As flexible work schedules and working-from-home become more prevalent, marketing plans must become more diverse and channels more integrated. Finding an effective methodology for planning and measuring your multi-channel marketing budget is more critical now than ever before. In response to the changing landscape, the most effective marketers have pivoted from asking where to spend their next marketing dollar to on whom.
As digital channels have matured, targeting a consistent audience with a consistent message has become increasingly important, but also more difficult. At the same time, assessing the performance of our marketing efforts has become even more of a challenge. We have tested attribution models, spent long nights attempting to compare ROAS from a PPC campaign to $/piece from a postal campaign, and rarely have our efforts yielded much clarity. Our attempts compare performance from one channel to another have not only proved futile, but led us to some poor decisions.
Using their customer as a guide, B2B marketers are developing campaigns across channels with confidence. Armed with the relative value of their customers (or potential customers), they are focusing their energy on building audiences that allow then to identify consistent audiences, personas, across channels. In doing so, these marketers have found the key to unlocking multi-channel success – the ability to confidently align marketing spend and expected return.
We routinely see that prospects receiving both a direct mail piece and multiple email touches are 20-40% more likely to respond than those receiving only direct mail. We have measured similar increases in performance when programmatic display is added to email or direct mail efforts. We have maximized PPC with custom audiences and found that well targeted social media campaigns can work in the B2B space.
Now, as we look to navigate the uncertain waters ahead, it is becoming clear that tapping this customer-centric approach is not just an opportunity, but a necessity. These five steps can have you building more successful campaigns in no time:
- Develop B2B Customer Personas & Assess Long Term Value – Utilize 3rd party firmographic and activity data to not only better understand your current customers, but to target others just like them. Segmenting your customers using external data allows you to build profiles for your best (and worst) targets.
- Assess Annual & Long Term Value – Developing personas is not simply a matter of appending an SIC or employee size to your customer file, but identifying the segments and attributes that help differentiate customer value. Understanding what each buyer in a given persona is expected to spend downstream is paramount in your ability to align marketing effort with return.
- Align Value & Spend – Personas allow you to focus spend on the targets most likely to provide positive return. A customer-centric approach allows marketers to reduce the spend on the sites and contacts providing the least value, instead of cutting budget by channel. The result? Less wasted marketing, improved performance, and a growing customer file.
- Test & Analyze Across Channels – Personas provide common targeting criteria that can be leveraged in postal, email, display, social media, and even PPC/shopping. This cross-channel targeting allows for a unified approach, enhanced testing, and results you can trust. Holdout tests are simplified and results expedited. No longer does testing require putting revenue from your best customers/prospects at risk.
- Manage the Data and Optimize Efforts – Building and maintaining a database of audiences, promotion history, and performance allows marketers to fully realize the value of a customer-centric approach. While not a pre-requisite, a marketing-specific database allows for seamless integration across channels, enhanced reporting, and the development of continuous feedback loop.
The path to improved marketing leads right back to where it always has… your customers. It is time to start letting them lead you to success.
Senior Vice President
Database Marketing Audience Targeting