What is b2b marketing? – Part II

Following on from my first post on B2B marketing, broadly speaking there are five main elements to consider when creating your marketing campaign.
1 Create a single view of your customer
Sound …

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8th April 2008 at 5:54 pm

Following on from my first post on B2B marketing, broadly speaking there are five main elements to consider when creating your marketing campaign.

1 Create a single view of your customer

Sound complicated? Its not really, this is a term commonly used to describe the end result of having as much information as possible about your existing customers and prospective new ones. Just knowing what a business does isn’t enough to contact them and intelligently demonstrate that you understand their business. Let me put it into context for you. The chances are that your organisation has lots of different systems that hold information about customers – whether billing, provisioning, customer services or products.  Sometimes these systems hold lots of different accounts for customers too.   The chances are also that these systems don’t talk to each other – but wouldn’t it be great if you could get a holistic view about customers by combining all of the information you have about customers into one view.  Doing this places the information into a context that allows you to understand their behaviour more easily.

2 Build a prospect database

Don’t be put off by the word ‘database’ this doesn’t have to be a horribly complicated piece of software that only those qualified to work at NASA are able to comprehend. A database is a simply a place that is used to store information about future customers, in a format that makes it easy to interrogate, retrieve and manipulate details. A prospect database – or prospect pool – will require some up front investment, but this will more than payback in delivering new business to you over time.

3 Develop customer and prospect insights

Your customer database – now in a single customer view – will intrinsically contain a greater value than before. It actually contains a wealth of information that will answer all of the questions you, as a marketer; if you know how to unlock it. This information will give you a crucial understanding about customers from purchasing behaviour, to which customers are the most valuable, what they buy, which others will become the most valuable over time and which are the customers that are likely to defect. This intelligence helps you to understand which prospects to target and what to expect when you do.  When you start to implement your marketing campaign, build on this information with the responses from the marketing material you have sent out (direct mail, e-mail, telephone, etc.) as this will help you identify and target existing customers and prospects with far greater relevance (in B2B marketing relevance is king!)

4 Formulate a retention and acquisition programme

When talking about retention and acquisition you’ll often come across the phrases CRM (customer relationship management), PRM (prospect relationship management) and/or CEM (customer experience management). You might be reading and think you have absolutely no idea what it all means, which is totally understandable so don’t panic. The best thing you can do is to use the information and insight you’ve already collected to work out what your existing clients want, what your prospects want and how you can satisfy their needs.

5 Maximise the return on investment (ROI)

ROI, otherwise know as the holy grail of marketing. This is the bit that really matters to your business’ bottom line. How can you make sure that the time and resources you’ve put into planning pays off? Knowing which medium / channel will have the greatest impact e-mail, direct mail, telephone, mobile, sales promotion, field marketing, experiential marketing, events. The fact that B2B marketers are now starting to realise the potential the internet is presenting is allowing SME’s a truly cost effective way of marketing products and services.

I’ve only just scratched the surface of B2B marketing but I hope this has given you some food for thought to grow successful and, most importantly, profitable businesses.

Simon Lawrence

Simon is the founder and CEO of Information Arts one of the UK's leading business-to-business marketing consultancies set up in 2000. Simon has over 17 years experience within the industry and is widely regarded as a leading expert in businesses marketing to other businesses. http://www.information-arts.com/

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  1. Simos says:

    Interesting post – would be interested in getting some information based on your experience about which online avenues can prove effective for B2B marketing

  2. Hi Simos,

    Thanks for your comment.

    The internet has become such a major resource for research that your website will make your first impression for you, so you must make sure it is content rich and updated regularly. Forgive me if this sounds basic but it’s important that you have an interesting and informative website that’s quick to access, easy to navigate and most importantly, kept up to date. I’m sure you’ll agree there’s nothing worse than discovering a website that looks great and then finding that it was last updated two years ago! By having a wealth of information, such as downloadable white papers, newsletters, a media area, blog, webinar, podcasts, etc… that visitors register to access, you can track access and usage of the site through a web analytic package. This will not only let you see how effective your website is but also gives you the opportunity to open a dialogue with a possible prospect and help you build a database (as long as all participants have opted in).

    But it’s all well and good having this information on your website but if nobody can find your site then what’s the point? By having key word rich content (specific to words and phrases that your prospective clients / journalists search for) will make sure that you’re always there near the top of the search page. But to proactively drive traffic to your website your best bet is to consider a targeted direct mail campaign as this will give prospects the prompted needed visit your site.

    I’ve only outlined the basic avenues here, but you’ve given me inspiration for my next blog posting so watch this space…

    Simon

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