Direct Mail – been there, done that.
E-mail/E-news – testing and tweaking.
Relationship Marketing – let’s get personal.
I tend to put the above areas of B2B direct marketing into very general buckets. To me it’s kind of a “past/present/future” way to look at Direct. This is not exactly an accurate organization – all direct tactics can be effective if used correctly – but I’m always looking for “what’s next” when it comes to connecting with the audience.
What has changed for B2B direct marketing? Well if you’re a good marketer, you’ve moved beyond the “spray & pray” approach of yesteryear (i.e., mass mailings to huge lists) and the simple capturing of basic analytics for e-mail/e-news (so many opens, clicks, bounces). We now want to know exactly who our audience is, what they like, what they need, where they are in their decision and what their behavior might be to our reaching out to them.
In the interest of real pressures like saving money and generating leads, we want to whittle down the list into something workable, target the appropriate people in the right part of the buying process and hopefully integrate it into a CRM (customer relationship management) system so we can actually follow these people from attract, to interact to engage, to sale….continued cultivation and affinity start the process going all over again. Easier said than done in many cases, but it should be on your radar and an answer to “what’s next?” for Direct.
Most B2B marketers know direct mail and most are doing digital direct, but the real “Direct Next” conversation lies in funneling all that information into those wonderfully segmented, targeted and juicy “pre-qualified” leads so many marketers yearn to have. Once you get that database of names and start to market accurately as well as follow them through the sales cycle, you have a greater chance of keeping the audience/customer supplied with timely information, thereby keeping them coming back in a timely manner.