When I first talk with clients about emarketing strategy I often hear that they don't have access to the data they need to implement a targeted nurturing program. Their eyes get big and glazed and they look like Bambi in the cross hairs.
One of the things we forget as marketers is that our own status quo gets in our way as much as the status quo stance of our prospects. It's time for marketers to turn the focus to themselves for a moment and consider how they can free themselves to "just do it.
"Information overload is pervasive. Not just for prospects and customers, but for marketers. Our customer data may be in silos we can't access-spread across the enterprise. But, unless you've been marketing in a vacuum, you've got access to enough data to stick your toe into producing a targeted campaign.
In a white paper written by Elana Anderson and Scott Olrich of Responsys, Marketing Beyond Status Quo, they measured a range of marketing campaigns and found a huge difference in the results of targeted email communications vs. broadcast. "Based on this data, targeting resulted in 15% lift in unique open rate, 64% lift in unique click through rate, and 43% lift in clicks per open."But what's also clear is that waiting to get all your data perfect means you're missing opportunities.
The problem with working for perfection in today's fast-paced environment is that it isn't likely to happen. By the time your idea of perfection is created, the measuring stick will have shifted. Instead, take a look at what you have available now. If you've been using email campaigns and tracking clicks and opens for a while, chances are you have enough to get started. Evaluate your data and see if you can segment your database by any of these factors:
Topic: If you've sent a number of emails on a variety of topics, can you cull a list of the prospects who clicked through on a specific topic and generate several campaigns focused on giving each group more information about the subject that interested them enough to respond?
Industry: Just targeting by industry and focusing content on issues related to the industry they work in can gain higher response rates.Roles and Titles: The types of issues that concern an executive level prospect differ greatly from those that interest a line of business manager.
Even if you target that executive as a decision maker, don't overlook creating campaigns that address the needs of those who influence the way that decision is made. If you don't have even this rudimentary level of insight at hand, don't panic. Here's one way to get started:Take a look at your most recent customers and learn what problems they were solving when they selected your product. Make sure it's from their perspective.Pick two or three issues and create an email newsletter with a link to an article about each problem-to-solution scenario.
Assign the click throughs based on topic selection into groups and send each group 3 - 5 communications targeted to that subject and monitor the results.Continue to expand your groups and interest segments as you can develop the content to address them. Continually evaluate results, discarding topics that don't work and trying new ones. Keep asking sales for insights about what issues they're hearing about on the street. Don't give up too soon.
When you have to choose a minimum to get started, always lean toward choosing what you think has the best chance of providing insights that will help you determine topical interest around problem-to-solution scenarios. A VP is a VP. A guy interested in how to solve an issue your product addresses has a higher propensity to respond-VP or not. And, you have a higher chance of being relevant if you know what that interest is.
There are a lot of other things you can do, but the point is to pick something you can get started with today. Add more elements as you move forward. Refine and tweak continuously. Think iteratively. You'll make measurable progress. Based on the lift data for targeted campaigns, can you afford not to figure out how to Just Do It?
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