Posted March 20, 2012 3:40 pm by with 6 comments

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What do you do when your best isn’t good enough? This is the dilemma faced by marketers struggling to meet sales goals.

Crain’s BtoB Magazine and Bizo conducted a survey of B2B marketing professionals in the US and what they found was a general case of “we’ve got what we’ve got.”

59% of marketers said that email was the most effective channel for generating sales. This is good because 49% said email took up the majority of their time and resources. Trouble is, 63% of respondents said their current marketing mix wasn’t meeting their needs.

We often hear this kind of talk about social media, but email? Could it be that in this day of apps and Facebook, email isn’t as effective as it used to be? I still respond to email solicitations from brands I enjoy, but I have unsubscribed from a large number of lists because I get the same information through social media. Could this be the problem? If emails aren’t filled with exclusive information, information the customer can’t get anywhere else, then what’s the point?

Part of the problem lies in those three little letters: R – O – I . An email response is easy to capture and tally, so you can tell at a glance if an email campaign brought in dollars and how many. But it could be that the Facebook brand page is bringing in more dollars, you just don’t know it because it’s harder to quantify.

So, if email isn’t the charm for B2B sales it used to be, what next? 77% of the respondents said they’d be expanding or diversifying their marketing mix this year. That’s probably a good thing. Video is more important now, as is mobile. Maybe it’s time to stop relying on the old standbys such as email and banner ads.

Segment targeting is also rising in popularity. 65% say they target by industry, 56% by geography and 55% by job function. The problem here is getting hold of the data they need to correctly identify potential customers. There’s a lot of information on the internet, but privacy laws and no track options could make it tougher for a marketer to get their hands on that data.

Getting back to email marketing, a good spring cleaning might be all you need to get the sales flowing again. As Crain’s survey results show, many companies have been using email for so long, it’s become routine. A fresh email template, a new call to action and a creative spin on the same old text should be enough to wake up your mailing list and get them interested again. Sure, it’s going to take time to implement, but it’s better than settling for best when it could be better.


  • I agree with you on breaking the routine. There are some mailing lists I stay on – despite no intention to buy – simply because they are so consistently unique and interesting with what they send me. Each email is a treat, like individual superbowl commercials.

    • Cynthia Boris

      Good point, Alex.

  • Interesting read! very much enjoyed!

  • Great article! I agree target marketing is on the rise. So many businesses offer different products or services. It’s about know what audience to promote to – knowing their interests.

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