I’ve organised a fair few email and telemarketing campaigns recently and one thing that has stood out as having a huge impact on response rates is the importance of properly segmented contact data.
In any direct marketing campaign you will only get a good response if your message is well targeted and relevant to your audience. It stands to reason therefore the broader the audience, the broader your message will have to be and the less likely you are to hit the spot.
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What do I mean by properly segmented data?
Essentially I’m talking about separating your contact data into target groups of people who are likely to share the same:
- Geographic locations
- Hobbies and past times
- A.N. Other factor by which you can group your customers / prospective customers into similar groups
By effectively segmenting your data you are able to develop a much more targeted and rich message for your audience. The result of this should be an improved response from your direct marketing campaign.
How do you know what the correct segmentation criteria are?
I would take a first step of looking at your existing customers. Are they mostly male or female, what age and income bracket do they fall into, do they live in a particular part of town, or have a certain type of career, have they tended to approach your company by phone or email etc etc.
For one of my clients I know that the decision maker is often the lady of the house, but the finance behind the decision lies with the husband. Therefore we need to appeal to two audiences with a slightly different message – one reaching out with a story around monetary value gained from buying our service, the other in terms of lifestyle enhancement. This is where well segmented data comes in very useful because not only can we tailor the message for each group, but we can also tailor the medium i.e. email for one and a posted letter for the other.
It is certainly no different in B2B marketing, although your decision maker is likely to be influenced by many more people or layers within the organisation. As such, you will want to have different messages and approaches for each audience. If you are selling stationery for example, you may want to influence the day to day decision makers i.e. office managers, by sending a box of chocolates with a personalised message, but for the Finance Director, you should perhaps think about a different medium.
Of course, for both business and consumers, you will want to consider which stage your target customers are at in the buying cycle. But that’s a whole different kettle of fish. If you are running direct marketing campaigns, make sure you avoid the elephant gun approach of blasting your message at everyone who’s prepared to listen.
Segment your data, refine your message and see your response rates start to climb from those depressingly low numbers every direct marketer has experienced at some point.