By Perry Rearick, Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
The most valuable asset of a publisher, or media company, is its audience. Advertisers provide the revenue, but they’re paying for access to a readership or viewership. Without an audience, there is no benefit to advertising. There is a lesson in this thinking for B2B companies.
The relationship between good publishers and their readers is covenant-like. Publishers promise to not share, or sell, audience information with others. They also have editorial and advertising standards and work hard to understand their audience and deliver content they want.
The B2B marketing equivalent to audience is “the list”: a list of names, titles, companies, and contact information of potential buyers. This information is the currency of B2B marketing and sales organizations, list brokers, and platforms promising guaranteed leads. Sadly, many B2B marketers use these lists in ways that deliver poor results.
How often are the names added to an existing marketing database or used in one-message-for-all e-blasts? If you are running a sale on coats and a winter storm is bearing down, this method may work. However, for B2B complex solutions, this spray-and-pray technique does not work and can harm your brand.
Rather, B2B companies should view their databases, that represent potential buyers, as an asset that must be protected and used wisely. Here are some tips:
- Assess your database for accuracy and fit for your products and services.
- Segment your database by each person’s role in the buying process.
- Develop a plan to communicate with segment in a personal way.
- Gain an understanding of what kind of content they prefer and what issues they most commonly face.
- Develop a plan that engages each segment in a personal, helpful way.
- Create content that support your plan.
- Measure results and adjust your plan regularly.
If you are part of a B2B organization that delivers complex solutions that require a long-sales cycle, stop spray-and-pray and think like a publisher.