True B2B marketing success depends on what you don’t see.


As a B2B marketing copywriting specialist, my readers might think I’d lay it on thick about the importance of the copy and design in B2B marketing messages — emails, content, direct mail, landing pages, product brochures and more.

Copy and design are both important elements in B2B marketing. They’re physical parts that B2B marketers can share with CMOs, CIOs, product managers, sales and others. They are marketing elements that can be revised, enhanced, and can make marketers feel as though they’ve made a difference in the outcome of their B2B marketing programs.

Copy and design, however, are not the most important elements in the success of B2B marketing — data is.

I’ve written about this before, but, all too often, I come in contact with clients and prospects that spend a large percentage of their time and money on copy and design and virtually nothing on data. Most have bought and use Salesforce.com, CRM programs, marketing automation programs and more. But how much time are they spending on the data that is contained in those programs?

  • Has it been updated and verified?
  • Has it been enhanced with information from data providers?
  • Has it been profiled?

Getting the right message to the right person ALWAYS enhances response rates — more than rewriting the same #$%^%# paragraph five times. The more B2B marketers know about their buyers and prospects, the more effective all their marketing will be.

Once a company has invested in marketing automation, sending emails appears to be virtually free. It’s actually quite costly when considering a company’s reputation. When B2B marketers send off-target messages to their prospect base, it appears as though they don’t know what they’re doing.

Here are three tactics B2B marketers can take with their in-house customer and prospect data that are more important than anything else they do. These steps may be costly, but each is an essential investment in the success of all future marketing and sales efforts:

  1. Update and Verify Data: Hire a temp or a telemarketing firm (I personally like Business to Business Marketing) to place a call to every one of your prospect companies to verify names, titles, functional titles, mailing addresses, and other information that helps target communications with each one.
  2. Enhance Data: Data sources are available (D&B, infoUSA, ReachForce) that can append information to data such as annual sales, years in business, number of employees, headquarters vs. branches and more. There are also sources for less common information such as number of computers, software presence (Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Apple), building square footage, etc. While this data may not be perfect, it can help B2B marketers better target their marketing and sales efforts.
  3. Profile Buyers: B2B marketers can take their customer base and build a profile of size, SIC code, annual sales, etc. and rank them. This ranking profile can be used to identify marketing lists that will more likely contain qualified prospects. If the B2B company’s target universe is small, this is not cost effective. But for those with larger prospect pools it’s a valuable tool.

Data may not be as creative and touchable as copy and design, but unless it’s clear, up to date and accurate, the greatest copy and design will not generate results.

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4 Comments

  • By Geoff Vincent, March 12, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m a former D&B-er and much of what you outline were central to our selling proposition. The one I like the best is your #3, to profile buyers, to which I suggest one enhancement which is to profile your BEST customers and look for more that look like them.

  • By Nick Stamoulis, March 23, 2012 @ 6:50 am

    Data is important, as long as you are analyzing it correctly and using it to your advantage. Data is useless if you don’t know what you are looking for. At the same time, it’s important to not get too bogged down in the data, without using it to take action.

Other Links to this Post

  1. BizSugar.com — March 12, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  2. Best of B2B Marketing Zone for March 12, 2012 « Sales and Marketing Jobs — March 14, 2012 @ 7:15 am

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