Better B2B Marketing 43 - What makes direct marketing so effective for B2B
What makes direct marketing so effective for B2B?

Many B2B marketers have long found the direct approach highly effective.

Most businesses can identify their ideal customers. Direct marketing – including emails, mailers and social media direct messages – can help put your products or services in front of them.

As B2B specialists, we thought we’d look at the reasons direct marketing works so well for so many of our clients – and why it could be highly effective for your company or organisation too…

1. Direct marketing can be highly targeted

Direct marketing allows businesses to reach a specific and carefully targeted audience.

If you can define the sector, type, location and size of the companies you wish to work with or sell your products to, you can typically purchase or create a database of likely targets. Analysing your existing customers may help you identify key attributes or qualities to target.

In addition, direct marketing to your current customer base can help improve retention and client-value.

2. Direct marketing can be personalised

The more tailored your direct marketing is, the more effective it will be.

You can use individual or company names, past purchase history and other relevant information to create bespoke messages that resonate with your recipients.

Individual personalisation might not be practical, so you could segment your target database and create messages which better target groups who share similar characteristics.

3. Results from direct marketing are measurable

Both marketers and business-leaders love marketing which can be tracked and evaluated! Direct marketing campaigns are typically highly measurable.

Response rates (how many recipients reply) and conversion rates (how many recipients become customers) are often straight forward to identify. Therefore, return-on-investment (the cost of the campaign relative to the sales made) is also easy to measure and compare to other marketing channels.

However, results from direct marketing can take time. An initial email or mailer may not generate results – but responses should increase with subsequent direct marketing as recipients become more familiar with your brand.

4. Direct marketing can create an immediate response

Many forms of direct marketing, such as email marketing or direct mail, can generate quick responses.

If your direct mail lands when a potential customer is looking for what you deliver, you could make a quick sale! Immediate responses can be encouraged with offers, launches or access to useful information, advice or tools.

However, in B2B marketing, buying-decisions and new supplier relationships can take time to form – so responses typically increase with each direct marketing action.

5. Direct marketing can help build relationships

Direct marketing can help build and maintain long-term customer relationships.

Due to the many pressures of running an organisation, businesses generally like to form long-term relationships with their suppliers and those they purchase products or services from.

Through regular communication – potentially including tailored offers or insights – businesses can nurture customer loyalty and improve retention.

6. Direct marketing can be cost-effective

As mentioned, direct marketing can be one of the most effective tools for B2B marketing.

Compared to some other forms of marketing (such as advertising), direct marketing can also be very cost-effective. This is especially true of digital methods like email and social media messaging.

Mailers can incur print and postage costs and a comprehensive database is a sound investment when beginning direct marketing.

With time, businesses can control their budget by allocating resources to the most promising and responsive segments of their target database.

7. Direct marketing can be integrated with other marketing channels

Brand awareness and trust are vital in B2B marketing and using a mix of marketing channels typically delivers greater and faster results.

Direct marketing – via email, direct mail, SMS and telemarketing – can be integrated with channels including advertising, events, PPC, SEO, web development and social media.

Your direct marketing should look and feel familiar to your other marketing channels. Those who received your emails or mailers should get a similar experience when they visit your website or receive your brochure etc.

A multi-channel marketing approach increases opportunities of reaching your target audience through their preferred communication channels.

8. Direct marketing is quick and adaptable

Direct marketing campaigns can quickly be adapted in response to changing market conditions, priorities, customer feedback or other opportunities – such as changes in legislation or new technology.

Direct marketing also often generates timely feedback from customers which can provide valuable insights into their preferences or pain points.
A/B testing – where different versions of a message are tested to see which one performs better – can also be created with relative ease.

What affects the success of direct marketing?

So, we’ve established eight reasons why direct marketing can be highly effective for B2B marketing.

However, there are a number of factors which can affect its success…

The quality of the database used is critical. If you’re going to the effort of using direct marketing, it makes sense to build or purchase an up-to-date database to make it worthwhile.

The size of database used is also critical. Whilst direct marketing can be very effective, responses rates are typically low – so having a comprehensive database of potential target customers is important.

For B2B marketing, there are few legal constraints as (under GDPR rules) most businesses contacts can be marketed to without permission if they have a ‘legitimate interest’ in what you are promoting.

Like most B2B marketing, the key to success with direct marketing is persistency. It takes time for most businesses to become familiar enough with your brand to respond.

Keep in regular touch with your target database as it may be three, six or even twelve months before considering the product or service you deliver appears on their to-do list.

Get more from your direct marketing

When executed thoughtfully and ethically, direct marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their target audience and drive results.

We’re East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency, specialising in delivering a full mix of marketing for businesses who provide what they do to other companies, organisations and professionals.

As a full-service agency we can provide any element of your strategic, digital or creative marketing – and have extensive experience in sectors including manufacturing, engineering, technology, IT, logistics, construction and business services.

If you need any help with your marketing, please get in touch here.