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Strategic Marketing: Leveraging Your List

The most valuable asset at your disposal is your list. Unfortunately, most people do not devote enough time and energy to the maintenance and segmentation of their list, resulting in watered down messaging, marketing dollars spent on the wrong contacts, and anemic results.

What are the three tiers of lists?

The first tier is the universe of your target market. For example, when marketing MIP Fund Accounting, I knew that there were 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States. The vast majority of these nonprofits were too small for the solution. Another small segment was too large for the solution. After an analysis of the ideal customer profile, I was able to identify 60,000 nonprofits that, on paper, fit the profile. My first tier consisted of these 60,000.

Knowing the true scope of your universe is important in determining your position and penetration into your true market. I’d recommend developing alliance referral partner relationships for the segments outside your expertise. That way if you receive an inquiry outside of your target market, you can refer them to an alliance partner.

The second tier involves selecting a subset or subsets within your target market that have similar characteristics, critical business issues, etc. This could be a vertical segmentation or a niche within a vertical. The reason for doing this is to create a group who are similar so that your marketing message will have the greatest impact. For example, let’s take a general segment like professional services – chances are the language and critical business issues are different for software consultants and implementers than for website designers and programmers. The language and critical practice issues are different for law firms and chiropractic practices. They might all use your products and services – but the context and language will be different.

The second tier list will be the recipients of your scheduled marketing campaigns and the audience for whom you write on your blog. This is the larger group that you will be inviting to your events and webinars. This is the audience for whom to develop white papers and carefully crafted call to action messages.

The third tier is a smaller subset of the second tier. There is something that makes this small group a perfect fit for your offering. It may have to do with the number of products or services in your portfolio from which they could benefit. It may have to do with geographic proximity or name recognition. Suffice to say, these are the prospects amongst whom, were you to close a deal, you would be high-fiving your colleagues. This group will be the focus of your micro marketing efforts – where you communicate with them personally and specifically. The communications for this group includes an additional strategy of micro communication that is laced between the cadence of your broader scheduled marketing.

I would recommend setting up Google Alerts on all members of your third tier list – both the company name and the contact name. Every day, check these alerts for news on the people, company and industry – from this information you can craft personalized messages for either a quick email and/or hand-written note. The idea is to cultivate a deeper understanding and awareness of these contacts in order to facilitate more mindshare. The micro messaging is all about them and recent events in their world.

Recently I sat in on a presentation where the speaker suggested that when it came to marketing communication, strategic marketer should be aware of the 40/40/20 formula – he stated that 40 percent of marketing success depended on the list, 40 percent depended on the message and 20 percent depended on the packaging or vehicle of the message.

What this suggests is that there is no short term or long term gain in purchasing so-called fresh lists for each marketing campaign, but rather developing a consistent list that is routinely worked.

How do you manage your lists?

2 Responses to Strategic Marketing: Leveraging Your List

  1. Imran Syed says:

    Really quickly I realized that my greatest asset and challenge were two in the same; our database. Even with tools such as CRM our open percentages were not where they needed to be and our communication focuses were so broad that their effectiveness was neither measured nor understood.

    Last year, we underwent a massive strategy to cleanse our database and are now working towards micro marketing based campaigns within niche’s that we have expertise in. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard on list acquisition is that blanket lists help provide a wide batch of contacts however all of your competitors are purchasing the same lists! Its critical to start looking for different ways to acquire contacts something that works for us is engraving ourselves within associations either through sponsorship or strategic alliances. Association lists tend to be more active as they are regularly marketed too.

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