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5 Key Elements of Microtargeting
Improved campaign relevance will stretch your marketing budget.
Posted Aug 26, 2008
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Getting the right message to the right person at the right time is crucial in today's high-stakes B2B marketing game. With marketing budgets stretched to the limit, smart companies are realizing the best way to improve marketing return on investment is to improve campaign relevance -- and targeting messages to generalized groups just isn't enough. Instead, B2B marketers are opting for "microtargeting," where they communicate relevant messages to individuals or small groups. You can have a great message and offer, but all of your marketing dollars will be wasted if your campaign doesn't reach the right audience.

Microtargeting allows marketers to send highly relevant emails to a small group who share similar business needs, are located in the same city, or operate in similar industry segments. By using microtargeting, B2B direct marketers can achieve response rates in excess of 5 percent, compared to the industry average of 1 percent to 2 percent.

Here are the five key elements to microtargeting:

  1. High relevancy for every name in the list -- no exceptions: For microtargeting to work, marketers need to make sure each and every contact they are targeting can be classified into a relevant category based on demographics, business interests, brand category, and/or level of responsiveness (i.e., if the contact has been prone to open emails in the past). Make sure your data provider offers the ability to filter, search, select, and purchase leads based on narrow categories so you only get the business contacts that matter for each microtargeting campaign -- and none that don't.
  2. Do not sacrifice quality to save pennies: If not updated, any given list is likely to become more than 25 percent out of date after just one year. Microtargeting only works if you have fresh, high-quality contact data.
  3. Only buy the business contacts you need: Many data providers require marketers to buy large lists of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of contacts to meet their minimum. Yet, a highly targeted campaign may only focus on an audience of hundreds, or even fewer. Over-sending to thousands to fulfill the data provider's requirements is a recipe for disaster.
  4. Leverage multichannel campaigns: To increase the effectiveness of microtargeting, launch your campaigns across several channels. Instead of just sending an email to your highly targeted list, be sure to follow up each email open or clickthrough with a phone call and possibly a printed letter.
  5. Adhere to strict data privacy: Make sure that every person you target has agreed to be contacted. Start by using a data source that only provides contacts who have opted in to that program and have the option to exclude themselves at any time. Avoid data sources that acquire contact data contributed from individuals, scraped from Web sites, or collected from other noncompliant practices. Obtaining contacts this way is irresponsible and will ultimately hurt your company's brand image -- and negatively impact your results.     

Proof that Microtargeting Works
B2B marketers are increasingly adopting microtargeting to get superior results. AG Salesworks, a rapidly growing marketing services firm, needed to boost the effectiveness of its client's sales and marketing programs. AG Saleworks knew that the greatest leverage would come from improving the relevancy and accuracy of the contact data it used in the campaigns. The company set out to improve the quality of the contacts in its marketing lists, and to segment the contacts based on their interests, behavior, response rates, and demographic information.

The results at AG have been impressive. Microtargeted campaigns have reduced the number of wasted calls by 17 percent and increased response rates from target buyers by 32 percent. Staff productivity has also soared. AG Salesworks employees now spend more time contacting potential customers for their clients, boosting client satisfaction and driving more-qualified leads that result in sales.

"The operational efficiency of microtargeting speaks for itself," said Pete Gracey, president of AG SalesWorks. "In a business where you are paid based on your overall results, every minute counts. To achieve a 10 percent boost in employee productivity translates into better campaign results for our customers and more dollars earned for AG Salesworks."


About the author
Chris Golec founded Demandbase in 2005 to pioneer new ways for B2B marketers to efficiently reach qualified prospects online. He has more than 20 years experience in global marketing, sales, and engineering roles, and a successful entrepreneurial track record. He previously founded Supplybase which was purchased by i2 Technologies in 2000 as part of one of the largest software mergers in history.


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