B-to-B: When Small Is Big
Most successful SMB marketers use each of these proactive channels. The weighting is typically 60 percent direct mail, 20 percent e-mail and 20 percent telemarketing, giving real meaning to the term multichannel marketing. This weighting often is a reflection of relative costs, as postal lists can range from $50/M to $150/M, and e-mail lists in the B-to-B sector often run as high as $350/M. Telemarketing names are twice the price of postal records, plus you have the high personnel costs related to making the calls.
In terms of ROI from these channels, many variables are in play. Are you mixing channels with a combination sequence such as mail, e-mail and phone, or phone, mail and phone? Finding the most effective combos and frequencies, with acceptable order costs, is a key to better results.
For example, consider segmenting the micros, smalls and mediums by the number of channels and frequency as follows: Micros receive one mail piece; smalls receive one mail piece with an e-mail follow-up; and mediums receive one mail piece, one e-mail and a phone call.
Other variations on this theme might call for mailing three people at a medium-size company, two at a small and one at a micro. Or seriously consider dropping the micro prospects given their low propensity to repeat purchase.
While many services and products can be sold mixing it up this way, getting to that understanding of what works best requires testing and retesting with good response analytics to guide the way.
4. Know How to Analyze Your Results for Meaningful Data and Successful Rollouts
As always, measurability is the trump card of direct marketing, but getting accurate analytics and intelligent interpretation of the results can be a challenge.
One of the most common traps we see marketers falling into is measuring the success of a campaign solely on the response rate. While a high response rate is thrilling, measured alone it often is prelude to serious failure down the road. We call it the "one and done" syndrome—the first order is the last. As much as 90 percent of responses from SMBs are afflicted by this syndrome. So while a popular offer is bagging great response rates, it is fated to produce minimal lifetime value and a poor ROI. What to do? Concentrate on measuring average orders, second orders and cross-sell propensity. These are the metrics that allow you to segment and target the highest potential prospects amid a vast universe.