Today, one of the great challenges facing B-to-B marketers is finding ways to enlarge the universe of responsive prospects. This problem has been exacerbated by fewer new B-to-B buyer lists coming onto the market and by the shrinking size of many existing B-to-B buyer lists, the inevitable consequence of smaller prospect mailings.
When counseled to look more closely at testing compiled lists to find new universes, B-to-B marketers often meet this suggestion with skepticism: “Compiled lists don’t pull nearly as well as buyer and subscriber lists,” or, “Compiled lists aren’t as deliverable as buyer hotlines,” they reply. Frankly, both of these statements generally are true. However, they also reflect the thinking of a circulation planner who may have closed his or her mind to new ideas that can dramatically improve the results obtainable from compiled lists.
To help you put your idea incubator back in business, here are four ideas that can make B-to-B compiled lists and data work as you never thought they could.
1. Use more than one compiled list source. One of the dramatic epiphanies I have had while in the list business involved the completely counter-intuitive discovery that the two leading business universe compilers share only 70 percent of the same business listings. Suffice it to say that if you are using one compiler with success, you should be mailing at least one other compiler, too. That’s the equivalent of adding up to 30 percent more names to your prospect universe.
2. Get deeper into prospective buying sites with title slugging. This strategy is appropriate when your product offering could appeal to multiple targets within a company. For example, if your product line contains maintenance products for use in manufacturing environments that experience lubricant spills, you have quite a few good prospect titles to target within a site: safety manager, production manager, manufacturing director, purchasing manager, etc. If a site has fewer than 50 employees, you might want to mail only one or two titles; at sites with 100-plus employees, you should test all applicable titles. I have seen marketers segment companies into as many as five buckets, mailing anywhere from one title per smaller company up to six titles for larger firms. Note also that in companies with 50 or fewer employees, you always should test the title of president or owner—he or she often opens the mail.