Posts filed under ‘Multi-Channel Marketing’

Setting B2B Marketing Strategies

Your question: In our freight forwarding business, we have just set up our marketing department. What would be our first step after recruiting sales executives?

My answer: What an excellent position to find yourself in! You’re starting up sales and marketing strategies from the ground up. It’s your opportunity now to set yourself up for success. Here are some of the first things I would consider:

  • Align your sales and marketing teams immediately. I’ve seen so many instances where sales and marketing are not aligned, and it really hurts both marketing and sales. Since you’re starting from scratch, this is your opportunity to build a sales/marketing team that works together; one that shares common goals and actually communicates with each other. For example, you can let both teams determine when a lead should be passed along to sales—where marketing’s activities end and sales begins. They can build a system from the ground up that determines where Marketing’s expertise should be used and where sales skills should be maximized. This alignment of sales and marketing will reap you huge benefits down the road when you see sales exceed their goals and marketing truly supporting the sales effort with solid lead generation activities.
  • Develop sound lead generation strategies: A key first step would be to develop marketing strategies focused on generating qualified leads so your new sales folks can hit the ground running.   Some tactics I would consider would be:
    a.  Generation of interesting content: White Papers, How-to documents, Case Studies—any type of information that your prospects would find interesting. And, it needs to be interesting enough that they will give you their contact info in order to receive it.
    b.  Make sure that your website is optimized so that your prospects can find you. Work with a search engine specialist and make sure that you are easy to find in your product/service category. Of course, once the prospect is visiting your website, make it easy to find your white papers and other give-aways so that you can start collecting prospect information and start programs to turn those prospects into leads for sales.
    c. Along these lines, you’ll need to reach key prospects to tell them about your services. Depending on your marketing budget, consider the various channels that make sense for your business. Consider direct mail programs, print advertising, industry online newsletter sponsorships, outbound teleprospecting etc. Develop a multi-channel strategy that allows you to cost-effectively reach your target audience. Plus it sets the stage for continuous learning so that you can refine strategies over time.

Good luck with your new marketing department!

November 19, 2008 at 8:02 pm 1 comment

Direct Marketing for Luxury Brands

Q:  How can luxury retail brands evolve marketing strategy to more targeted direct marketing instead of broadbased above the line advertising?

A: While it does appear that many luxury retail brands ignore targeted direct marketing, many (shall we call them the ‘smart brands?) don’t.

Think about luxury auto-makers.  They typically have sophisticated direct/database marketing strategies in-place.  They spend a large amount of marketing dollars maintaining a direct relationship with buyers of their vehicles.  They send, for example, elaborate direct mail packages featuring their new cars to their current customers.  Why?  Because especially with automobiles, loyalty is so very important.  They know that owners of luxury autos will usually buy a new car pretty quickly and they’re quite loyal, IF they appreciate the car they own.  So, manufacturer from Lexus to Cadillac to Rolls Royce all employ direct marketing as a way to retain customers and build loyalty.

Other luxury retailers are also heavy users of direct response.  Think of Tiffany’s catalog (and I don’t think you can get more high-end than Tiffany, can you?).  Or, the excellent efforts by Sur La Table, the up-scale cooking supplies retailer that actually evolved from the catalog industry. Nordstroms (arguably the most broad-based high-end department store) has a long history in using direct marketing–from its catalog to its consumer credit card direct mail efforts.

So, I guess my point is–high end retail brands can, and do, use direct marketing as part of their strategic marketing mix.

As a direct marketing advocate, I see the luxury market as ripe for direct response tactics.

  • This group (while, sadly, typically unresponsive…) is easy to target, using both compiled and vertical mailing lists. For example, you can easily select consumers with high net worth or people who own expensive homes from the leading compiled lists (think Acxiom or Experian’s consumer files).  You can also rent lists of people who’ve purchased high-end products or who subscribe to the right magazines, using vertical lists. If you’re a financial marketer, you can even delve into rich people’s credit history to target the exact buyer who can actually affort your service.  Hence, prospecting opportunities are wide open.
  • If you can capture buyers’ name, address and email (and you really should start thinking about tactics to allow this), you have the ability, then, to build your own database and start your own dialogue with your customers.  As a side benefit, you can use data mining, modeling and profiling tactics to really understand your customers.  This knowledge, by the way, can be translated to prospecting efforts, too.

In summary, it’s my firm belief that any business can benefit from incorporating direct marketing tactics into their marketing mix. Whether it’s a social marketing campaign created to boost sales of a high-end, luxury liquor line, or a sophisticated direct mail package designed to retain and up-sell current customers, the opportunities are endless to incorporate measurable direct marketing tactics into your overall marketing mix.

And, at the end of the campaign, won’t it be nice to show your CEO how much profits their marketing dollars have generated?  Now, that’s the real beauty of direct marketing, especially in this tough economy.

July 24, 2008 at 10:30 pm 1 comment

How Do I Convince Large Corporations to Use Me?

Q:  I am a direct marketing consultant specializing in creative and print services.  While I’m a small firm, I spend a lot of time with my clients making sure that they are happy with the services that I provide them. How do I get in the door of large corporations that traditionally work with really large agencies?   How do I convince them to trust me as a small business to even get the first meeting?

A:  What a conundrum . . . and one that we are VERY familiar with.  As small consultancy firms, this always presents a dilemma.  Here are a few things that we’ve done to break through and get large companies to listen to us:

  1. Use your network.  If you know ANYONE who knows ANYONE within the company that you’re targeting, use that person to get you an introduction in to the marketing folks.  If you’re like us, once you get in and talk to the actual client, you usually get the gig or at least an opportunity down the road.  If you need to build up your network, try to figure out where your target audience hangs out and go there.  One great venue for us has always been the Direct Marketing Association’s Annual Conference.  We never attend one of these conferences without ending up with some business.   In addition, look at other local association meetings where your target companies may be involved on the board — i.e., the local DMA or AMA — and start to attend those meetings so that you can introduce yourself and start to build the relationship.
  2. Partner with other direct marketers.  One of the things that we’re trying now is to partner with other direct marketers who offer services that we don’t.  So, you’d be a perfect partner.  We don’t do printing or creative services.  Our niche is in data and analytics.  So, work with people like us who offer complimentary services to what you offer.  Why do this? (A) the other firm may have contacts where you don’t have them and vice versa and (B) you are able to present more comprehensive service offerings this way — as opposed to just your own.
  3. Practice what we preach:  We are all direct marketers, right?  Use the principles of direct marketing to make yourself appear just as professional and talented as those big guys.  Let’s face it, some of the bigger agencies don’t present themselves all that well.  Take a hard look at your website, your marketing materials, your blog, your e-marketing messages . . . the whole shebang.  Make certain that you are presenting a package that would appeal to any business — regardless of size.  Use multi-channel marketing to get the word out about your superior services.  We tell our clients to do this and sometimes forget to do it ourselves!

We hope that these three ideas provide you with a framework of how to tackle that next large corporation.  Good luck!

April 24, 2008 at 9:21 pm 1 comment

Marketing of Vacation Properties

Q: I am looking for information about the marketing and branding methods of Intrawest. I also need information about on how diversity (at either the intra-corporate level or between the firm and its customer base) affects Intrawest. Any information would be very helpful. Thank you.

A: For those readers who may not be aware of Intrawest, they are “a world leader in the development and management of experiential destination resorts” (from their website). Their Club Intrawest division essentially offers partial ownership (time shares) at their resort locations.

In regards to marketing, while we do not have specific experience working with Intrawest, we have worked with similar firms on direct marketing campaigns. Time share companies rely a great deal on outbound telemarketing and direct mail campaigns to generate leads and/or visits to their locations. For example, Marriott Vacations uses credit pre-screen services to pre-qualify people who are affluent enough, and have enough credit to purchase their properties. They’ll pre-approve people and extend a ridiculously great offer to incent the right consumers to visit a high-end resort, always at a very low price. The catch to the consumer–they are required to hear the timeshare sales pitch.

Other time share firms use outbound telemarketing to drive qualified prospects to visit their resort (and hear the sales pitch, of course).

For information on marketing specific to Intrawest, I found an article from DMN Directives, the newsletter of a Canadian leading direct marketing trade association that reviewed their direct and interactive marketing approach. From the article: “A combined direct mail, digital marketing campaign invited people to an online contest where they could win a weekend vacation at a beautiful mountain retreat in Quebec. It attracted high response and more than 7,500 sales leads into vacation real estate properties for Intrawest’s Playground International.” Check out the entire article for more details.

You’ve also asked about how diversity affects Intrawest. This is a bit tough to answer since we don’t have specific connections with Intrawest. Our research has shown, however, that employee diversity seems to be a key corporate initiative. This is evidenced by a recent hiring of a senior level Human Resources executive, who has extensive diversity program background and experience. You can check out the January, 2008 press release that talks about the hire.

April 9, 2008 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Is Telemarketing Dead?

Q:  Are companies still doing outbound telemarketing?  I know that since I’m on the Federal Do Not Call list, I personally don’t receive many phone calls, but I’m wondering if marketers are still using telemarketing.

A:  Believe it or not, telemarketing remains a viable channel for many direct marketers.  In fact, response rates and ROI from telemarketing remain strong.  Of course, the big issue in this industry is that it’s hard to come by enough phone numbers to make a campaign worthwhile.  So many people have signed up on the DNC list that quantities of phone-able records are pretty tiny.

With that said, I’d definitely consider telemarketing as part of your multi-channel mix.

January 23, 2008 at 10:12 pm 8 comments

Understanding the ROI of your Channel

Q: I keep hearing that using direct mail is passe. I know it seems to be expensive. Should I consider using other channels instead?
A: Yes and no. Direct mail can be expensive, but if the ROI proves that it more than pays for itself (in other words, you’re making more than you’re spending on the direct mail program), than you should definitely include DM. However, we believe in using a multi-channel approach when it makes sense. You should consider testing e-mail, telemarketing, and any other channel that reaches your target market. Again, there’s no one answer and no magic bullet. Test in small volumes (so you’re not wasting tons of money if the test doesn’t work) and you’ll find channels and markets that work for you.

January 21, 2008 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment


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