Susan K. Jones

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.

Ruth is a guest blogger at Biznology, the digital marketing blog. Email Ruth at, follow her on Twitter at @RuthPStevens, or visit her website,

To motivate business buyers, especially in digital, it helps to base your message on powerful, proven B-to-B copy platforms that encapsulate the key benefit to the prospect. They answer the questions, “Why should I care?” and “What’s in it for me?”

In the mad rush to get their multichannel marketing plans going full-steam, many companies lose sight of some multichannel fundamentals. “In a dysfunctional multichannel environment, everyone has a separate P&L, everyone is taking credit for each other’s sales, and no one understands where sales are coming from,” asserts Mark Swedlund, senior vice president of Haggin Marketing, a multichannel agency based in San Francisco. Here are three ways to get past the multichannel stumbling blocks: 1. Watch for siloed organizations. When the marketing people don’t talk to the sales people or the online folks don’t strategize with the offline bunch, trouble brews. Such trouble can

By Hallie Mummert The dangers of slowing your prospecting ... and strategies for bringing in new business Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention. But it's also the mother of action, for nothing breaks a pattern of inertia like dire consequences. A necessity for new names is the catalyst behind the recent uptick in prospecting activity witnessed in the list industry. After close to two years of working every last dollar out of their customer files, many marketers simply have nothing else to do but look for new customers. "The problem is," says Susan K. Jones, professor of marketing at Ferris

By Brian Howard In uncertain times, companies can't afford to waste money doing things the wrong way. Inefficiency, bad testing, simplistic segmentation and all-around sloppy application of direct mail principles can team up to make your black ink run red. In theory, you should always strive to use best practices, but when the economy is booming, there's a lot more wiggle room in the bottom line. But spotting where your mailing can be tightened up isn't necessarily the easiest of tasks, especially from inside your own organization. To quote Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) in "A League Of Their Own": "It's

By Brian Howard The year 2002 inspired many direct marketers to throw up their hands and yell "do over!" But would you really want to go through all that again? 2002—a perfect storm of sorts, where post-9/11 paranoia and an Anthrax scare converged on an already slumping economy—was terrible for many direct marketers. 2003 couldn't possibly be worse, could it? But simply turning the page on a bad year is not enough to exorcise its demons. As response rates to mailings once thought of as old standbys plummeted, direct marketers experienced something along the lines of vertigo. They were forced to think

As mailers look to squeeze more profitability out of every mailing, it might be a good time to consider testing the inclusion of a pass-along order form, at least to your best customers. A pass-along order form is simply an extra order form with some sales copy inserted into a solo direct mail campaign, in the hopes that the primary recipient will share the offer with a friend, family member or co-worker. According to Robert Lerose, a freelance copywriter in Uniondale, NJ, pass-along order forms tend to work best with your current customers who already have a relationship with you. Prospects may be

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