Database Marketing in the Social Networking age

Posted by Chris on March 28th, 2010

When I started LanSwitch ( which became Voyager ) in the early 90’s I set aside a bedroom for an office and on my desk I had a telephone, a fax machine and a laptop ( initially not connected to the Internet , later connected with a dial-up connection ) with Office and a Contact Manager application and a printer. Luxury, I thought because it was the same as I had at Fibernet and much better than I had at Memorex.

My target market was basically: Companies that had busy Local Area Networks; that were in either The Midlands ( where I lived ) or London ( where I could easily commute to and knew people ). So, I basically targeted a combination of London based Financials and other general companies in London and the Midlands. I think I bought the Computer Users Yearbook as my basic database. ( Actually a very comprehensive and detailed source of information ).

I went through the process of identifying a target market and building a database of prospects and suspects many times over during my sales and business start-up career.

Typically now I will segment by horizontal ( size of company ), vertical ( type of company ) and geographical ( location ) and then various other factors eg structure of company, people within that company eg IT Managers etc etc.

Then a database can be purchased which is targeted and therefore typically lower cost than purchasing 1000’s of contacts many of which are not within your target market.

There are many database suppliers these days so it is possible to get some great offers on targeted data.

The equipment side has obviously come on in 17 years but not incredibly so – broadband and wi-fi; scanning software and fax software; CRM versus Contact Management; softphones ( eg Skype ) and video conferencing ( Skype, Webex etc ); standalone traditional and IP phones;printers. 

Where there has been enormous progress has been in Internet search and Social Network Marketing.

If you know what vertical you want to concentrate on eg Lawyers in Staffordshire you will find much of the information that you need online via Google or some other search engine.

With great timing ( !! ) I have just been reading this article about Linkedin

that I picked up on Twitter ( posted by Jon Besag who is in sales at Linkedin 😉

This is well worth a read for many reasons. 

This article includes comments about in house and external recruiters using Linkedin to find the people that they/thier clients are looking for . There certainly are a lot of recruiters on Linkedin – in fact when I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is a Linkedin trainer he told me that there were about 68,000 people on Linkedin who called themselves recruiters ( I just did a Linkedin search for ” Recruiters ” and got about 48,000 ) and that there were probably about 100,000 because a lot of recruiters did not call themselves recruiters.

I used this fact recently to help a company that I am working with, who are selling multi job board posting software, to target recruiters. From a small, personalised ” mailshot ” to selected Linkedin recruiters we got a few very positive responses and made a proposal to one within a week and got an order from it.

Recruitment is an obvious thing to do on Linkedin but  as said in the article ” The obvious one is jobs, but it’s not just jobs. It’s also clients and services.”

For me the goal is to make a ” personalised ” approach to potential clients and ” personalisation ” requires research. The difference between what you can do now and what you could do 17 years ago is that you can gather far more information on people and companies before you make any approach whatsoever.

If you combine a targeted database with internet and social media search then you have a fantastic tool to help you personalise your ” intelligent ” marketing and sales approach.





If you are a member of eg Ecademy, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed,Skype or MSN then each of these have thier own search facilities – some more sophisticated than others.

Just today I was asking someone how they prospected on the Internet and they said Linkedin, Skype and MSN.

Using a combination of Internet search and Social/Business networks you can find out an awful lot about people and companies.

The New Media Marketing Whirlpool

Posted by Chris on December 9th, 2009

I am always searching for ways to describe how new media marketing works to the business people that I talk to.

My latest thought was that you could describe it’s implementation as a sort of whirlpool effect where your potential customers are out on the calm sea and you want to catch thier attention at  the outer influence of the whirlpool and then draw them gently in and then steadily down towards you – the supplier of products, services or information.

One of the main features of this type of marketing is that it is about ” Pull Marketing ” and not ” Push Marketing “. You are drawing potential clients very gently into the whirlpool and not pushing them in !!

We live in an increasingly self service world: We like to be in charge of who we buy from and deal with and we don’t much like things being pushed at us or people being pushy.

The numbers of people using the Internet to find what they want are increasing all the time. The types of things that they search for are growing all the time.

The old ways of marketing are not necessarily dead but they are suffering from a terminal disease.

Traditional ( Push ) marketing is still happening – advertising, PR, mailshots, telemarketing – it’s all still going on and it’s all still effective to some extent but more and more and every day Internet and Word of Mouth Marketing ( accelerated by the Internet ) are rising to the ascendancy.

I also think that in catching peoples attention at the periphery of the new media whirlpool you think more about people’s problems, needs, desires, objectives and questions and you lead them gently to solutions, fulfillment, destinations and answers. There is tremendous subtlety, patience, intelligence, kindness and humour in this new media whirlpool approach. Generally speaking the ladies are good at it because they often have these traits in spades. It is natural for them to deal with people in that way.

Thinking about the old Features, Advantages, Benefits sales approach you are again thinking about the potential benefits and advantages to people rather than hitting them with almost meaningless features.

You certainly need to have thought through what your core offerings are and who your target markets are. However then, you need to think laterally about what people might be thinking about or searching the Internet for and what might strike a chord with your target market. Definately you need to put yourself in the mind of the person who might be your client.

So, the way that you might attract people at the very edges of your whirlpool might be by posting a video on YouTube. Maybe something funny or shocking or maybe something informative. You might also post thoughts and useful information in  your blog. You might post a Press Release on an Internet Press Release site. ( By the way all the time that you are doing these things you have at the back of your mind the key words and phrases that your target market will be using to find someone like you ). You post things on Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter and again some are funny, some light hearted, some are informative and some are serious. Of course you still try to get into various publications and press ( many of these have online variants now ).  You list on relevant directories. You publish white papers ( as you did before ). You make your products and services clear ( as you did before ). You maintain a clear and consistent brand ( as you did before ).

Floating out at the edges of the whirlpool each of things are having thier own effect in terms of attracting peoples attention and drawing them closer to you. The YouTube video gets it’s own YouTube audience but also signposts the way back to you or your company. The blogs, PR’s, Social Networks etc all do the same.

Each of these things link back to your main website and to your email, phone number, fax number and ultimately to you.

Literally as people come within the sphere of your whirlpool the current gets steadier and stronger. Not in an unpleasant or imposing way but in a friendly and helpful way.

By the time they meet you they know quite a bit about you. They know what you believe, what you stand for and what you believe. They have, to some extent, a relationship with you.  They may even have exchanged Facebook messages with you briefly before they have spoken to you.

Then we consider that when there was only Traditional Sales and Marketing we always did our best to empathise with our potential clients – to make our advertising relevant; to make our telemarketing about creating a relationship; to tailor our mailshots and letters to our target audience; to have our salespeople ask questions and listen.

It always was and is about walking in thier shoes and understanding how they they think and feel and what they are likely to want and need. It is just that now we have this amazing thing called the Internet to communicate with our potential customers in words, pictures and videos.

Copyright © 2007 M & A Rainmaker. All rights reserved.