional e-mail that directly integrate with back-end systems, thereby providing increased control, relevancy, data security and cost savings. These benefits, in addition to the economic gains from centralized processes and resources, give e-mail senders complete control to create highly personalized e-mail messages that drive customer satisfaction, retention and profitability.

Ryan Deutsch is senior director of market strategy at StrongMail Systems (www.strongmail.com), a provider of e-mail marketing solutions.

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