Hit the bull's-eye with b-to-b lists

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Kevin Gales
Director of relation­ship marketing, HSR Business-to-Business

Business data becomes obsolete much faster than consumer data. Five percent of consumers move every year, but more like 70% of all b-to-b data is useless within a year. So you really have to take good care to understand the source of the list.

Another challenge is that there are different decision makers in a company. You have to take more care in finding out who the decision makers are and use lists that will enable you to further penetrate some of the businesses that you're looking at.

When it comes to choosing b-to-b lists, it depends on what type and size of business it is. If it's somewhere from 20 to 100 employees, you'll find that familiar titles serve many more func­tions than in larger businesses. And, at the president or CEO level, there is clearly a more hands-on approach than a Fortune 500-level business.

Marketers need to give themselves some time and start to understand their targets — the types of publications they read and decisions they make — that will help them decide where to find their lists. Then you need to test and find out what works.

B-to-b marketers need to take some time to understand their targets

Glenn Freedman
President/CEO, L.I.S.T. Inc.

Many lists in the business market come as a result of subscriptions to pub­lications. These kinds of response lists offer precise demographic information that by their nature is difficult to find on a consumer list.

Compiled lists, which began by pull­ing a name from a publicly available source, tend to be less expensive and have larger quantities, but are best used if you want to get concentration in a small geographic market. These may not be the best option if you're looking to reach business professionals with involvement in certain tasks for which compilers just wouldn't have access.

Establish a hierarchy by starting with the most appropriate list class for your product or service. Other sources of high quality lists are trade shows, events, asso­ciations, databases or buyer lists.

Response lists offer b-to-b marketers precise demographic information

Stevan Roberts
President, Edith Roman & Associates

Today, b-to-b marketers have a better means of targeting through mul­tichannel cooperative marketing data­bases, which are computer databases of unduplicated names, postal and e-mail addresses, and phone numbers from multiple mailing lists. Typically, the lists have been contributed by a variety of list owners for a given rental fee. Some are private, while others are public.

With a co-op database, you can search and extract names based on selection criteria. This is possible through detailed profiles available on each list and by profiling your own customer file against the other sources.

Co-op databases increase your ROI through the money they save you. Users do not pay for merge-purge when renting names from multiple list sources — reducing mailing costs.

Co-op databases offer higher response rates and reduced mailing costs

Mary Miller
Senior marketing manager, DM2–Decision Maker

We're seeing more focus on tar­geted lists of niche industry decisionmakers. Customers also want multi­channel ways of reaching b-to-b targets – they want the e-mail, a phone number and a postal mail address, and the ability to reach prospects more than once. If a company makes the invest­ment, it wants to make sure it can effectively follow up. And that will often be more expensive up front, but delivers a greater return.

In addition to finding the actual decision makers, marketers want to know that the leads generated from a campaign are high value. How did the results from a list that I spent $400/M on for a postal/e-mail list compare to a run-of-the-mill postal list for $100/M? The post-campaign analysis can make a big difference.

We reiterate that 40% of your results depend on starting with the right list. With that in mind, we ask clients what their objective is — what is the purpose of this marketing campaign? Then we're able to make targeted recommendations, whether for a list or a database market­ing program or how we should segment the decision makers in their market.

Marketers are targeting niche b-to-b segments with unique messages


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