B-to-b marketing by land and by e

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Many b-to-b marketers struggle with how to integrate postal and e-mail marketing—some keep postal addresses in one place and e-mail addresses in another.

It sounds logical, but for whatever reason, few b-to-b marketers maintain multichannel databases. Many firms are tied to legacy databases that cannot accommodate e-mail marketing data and historical transactions. Others launch Internet marketing initiatives in-house or through vendors without updating postal databases with e-mail data.

A multichannel database impacts revenue by providing mechanisms for developing new profit centers, building customer retention and increasing data sales to outside users.

The first consideration that crosses a database marketer’s mind is, “What’s a multichannel database going to cost?”

One cost-effective approach that lowers the barrier to project entry is the “usage model.” Assuming there will be internal marketing activity and outside data sales, your database services provider should develop the database at a low upfront cost and then base revenue on usage.

Often usage fees are billed against revenue generated for third-party sales and profit-generating internal marketing, so the entire program pays for itself.

What can you do with a multichannel database? The possibilities are endless, but there are a few opportunities to be gained by tying customer transactions together whether by e-mail, Web site or postal.

Here’s how a multititle publisher might put its to use: E-mailing subscription offers and renewals prior to postal contact—saving printing and postage costs—has an immediate bottom-line effectt. By tracking e-mail campaigns by subscriber, marketers can track responses by any data associated with the subscriber in the database. Therefore, marketers can understand how factors such as job title, company size and sales volume affect response.

The publisher also tests e-mail subscription offers down to the smallest selection criterion to personalize creative to maximize results. Each offer contains links to various landing pages. The database provider can report on the campaign’s success by providing a graphic image of the message that identifies the number of clicks for each link and the percentage of responses that link represents.

Upon completion of an e-mail campaign, the database services provider produces a response analysis similar to a postal campaign analysis. Opens and clicks are matched back against the database to report on all the demographic and transaction criteria of respondents.

To strengthen retention, the publisher develops topic-specific e-newsletters with information valuable to certain audience segments. By selecting which newsletters they want to receive, readers are indicating specific interests. This information helps publishers market seminars, conferences, books and videos via e-mail as well.

For b-to-b publishers, advertisers are natural candidates for tapping into the publication’s e-mail and postal channels while they’re running print campaigns. All promotions can direct readers to a landing page where visits are tracked by source of lead: ad, direct mail or e-mail. In addition, with decreased print advertising spending, providing access to e-mail contacts can facilitate retention and revenue growth.

Multi-title publishers can offer cross-sections of e-mail contacts across all titles to general b-to-b marketers who need data such as job title, type of company and products purchased. Formerly only available on the postal file, this data now becomes selectable on e-mail records as part of a multichannel database.

During third-party campaigns, the publisher posts Web pages that show click-throughs in real time. Outside marketers using the database can access that information and download names of responders as they come in, along with telephone number and demographic data. Leads can then be followed up by telephone, e-mail and postal touch points.

Of course, the cornerstone of multichannel database programs is the ability to obtain permission-based e-mails. Marketers must contact each customer with relevant messages to maintain the relationship. Newsletters must impart valuable information and not appear promotional. Special offers should have real value and match the customer’s needs.

The b-to-b arena is where e-mail marketing can be put to effective use that benefits the list owner, its customers, and outside marketers—a win-win-win proposition.

Mitchell Rubin is president of Applied Info Group, a b-to-b multichannel database services company. Rubin can be reached at [email protected].

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