Is it possible to better target our prospects? We already follow them around the web, serve mobile ads when they approach our stores, cookie them when they visit our websites, and serve display ads whenever they surf outside of ours. We configure our website code in hopes of cracking the Google search algorithm so that our site appears on the first page of search results, and dive into the burgeoning tactic of addressable TV.
But none of these tactics can definitively predict when the prospect is ready to buy. It’s one thing to target ‘shoppers’ but another to grab the holy grail of knowing when the prospect is ready to buy. And that is the missing piece even with all of the great targeting technologies at our disposal.
So what to do? Well history tells us that we’re getting smarter with our targeting tactics. Or, are we? In the 19th century when Sears Roebuck basically created the direct marketing industry by sending mail-order catalogs to locales where stores did not physically exist, their targeting consisted solely of geography. That is, mailing to households who could not visit and shop at a Sears store. Are we really doing anything different today? I suggest, not really.
As hard as we try, we still can’t say with certainty when a prospect is ready to buy our particular good or service. And that’s because we can only predict buying behavior. Nobody is outright telling us that they are ready to buy a month in advance and to send them offers so they can act on the best one. So we model, and we follow them around like Big Brother, and take educated guesses when to talk with such prospects in attempt to most efficiently utilize scarce marketing budgets.
But what if there’s a better way? A way where prospects scream to us, “I’m ready!” I wish I could say that solution is out there, but it’s not. But there IS a better way. It’s called MicroTargeting and it utilizes bits and pieces of all of the strategies above. It combines all of them in order to identify and approach the right target who is ready to buy at the right time. The power of combining all of these strategies to find the optimum time to communicate with a prospect is light years ahead of using siloed approaches, casually using the phrase ‘multi-channel’ to indicate use of more than one tactic. But we’re not maximizing the data at our fingertips.
Combining all of these data points is the definition of Big Data. And while merging these touch points into a discernable contact strategy is well underway in the CRM world, prospecting lags behind. And that lag is what lengthens the sales cycle. Why not adopt such strategies for acquisition efforts? The answer, until now, is it’s not been readily available. But as the cost to acquire and warehouse data continues to drop, the ability to apply advanced analytics to prospecting is now a reality.
It’s simple logic that the better we can identify a prospect as more likely to buy our product or service relative to others, based on a detailed dossier of their recent behaviors, will in fact lead to more sales and shortened cycles. And that’s why we use MicroTargeting to best assess and ultimately choose data sets for our clients’ direct marketing efforts. We routinely reduce the mail and email volume of our clients while maintaining or even increasing response by better homing in on the right prospects. Sometimes as much as 40%-50%!
You can achieve the same.