by Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

It’s a fact. Most corporate marketing dollars are wasted on outdated approaches that yield astoundingly unimpressive results. Today’s marketers are spending buckets of money producing old school campaigns distributed via new school delivery channels. Newsletters now arrive via email. Special offers via Facebook. Twitter has become the new fax machine.

These ‘spray-and-pray’ approaches to marketing are not impressive. Let’s look at the math. In many industries a 2-3% response to a traditional direct marketing campaign is viewed as a success. This means that 98% of those targeted did not respond to the offer. In what other industry would a 98% failure rate be viewed as a success?

Spray and pray approaches to marketing are no longer acceptable

Even if we adjust the math for digital delivery of an integrated marketing campaign that utilizes email, social media, multimedia, and other delivery methods — and allow an amazing, hypothetical 21% response rate — we still miss 79% of those targeted. There’s nothing impressive about these numbers. We can do better. And in some forward-thinking marketing organizations, they already are.

Take Zodiac Pool Systems, for example. They’ve been using personalized URLs and variable data cross-media marketing technologies with amazing results.

“We leverage the web to execute marketing campaigns for our clients that outperform traditional approaches by starting a two-way conversation. By creating personalized offers aimed at individual consumers and tracking what happens as a result of our efforts, our clients can easily identify leads, establish relationships, and mature them over time,” says James Michelson, President of JFM Concepts, makers of VDP Web. “Our approach also helps our clients identify those who are not leads, allowing them to focus marketing dollars on likely prospects and convert them into customers.”

The results from technology-assisted campaigns are remarkable. It’s all about tracking. Some organizations have reported improvement in conversion rates of greater than 300% or more by tailoring offers to unique personas.

So, how do you get started?

First, acknowledge that you can do better. Then, make it your stated goal.

First, acknowledge that you can do better. Then, make it your stated goal

Second, define the word “lead”. [Hint: a person or entity that has the interest and authority to purchase a product or service.”] Make sure everyone on your team understands the definition. Then, adjust your campaign strategy to meet the goal of developing leads who are interested in your product or service, and have the authority to make the purchase, taking time to note that there is no such thing as a ‘cold lead’.

[And, while you’re at it, create a cross-media marketing strategy. If you’re like most marketing teams, you don’t have one.]

Third, admit that contact information collected from a marketing campaign is not a lead. It’s contact information. Period. Providing slews of contact information to your sales team and calling them leads does not make them leads. Doing so only sets salespeople up for failure. The more faux leads you provide, the lower the percentage of sales you will make. It’s simple math.

Contact Information Obtained As Part Of A Prize Drawing Is Not A Lead. It’s Contact Information From Someone Who Hopes They’ll Win The Drawing

Fourth, aim your marketing efforts at gaining access to people with whom you’d like to develop a relationship in hopes of converting them into leads — and eventually — into customers. Then, work to establish a relationship with them. That means having dialog, paying attention, listening, responding, and aiming to deliver only the information they need, when they need it, in the language and format they need it, on the device of their choosing. It also means asking permission to contact them and then respecting their decision even when they say ‘No thanks.’

Fifth, stop the hoarding of contact information. It’s actually a best practice to remove uninterested/inactive people from your prospect database. Those who remain will be leads of one type or another. Your job is to determine where each prospect is on the sales maturation lifecycle, and to nurture relationships with each, on their own terms, at their own speed, to move them from “interested” to “ready to buy”.

Finally, select a technology partner to assist you in creating variable data cross-media marketing campaigns designed to differentiate your organization from the competition. Leverage the technology to execute campaigns that drastically outperform traditional marketing approaches. Done right, the extra effort you invest will yield positive return on investment derived from a combination of cost savings and increased sales. You’ll also be able to prove the effort produces results because you can see who took you up on your offer — and who didn’t. From there you can segment the audience based on their actions (or inaction) and deliver personalized messages with precision unattainable using outdated marketing methods.

What are you waiting for? Get busy!