In marketing’s old world (pre-2013), e-mail campaigns went to large lists that were developed to be as inclusive as possible. Low response rates were grudgingly accepted, with individual e-mails producing at most a few quality leads. For those whose names were in a B2B marketer’s database, that was a sure ticket to getting every message and offer, whether it addressed their needs or not.
Thankfully, the more-is-better, spray-and-pray mindset is fast approaching obsolescence as marketers recognize less (volume) yields more (quality), for their brands and the prospects they target.
In modern marketing (and specifically demand gen), campaigns benefit from prospect targeting by one or more criteria, individually or on a mix-and-match basis, to reach the right individual or company with the right offer. Those criteria include:
- Persona: professional and personal traits of prospective buyers documented to enable effective communication with them. Common personas cover line-of-business managers, financial executives and IT directors.
- Industry: vertical market in which an individual’s company competes.
- Geography: continent, country, region, state, or even city were a target is located.
- Company size: can be small, medium, large or any employee- or revenue-size classification a marketer uses to segment prospects and customers.
- Behavior or activity: prospects or buyers grouped by their “digital body language,” typically tied to content topics in emails, e-books, website pages, social media posts and more. A key additional data point is the timeframe in which actions were taken. A targeting request might be: “All prospects who have engaged with an IT security white paper from the website more than once in the past three months."
- Buying cycle (funnel) stage: prospects or buyers organized by their status – early, middle or late – in the process of evaluating and ultimately purchasing.
- Lead score: mathematical indicator of readiness to engage with sales based on points assigned for certain actions or levels of engagement.
Every form of targeting requires robust database management and list selection tools, as well as marketing automation to ensure messages are developed, targeted, delivered and analyzed for relevance and performance.
The benefits of targeting, as reported by B2B marketing clients and our lead-gen partners who use it extensively, are diverse.
Benefits start with fewer names per send, which translates to more economical use of the marketing database. Contacts are far less likely to be placed off limits due to email frequency rules because they aren’t receiving messages that aren’t relevant for them.
Next is accurate development and selection of content based on the targeted characteristics of those receiving offers. Good content and offers that speak directly to your targets lead to stronger ROI and…
Positive customer experience. Even those prospects who aren’t ready to make a purchase or be contacted by sales will remain receptive because they’re receiving communications that are of value to them. That means…
Sales is happy because the leads they do contact have had a good experience with your brand, and they’re not being contacted before they’re ready. More qualified leads who are contacted by sales at the optimal time are more likely to convert to sold business which is good for marketing because…
Despite generating a smaller number of leads, those leads are well qualified and conversion rates go up because the math is more favorable to marketers whose responsibility is to drive conversion.
Effective targeting yields great outcomes for sales, marketing budgets and marketing performance.
Time to start sharpening those arrows.