The Power of Decentralisation
Email, it’s been around for an age hasn’t it? Yet it is still a valuable and performing tool in any B2B marketers’ arsenal and therefore continues to gather investment.
“The Sagefrog Marketing Group surveyed B2B marketing and management professionals from a cross-section of industries in the summer of 2013 and found that 45% of respondents expected to see an increase in email budgets in the next year.” - eMarketer "Nearly Half of B2Bs Expect a Marketing Budget Bump in 2014" (2013).
As with any established but still growing industry, there are innovations as well as more established tactics. In B2B the power of decentralisation is known quantity, so let’s explore it here.
B2B organisations might have multiple offices, many business units, and typically a range of product lines. Allowing specific marketers to communicate on these different propositions can add a lot of value to the end client. Relevance is a very powerful objective and the time saved by no longer needing a whole team executing campaigns on behalf of these disparate parts of your organisation can be significant.
There are legitimate worries to this approach that include brand consistency, multiple versions of the same contact and quality control. Therefore ensuring that your email service provider has a technology platform and a selection of services that can support this approach is crucial.
Decentralisation allows marketers to focus on key strategic challenges such as generating relevant content, analysing audience personas, data integration and brand. From the marketers we know, those are preferable tasks to building multiple email campaigns for different parts of your organisation.
So, what can you achieve right now? One of the key determinants of your email success is the quality of the content and the tone. As we have identified, B2B organisations have many different audiences and the most complete understanding of these audiences is likely to reside in the relevant parts of your organisation. Arming them with tools to either personalise or completely control the distribution of content and event invitations can open up that knowledge so a campaign’s relevancy and targeting can be optimised. This can be achieved by moving away from the ubiquitous “About Us” message, into engaging and educational content that tackles issues your audience are facing or don’t even know about yet! Your specific departments are the key to this insight and will help you shift the balance away from the corporate message.
There is, quite rightly, a lot of hype around advanced techniques such as automation. This relies on great data, a solid understanding of a customer’s purchasing journey and then plenty of valuable content aligned to that journey, amongst other things. This is can be a profitable approach but for some traditional firms that opportunity is some way off.
Aside from full automation, another hot topic is mobile. Although a broad subject mobile’s intersection with email is relevant for all businesses. Email gets read on mobile devices, there are plenty of stats on the subject but simply take a look around the office. There are emails being scrolled through on the Blackberry (yes, I said Blackberry not iPhone) right now. The technology to deliver a great experience on any device is available to everyone, but how do you decide what approach to take? By using reporting you can see how your recipients are reading your emails – in an organisation such as yours; this is likely to be different by business unit or region. So, ensure that your campaigns are aligned to what that data is telling you.
Decentralisation is a tactic that has worked well in many firms, regardless of their industry and is a great way to utilise the insight within your organisation and not just your data. Hopefully the benefits of this approach make decentralisation an option worth exploring for your business. After all anything that ensures a better experience for the recipient is worth looking at.