Chris Ogburn is director-SMB and channel marketing for the Americas at Hewlett-Packard Co. He recently spoke to BtoB about the need for business marketers to reach out to individuals and how companies without the resources of a Fortune 10 company can take on that task.
BtoB: How does HP approach the task of marketing to individuals?
You establish a relationship with the customer. You want them to trust you; you want to add value. One of the ways you do that over time is to personalize content. It's further away from the broad scatter-shot approach that you might take (with) things like print or TV advertising.
We might give specific email-marketing executions; or send specific offers directly to a customer through a mailer; or target customers with digital advertising, using remarketing capabilities to reach customers (who) have shown interest online (by) searching product pages or putting a product in their shopping cart that they have not bought.
Targeting allows you to be specific about the material that you share. We serve digital ads tied to areas where customers have shown previous interest. That remarketing yields a much higher ROI, because it meets the needs of a customer in a way that a scatter-shot element (does) not.
Once that relationship is established, we feed value-added content and material to that customer online and through email in a way that is essential and in a format that they prefer. The use of analytics over time has allowed us to do more of this more effectively. The amount of data that we have and the ability that we have to take that big data, analyze it and make business decisions off of it has allowed us to get more targeted with our marketing.
Also data is extremely important when you are tying sales to marketing. We'll take a step back and look at our suite of customers in the business space. We will drive analytics to understand what they buy, where they buy, to understand our relationship. The more you know what you are selling to a customer, the more you know what you are not selling. It creates great opportunities to cross-sell across your portfolio and to communicate offers.
BtoB: How can other marketers work in a similar fashion?
We have resources that most companies do not have. Where I would start: Get as much information on who you are selling to (and) what you are selling to them. Get an understanding of their attachment. Understand your marketing profiles.
Getting a feel for who you sell to, and what you sell and where these transactions are taking place is the bedrock of understanding how you should be thinking about marketing to customers.
Then think about your lowest cost to serve (those customers) and generate the best ROI. As you execute your campaign, look for ways to measure. Test what generates the best rate of return and tune your marketing engine to drive the maximum amount of efficiency with the dollars that you do have to invest.