(EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Gnam
is a hands-on response marketing consultant whose clients range from
entrepreneurial companies to blue chips. He creates campaigns for a
variety of marketers of products and services. He also writes copy,
designs promotions, and regularly conducts seminars on both basic
and advanced techniques of direct response marketing. He'll be
delighted to follow-up your inquiry with a rapid, personalized
response. He can be reached at 813-407-8400. - Ray Lewis, executive
by Rene Gnam
you're sending thousands of mass-produced mailing pieces at one
time, or one-by-one personalized letters on word processing
equipment, your business-to-business mail will be much more
effective if you take the time -- up front -- to tailor the various
parts of your program to fit the exact needs of the recipient.
all tell us that there's still nothing more effective in opening an
executive-suite door than a personal business letter. Yet very few
of us have the time (or stamina) to compose, and aim, these letters
on a truly individual basis, while we effectively cover the market
of our customers and prospects.
lies in a combination of mass-produced, printed pieces and
individualized follow-up pieces -- each carefully tuned to the type
of company or operation, and to the interests and concerns of the
particular type of decision-maker you are reaching.
can even begin to create the pieces that you will test, you must
first be very certain that the lists with which you are working are
both complete and segmentable. The old "Name, Company, Title,
Address, City, State, ZIP" just won't do any more, although that's
what most business prospect files still look like.
to find some way within your record-keeping system (not too
difficult if you're working from a computer information base) to
encode every bit of pertinent information on the entire range of
decision-makers within your target prospect's organization.
generally want to know:
the SIC code,
is a main office or a branch or distribution outlet,
it spent on products or services like yours every year (if available
-- if not, rate it as an A/B/C/D prospect),
purchasing history with your firm (again you can use a graduated
departments within the organization that can use your products or
levels of decision-making and influence,
and the name
and title of each executive, ranked according to importance in
making the decision to specify, purchase, or approve your product or
order? Of course. But with the aid of your sales force, recourse to
standard directories, reference to past sales histories, and some
assistance (if necessary) from a good list compiler, you should be
in business within just a few months.
have encoded this information in a way that you can easily access it
for mass-produced letters (or even for labels, if that's the best
you can do), you're ready to tailor your pieces to reach your target
prospects most effectively, breaking down the barriers of resistance
at every level.
separate code should be selectable so you can tailor your mail to
all appropriate decision-makers, and to those who can influence the
purchase of your product or service.
Also remember that even if an individual has not risen within a
company, the longer a person has held a particular job, the more
likely it is that he or she has attained additional purchasing
influence within your prospect company.
Maximize Sales Potential
By Sending More Mail
individual buying authorities, the more company divisions that can
use your products or services, the more mail you must dispatch to
that company to maximize your sales potential. It is incorrect to
believe that because you perceive selling only one $19,000 fork lift
to my company that you need only one $5 mailing piece for my
instances, I intentionally send two dozen or more mailing pieces to
people at different levels of authority within one company at one
time to achieve a single high-dollar sale. In other instances, I
intentionally send duplicate mailings (on separate days) to the same
group of selected individuals to achieve that one sale.
other marketing situations, I dispatch a series of mailings to
several persons within a single company to achieve one sale. All of
this is possible when you properly categorize and code each record
on the file at the outset.
this is waste. You are reaching people who influence each other.
also select and tailor within categories:
that you are selling a janitorial product to factories (category).
Certain mailings can go to janitors (selection) only, talking about
how easy the product is to use (tailor), while other mailings tell
the purchasing agent (selection) how competitively priced your
product is (tailor). In mailing to institutions (category), you
might retain your price copy (tailor) to purchasing agents
(selection), but stress effectiveness on rubber-marred floors
(tailor) to janitors (selection).
the janitor recommends the product to a purchasing agent who already
knows your product is appropriately priced...and you've increased
your sales possibility.
if your product has one application for one division of a company,
and other applications for a second division, your mailings to
selected names would talk about the specific advantages for the
specific division being reached.
Tailor to Specific Job Functions
To Achieve Maximum Impact
mail will be so much more meaningful. And when you tailor your mail
to be meaningful to specific job functions, instead of being just a
mass promotion, your mail gets to the right person and is read.
competent counsel concerning the initial setup of your database --
which has now become a group of smaller lists within one file -- as
you plan the mailings.
the final computerization is completed, you may want to send a mass
initial mailing telling all names how terrific your product or
service is, followed by several tailored mailings that zero in on
the importance of your product to specific people within the
why tailored follow-up mailings work so well to businesses are:
through mailrooms, and secretaries pass them to the proper people
because they're recognized as messages that the boss should read.
competition is probably cutting pennies from its promotions by
sending mass materials, so your tailored mail stands out, creating
the impression that your company goes a bit further in servicing its
Do Not Use Personalization So Much
That You Turn Your Prospects Away
janitor wants to know that you understand his on-the-job concerns,
but he doesn't want you to call him "Mr. Smith" in every paragraph
-- especially since he's "Joe" to the world and only "Mr. Smith" to
the purchasing agent doesn't want "The ABC Company will save" in
every paragraph. But, tell the janitor that your scrubber-dubber
saves him hours of bending. Tell the purchasing agent that the
scrubber-dubber has long life. Ah, that's how we tailor our mail and
achieve greater response.
for another good reason:
Most Businesses Tend To Stick With
Vendors They've Used in The Past
terrible fact of business life up with which we must put.
Dental Supplies can't convince a Dia-Gem burr buyer to try Central
for replacement hand tool parts. Dia-Gem has it rough trying to get
burr buyers away from Central. Both make good burrs and your dentist
will tell you that his don't hurt. But your dentist also decided on
Central or Dia-Gem four years ago and now lets his assistant buy all
the burrs p.r.n. from "our regular supplier". To switch the
assistant, you have to convince both the assistant and the dentist.
That means being truly unique. That may mean tailoring.
example: is that DDS a dentist? or an endodontist? Tailor your mail
addressed to him to concentrate on benefits for his practice
specialty. Tailor the mail to the assistant to stress easy ordering,
rapid shipment, and/or price breaks.
burrs have a chance to be the best burrs...especially since you used
a coordinated series of tailored mailings to both decision-makers.