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In The News
Direct Digital Marketing: Powerful B2C Tools for B2B Marketers

March 30, 2010

Published by Marketing Profs
Written by Josh Gordon


B2C marketers do not know how good they have it.

Although the definition of "the modern consumer" is always changing—and marketers are forced to change along with it—B2C marketers have a vast array of channels, methods, and approaches at their disposal to satisfy any number of marketing objectives.

B2C marketers expertly wield their tools and watch conversion rates jump and awareness efforts create demand. B2B marketers do not have the luxury of the large number of advanced tools that B2C marketers enjoy, because the two target audiences are so different.

Creating demand and generating leads in a B2B context requires extreme messaging precision—with a much-slimmer margin for error.

Direct Digital

What B2C marketers have as a distinct advantage is access to direct digital marketing—an addressable digital marketing method that delivers relevant marketing communications to specific individuals through the three primary digital channels: email, the Web, and mobile.

Traditional direct marketing efforts use a postal address to engage an individual while direct digital marketing uses an email address, a Web-browser cookie, and a mobile phone number.

Though direct digital marketing has evolved out of consumers' increasingly multichannel media consumption and technology-adoption habits, the basic principles and tools that comprise direct digital marketing function just as effectively in a B2B context.

Executing a sound direct digital marketing strategy yields tremendous value for B2B marketers because the discipline naturally gravitates toward the fundamental requirements of the B2B marketing environment: message relevance and multichannel marketing automation.

Traditionally, B2B marketers must do a great deal of heavy lifting to create a one-on-one interaction with a prospect. Generic email blasts, cold-calling, and direct mail are the most common tactics used to generate interest and move a prospect along the sales funnel.

Direct digital marketing leverages a connected multichannel prospect experience for improved engagement, while robust measurability enables sales personnel to skip steps in the sales cycle by qualifying prospect interest based on email interaction and website visits.

The signature characteristics of effective direct digital marketing are increased sales, brand loyalty, and customer retention. Each characteristic is a primary marketing objective regardless of the targeted audience.

A common multichannel direct digital marketing campaign sends a targeted email campaign to several distinct segments, sets a Web-browser cookie from the email, and then enables the sales and marketing organizations to evaluate how each segment interacts with the message. The evaluation informs improved marketing campaigns in the long term and drives real sales results in the near term.

Data Management

The foundation of effective direct digital marketing is in data management and universal data access.

Effective data management happens with a universal profile-management system that collects and stores prospects' known and online behavioral attributes.

A universal profile-management system is unique because of the amount of traditionally disconnected data points it stores and its unmatched ability to provide marketers with the necessary tools to easily turn data into effective marketing campaigns.

Universal data access is imperative because although marketers need data for demand generation, the sales team must have access to the same real-time data environment to understand which Web pages an identified or unidentified prospect is visiting.

When the sales team has access to more information—the same information the marketing team looks at—follow-up messages become more personal and relevant to the recipient.

Synchronization Between Marketing and Sales

Great data is vital for great marketing, but it's crucial for a great sales approach. For example, a marketing department creates several segments of data and then executes an email campaign with a different version of the creative for each segment.

The universal profile-management system records each email open and click. Because the segments live within the universal profile-management system, the same segments used to version the emails are also used to determine which website content appears when a prospect visits the website.

The above example illustrates how a marketing team can do its job in designing and executing a campaign that generates demand for the sales team. The sales team is able to understand exactly how each prospect interacted with the campaign and craft personal, relevant responses as a result.

A properly executed direct digital marketing campaign showcases the value of synchronization between the marketing and sales teams.

Direct digital marketing solutions are no longer exclusive to B2C marketers. B2B marketers must demand more from their marketing partnerships because the transference of traditionally B2C marketing approaches to B2B is possible—and direct digital marketing is the key.

Josh Gordon s the editor-in-chief of the popular direct digital marketing blog The Lunch Pail (lunchpail.knotice.com) and director of marketing at Knotice (www.Knotice.com), a direct digital marketing solutions company. Contact him at jgordon@knotice.com.


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