DMA Publishes 'The B-to-B Sphere of Influence: Best Practices'
March 5, 2008 — In order to make a business-to-business (B-to-B) sale, how many people need to be contacted? And who are the strongest catalysts to complete the sale? In other words, how big is the sphere of influence in a B-to-B sale? The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) answers that question and many others in its first study exploring the topic: “The B-to-B Sphere of Influence: Best Practices.”
“When we asked B-to-B marketers what research they wanted, we repeatedly heard that there is very little research on how to market to companies with complex decision-making processes,” said DMA Research Manager Yoram Wurmser, Ph.D. “With this in mind, DMA set out to create a report that clarified how marketers identify, contact, and frame messages to decision-makers, influencers, specifiers, and others involved in the B-to-B buying decisions.”
“Not only did we want to show what average marketers are doing, but we also wanted to identify best practices,” Dr. Wurmser said. “This new DMA report, which has both quantitative findings as well as case studies, will give marketers information in an area that has been sorely lacking.”
This DMA report, Dr. Wurmser added, provides B-to-B direct marketers with a comprehensive overview of the “sphere of influence,” or the people who make the B-to-B buying decisions, from two perspectives:
· Survey results from B-to-B professionals regarding their estimated sphere of influence and marketing practices
· Campaign case studies from DMA’s 2007 International ECHO Awards
In addition, the report presents 30 graphs and charts that help readers benchmark their own direct marketing progress.
Key findings from the report include the following:
· Those B-to-B marketers who are considered to use “best practices” employ several types of media to reach a broader audience with separate, targeted messages.
· Email is the leading medium B-to-B marketers use for reaching all types of contacts.
· Those respondents who identified themselves as experts are more likely to depend on their sales force to determine the proper sphere of influence.
· Most B-to-B marketers believe each client has three to five people in the sphere of influence.
· Eighty (80) percent of direct marketers distinguish among types of contacts, with 60 percent relying on titles (such as chief financial officer) or reports from their sales force that help them make those distinctions.
· Among marketers who differentiate among client contacts, 80 percent use this information to tailor their message by value proposition, personalization, and relationship building.
· Fifty-nine (59) percent reported timing their communications with decision-makers and influencers differently. Of those who do so, 66 percent contact influencers more frequently.
· Award-winning campaigns engage the customer, then allow the customer to interact with the campaign through games, microsites, and personalized material.
· To get past gatekeepers, experts make the reward for the decision-maker readily apparent.
The cost of “The B-to-B Sphere of Influence: Best Practices” is $95 for DMA members, and $195 for non-members. The report is available now for downloading at DMA’s Bookstore. To purchase, click here.
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