B-to-B Marketing: Four Quick Tips
What conference would be complete without a 50 ideas in 50 minutes session? Terry Jukes, former CEO of G. Neil Cos., who heads up Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based consulting firm, B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence, reeled off close to that many tips for B-to-B catalogers during his session at the recent MeritDirect Business Mailer’s Co-op Conference in White Plains, N.Y. Here are some of his more noteworthy tips:
* Margin is king, and you must know the king: Track by category, item, catalog mix and maintain both margin dollars and percentages. Because order volume is a balancing act, more volume seldom replaces less; go a for higher margin percentage and higher order volume.
* Develop winning new products: Maintain a culture of innovation and be recognized for it; promote new, improved, exclusive or hard-to-find products. New products should be your most profitable for at least the first year “until somebody knocks you off,” he said. New product sales should amount to greater than 20 percent of your overall product line--excluding line extensions.
* Develop proprietary products: Take high-volume movers and develop these products into a proprietary brand. Test offering a brand name and your house brand together for comparable products. Another tactic is to design repeat-order items and cross-sell them into your offers. You can slip these reminders to your customer when it’s time to re-order. Jukes referred to it as “the old checkbook strategy.” For your own bands, be sure to promote exclusivity, value, bulk buy and ease of reorders.
* Use your knowledge and expertise to build and sell your brand: Much of what B-to-B marketers have is their knowledge to solve a problem and provide a solution, Jukes pointed out. “We always undervalue that.” He recommended creating products that sell your knowledge, such as booklets, white papers, e-zines, RSS feeds or Webinars. “That’ll wed your customer much more to you than simply trying to sell your product. You differentiate yourself, and you can actually price these things and make money doing so,” he said.