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B2B Marketers Rely on Firm Data as Foundation for Marketing Success: Highlights from MeritDirect’s 11th Annual Midwest Marketing Roundtable

It is a challenge to keep your balance in the ever-changing marketing landscape.  As more channels, tools, and acronyms are introduced to the marketplace, separating the good from the bad, the productive from the fruitless, and the exciting from the actionable becomes increasingly difficult.  Fortunately, the marketers at the 11th Annual Midwest Marketing Roundtable came prepared to conquer these obstacles through collaboration.

Sharing insights and expertise, these business-to-business marketing professionals joined forces at MeritDirect’s annual event hosted at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, WI last week. The attendees addressed a wide range of topics, including: customer acquisition, paid search, personalization, customer loyalty, multi-channel integration, and content.  Marketers expressed a growing need to integrate activities across channels, especially as multi-channel efforts continue to provide sales growth.  There continue to be concerns, however, about identifying and implementing the right tools and strategies to unify multi-channel campaigns.

As Jesse Blount, VP of Strategy at Quad Graphics, noted, “We are far too often distracted by the latest and greatest, but as marketers we have to be careful to choose our new tools wisely.  We need to balance the new with the old and the innovative with the consistent”. He added, “As marketing stacks continue to grow, finding this optimal mix only becomes more difficult.”

“It is critical to put strategy ahead of technology”, noted Jeff Barela, SVP of Data Marketing Technology at MeritDirect.  Adding, “Putting sound marketing practices in place leads to more successful implementations. Partnering new tools and channels with traditional best practices can provide a framework for growth and success”.

Terry Flynn, President of Market Chord, moderated the event and asked the B2B marketers the questions that probably aren’t asked often enough:

  • Who are our strategic accounts?
  • How do we define a lapsed customer?
  • When is an order pattern broken?
  • What is our sales pattern by persona?
  • Which products drive acquisition? Retention?

These simple questions can help guide your marketing efforts no matter the channel or the tool.  They can help drive your decisions, targeting, and spend.

Channel integration doesn’t need to be complex either.  Chris Roth, Director of SEM at MeritDirect, called marketers out on siloed tactics, “Marketers agreed that planning in channel silos produces sub-optimal results, but far too many are still planning in this manner.” Roth provided attendees with an easy integration opportunity for search and catalog.  “Surge Scheduling” or increasing keyword spend during catalog in-home windows ensures you are capturing the buyers driven online by your mail piece.

Data integration is also making both the execution and tracking of multi-channel campaigns easier than ever.  Data integration and customer identity resolution continue to improve, and with tools like MeritDirect’s DAPP, so too does data access.  Database solutions are the foundation upon which good marketing programs are built.  Reliable access to customer transaction data is a good place to start, but today’s databases allow for far more robust integration.  Barela of MeritDirect commented, “Pairing online and offline customer and prospect data with promotion history allows for multi-channel, customer-centric campaign execution and reporting.  Throw in integrations with business reporting tools and email service providers (ESPs) and today’s database can bring multi-channel efforts to life.”

As evidenced by the attendees at the Roundtable, we as marketers continue to be energized by the new tools and techniques at our disposal.  Those of us that are able to separate the exciting from the effective will continue to succeed.  By relying on simple solutions and a firm foundation, marketers can continue to test innovative strategies, while achieving the balance needed to succeed.


Scott Tinkoff
Senior Vice President | Database Marketing Audience Targeting


For more data-driven marketing expertise contact MeritDirect!

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