If you’re like me, you have the sense that every time you turn around, you find another new online marketing tactic: blogs, podcasts, Amazon “buy boxes,” PayPal extended payment terms, Facebook widgets, talking graphics, user-generated content, banned commercials on YouTube, to name a few. How can you keep up? How do you decide what’s important to your particular business?
Here are four considerations that may prove useful for any cataloger.
1. Seek an outside consultant who’s an expert in the online marketing world. (First a little disclaimer: Earlier this year, I accepted a position as president of Ability Commerce after a lengthy consulting career. See below for my full bio, but I just wanted to make it clear that I’m not pitching my own consulting services here.) Just as you rely on your printer for advice regarding selective binding, co-mailing, paper weights, ink-jetting and so forth, find yourself an online marketing consultant who can explain the assorted emerging tactics in a way that’s meaningful for your business.
2. Don’t think every new online marketing technology is right for your customer or business. Just because something is now possible doesn’t mean it’s right for your customer or business. For example, it’s hard to imagine that a new Facebook widget has much value in B-to-B. On the other hand, having a “banned” or humorous TV commercial on YouTube that becomes viral might be an affordable brand-building tactic.
3. Test, test, test. New online marketing tactics and technologies are only valuable if they work. And the only way to find out if they work is to test them. The testing discipline of old-time direct marketing is alive and well online today.
4. Examine other B-to-B and B-to-C sites to see how others are employing new technologies. Find what works; if others are repeatedly using it, chances are it can work for you. Many applications do migrate from B-to-C to B-to-B, so don’t rule it out if you find it’s B-to-C only. In the end, customers are people who buy from people.
There’s a large opportunity “cost” in not employing some form of these online marketing tactics, especially when your competitors are. While you don’t want to be on the “bleeding edge,” don’t be the laggard, either.
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221
Comments or questions are welcome.