Messaging – reaching the audience: be laser guided not canon fire
All customers are different, but market segmentation models are enabling business to- business
marketers to develop better strategies for identifying and reaching high value clients. Whether it is
prospecting, sales territory mapping or collateral messaging, segmentation models help a business
to locate high-value customers and target them effectively.
B2B marketers are under increasing pressure to better target customers and prospects, segmentation
can be a powerful tool for strategic and tactical applications. Marketing segmentation systems have
total acceptance in the consumer world but B2B segmentation systems have lagged behind due to the
limited availability of accurate data, inconsistency in developing high quality leads and poorly
differentiated marketing activity.
The challenge for B2B marketers has always been the same: know your customer. But with
limited information on most companies–especially small and mid-sized firms–marketers traditionally
have concentrated their efforts in mass campaigns with little focus or coordinated follow up.
In B2B getting to know the end-buyers is not so simple as accurate information about businesses–
or firmographic data such as addresses, financials or staff titles–has been harder to come by due
to the number of business start-ups, closures and unpublished information for private firms.
More comprehensive databases now exist(Nielsen) and they give marketers access to generally
more accurate and current data that can include critical information such as a company’s total
headcount and industry classification. By appending the data to its own CRM system, a company
can create robust business segmentation approach to guide prospecting, sales territory mapping,
advertising and target marketing.
In a typical segmentation analysis, business customers are sorted into categories based on
company size and industry, though other defining characteristics should also be added. Using CRM
data, good analysts can calculate sales per role within each business, estimate a person or roles
market potential value, and rank it against all other customers and prospects.
This form of detailed segmentation can then more easily drive the marketing communications
and advertising strategies. Instead of relying on the ‘finger in air hunch’ and using the same tired
channels and dull messages that have been around for decades–marketers must develop initiatives
based on hard data that address the needs of their customers business and engage them in a dialogue
that is engaging, enriching and consistent.
Valuing prospects and doing the work up front
Marketers need to classify business customers into segments and determine the opportunity of
each segment. They can then divide the companies into buckets based on size and further
segmented into various industry segments using SIC codes. Add to this information on preferred
products and revenue associated with each business and you can determine the potential demand
within each segment–and the sales potential per contact in that segment.
By doing this marketers can prioritize all the prospects for every business segment, taking into
account the estimated value and prior success. The segmentation analysis can then drive the
marketing strategy, determining the number and type of sales contacts from direct mail, EDM,
telemarketing and even to F2F meetings. Smart marketers will tailor messages, product offerings
and delivery method by industry segment.
Principles to achieving success
• Leverage the value of two pieces of basiccompany information: size and industry classification.
• Make sure your segmentation model classifies customers into segments of similar businesses–
so the science drives the strategy. A business database can help compare customer files to a
known universe to calculate market penetration by size and industry segment.
• Use data on existing business customers to score profit potential, prioritize acquisition,
retention and cross-selling initiatives.
• Measure the effectiveness of segmentation-based sales and marketing programs using metrics
like quarter-overquarter sales, cost to convert prospects into customers and marketing response
rates. Then fine-tune marketing based on these metrics.
Just as innovative applications drove the acceptance of segmentation systems in consumer
marketing, successful B2B programs will lead more marketers to explore how information
products can help them gain an edge in an increasingly competitive world. The data is out
there, and your business customers are waiting.