Each year, millions companies spend on business marketing strategies that involve one-off ads or direct mail pieces that may win awards, but generate few sales. The reason? Most often, this type of direct marketing campaign does not reach qualified prospects.
It’s natural to assume that the bigger and flashier the direct marketing campaign, the greater the sales results. But such large-scale pushes typically leave out the essential steps of qualifying leads and nurturing prospects until they are ready to buy.
By shifting from costly single media campaigns to a highly targeted direct marketing campaign that uses a mix of media, companies can build awareness with prospects over time. As an added advantage, by the time the prospect is ready to be engaged, you’ve already gathered important information about the individual and the organization that can help to close the sale.
The most successful companies blend multiple media―phone, direct mail, e-mail, and personalized Web pages―into a coordinated business marketing strategy. When you employ a mixed-media direct marketing campaign, each tactic should support the others.
For example, e-mails should play off traditional mailings. Collateral should reinforce what you’re telling your sales prospects on the phone. And Web marketing should support all these activities. In other words, consistency should be a key element. Unify your messages and carry a common theme across all your touch points to deliver the greatest impact and resonance with your business marketing strategy.
With a multitouch direct marketing campaign, it’s likely that some of your best prospects will turn out to be those who have been contacted five or six times by voice mail, e-mail, and direct mailings. These touches may take place over a period of months or even a year before an actual conversation takes place. The lesson is that executives often don’t respond until their need for a solution to a problem has escalated, so don’t give up on this type of business marketing strategy too early! It’s also why prospecting requires patience and persistence.
Many executives will save your e-mails or letters and eventually self-qualify for your product or service. Sometimes they respond to a communication from weeks earlier, or they call when your latest direct marketing campaign touch point coincides with their timing window.
Conversely, this also represents one of the biggest problems for one-off ads: If the ad’s timing does not overlap with the prospect’s exact window for buying, the ad ends up having little effect on sales. A multitouch, multimedia business marketing strategy helps keep your solution top of mind, longer.
One word of warning―any direct marketing campaign is doomed to fail unless it is built on a solid prospect database that is both accurate and properly segmented. By using market intelligence to identify and target the highest-return segments, you can zero in on only the best names (the most likely buyers) instead of simply all names. This also makes it possible to improve sales performance while actually decreasing marketing costs.
A direct marketing campaign that uses multiple touch points to reinforce messaging while also building a rapport over time can help you to get more for your marketing dollar. In fact, in my experience working with b-to-b companies, I’ve discovered that this type of multitouch, multimedia campaign can increase sales results―often by more than 65%.
Dan McDade is the founder/president of PointClear, a business prospect outsourcing company based in Norcross, GA.