Before the Internet, B-to-B direct marketing must have been a snap. Think about it: for customer acquisition, direct mail was the only game in town. All you needed to do was create compelling offers, buy or rent decent lists, send out the mail and get results. Once the campaign was over, crunch the numbers, pick the best offer and find better lists. It all came down to looking at how much it cost to acquire each customer and how much each customer was worth.
Well, of course it was a lot more complicated than that. But contrast that with what today's direct marketers face—a broad array of marketing choices, most of which didn't exist 20 years ago—and it seems simplistic. Direct Mail. Email. Display. Search Engine Marketing (paid and organic). Social CRM … Today's list is staggering and grows constantly. And to add more complexity, let's face it, we're living in an age of shrinking marketing budgets that force marketers to do more with less and spread it across more and more channels. No wonder the average tenure of a CMO is so short. In fact, according to a recent AdAge column, chief marketing officers have a shorter average tenure than NFL coaches, with barely two years before they are gone. Ouch.
Given the situation, it's not surprising that many B-to-B marketers are turning lock-stock-and-barrel to email, while scaling back or eliminating their traditional marketing channels, particularly direct mail. While email marketing can be highly effective, employing an email only strategy is both limiting and short-sighted. Contrary to popular belief, direct mail is not dead yet. In fact, direct mail remains a highly effective and powerful tool in every direct marketer's arsenal—and is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Let's get this straight: I love email marketing. In fact, I used to work as an interactive media buyer and I've brokered deals that have pushed out tens of millions of emails across both B-to-B and B-to-C channels. Over the years, I've used email marketing to generate bucketloads of high-quality leads and sold millions of dollars in goods and services for my customers. But, while email marketing can be relatively inexpensive and highly effective tool, it's not a silver bullet and should not replace other channels in your marketing mix. Think of email marketing as a tactic—one of many—that you should be using to reach out to your customers and prospects. There are several important reasons why.
Who’s Your Data? is a blog that aims to disseminate thought-provoking tips and techniques involving the use of data and database marketing to direct marketing professionals. Why should you care? Because implementing data best practices has been shown to lift response rates, improve analytics and enhance overall customer experience. Reader participation is encouraged!
Rio Longacre is a Sales & Marketing Professional with more than 10 years of experience in the direct marketing trenches. He has worked closely with businesses across many different vertical markets, helping them effectively leverage the use of data, personalization technologies and tracking platforms. Longacre is currently employed as a Managing Consultant, Marketing, Sales & Service Consulting at Capgemini Consulting, a premier management consulting firm. He is based in the company's New York City office, which is located in Midtown Manhattan. He has also previously worked as an online media buyer and digital marketing strategist.
Email Longacre below, or you can follow him on Twitter at @RioLongacre. Any opinions expressed are his own.