Before you identify the contacts you want to target, you need to first identify potential accounts. This applies whether your source of data is your house list, a third party database, or a combination of both. While there are a myriad of segmentation options available, an easy way to think about your marketing targets is in three major categories:
- New prospects
- Existing customers
- Lapsed customers
For existing and lapsed customers, developing these segment lists is fairly easy – you should already have them in your CRM system. For new prospects, you’ll need a little more information to develop a list of targets.
Identifying prospect accounts
For most companies there is a finite range of accounts that will purchase your product or service. So the first step in developing your marketing plan is establishing a profile of your target account. This may include demographic information like industry, company size, geographic region, number of employees, annual revenue etc. Beyond business demographics, you might consider identifying named accounts based on software installs, to either promote complimentary product solutions or simply to steal market share from competitors. For one Oceanos client, we designed a list strategy for identifying companies based on their roof size, number of parking spaces within their lot and the acreage the firm owned.
Identifying target contacts
Once you have your three categories of potential accounts identified, it’s time to think about target contacts at each of these account types. It is helpful to think of your contacts as falling into these three categories:
- Buyer/decision maker
- End user
For example, if you are a provider of engineering software your:
- Buyer/decision maker would be a Vice President/Director of Engineering or CAD Manager
- Executive/influencer would be the CFO, Vice President of Product Development etc.
- End user would be a design engineer
For each of these three buckets, you can also have multiple titles and roles.
Current customers: Securing your base
The current customer is often ignored by marketing because they are seen as the domain of sales. Why is it important to market differently to current customers than to new prospects? First, sending generic marketing messages to current customers can make them feel unappreciated – customers want to feel like they have a relationship with you beyond a revenue transaction. However, not marketing to your current customers means you could potentially be missing out on an important opportunity.
Current customer buyer/decision- makers
Typically, current customer contacts in your house list fit one profile: buyer/decision maker. Marketing to buyers as current customers can be very specific and strategic. The focus can be on new features, products and high-value assets. It is also important to keep in mind there may be buyer/decision makers outside your primary contacts that are not on your house list. Working with your data provider, you can identify new contacts at existing accounts that meet these target demographics. Widening your footprint especially in a larger organization can help uncover new opportunities in other areas of the account and can further solidify a long term relationship.
Current customer executives/influencers
The next segment to consider is executive/influencers – a segment that isn’t typically found in most organizations’ house list. These contacts aren’t typically your primary buyer – they are not signing the check but they are usually involved in the purchase decision which often cannot be made without their approval. When reaching out to these executives, it’s important to understand that you’re not necessarily expecting a response from them, and to adjust your metric goals accordingly. Tailor your message to show value – like a ROI study rather than specific features and functions.
Current customer end users
Finally think about your end users as your current customers. End users influence both purchase and adoption. It is always good idea to have the end users on your side. Demonstrations, workshops, trials, and helpful tips are all high value marketing promotions to end users. The best sources for end user data can often be acquired through role-based data sources which your data provided can help you identify.
New prospects: Driving growth
New prospects are the bread/butter of the marketing department – the opportunity to add value by introducing new potential accounts to sales.
New prospect buyer/decision-makers
Marketing to buyer contacts as new prospects comes with challenges. One of the challenges is understanding where these contacts are in the sales cycle. Think about your marketing campaign relative to the demand waterfall:
- Top of waterfall: educational or thought leadership campaigns related to industry trends
- Bottom of waterfall: product and feature/function campaigns
Top of waterfall campaigns can be sent to the widest number of prospect contacts. Bottom of waterfall campaigns should be sent only to those contacts who have repeatedly responded to upper/mid-level target campaigns. Once these responsive prospects buyers have responded to a campaign mapped to the bottom of the waterfall; they can be passed to sales as a qualified lead.
New prospect executive/influencers
Executive/influencers at prospect accounts play a similar role to executives/influencers at customer accounts – they are involved in and need to approve a purchase decision. The goal is to get executives/influencers familiar with your brand, and building positive associations before the purchase decision is on the table.
New prospect end users
Finally, prospect end users can actually drive a purchase decision from within. Free product trials, free limited function or complimentary end user offers can establish your product or services as the incumbent at a prospect account before revenue has passed hands.
Lapsed customers: Winning them back
Lapsed customers are probably one of the most neglected segments on the marketing list. The challenge with marketing to lapsed customers is that customers leave for many different reasons – a better offer from a competitor, displeasure with your product/service, faulty perception of your value. It will help to target to lapsed customers very specifically:
- For buyers/decision makers: focus on “we want you back” message
- For buyer/decision makers and executives/influencers: highlight competitive wins, benchmarks, third party evaluations , new features or products
- For end users: offer as many opportunities to interact with your product or service
The Solution – New Ways to Improve Segmentation
Building a campaign strategy around enhanced segmentation and expanded reach typically means adding new contacts to your database through third party sources. The key is to align with an expert advisory partner instead of simply relying on data vendors. This will help mitigate risk and accelerate your return on investment.
For additional information, read our Fall 2011 List Intelligence™ Report at: http://www.oceanosinc.com/listintelligence/