Part III: Lists- The who of campaigning.
By now, we’ve gone through some direct marketing basics, set up a CRM campaign record for our promotion, and have determined how much we can afford to spend on fixed and variable costs. Our ACPC gives us our target ROI. We also have received campaign and budget approvals- Now we need to get specific about the offer (to be discussed in our next blog post) and the list - these two critical elements are interdependent.
Based on your campaign objectives and budget, you need to determine exactly whom to approach. Your campaign targets can come from any number of sources: events, social, compilation services, and internet harvesting devices.
Accounts and Contacts…not Leads
To clarify, targets are individuals you intend to send information to. Note the direction of the interaction – outbound. When you conduct an outbound campaign you are communicating with a prospect in what is essentially a monolog. A prospect can be an existing customer or someone who’s not made a purchase from you.
Do not confuse your list of prospects (accounts and contacts in CRM) with leads. Keep leads separate. By definition, a lead is a customer or prospect who is reaching out to you (again note the direction of the interaction), and inquiring about something that may turn into a transaction. This will trigger a dialog. Also a lead needs to be qualified to determine if they actually represent an opportunity, whereas a prospect is not qualifiable…they may be pre-filtered, but not prequalified.
How do I keep responses to campaigns distinct from a true inquiry (lead)? My recommendation is that you turn off responses and modify leads to: a) link to the campaign (a response), and b) either transform into new accounts and contacts (raw inquiry), or link to existing contacts and accounts. This is very easy to do in CRM and means you don’t have two different entities. Streamlining requires simple customization to out-of-the-box CRM.
Adding contact and account data to your database increases your potential audience, but all this import activity will generate overlap, i.e. “duplicates”. Duplicate records cause wasted efforts, and make your outreach effort look sloppy. Before executing, you will need to conduct a “merge-purge” to clean them up. Then, when you have a final set of targets for a specific campaign, you will want to use public and private data sources/services to enrich, extend, and amend your data. To make sure you have the best available data, you’ll want to add or modify:
- Consumer or business demographic append
- Phone, email, address append
- Address correction
- Relationships to prior campaigns
- Relationships to multiple sources
Let me expound on that last bullet since it is an area that requires customization. All singular accounts and contacts come into CRM from multiple sources that you’ll want to track. Get rid of the source pick list that comes out of the box, and add a “many-to-many” (N-N) table allowing you to track a new source every time you import a contact or account. When you merge-purge, the child sources will consolidate so you can determine which sources are working for which campaigns.
Finalizing Your List
One last word on lists. Make sure your final list counts are in line with budget, and that your expected rate of response and conversion expectations are in line with offer and revenue costs. Spend some time doing informal modeling to determine that the list is good to go. For example, look at the demographic statistics and the level of affinity your prospects have to your offer, and judge the likely response rates. Compute your costs and revenues to reassure yourself that the right list and offer are being used.
If you are really unsure and want some validation, then you will need to do a pilot campaign on Nth sample test records to measure various versions of offer, list, content and media to feed your model before rolling the campaign out. More about this later.
Stay tuned for the next in our series- The Offer.