The 10 Commandments of B-to-B (917 words)
by Bob Hacker
B-to-B marketers continue to shift considerable resources toward direct marketing, both online and off-line. The rationale is a nearly universal mantra:
The good news about direct marketing is that it's measurable.
But measurability is a two-edged sword, and there's a dangerous flip side to the direct marketing promise:
The bad news about direct marketing is that it's measurable.
When programs work, everybody takes the victory lap. When programs fail, the program manager takes the fall, no matter how much "help" he or she receives from other team members. Much of the help others give is personal opinion, rather than professional judgment. You constantly hear things like, "that doesn't send me," or "I wouldn't respond to that"—all from people who don't even qualify to purchase the product.
You can defend yourself from the well-meaning interference of others and reduce your chances of error dramatically by avoiding the mistakes others have made. Just follow these 10 b-to-b direct marketing commandments—professional, not personal, judgments proven in head-to-head testing.
Lists are not an inventory item.
Too often, lists are treated like an inventory item, not a key strategic component of the campaign. The first and perhaps the most important thing to do is to research the available list universes and put together the best list targeting possible. Then do the best job you can of defining the key emotional drivers within each segment. For example, a CEO may have very different concerns than a CIO or a CFO. You can't start the creative process until you know what makes these people tick.
Avoid objective pile on.
The kiss of death for a direct marketing campaign often starts with the seemingly innocent statement, "As long as we're already talking to them, why don't we . . ." Just say no! If the goal of a campaign is to generate a lead, that should be the sole objective. When you add additional objectives—increased company or product knowledge are good examples—response rates go down. Add even more objectives, response rates go down again.