6 Keys to B-to-B Database Growth for 2009-10
An Abacus/Epsilon webinar I took part in on Oct. 1 addressed the challenge all marketers face today: how to maintain or grow our active customer databases despite increased costs and declining sizes of lists that used to be available for prospecting. Where do we turn for help to meet this challenge? To our customer databases, our largest assets.
Abacus and Epsilon published a multichannel trend report that showed B-to-B housefiles dropped 9 percent in size from 2007 to 2008. Other B-to-B marketers apparently have begun to turn to their customer databases to remedy this problem. They’re reaching out to their customer files to reactivate old customers, retain good customers and convince so-so customers to buy more.
This trend is illustrated by the fact that average order value is up. Orders per contact have increased, and dollars per contact also were up from 2007 to 2008, some as much as 8 percent. And all this happened in the midst of one of the most difficult economic situations many of us have ever seen. There's room for improvement, however. According to the study, some B-to-B multichannel marketers are retaining as few as 10 percent of their customers. Think of the impact of dramatically increasing that number.
The audience attending the webinar was impressive — experienced marketers and exceptional newcomers at small and large B-to-B companies. (If you missed it, click here to register for a replay, which will be available until the end of the year.) The pace was likewise impressive. In less than an hour, we covered six major ways to use data to boost return on investment. These included:
- improving sales with better buyer file performance;
- reducing costs by suppressing unresponsive folks;
- finding lapsed buyers who'll buy again, eliminating deadwood;
- identifying new buyers or average spenders who have the potential to grow;
- estimating market share; and
- gaining insight that translates into sales on those parts of customer files where the least amount of data is available.
Also during the webinar, Epsilon Targeting Vice President of Abacus Data Services Eric Zilling and I presented specific case studies of how successful multichannel marketers, such as my company and others, have used this data to improve results and ROI. Many of us use a wide variety of channels to sell our products. But how do you decide who gets what channel and how often?
You can append online and offline data to new customers, one-time buyers, average customers and older customers to assess their potential spend. Then, based on this potential, test the channel and corresponding investment that match that potential. That results in increased ROI. Best of all, by testing now, you hopefully can uncover the information you need to roll out when the economy improves and more marketing funds become available.
The webinar's other presenter, Brian Peck, vice president of market management for Epsilon Targeting, defined the specific types of data available, providing examples of each and recommending the best application for each. This summary was good for everyone, from seasoned data hounds to newcomers.