EMC’s ‘uber-integration’ database marketing

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Storage vendor EMC Corp. has 3 million leads in its database. While that’s an impressive number, it can be a burden—especially because that database contains leads from several companies EMC acquired.

Reaching different verticals with different products isn’t easy, said John A. Smits, global director-database marketing and segmentation. “You can’t just sell general storage offerings. You need to sell to a specific person with a specific solution,” Smits said.

That means tailoring product messaging for specific customer problems. Because EMC has seven to 10 key topics that are common to all its messaging, tailored content is even more important.

Webinars lead the way
The best way to reach the right person at the right time with the right information is to give the potential customer a visual demonstration, Smits said.

At EMC, those demonstrations come in the form of “dozens” of weekly webinars. The trick is getting the right prospects to the right webinars, Smits said.

EMC achieves that goal by narrowly segmenting its list for webinar invitations as well as general e-mail marketing. While this segmentation data comes from a variety of sources, the most important feed is a prospect’s previous interactions with the EMC Web site and EMC salespeople.

“This is uber-integration,” Smits said. “Whether we’ve captured them at a trade show or we’re looking at which stories they’ve read in [the company’s e-mail newsletter] ‘My EMC Insight,’ everything is dynamically created and disseminated.”

In past years, EMC targeted prospects based on their position in an information life cycle. “Now, we’re targeting based on pain points,” Smits said. “We’re giving them specific product information based on the business problems they are looking to solve.”

Specifically, EMC tracks when someone attends its webinars, went to a trade show and responded to a teleconference about a specific topic. “That information helps us deliver the right message,” Smits said. So, for example, if someone attends a webinar about virtualization and then reads an article in the newsletter about virtualization implementation, he or she might receive a webinar invitation for those people who are further along in the buying process. Likewise, if someone is reading about security products, it’s fairly unlikely they would receive an invitation to look at a new virtualization product launch, Smits said.

EMC has also started segmenting its list by contacts as well as company, using Dun & Bradstreet information to augment its own data about customers.

Segmentation success
The results of the new approach have been positive. Webinar registrations are up 30% since the new segmentation went into effect. Far more important, though, is the fact that 50% of all webinar attendees go on to ask for more information about EMC’s products.

The strategy also works when it comes to e-mail marketing and EMC’s e-mail newsletter.

Based on list segmentation and dynamically created content, every lead and customer in the e-mail database can, in theory, get a different newsletter, Smits said. Maybe that’s what accounts for what he called EMC’s “extremely low” unsubscribe rate.

“Every demand generation ends with, ‘Would you like to hear more?’ Post-webinar, [those data are] sent to the CRM program where they are processed as live leads,” Smits said. “We’re giving people content that they are interested in and that they find it valuable.”

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