Breakthrough Marketing

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted August 20, 2002
By Barry Stamos

We marketers face a daunting task: capturing our audience's attention. This is especially difficult when almost every company out there shouts across multiple channels at the same time, without permission from the customer.

Do you want to sound like everyone else? Then compete in the same generic fashion as those sending unsolicited messages (a.k.a. spam). Your message will rank among the least effective (and potentially brand-damaging) advertising.

I don't suggest the media is ineffective. Rather as marketers, we've collectively failed to properly utilize the vehicle to engage in personal and meaningful marketing that's both direct and 100 percent permission-based. We require communications proven to deliver superior results: higher revenues and ROI.

Solutions
You need to be different. Cut through the clutter. Most marketers spam. Don't contribute to the noise. Don't continue to waste time and money.

To differentiate ourselves, we must consider new perspectives and approaches. We need to question many of the more traditional marketing efforts. The answer is intuitive and straightforward. Instead of spamming, commit to permission-based communications. Be available. Ask to speak. Collect data. Address needs.

The science of marketing has not changed. Give customers what they want, when they want it. However, many struggle in tackling the demand side of our addressable markets. Fortunately, recent technological advances in CRM allow cheaper, better, and faster interactions with customers and prospects in wired locations worldwide.

Consider the many companies of all sizes actively participating in highly profitable breakthrough marketing. These smart leaders send permission-based communications via cost-effective email. Personalized business messaging that works! How? They ask for the right data (name, email address, product/service interests), then use it to design and deliver diversified offers to appeal to the unique needs of a wide range of individuals.

Though technology does the heavy lifting, marketing experts are essential to architect, implement, and continually refine one-to-one marketing programs. The blueprint must accurately define and align with the desired audience. That's why segmentation is the cornerstone of CRM. Marketers respond to the different needs of customers. They do their homework and pinpoint different target markets based on explicit and implicit demands and interests. They collect customer data from every touch point (all customer-facing channels and employees). All data is stored centrally (enterprisewide business intelligence) and is complemented by ongoing research to pinpoint the latent needs of fickle markets.

Data-driven and fact-based insights drive customer strategy. Customers are ranked by current and potential value and a manageable number of segments are flagged for targeting and pursuit. Communication plans are engineered around buying cycles. Business messaging for each segment is designed to be primarily customer-driven. A strong presence across multiple channels allows for the ultimate experience. This leads to higher customer satisfaction and, in turn, retention.

Companywide preparation and adoption are critical. Internal communications, on-the-job training, and knowledge sharing empower employees across departments to access and make use of both timely and relevant data for better performances. No one said it would be easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it.

Summary
Stop spamming! It costs time and money. No one benefits from irrelevant marketing. It's a lose-lose situation.

Permission-based (opt-in) breakthrough marketing programs produce superior results. Opt-in messaging to segmented audiences is effective. It allows your organization to be heard, loud and clear. Customers and prospects will be more open and receptive, as long as you can deliver what people want, when they want it. Permission-based marketing allows marketers to connect and engage in rewarding dialogues and interactions with their audiences.

Barry Stamos is vice president of business development for Inbox Marketing, which specializes in permission-based, interactive direct marketing. He has handled multi-million dollar CRM technology solutions for Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies and was the co-director of strategy with a Big Five global professional services firm. Barry also performed services in London for the American Chamber of Commerce (UK) and the U.S. Embassy in London and against all odds, taught business to fifth graders in Chicago.

Reprinted from ClickZ.com.

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