Upgrade Your B-to-B Multichannel Marketing Strategy
Multichannel marketing, the catch-all phrase that typically groups consumer marketers’ catalog, Web and retail channels, often represents a different scenario for B-to-B catalogers, with diverse marketing channels, business practices and goals.
Coordinating the assorted multichannel B-to-B mix of outbound telemarketing, field sales, tradeshows and others with catalog and Web channels is a challenge that often requires extensive cooperation between sales and marketing departments, regardless of the channels involved.
“In an ideal B-to-B multichannel marketing environment,” says George Hague, senior marketing strategist at Mission, Kan.-based catalog consultancy J. Schmid and Associates, “sales and marketing vice presidents should discuss how they’re going to contact the customer base and how they’re going to go about prospecting.”
Further complicating the appropriate coordination between channels, many B-to-B catalogers still haven’t conquered the relatively new e-commerce channel. “The Internet isn’t a situation where you can ‘build it and they will come,’” Hague says. “In fact, there’s a negative impact for those companies who’ve only put up a simple site, but haven’t added any special functionality to it.”
To address both the issues of cross-channel coordination and e-commerce implementation, consider the following multichannel marketing strategies and tactics to help your B-to-B business better maximize all channels.
Coordinate Sales, Marketing Efforts
Not only should the same message be promoted in all channels, but the individual channels also should reinforce each other. Hague notes that while it’s easier to keep the message consistent if one person runs both sales and marketing, this isn’t the case with most catalogers because each division requires different skill sets and personality types.
Typically, a marketing executive provides a sales executive with catalog delivery dates so outbound calls or field visits can be planned around the catalog drop. Hague says that while this practice is common, marketing also should provide recency, frequency and monetary-based contact lists so outbound efforts can be planned more precisely.