I would just like to start by stating the basics. Marketing differs from Sales in that marketing generates leads by use of advertising and can really be anything to promote the product, service, or company. Sales are the people who finish and close those leads and turn them into customers.
There are many ways to targeting your prospects for instance using NAICS codes, demographics, census data, surveys, racial profiling, age profiling among a multitude of other ways.
No one way will work the best in every case. If there is a company selling clothes that are aimed at being hip, unique styling then they are probably going to want to do an age profile to find out what ways are best to reach that age. In this case viral marketing and blogging could be two of the best ways to market this product. The best part is that these two forms of marketing are usually very inexpensive and can be done on your own. I wouldn’t suggest it merely because professionals are professionals in this area for a reason and can offer the best and most accurate findings. Accuracy is a key point of targeting.
For a business to business company like mine in the business of cast metals parts, I like to use the NAICS numbers. What I actually did was take the sales for the last year of every customer and group them by NAICS number or market segment. Then I made a line graph of the compiled market segments for the last 12 months, in this way we could tell what industries were growing and those that weren’t. After that we launched a marketing campaign aimed at over 40 NAICS numbers or market segments and 250 companies in each segment as a test campaign.
As preliminary method for contact we started a newsletter aimed at not promoting the company but promoting a better lifestyle, health, and general issues that face people. As a rule we knew that the leads we were getting would be in the ages of 30-50yrs. old for the most part so we geared the newsletter to cater to topics that would interest that age group. Also we conducted a survey to find out what issues would be most popular with that age group via email to affiliated customers with their permission first.
We are right now in the midst of analyzing all the data coming back from the preliminary responses from the newsletters effectiveness at which point we will start targeting those specific NAICS numbers that had good returns.
I like the idea of viral marketing when it is applicable, demographics can also be very useful. People from certain areas have specific tendencies that vary from those in another area. The world has this its called culture and the same can be applied to a country’s regions only on a micro scale. However if this data is understood and used correctly it can be highly useful.
A lot of marketers believe that we are beginning to see a change in business from the “Information Age” to the “Conceptual Age.” Not that I disagree with this but I still believe that information is single handedly the most powerful tool still. I love the technologies advances that have made deciphering this mass information easier. On a side note it is always critical to receive accurate data. Having a large amount data also helps to have more accurate numbers because it will offset inaccurate numbers or information.
I would also like add a note that I have created a blog through an association of people within my professional network that is completely dedicated to only marketing and information for businesses. This blog is designed to promote feedback and input to produce findings that will be published online aimed at educating and making better business decisions and help bridge the gaps and inefficiences in marketing. To check it out click here