It’s not uncommon to hear the argument, “B2B sales are done in person.” That same sentiment is often paired with “social is for B2C,” or “email is B2C.” But, at this week’s Connections 2012 Conference in Indiana, another story is being told by an unlikely source: Volvo Construction Equipment.
I’m talking excavators, pipelayers, and demolition equipment. The type of equipment some of us played with as kids, in not-to-scale Tonka Toy versions. But these guys are moving big equipment, and big money, and they’re doing it with integrated customer data and email as essential parts to their internet marketing strategy.
Volvo Construction’s products and services are offered in more than 125 countries, and channeled through proprietary or independent dealerships. The company’s machines are used for road construction, oil and gas exploration, building demolition, industrial material handling, and forestry.
So what’s all this have to do with email and data? First, let’s start with a look at the power of email.
The Power of Email
A study by MarketingSherpa found that 75 percent of social media users prefer email as the method for companies to communicate with them. Whereas social is more easily a turn-off, turn-on channel that users can selectively engage with, email is far more intimate and direct. Dave Scott, CEO of MarketFish, put it this way in my interview with him earlier this year, “In order to make digital marketing effective, you have to drive the right traffic.”
Email is certainly a good way to do that. After all, people rarely switch email addresses, but they do migrate from one social media channel to another. And a recent study on word-of-mouth influence by Zuberance shows 57% of brand influencers use email as their main online recommendation tool.Volvo uses ExactTarget as its targeted email marketing provider. ExactTarget’s email solution allows Volvo to power data-driven messages—everything from transactional email sends and abandoned cart campaigns to dynamic content and live offers. Volvo has mastered the product, and uses it to deliver monthly newsletters and targeted offers.
The Power of Data + Email
The buzzword of the past two years, big data, is more than idle talk. Big data is now mainstream, moving from the supercomputing environment managed by data engineers, to enterprise IT applications used by much broader audiences. For digital marketers and advertisers in particular, the benefits of bringing big data mainstream are unmistakable; it provides access to a goldmine of untapped, previously unusable information.
This is the type of information Volvo Construction uses to enhance its email campaigns. By integrating its ExactTarget-managed email marketing campaigns with data from other parts of the enterprise, the company is able to deliver highly personalized communication to prospects and customers. Here’s an example from the company’s presentation this week.
When a customer order greater than $10,000 is processed in Volvo’s enterprise resource planning system application, the captured customer and contact data is pass it to the company’s marketing automation system for inclusion in our weekly Elite customer program campaign. Results are showing increased sales from this shared data. Volvo Construction’s high value customers are given exclusive promotions through their program, generating an estimated annual revenue increase of $1 million.
In another scenario, Volvo’s using customer order and location preference data to help local distributors and resellers deliver highly personalized content. Instead of a generic email listing construction equipment inventory at a macro level, the company’s ExactTarget, data-rich emails include local dealership location data, logos, listed events, and inventory. A local dealership manager need only include a personal note, photo, and signature for his local prospects and customers to receive a very personalized and actionable email.
Does this work? Volvo Construction Equipment’s e-marketing solution helps dealers sell millions of dollars of new and used equipment each year.
Integrating CRM Data
How do you integrate your CRM data with your marketing tools and efforts? Peter Chase, Executive Vice President and Founder ofScribe, the company that integrates Volvo’s data recommends, “Start with the end result in mind. Work back what data you need to power it, and integrate only that necessary data.” This is key is not only to deliver customized and accurate customer messaging, but removing unnecessary data in what can be an otherwise overwhelming concept for marketers.
Done correctly, and the result is what Chase describes as the process of sifting through big data to drive tiny actions that deliver big results. The kind of results Volvo is enjoying.