Market Focus: Office Supplies Buyers
Volpe advises that tracking down office supplies buyers is best done via known-buyer files. “If it’s a straight, compiled file, the buyer information is inferred rather than known,” and adds that “direct response/compiled masterfiles with a ‘buyers’ select should perform on a par with the known-buyers files.”
As an aside, her advice is to mail to only one or two contacts per site. Any more could have a negative effect, i.e., a busy mailroom might toss it.
Micalizio says Office Depot’s direct marketing strategy “consists of offline media such as catalogs and direct mail, telephone account managers, and online marketing.” B-to-B buyers often are buying in large quantities and want their selections delivered to their office, so many of Office Depot’s corporate buyers purchase via its Web site and call centers. However, the occasional office supply emergency is bound to come up. “Our retail channel caters to small customers all the way up to very large customers who have a same-day need,” she explains.
Volpe says, “Recency is one way to help target or predict when there will be a need for more product. Based on employee size and annual sales volume, mailers can make some learned guesses how paper products, service contracts for office equipment and other basic supply needs will be ordered and when the need for more will arise.” According to Volpe, most companies are looking to spend in October, when the fiscal year is up and a new budget is in place. She says marketing to them at this time, using a recency select, has a major effect on how well a campaign will perform.
Where’s the Motivation?
While office supplies buyers are, in fact, easily motivated to buy, they need added incentive to buy from you specifically. The best way to prompt them to purchase from you? Don’t assume that because they’re business buyers, they won’t respond to the same stimuli as consumers.