While customer lists were at one time considered primarily part of the offline world, they're increasingly part of the online environment thanks to online marketing channels and Web analytics. So marketers should also consider channels they otherwise might not have in the past, such as mobile marketing or social media. For example, social media often drive business interactions across channels and between brands, especially among small businesses. Often a sole proprietor or small-business owner will use social media when gathering information.
By examining how each of these channels affects b-to-b purchases, marketers often become aware of the fact that they commonly overlap. For example, a company making a purchase online may have received a catalog via direct mail that prompted that purchase.
A good data provider can help show the interaction among various channels and create segmentation that matches prospects to the channel that best motivates them to buy.
The bottom line is that in a challenging economic landscape, marketers must focus on data intelligence in order to succeed. Having an in-depth understanding of your existing customers is the first step in learning more about your prospects, which ultimately leads to better segmentation, better targeting and better campaign performance.
Denise Hopkins is VP-marketing and product development at Experian Marketing Services (www.experianmarketingservices.com). She can be reached at email@example.com.