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At MeritDirect Co-op: Shifting marketing landscape prompts concerns, experimentation

INBOUND, OUTBOUND IN SYNC

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The synergy between in- and outbound marketing was addressed by panelist Robert Cameron, director-corporate marketing at industrial supplies company New Pig. “We see 65% of our first-time orders come in via the Web, yet we still get orders coming in by phone after customers visit the website and even put items in their [online] carts,” Cameron said. “The integration between inbound and outbound has gotten more complex,” he said. “You can't have silos between prospecting and inbound. We have boosted our e-commerce and promotional email activities while working with the inbound customers as well.” Slavin said Staples' outbound marketing efforts entail “anything that works,” including search engine optimization, display ads, direct mail, catalog mailings and telephone outreach. “Telephone sales are geared toward a select universe of prospects we feel aren't yet ready to go to the contract shelf but who deserve more than an 800 number or the Staples.com experience,” he said. “We're always testing and retesting concepts, revisiting ones that stopped working and trying again.” Cameron said one concept Big Pig has revisited is outbound faxes. “We've tried it and surprisingly it's a license to print money,” he said. “It works. We're trying to append fax numbers in all those states where we're allowed to market via fax.” In a session titled “Maximize Your E-marketing Game,” marketers grappled with the shift of power to customers. “It's keeping me up at night,” said panelist Sal Abramo, director-marketing operations at Thomson Reuters. “Many deals start with Web searches and word of mouth, and 50% to 60% of customers already have their minds made up before making a decision. The complexion of the entire sales cycle has changed. Buyers are looking for ROI upfront. The whole concept of customer self-service has to factor in to what we're doing.”
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