B-to-B Marketing: Traits, Tips and Practices of Top B-to-B Retailers
The U.S. Postal Service has just wrapped up a postage sale for various mail pieces that included a QR code. When the USPS made the announcement, several respected and knowledgeable B-to-B cross-channel retailers asked me what a QR code was and why is the USPS so interested in them.
Are QR codes the next big thing? Just how behind are you with the big things? Have you optimized your website for mobile? What's your social media presence? Don't forget viral. By now you should have surpassed that 100,000 views benchmark on your YouTube channel …
The next big thing is usually fun, and I encourage mailers to test QR codes this fall. However, it's important to remember that the next big thing may be a transient technology or not a best practice at all. In fact, it could be a waste of your time and money.
You'll find that the top B-to-B retailers share the same belief on where they should focus their energy and how they conduct their business.
The most successful B-to-B retailers are merchandise centric. They maintain regular contact with the marketplace to find out where it's going. Successful merchants analyze sales, visit clients on-site, talk to them on the phone, attend merchandise shows, conduct competitive analysis and survey their clients as a way of life. This activity drives a full schedule of new product introductions and launches. If you're not doing most of these merchandise-centric activities, but are spending time on the next big thing, you've got the cart before the horse.
Let's use a consumer example to illustrate: Apple has really cool promotions. Its ads would be worthless, however, if it didn't have cool new products to promote. Cool new creative isn't going to sell more of the same old stuff.
For every million dollars in sales, add $10,000 to your bottom line when you add a point of margin. Top B-to-B retailers develop strategies to improve their margins. You can literally get a degree in sourcing and pricing products, so there's too much to cover here, which leads to our next point …
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.