Targeted Marketing: Finding New Customers

Updated: October 27, 2009

Businesses need to learn how to build trust with skeptical, jaded decision makers. In a slumping economy, companies MUST master the art of building trust.

The classic problem between marketing and sales:

  • Marketing says Sales does not follow up on leads. They drop the ball.
  • Sales says Marketing's leads suck. The ball is not worth carrying.

The solution to this problem is an agreed definition of a lead and tracking of prospect behavior, so the right content is shared at the right time.

Let's examine some critical insights from the white paper, How to Find New Customers to see how it works. We start with the single most important factor — the customer buying process:

Buying Stages:

  • Untroubled/Unaware - ACTION - Go online and look for better ideas. Since it's so easy and fast, decision makers do it more frequently. They simply browse.
  • Have Problem - ACTION - What's the nature of the problem? How have others solved it? Go on and research how others have solved the business problem I'm experiencing. (Ask on Focus, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Read blogs, etc)
  • Need Solution - ACTION - Go online and research possible solutions. Watch the Flash demo on the website. Review the case studies.
  • Consideration - ACTION - Which are best? Go online and look at vendor ratings, pricing, case studies and more. Narrow to a final selection. Talk to a salesperson. (Ask on Focus, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Read blogs, etc)

This is the key principle of How to Find New Customers. Marketers simply must develop a strong understanding of their target audience and how they buy in order to be effective.

The real purpose of sales is not what you thought it was — it's not selling refrigerators to Eskimos. Rather it's helping the customer solve their problems through buying and implementing your products and/or services. Thus, the better you know how they buy, the more effective you can be.

Let me share an example of the need to share the Right information at the Right time with actual situation.

iProspect was recently declared to be a leader in search marketing by Forrester.

Undoubtedly a prestigious award like this typically leads to well-deserved congratulations and flooding the sales team with copies to hand out to prospects.

But there is a critical question that needs an answer. When should we use it? How can we get optimal value from it?

If we go back to the Customer Buying Process and ask some questions, we'll see where it fits.

  • Does it fit in Untroubled/Unaware?

No. If I don't know I have a problem, why do I care your company won an award?

  • Does it fit in Have Problem?

No. If I have a problem, I'm looking for a fix, not a company.

  • Does it fit in Need Solution?

Perhaps. I'm looking for an answer, so I may be just beginning to consider products and companies.

  • Does it fit in Consideration?

Yes. Now I'm looking for the best product and company for my needs.

As you can see, this award is best used late in the buying process.

In addition, if you really have a deep understanding and know where they go for information, your marketing can be vastly more effective - as you can use a rifle-shot approach with your marketing dollars (pounds, Euros, etc.)

Now let's examine another key principle learned by readers of How to Find New Customers — lead scoring. But in order to optimally rate leads, we need to understand and measure on-line behavior.

Review this chart from How to Find New Customers. Sit down with your sales organization and review it carefully. What do they consider a lead? Once we assign value, we need to track the behavior. This is where marketing automation products like Marketo and Eloqua come in.

I also recommend you not only focus on search but on landing pages to optimize conversions. A click does nothing unless you can convert the opportunity.


  • Website Visits - CRITERIA:
  1. Website Visit: Scores website visitors within the last N days. Recent visitors are scored, and return visitors in the following week are re-scared.
  2. Scores all visitors downloading what you deem as high value web content in the last N days.
  3. Scores contact interest based on both frequency and recency.
  • Forms - CRITERIA:
  1. This implicit attribute does not consider the data submitted in the form, simply if the form was submitted.
  • Search Engine - CRITERIA:
  1. Examples of keywords that can trigger higher lead scores might include names of product lines or solutions.
  • Email - CRITERIA:
  1. This is valuable if a campaign is used to aggregate all related content (product releases, newsletters, etc.) and score contacts based on interest level in that content.
  2. Opened any Email from Campaign: Evaluates if a contact has opened any email brochure from a specific campaign folder more than N times.
  • Event - CRITERIA:
  1. Webinar/Tradeshow Attendee: Event attendees can be scored at any time.

Finally, let's look at a final key principal learned in How to Find New Customers — how to write great content.

  • Make it valuable - to them, not just you. Each and every lead nurturing interaction needs to be relevant and useful to the recipient. If it's too promotional or not helpful, then severing the relationship is usually just a delete button or unsubscribe link away. In a recent Marketing Sherpa webinar, Anne Holland shared the five key topics that people care about: safety (keep my job), ease (make my job easier), power (get more power), greed (make more money), and ego (raise their awareness).
  • Make it bite-sized. The internet has changed how buyers make B2B purchases, and it's affected how they consume content. Rarely does a business buyer have time to print out and read an entire whitepaper, watch a 60 minute webinar, or read more than a few bullet points on a website. Instead, today's buyers have become accustomed to consuming bite-sized chunks of information in small free periods. I call this the YouTube approach to lead nurturing.
  • Match your content to buyer profiles. Prospects find content targeted to their role or industry much more valuable than generic content. According to MarketingSherpa and KnowledgeStorm, 82% of prospects say content targeted to their specific industry is more valuable and 67% say content targeted to their job function is more valuable. 49% say the same for content targeted to their company size, and 29% for content targeted to their geography.
  • Match your content to buying stages. Different types of content will appeal to buyers in different stages of their buying cycle, e.g.awareness vs. research vs. negotiation and purchase. Thought leadership and best practices work best during the awareness stage; comparisons, reviews, and pricing information appeals during the research stage; and information about the company, support, etc. will work best at the purchase stage.

We hope these insights from How to Find New Customers was helpful. To download the document in its entirety, please click Download How to Find New Customers.

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