Email marketing turns out to be highly effective at connecting with and gaining mind share with small businesses, second only to magazine ads; marketers must tailor tactics to the B2B target.
Posted Feb 13, 2007
SMB-focused B2B marketers overlooking the email channel take note: Small business decision-makers are highly engaged with email marketing, according to the Jupiter Research study "Email Marketing: Assessing Relevance and Use in Reaching Small Businesses." In fact, of the 501 small business decision-makers surveyed in February 2006 Jupiter executive poll, 58 percent of respondents signed up to receive email newsletters. Fifty-four percent completed an email customer satisfaction survey, 33 percent clicked on an email marketing offer, and 19 percent purchased from an email marketing offer.
Additionally, while magazine ads had a higher recall rate than any advertising tactic among small-business decision makers surveyed (31 percent), 26 percent of small-business decision makers recalled most recently noticing email marketing messages for goods or services relevant to their businesses, according to the report. That percentage makes the medium the most remembered form of online advertising rated.
"Unlike email marketing, magazine ads typically serve branding purposes and often are not used as a direct response vehicle to provide an immediate call to action," the report states. "Email marketing tends to remain with users for a longer period of time over other types of conventional and more expensive forms of advertising and marketing, making it the most efficient tool in terms of driving recall."
Magazine and email ads were trailed by trade show or convention (21 percent), newspaper (18 percent), television (17 percent), search engine online/sponsored (16 percent), radio (5 percent), online banner ad (5 percent), and billboard or other outdoor ad (2 percent). "When people recall marketing messages they will probably remember the brand and it will be familiar to them next time they're thinking about making a purchase," says Sonal Ghandi, lead Jupiter analyst on the report.
The report also examines the type of targeted marketing approaches leveraged by B2B and B2C email marketers. B2C email marketers have a higher propensity to segment customers based on geographic (56 percent) and demographic data (56 percent) than their B2B cohorts (52 percent use geographic data, 45 percent use demographic), according to the report. However, B2B email marketers are more likely than B2C email marketers to target customers using more sophisticated segmentation techniques like clickthroughs (24 percent B2B; 17 percent B2C), customer profitability (22 percent B2B; 15 percent B2C), and customer service contact frequency (21 percent B2B; 17 percent B2C). These figures are based on a Jupiter/e-Rewards survey of 97 B2B email marketers and 156 B2C email marketers.
Much of the reasoning behind stronger interest in more sophisticated segmentation methods among B2B email marketers surveyed lies in the need to stand out in the sea of email marketing messages they receive and grab their targets' limited time, according to Ghandi. "Because of a businessperson's time, being that they're at work or they're running a business, they have a lot of things that they're juggling at the same time, so you want to be able to use that message that you're sending them effectively," she says. One could also argue, however, that B2C marketers face a similar plight of getting through to their desired market as they also have to find ways to differentiate themselves among the vast amount of messages consumers receive and compete for consumers' limited availability.
One of the tactics that Ghandi suggests B2B marketers examine is the frequency and timing of messages. "It's better to send your email messages based on what the purchase cycle for a particular product is," she says, adding that this is clearly true in the B2C environment also. "If you sent them an email at the beginning of the consideration phase you have to know when they will be at the point where they're making a decision in the cycle to target them again," she says. "Knowing the purchase decision making cycle for your product is important, and targeting [customers] with email messages according to that cycle is the key."
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