CRM Insight: Thought Leadership vs Sale and Coupon

One of the benefits of using a customer relationships management (CRM) system to segment your customers is that you can provide the most relevant content to each customer. While some customers might indeed want information on your latest sales or coupons (like a mom clipping coupons for her family), more of your customers would probably be interested in hearing from you on insight about how to grow their business, using the service(s) you provide.
Meaning, if you’re an accountant, why not send your clients useful tax and/or accounting information throughout the year, instead of just telling them that if they file their taxes with you again, they get 20% off their next tax return.
Vivek Thomas, President, Maximizer Software shares his thoughts on this in the following guest post.
Reaching customers and prospects through optimal marketing campaigns and messages is a primary goal of most small businesses, but the question of how to hit the sweet spot and prompt ongoing responses remains ever-elusive for many. For one, the sheer volume of emails and advertising reaching your target contacts makes it difficult to avoid information overload in favor of focusing on one message at a time. Also, only the most compelling and relevant messages are likely to cut through the clutter. CRM can help businesses effectively tackle this problem with targeted campaigns that reach the right contacts with the hardest-hitting messages—namely thought leadership content rather than just pricing promotions.

The first step is taking the time to segment your target market by grouping your customers and prospects by common characteristics and demographics. Depending on your type of business, you may choose to group contacts who are employed by companies in the same vertical market, e.g., financial services, real estate, or those who have similar job functions or business interests. These segments are key in avoiding blanket e-mail campaigns that fail to speak to a clear audience. Once identified, describe your customer and prospect segments and identify their differentiators from the other segments. Then, place yourself in the position of your segments and tailor your strategy for each target audience. This approach consistently yields a more effective marketing program as well as better qualified leads overall.
Because these steps are often easier said than done, CRM tools can help with the heavy lifting. Besides offering overall increased productivity, sales and customer satisfaction, CRM also provides a streamlined way to collect and view detailed and relevant customer information. Sales and customer service teams can collectively learn what makes their companies’ key segments tick by capturing the key points from all interactions within a centralized CRM system. Additionally, companies can associate search criteria with each contact, e.g., demographics, vertical industry, position, company size, which facilitates a time-efficient and accurate segmenting process.
OK, so the segmenting is covered, but sales and marketing organizations may still find themselves pondering which segments will find certain messages most relevant and compelling for a particular campaign. If you place yourself in the shoes of each segment, as well as review CRM system-captured details about what drives them, what type of content is king for them, then the answer will come more clearly. Rather than focusing on the latest pricing promotion in each e-mail campaign, take the time to impart industry best practices, a “Top Five Ways to xxx” or tips for using your product or service more effectively—targeted to the particular segment. Sure, you can work in a price promo if it fits, but the thought leadership content will support a strong, ongoing relationship and they will expect it in future marketing campaigns as well.
By zeroing in on market segments and tailoring marketing campaigns appropriately, small businesses will discover a more positive response from recipients as well as learn how to continually meet their needs more closely with your product or service. For additional information on market segmenting and tailoring e-mail campaigns, please visit this link.