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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Effective Database Marketing Starts with Collecting Strategic Information

 
Last week, Marka and the FEI tribe discussed how tracking sales activities can help FEI’s salesforce prosper. Today, Marka and Zoot explore how to grow FEI’s internal database for strategic marketing purposes. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot and Marka were sharing a pitcher of grog at the Red Argus one night. “What is the point of keeping a database up to date?” Zoot asked, sipping from his goblet.

“Deeper knowledge of our customers and prospects can help us drive more effective marketing campaigns,” Marka replied. “How do we get to know the fire buyers that matter to us? We develop and maintain an organized collection of comprehensive information on each one. Database marketing starts with the creation, development and upkeep of customer and prospect lists, and can result in strengthened relationships with these businesses.”

“You’ve convinced me,” Zoot said. “We need to crawl before we walk, though. FEI lacks data this comprehensive on most of our customers. We don’t even have O-mail addresses for some.”

“Any thoughts on how to efficiently collect this information?” Marka asked.

“Every member of my sales team visits hundreds of companies each quarter,” Zoot noted. “We could start by requiring our salespeople to collect an O-mail address and s-O-cial media contact information during each visit...”

“Not just for the main contact, either,” Marka interrupted. “We want to reach any and all key business influencers who fall anywhere in the chain of decision making. In addition, every FEI employee should be trained to gather pertinent information at every touch point. These touch points can include [listing them off as she wrote them on a napkin]:
  • Customer purchase
  • Customer service call
  • O-Web query
  • Mail-in rebate card
  • Response on social networking site

“After we’ve got everyone’s contact information, then what?” Zoot asked.

“Our aim is to capture information at the ‘point-of-purchase,’ which will allow us to send each customer communications more relevant to his or her needs,” Marka said. “We’ll start by gathering basic company and contact information such as:
  • Company name
  • Address
  • Name
  • Title
  • E-mail addresses
  • S-O-cial media contact info
  • Other key business influencers within company

“Then we can prioritize more specific information—the key details that will allow us to produce highly effective customized pieces,” Marka explained, “Including:
  • Personal likes
  • Short and long term fire buying needs and habits
  • Status of current fire vendor relationships
  • Share-of-customer estimate
  • Assessment of strengths and weaknesses of current business relationship
  • Competitive potential fire vendors
  • Budget availability

Zoot glanced at the napkin and said sarcastically, “I can’t wait until my salespeople bring calls to a screeching halt by asking prospects for 20 pieces of information.”
 
“This data collection won’t happen all at once,” Marka added. “If we train our employees to gather this information as they’re conducting normal business, accurate and actionable data can be captured over time.”

Zoot was feeling poetic. “A list is like an olive tree. Once we’ve planted the seeds, and the tree is in full bloom, we still have to water it and prune its leaves, right?”

“Yes, ongoing list management is vital,” Marka said. “That’s a discussion for next week.”

Today’s FIRE! Point
Database marketing depends on the creation, development and use of customer and prospect databases to strengthen relationships with these businesses. Effective marketing begins with a comprehensive database, so train employees to gather information at various touch points. Start by collecting basic information, such as names and e-mail addresses. As time passes, delve deeper into your customer’s profile by uncovering personal likes, short- and long-term buying needs, competitive potential vendors and other pertinent information.

FIRE! in Action
List Building Leads to Better Marketing

The Maids International created a “demographic snapshot” of past customers and used the data to build a list of prospects with similar characteristics. When mailed to, the targeted households yielded a 49 percent higher response rate than non-targeted names, and the mailing achieved a 105 percent increase in ROI over the company’s previous mailing.

Next week: The FEI tribe further explores the importance of database management.

 

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