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Buying a B2B Mailing List: Why Job Titles Matter to Your Mailer

One thing a business-to-business (B2B) campaign has in common with a business-to-consumer (B2C) campaign is that the message ultimately has to land in the right hands. That’s a trickier proposition in a business organization, where the right hands are rarely the person that handles and distributes the mail. That’s why a thoughtful focus on job titles matters significantly in buying and getting the most out of a B2B mailing list.

Here are some pointers on understanding job titles on your B2B mailing list.

Job Titles Reveal Decision-Makers

There are over 50 job titles to choose from in the InfoUSA databases, from board member and corporate leadership to purchasing and office managers. You’ll want to understand the difference between each role and title instead of randomly picking them. For example, if you run an office supply store, you may have the urge to boast about your low prices to the top leadership in a mid- to large-size company. But a senior-level executive rarely makes buying decisions of that type. Your communication would be more effective in the hands of an office or purchasing manager who is more likely to be in charge of stocking the supply cabinet. Alternatively, if you are marketing a bank’s low interest rate business loans, the top leadership (think CFO and related titles) would more likely be your target.

Don’t Forget the Gate-Keepers

If you’re targeting someone in higher ranks, that person likely has at least one gatekeeper, such as a personal assistant. The PA may open or even read most (or all) of an executive’s mail and be in charge of filtering it. That could decrease the odds of a marketing piece landing in your target’s hands.

But don’t think of the gatekeeper as your enemy; that person is just doing his or her job. You can try the “stealth” approach and design your marketing piece to appear to be personal correspondence. Keep the envelope simple and free of logos, address the piece to a first and last name but not a title. A gatekeeper is more likely to pass along mail that looks like correspondence.

Alternatively, you could design a mailer so compelling the PA feels the need to pass it along simply because it looks important. Think about using CDs, DVDs or even a memory stick. Finally, you could appeal to the gatekeeper directly. This approach might require some research, but if you can find out the name of the assistant to your target, add a postcard or envelope addressed directly to that person. You could even spot glue it to the outside of a piece intended for your target.

Titles Can Be Relative

Ideally, you’ll want to get your message into the hands of the most senior-level decision maker relevant to your needs. The first thing is to understand the size of the company you’re marketing to. A director at a 5,000-employee firm is not the same as a director at a 50-employee firm. The director at the smaller firm may have more responsibilities than the director at a larger entity, who will have more leadership at the same level, all sharing duties. Another example is inverted, top-heavy organization charts. The financial services industry (banking, insurance, etc.) is well known for being top-heavy with ‘Vice President’ titles, but such a title does not necessarily infer any real decision-making ability, especially in larger enterprises.

InfoUSA tracks a number of different job titles, so review the organization’s “contact directory” on the company detail page to get a sense of the number and relations of decision-makers at each organization. Once you know who’s who at one firm, you can extrapolate those titles to a similar-sized firm and potentially gain more customers.

It’s OK if You Don’t Have a Name

Your message likely will strike a deeper chord when you can use a full name. It’s also more likely to get past the mail room if it’s addressed to “John Smith, Chief Executive Officer” versus simply “Chief Executive Officer.” However, if you only have a job title, don’t despair. An effective, well-written and otherwise personal marketing campaign will still yield results.

Behind Every Job Title is a Person

Once you have the job title and name, you can dig a little deeper to better understand the decision-maker you are targeting.

Investigate the Company’s Website

The best information often comes directly from the source. A quick perusal of your target company’s website can reveal who’s in charge and who reports to that person. If you’re targeting a large, publicly-traded company, look for a “Governance” link which should take you to a page with its board of directors. Companies of all sizes reveal a lot of information in the “About Us” page, so that’s always a good bet. Decision-makers in family-run businesses may share the same last name, so be sure to check titles and roles before you send mail addressed to the wrong person.

Use Linkedin

Start with the company’s Linkedin profile, which is usually provided by InfoUSA on the company detail page, to see which positions are listed and then to drill down to the individual Linkedin profiles to find out more about the decision-makers you are targeting.

Use Other Social Media

A Target Marketing article stresses the importance of monitoring the social media channels of your business customers. Not only will you be able to figure out titles, roles and responsibilities, you’ll also be able to understand the relationships between your customers and their peers (which can then help you with lead generation). Personal profiles, for instance Facebook, might also allow additional opportunities to find something in common (hobbies and other interests, for example) with your prospects. A further benefit is that once you have made a personal contact within a company, you can follow that person if he or she changes roles or firms.

At InfoUSA we can help you create the mailing list you need to reach the ideal business customers. We have targeted data with more than 30 different search selections, and an exhaustive list of job titles. We also offer specialty business lists to make sure you get your product in front of those most likely to buy.

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