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B-to-B Marketing by Land and by E

By Mitchell Rubin, President, Applied Info Group, Inc.

Many of today's business-to-business marketers struggle with how to integrate postal and email marketing initiatives. These are the companies who most likely keep their postal addresses in one place and their email addresses in another. Simply put, their email databases are not talking to their postal databases.

It sounds logical, but for whatever reason, few B-to-B marketers maintain multi-channel databases. Many firms are tied into legacy databases that cannot accommodate email marketing data and historical transactions. Others launched Internet marketing initiatives in-house or through an outside vendor other than its database services provider without updating their postal databases with the email data.

Through the recent history of the dot-com bust, Can-Spam legislation, and shakeout of many Internet marketing companies, the traditional database services provider has stepped up to provide email marketing services in synch with postal database maintenance. That's why it is important to bring postal and email files together as one entity under the same roof for interchangeable use of the data.

A multi-channel database impacts the revenue stream tri-fold:
1) It provides mechanisms for developing new profit centers
2) It builds customer retention
3) It helps increase data sales to outside users

The first consideration that crosses a database marketer's mind is, "What's a multi-channel database build going to cost?"

Good question. A cost effective approach that lowers the barrier to project entry is the "usage model." Assuming there will be activity for internal marketing efforts as well as outside data sales, your database services provider should develop the database at a very low upfront cost, and then base revenue on usage processing.

Often the usage fees are billed against revenue generated for third party sales and profit-generating internal marketing efforts. Therefore, the entire program can pay for itself.

Now, what can you do with a multi-channel database? The possibilities are endless, but I will share with you a few opportunities afforded by tying all customer transactions together whether by email, web site, or postal activity.

B-to-B marketers across all sectors can benefit from maintaining a single multi-channel database, but for illustration purposes let's see how a multi-title publisher puts theirs to use.

A multi-channel database enhances internal marketing efforts

An immediate impact to the bottom line is emailing subscription offers and renewals prior to postal contact, which saves money in printing and postage. By tracking the email campaign by subscriber, this enables the marketer to track responses by any and all data that is associated with the subscriber on the database. Therefore, the marketer can understand how factors such as job title, company size, and sales volume impact response.

The publisher also tests email subscription offers down to the smallest selection criteria to tailor and personalize creative to maximize results dynamically. For example, each offer contains several links to various landing pages. The database services provider can report on the success of a campaign by providing an actual graphic image of the message that identifies the number of clicks for each link and the percentage of all responses that the link represents.

Upon completion of an email campaign, the database services provider produces a response analysis similar to a postal campaign. Opens and clicks are matched back against the database to report on all of the demographic and transaction criteria of the respondents automatically.

To strengthen customer retention, the publisher has developed a series of topic-specific e-newsletters with information valuable to certain segments of its audience. Selecting which newsletters they want to receive, readers are also indicating specific areas of interest as business consumers. This information helps the publisher effectively market seminars, conferences, books, and videos via email as well.

A multi-channel database increases data sales

For B-to-B publishers, advertisers are natural candidates for tapping into the publication's email and postal channels while they're running print ad campaigns. All promotions can direct readers to a landing page where visits can be tracked by source of lead: ad, direct mail, or email. In this era of decreased print advertising spending, providing access to email contacts can facilitate retention and revenue growth.

Multi-title publishers can offer large cross-sections of email contacts across all titles to general B-to-B marketers who need key data such as job title, type of company, and products used and purchased. Formerly only available on the postal file, this data now becomes selectable on email records as part of an overall multi-channel database.

During third-party campaigns, the publisher posts web pages that show the clickthroughs in real time. Outside marketers using the database can access that information and download the names of responders as they come in, along with telephone number and demographic data. Leads can then be followed up by telephone, auto-email, and postal touch points.

Of course, the cornerstone of a multi-channel database program is the ability to obtain permission based email addresses. A solid email program is built on relevancy. Marketers must contact each customer with relevant messages that they want to read to maintain the relationship. Newsletters must impart valuable information and not appear to be promotional. Special offers should have real value and match the needs of the customer.

The B-to-B arena is where email marketing can be put to effective use that benefits the list owner, its customers, and outside marketers-a win-win-win proposition all around.

For more information on Applied Info Group's database and email marketing service capabilities, please contact Mitch Rubin, President of Applied Info Group at (908) 241-7007. Visit to learn more.