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Database Marketing : Up Close and Personal

7 ways to make your marketing campaigns personal across all channels

February 2014 By Carolyn Goodman
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3. Contextual Banner Ads
Position your banner ads in context. Instead of merely purchasing banner ads on the Google ad network and hoping a site visitor sees it and clicks, contextual ad systems present banners or pop-up ads based on the keywords used in the consumers original search. For example, a user searching for "Beautiful kitchens" can create results that, when clicked, include your display ad for stainless steel kitchen appliances.

4. Segmented Email Messaging
Match email list segments to relevant messaging for higher open and clickthrough rates. Imagine for a minute that you had a brick-and-mortar store (even if you only sell online). And then imagine how you'd approach prospects when they walked through your doors. Would you show a teenager one set of products, while you'd show a different set of products to a mother with a baby? That's exactly what AAA did when they tested a new membership retention strategy.

First, AAA conducted a short survey and then segmented its targets by life-stage: families with young kids vs. families with teens vs. adults without children in the household. Families with teens got messaging that encouraged them to use their AAA cards to get discounts on music, clothes, shoes and computers. Families with younger kids got messaging focusing on discounts on car seats, trikes, photo albums and scrapbooks. Families without children discovered deals at restaurants, entertainment and home accessories. While the card provides all these benefits to all its members, segmenting your audience and then repositioning benefits in a more meaningful way to those segments will increase email open and clickthrough rates.

5. One Size Doesn't Fit All
In the B-to-B world especially, you should never be talking to your prospects or customers as if they're all the same. Segmenting by industry type is the easiest and most obvious way to create content that is most useful and relevant to your various audiences.

Start by understanding your customer base or target audience; chances are they fall into about six broad industry types (identifying segments based on your sales force alignment is another good method). Within each industry segment, create case studies and whitepapers most relevant to that industry. Create separate pages on your website dedicated to each industry type, and constantly refresh them with new and relevant content. Consider having a blog on each industry page from a different thought leader in your organization, and look for ways to help increase awareness of that blogger by encouraging speaking at industry events. The more you can build believability about the blogger's knowledge and leadership in that thought leader's particular industry, the more likely you are to build brand awareness and interest.

6. Direct Mail Still WorksIf You Divide and Conquer
Many believe direct mail is dead. But quite the opposite is true, if you can create a compelling and relevant message to your target. Not unlike email, you need to slice and dice your audience into meaningful segments, and then craft a message that's relevant to that segment.

A recent B-to-B campaign for a software company helped keep the sales staff busy with follow-up meetings as the creative and benefit message zeroed in on one industry segment only.

7. Celebrate Milestones
Acknowledge and celebrate customer milestones. The simplest way of making a customer feel good about your brand is to recognize and reward key milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries or even the date of a first purchase. Starbucks always salutes its cardholders' birthdays by adding a free beverage to their cards, while many other brands mail out postcard or email coupons with a birthday "deal." Don't have this information in your database? It's easy to get from your customers with a short questionnaire—especially if you tell them you'd like to celebrate their day with them by giving them a special offer.

No matter whether you're in B-to-B or B-to-C marketing, think about the smartest ways you can segment your customer or prospect pool, and then create messaging that's more meaningful and more relevant. You should see an improvement in results.

Carolyn Goodman is president/creative director of San Rafael, Cali.-based multichannel direct response agency Goodman Marketing Partners. She also writes The Power Punch blog. Reach her at


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