B2B is Dead

I just got back from TM360.  It was in beautiful Dana Point, CA – and a much needed escape from the unrelenting cold and snow in Chicago.

dana point, ca

I’ve only been to a few conferences like this. And to tell you the truth, I never seem to get to much out of the sessions.  But meeting new people and seeing how other businesses are trying to stake their claim in the wild west of personalized marketing is very inspiring.

But there was one overarching theme of the conference that I wanted to share.  It’s so deep, that it requires you to rethink everything you know, and have been taught about marketing.  It made a big impact on me, and how to position Purlem for the future.  It’s the fact that B2B is dead.

Brad Brooks‘ keynote set the tone for the rest of the conference, and was – in my opinion – the best session of the conference.  Brooks encouraged marketers to rethink their strategy as “B2ME” as opposed to B2B. It’s no longer about targeting a company, it’s about targeting individuals within that company. People – even in business – want a personalized experience.

So what does this all mean? Quite simply that new business is dependent on building relationships with individuals. You should start to target your marketing efforts towards individuals in businesses, or begin to loose out to your competition.

You can start to build your B2ME strategy through the following steps…

  1. Identifying your market personas.
  2. Create content specific for each persona.
  3. Filter inbound prospects into their proper persona.
  4. Show each prospect content specific to them.

For example.  With Purlem I have identified the following personas: Print Provider, Agency, Educator, Auto Dealer, etc…

With those personas identified, I can create content specific to each persona.  Then, when a new prospect enters the sales funnel, I can identify them with the proper persona, and show them content that is relevant to them in future correspondence (email, direct mail, purls, website…).

Now, there is no doubt out this that it takes work.  Lots of work.  Just creating the content can and should be a full time job. But keep in mind that this is replacing your “traditional” advertising.  You know, the type of advertising where you would throw thousands at the magazine or TV and crossed your fingers that somebody would pick.  The ‘ol spray-and-pray method is long gone. B2B is dead.

Splitting First and Last Names

This is somewhat of a common problem for Purlem users. Purlem requires that the first and last name be split up in two separate columns. However, many people have a spreadsheet with the first and last names combined into a single column.

Fortunately, the solution is quite simple. I outlined the steps below to separate the first and last names into their own columns.

More of a visual learner?  Watch the video here.

1) Open the Spreadsheet in Excel

I’m using Mac Numbers in the example below.  But the process is more or less the same. In this example we have a single “Owner Name” column, with two different names separated by a forward slash.  The goal is the extract only the first of the two names, and then to split the first and last names into their own columns.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.23.11 AM

2) Copy and Paste the Name column into a new spreadsheet.

Create a new spreadsheet in excel.  Then copy the entire name column from the old spreadsheet, into the new one.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.24.14 AM

3) Save as CSV

If your using Excel, select File > Export > Save As > CSV (Windows)

Open the CSV file in a text editor.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.25.01 AM

4) Find/Replace to Create new Columns

In CSV files, the comma represents a new column.  Hence the “Comma Separated Values.”

So to split up the name into it’s own columns, we simply want to replace every space with a comma.  In this example, we will also be replacing every forward slash with a comma.

Once commas have been added, Save the CSV file.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 11.30.31 AM

5) Open CSV file in Excel

You now have all the names sepearted in their own column.  Since we only want to keep the first and last name, we can delete all other columns.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 11.31.54 AM

6) Past the First and Last Names into Original Spreadsheet

Now you can copy out the first and last name columns, and past them into your original spreadsheet.  And that’s it!

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 10.31.46 AM

ROI for Personalized Direct Mail

Personalized Direct Mail is nothing new.  What is new is how affordable personalization is becoming.

The technology that allows you to print personalized data on each direct mail piece is called Variable Data Printing. The cost for variable data printing has historically been an obstacle for those looking to personalize their direct marketing efforts.  However, the technology is both becoming cheaper and easier to use.  If you haven’t already, now is a perfect time to begin to experiment with personalization.

Just take a look the chart below from Banta Corp that shows the production cost and ROI for personalized direct mail.

Low-Level Targeting & Personalization High-Level Targeting & Personalization

Production cost: 25,000 pieces @ $.40 each = $10,000
2% Response rate = 500
Revenue model: 500 @ $100 average sale = $50,000
Production cost as % of revenue = 20%
R.O.I = 5.0x
Cost per response = $20

Production cost: 12,500 pieces @ $.80 each = $10,000
10% Response rate = 1,250
Revenue model: 1,250 @ $100 average sale = $125,000
Production cost as % of revenue = 8%
R.O.I = 12.5x
Cost per response = $8



Study: More Personalization = More Response

A 2012 InfoTrends study finds that marketing efforts featuring a higher level of personalization complexity, results in a higher response and conversion rate.

For this study, InfoTrends surveyed executives and decision makers from more than 1,000 enterprises, employing 500+ people, across 10 vertical market segments.

Here are the results:

PURL Marketing Response Rates

Campaign Response Rate Conversion Rate
 Print Only 6.0% 16.2%
 Print and Email 7.6% 18.3%
 Print and PURLs 7.6% 15.3%
 Print, Email and PURLs 8.2% 16.5%
 Print, Email, PURLs and Mobile 8.7% 19.0%
 Source: InfoTrends, 2012

Purlem is Hiring

We’re growing and it’s time to hire! If you know of any good designers/programmers that may be interested in joining Purlem, please forward them our way!

These are contact to hire positions. If your in Chicago that’s a plus, but location does not matter.

PHP Programmer
Looking for an experienced PHP programmer that is proficient with MySQL, jQuery, HTML & CSS. The right guy/gal is very familiar with MVC Frameworks (Codeigniter is a plus), and has a good understanding of APIs.

You’ll help with adding new features, fixing bugs, and scaling challenges.

Looking for a web designer with a keen eye for simplicity and detail.  You’ll help with perfecting the design of our marketing site, as well as the UI/UX of the user dashboard.

Get an idea for our “style” on our Pinterest page:
I’d like to see your work that reflects a similar clean & simple style.

Consumers Prefer Personalized Communication

Mass marketing is rapidly coming to an end. Replacing the “spray-and-pray” tactics is a target, personalized approach.

The premise is really quite simple – would you rather receive a piece of junk mail, or something that is personalized and relevant to you? Today, consumers prefer personalized communication, as made obvious in The Future of Mail & Transaction Documents study by CAP Ventures.  The results are not surprising.

personalized vs non-personalized direct mail and email preferences

Ya, ya, ya… The fact that personalization will out perform mass marketing is old hat. We all know that.

81% of marketing executives agree that target direct marketing campaigns outperform mass-market campaigns.

– Data-Driven Print, Patricia Source

The sad truth is, however, that few actually act on it.  Your competitors know they should be engaging their customers with personalized messages, but they aren’t. They may intimidated, confused or just plain refuse to change their ways. Whatever their reasoning, this opens the door to differentiate yourself by engaging your prospects and customers in a personalized, one-to-one communication – the way they want to be marketed to.  How you ask? One simple way is through Personalized URL (or PURLs).

PURLs actually place your prospects name into your URL, for example – JoeSmith.yoursite.com.  The next time you send Joe and email or direct mail piece, you say… Hey Joe, I created a personalized web page just for you at JoeSmith.yoursite.com. 

And when “Joe” visits his PURL, he will see a website that is personalized just to him.  It can show product recommendations based on past purchase history.  Or exactly how much he could save by switching to your company. Or.. the sky is the limit.  Your prospects get what they want – a personalized experience.  You get increased response rates, higher conversion rates, and the ability to track each respondent. Everybody wins!

The takeaway – Personalization works. Most don’t act. PURLs make personalization easy. Go use PURLs.

White Papers Hurt Conversion Rates

I’ve never really liked white papers. According to wikipedia, white papers are suppose to help readers make a decision.  But these ancient documents are often several pages long and contain WAY to much information to make a concise decision.

I’m currently reading through The Art of Explanation, and found it very interesting that they never mention white papers (not even once!) as a good medium to explain something.  The simple fact is, that other technologies and mediums do a much better job of explaining a product or service.

But you can put my personal feelings on white papers aside.  Recently, Dr. Oldroyd has proven that white papers suck in his Lead Response Management Survey.

Dr. Oldroyd wanted to find what methods companies use to incentivise visitors on their web site to fill out a web form, and what are the effects of those offers on their lead qualification and close rates. His findings…

Offering an eBook, Proposal Request, and Price Quotes all have a strong positive relationship with increased close rates, while offering White Papers actually decreased close rates!

Offer by Close Rates



So think twice about adding White Papers to your next Personalized URL “PURL” campaigns.

Wow your PURL Visitors with Response Time

In 2007, InsideSales.com teamed up with MIT to figure out how response time correlates to actually making contact with, and qualifying that lead.

The findings were quite outstanding, and have direct implications with your Personalized URL (PURL) marketing campaigns. What they found was that if you contact a lead within 5 minutes, your 100 times more likely to make contact with the lead, than if you wait 30 minutes. 100 times! The chart below shows how the chances decrees every five minutes you wait to reach out to your new PURL lead.

Initial Dials to Leads that became Contacted

But what was even more surprising, is that if you wait more than 20 hours, every dial that you make actually hurts your ability to make contact and qualify your lead!

The bottom line, the quicker you contact the leads from your Personalized URL PURL marketing campaign, the better chance that you’ll make contact with that visitor. If you wait more than 20 hours, better off not to respond at all.

To actually put this into practice, use Purlem’s Email Alerts to setup instant email notifications to go out to your and your sales team.  Instruct your sales team to immediately follow up with the leads received from your PURL landing page.

When InsideSales.com actually put this into practice, they found that if their sales person contacts the new lead within 3 minutes, the respondent quite often reacts with, “wow, that was fast! You are impressive.” They have been told that they feel that the sales representative must be really on top of things, and that is the kind of person and company they want servicing their account.

Do yourself a favor and give your PURL visitor’s a WOW experience – just make sure that they are expecting your call! #dontbecreepy

Introducing Social Share & Track

I just released Social Share & Track in Purlem’s campaigns! With a simple click of the button, you can add social share icons to your PURL landing pages.  This gives  visitors the ability to share their PURL landing page with their social networks. Any easy way to add a viral element to your PURL landing pages.  Here is how it works…

Tom Smith receives a postcard enticing him to visit his Personalized URL:

PURL Postcard

Tom then visits his PURL to claim his offer:

Social Share PURL

Tom is asked to share the offer with his friends. It’s such a great offer Tom decides to Tweet it.


Now Tom’s friend (we’ll call him Bill) sees the offer on his Twitter feed. Bill visit’s the offer page and which requests some additional information.


After Bill completes the form, he taken to his offer page, where he to can share with his friends.  All the while, Purlem is doing some serious tracking in the back end. You can use this to track visitors who have shared the PURL page with their friend or colleague and who they have influenced.

All of the Social Share and Track results are available in the results export from Purlem’s dashboard.  Were soon going to be releasing a new results page that will be much prettier (for all you visual folks out there!)

Learn more about how Purlem’s Social Share & Track works.