When our inboxes are inundated with mass marketing emails, the ensuing cleanup can seem ruthless. It’s necessary, though, right? But when we think about the recipients of our B2B emails doing the same thing, it stings a little. To avoid being part of a prospect’s mass-email eradication, consider a few strategic moves that will focus the content and purpose of your B2B marketing emails.

First, all data can be good data if you use it to target the right recipients of your message. Update email lists frequently to ensure email addresses, job titles and companies remain current. Messages that announce a call to action should be sent to decision makers; apply segmentation to your mailing list to ensure only the people who can act on your message are getting it.

Second, customize the message. A one-size-fits-all email can be spotted a mile away, and no discerning prospect will appreciate being just one of many. Rather than casting a wide net with a generic sales pitch or marketing announcement, craft similar messages for different audiences inside that large pool of prospects. When recipients feel like you’re speaking directly to them, they’re more likely to reach out in response.

Third, get personal. Personalization in mass emails seems nearly impossible—you’re sending one message to dozens, or even hundreds—how is that efficient? Personalization isn’t only about including a recipient’s name in a message. Connecting with target audiences on a level that they inhabit—be it business or social—is a great way to put a laser-focus on your message.

Finally, follow up. You know exactly who you sent your message to—why wouldn’t you come back to ask how they used what you provided? Request feedback that helps you better tweak your message content, frequency and targets. Indirect means of follow-up, such as tracking offer downloads or click-throughs to your website or sales promotion, also can show you how recipients engage with your message and can lead to improvements in your B2B email marketing strategy.

Five Minutes With Pam Kreuzburg

Harvey-Daco powered by HALO

Pam Kreuzburg 2 webAfter 66 years as a family owned-and-operated distributor firm, Waco, Texas-based Harvey-Daco, Inc. (UPIC: HARVDACO) joined forces with HALO Branded Solutions (UPIC: HBS) in Sterling, Illinois to become Harvey-Daco powered by HALO. Harvey-Daco CEO Pam Kreuzburg spoke with PPB about the reason for the change and how she and her husband, Vice President Bob Kreuzburg, are working with HALO to keep the company’s family approach to business going strong.

PPB After so many years as an independent distributor, what prompted the decision to join forces with HALO?

Kreuzburg From 2008 on, we had been working continuously to upgrade our technology platform, but we just kind of wanted to get to the next level. We looked at [HALO] for about eight months before we decided to go ahead.

It’s difficult for a smaller company to keep up with advances in technology, so we thought it was best for our salespeople to go to a larger company that still has a family feel but can also give our salespeople the technology platform and group buying opportunities that will help them be more successful. They’re going to be more profitable. I think HALO and Harvey-Daco are a good fit.

PPB What has the change looked like for Harvey-Daco staff, and how are you going to maintain the family-style approach to business going forward?

Kreuzburg The transition has been interesting; I admire HALO—the people they take in are all so different. But they’ve done a great job. I can’t tell you how patient they’ve been.

We were sad to see some internal staff go—some who had been here 20 years, even 40 years—but I also know that HALO will take our salespeople forward. They’re still our family, but now we are a part of a bigger family. Everybody transitioned, and they are pleased with what they’ve seen. The clients are happy.

PPB What do you look forward to as members of the industry?

Kreuzburg We hope to become more involved in professional organizations. When you’re running a business 24/7, it can be overwhelming. [Vice President Bob Kreuzberg and I] are still selling and we will be available to help our people.


Decision Fatigue

Ever come home from a full day of work knowing you should eat well, but you just order pizza instead? Coined by a social psychologist, decision fatigue—or ego depletion—results from a lack of mental energy required for decision-making activities. The more decisions you have to make in a day, the less likely your later decisions will be good ones.

You can fight decision fatigue in a few ways:

1. Make daily decisions (the repetitive ones) the night before. Decide what you’ll wear, what you’ll eat and when to run those important errands.

2. Do the most important task first. Whatever needs the most attention and deserves your best decision-making skills should be tackled before anything else.

3. Turn decisions into commitments. Make a point of prioritizing tasks by writing them down; schedule them on your calendar if you have to.

4. Eat something before you make a decision. If you have to decide something important at the end of the day, eat first. The extra nutrients fuel your brain and fortify your decision-making power.

5. Simplify. If the task list seems overwhelming, it probably is. Can you move a task to another day? Can you break it into smaller steps? Can you delegate a task, or strike it entirely? Do it. Eliminating decisions lessens fatigue and the likelihood of a poor outcome.


Still Livin’ The Dream

In an age of success on a global scale, is the American Dream alive and well? Western Union banked on it, building a branding and digital marketing strategy that centers on the embodiment of the American Dream and how to achieve it. The campaign targets Americans with friends and family living abroad, a demographic the company has coined “dual-belongers.”

The money-transfer service launched a YouTube video that highlighted Americans speaking about their American Dreams, and it also developed dedicated web pages that offer advice on how to achieve the American Dream. These promotions, along with the company’s Western Union American Dream Sweepstakes, were tied in to social media postings on the company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

By July of this year, Western Union had recorded a 1,705-percent total engagement rate—the company’s social community responded to the campaign with nearly 19,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, as well as 839 shares and 714 comments. YouTube viewers reported finding the video inspirational and positive.


Looking To Data To Drive Creative

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. ad agencies are letting the numbers tell them how to design their digital ads, according to a recent poll conducted by ad platform provider Jivox. The goal? To increase brand engagement, respondents say. And it appears the use of data to customize ad creative has worked.Thirty-nine percent reported seeing increased click-through rates.

The most popular type of data used by respondents was demographic information, at just over 58 percent. More than half the respondents also applied device location data to their creative strategies.

The Water Cooler

Let’s Do Lunch

Want to ensure a successful business meeting? Forget the boardroom and head for a booth, says barbecue entrepreneur Brett Randle. The CEO of Dallas, Texas-based Soulman’s Bar-B-Que believes taking business partners out for lunch is more beneficial than ordering in at the office.

“Conducting business meetings over lunch is a great way to establish a relationship with a client or potential business colleague,” said Randle. “As we like to say at Soulman’s, ‘why not do business over brisket?’ Lunch meetings allow professionals to break up their work day while getting to know each other.”

Randle offers a few more reasons for meeting over a meal:

Restaurants are neutral territory. No one has the “upper hand” at a dining establishment. But don’t choose the latest trendy bistro for your meeting. A restaurant that is reliable and comfortable is much more suitable for casual business conversation.

Dining out lets you get personal. Though conference calls may be more convenient for executives who are pressed for time, the personal interaction over a meal can’t be beat.

Comfort food puts them at ease. Take away the sterile, bland boardroom and you’ll take a lot of tension out of a meeting. Going out for lunch can turn a formal conversation into a casual dialogue.

Everyone appreciates a change of scenery. Going somewhere new or different creates a memory with which to associate the meeting. Better recall means better results.

Meetings become time-sensitive. Knowing you’re only in a place to do two things—eat and talk—means any business you have can be conducted with greater efficiency … especially if the participants would rather eat than talk.