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In the B2B market, an efficient PPC campaign needs to capture and motivate prospects throughout the decision-making and sales cycles; while always understanding that intent and CTR are not always uniquely matched with either the research or buying phase.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Targeting Qualified Leads

I was reading Brian Carroll's blog posts today, he always provides some very useful insight into B2B lead generation.

Today his post was a commentary on Mac McIntosh's (covering his bases as both a Scotsman and Irishman) October 30th article for Multichannel Merchant, "Targeting Your B2B Lead Generation" - if you haven't read the article, do, and quickly implement its recommendations as fast as you can. McIntoshes article isn't revolutionary, but it does hammer home how customer centrism needs to be an integral part of any businesses core philosophy, and how understanding your current customer can help you to define the opportunities for and needs of future customers. - It may not be rocket science, but oddly enough, it isn't universally applied.

Why not?

Maybe B2B marketers spend too much time forecasting and thinking days out to bring business decisions back to what they already know to be true. In other words, your best resource for information about growing your customer base and increasing sales is your current customer base. Find out what makes them unique and what makes your product/service especially unique at satisfying their needs - then leverage that information. You will probably find that customers have more in common with each other at their root, and that it is more a concern of growing your market share and perception. After all, every one of your prospects should have something in common that can always define them as a particular market segment - the need for your service/product.

McIntosh's Insight

In McIntosh's article he talks about using geography to target leads. Marketers have always done this, sending out mailers to specific zip codes, pricing based on shipping routes, etc, but very few bother to apply this rule to online marketing. Too often we confuse trying to build awareness and increase market reach with supplying sales with real and qualified leads - that's why most B2B marketers never explore the value of geo-targeted sponsored campaigns.

Geo-Targeted Campaigns

Every search engine, well most of them anyways, has the ability to geo-target through its sponsored search interface, but very few marketers make use of it. Consider the impact of being able to target messaging and content by regional qualifiers, without having to limit your search volume potential by bidding on a query string with a city or state in the keyphrase. In other words, why bid on "Chicago EDI Consultant"? How often does a prospect actually search with a regional qualifier - not often. You can capture more prospects by bidding on "EDI Consultant" and establishing your regional parameters to the metropolitan Chicago area. In fact, if you do a little homework up front, you can use you current sponsored campaign to target within a few blocks radius.

(Ever notice how similar companies tend to be located in the same industrial park, or how similar manufacturers are all within the same region. Vicinity to steel and rubber manufacturing made Detroit the automotive city - so why not do some homework and target your sponsored campaign to select regions to maximize the return and qualify your leads.)

What if you are trying to land one particular prospect? What if you dream of landing that big whale? You can utilize geo-targeting and have your ads appear only for the area of that prospect's corporate office - for a wider and broader variety of keywords - if you only pay for clicks, isn't it better to segment your market prior to that click?

Sponsored search advertising should always be about getting the message to the right people in as much as it is about getting the right message out there.

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