How to leverage B2B direct marketing creative to increase lifetime customer value, Pt. 2

This is part two of a two-part article on B2B direct mail creative and how you can leverage it to increase lifetime customer value. to view part 1, go here.

Your B2B direct marketing creative message to B2B customers (business-to-business customers) is more than just wrapping around your offer. It’s also an essential part of the conversation with customers and can either hurt or help how long you hold onto them, because no customer contact is ever neutral.  In this second of two parts, we continue with ways to leverage your creative to increase lifetime customer value.


Look for opportunities to identify, qualify, cross- and up-sell

What can you piggy-back marketing messages onto in a new way? Many times your business might have statements, packing slips, email notifications or other communications that you can add marketing messages to or inserts into. In some cases, you might be talking with other influencers or users at your customer’s company and there’s an opportunity to tweak messages to speak to those parties areas of need.

Think about:

  • Administrative communications
  • Website log-in screens and messages
  • Find space on statements, e-communications
  • (ie: banners on email)

What success stories can you share? Stories about clients using your product or service in interesting ways, or a testimonial from a successful client and your company’s contribution, are worth sharing with other clients in emails, statement message areas, and inserts added to letters.

Think about:

  • How-to-Guides that go beyond the usual case study or white paper
  • Online video knowledge offered through email
  • Pinterest and other collaborative venues to share ideas and build a business fan base

What questions can you ask that will help you and them? Periodic surveys of customers let you learn more about what customers need and want, and can identify new areas of need that your company can help with.

Give and take information with clients by using surveys that generate

  • Qualified prospects for cross-sell
  • Interest in new products, offering information
  • Check interest in upgrades and strength of Limited Time Offers (LTOs)


Four and-a-half creative techniques people forget, ignore, or never learned, that can increase customer lifetime value

#1 Connect on a human level.

  • Connect on a human level. Whether the sales cycle is short or long, look for the things that make your company connect better than the next guy.
  • Be friendly in your creative tone
  • Talk about them more than you.
  • Give your sender a personality
  • Speak from your history and position
    – but keep from chest-beating
  • Avoid the ‘unknown we’
  • Remember to provide channels for feedback and dialog
  • Speak to the customer’s interests

#2 Speak to a customer’s desires

Inc. Magazine recently did a nice job listing the 7 desires all customers have.  We are all human at the core, and whether you sell shipping supplies, solar panels or private jets, your customer has a reason they do repeat business with you. You make them feel important, and they don’t think your company is full of jerks.  Reasons clients are doing business with you that you need to consider:

  • They like you best
  • Your product and experience has worked for them
  • It is always more than price
  • Find out what it is:
    • Use your creative and short check off surveys, replies and return emails, to ask learn learn the reasons why, then leverage it!
  • Communicate what you can help with in their terms
  • Go beyond product, offer expertise, knowledge or ideas relevant to them
  • Get those ideas from your front-line people: Stars in your Sales, CSRs and Help Desk
  • Turn ideas into stories. Great Stories SELL.

#3 Get (and keep) their attention

  • What does your competition say to customers in their communications?
  • Study their tactics, go beyond their end executions, and develop your own that set you apart from competition
  • If you can’t find Best Practices, develop Emerging Practices in creative messages from your own troops’ experience with customers
  • Use creative that speaks to the Next step of a customer’s interaction with you.
    • If they just bought, ask how the transaction was
    • If they are midway through interaction cycle, send knowledge, tips and ideas, and ask them to share, too.
    • Use data in your creative to make THEM feel important
    • Send messages as customers get close to repurchase
    • Send preemptive offers timed before the next expected interaction

#4 reward customers with words and actions

  • Make offers to save them
    • Effort
    • Time
    • Money
  • Talk to them about exclusives. Reserves, advance orders, VIP circle status, product bundles.
  • An offer doesn’t always have to be discount-based to be valuable. But the message must be believable.
  • Make sure your creative and the customer experience that follows are consistent in tone and experience.
  • Use promises and guarantees that will be honored.
  • Communicate how repurchasing from your company reduces risk
  • Back up with testimonials (remember to get permission first) that make pleased customers Stars
    • “What I love about” “What I did” videos
    • Recorded interviews
    • Scanned actual letters
    • Photos make a human connection, too. Use a cell camera. Amateur photos feel real!

#4 1/2 Get over the fear, and learn from Stars in your organization

  • Your front line sales force, CSRs, delivery or retail counter employees, and your helpline and chat personnel can be the best resources to help your creative learn what goes on in customer interactions, and how to translate that to your communications
  • Turn them into allies
  • Have your creative team shadow them for a half-day, or interview the best of the best in Sales and front line customer service
  • Translate the knowledge into creative messages based on customer experience

Recap: what can help you leverage your B2B direct marketing creative:

  • The fundamentals to have in place ahead of developing BsB direct marketing creative
  • What to put into customer relationship creative
  • 3 things your creative should be saying to keep customers longer
  • Using creative messages to identify, qualify cross and upsell
  • 4 ½ creative techniques people forget, ignore, or never learned

What are some of the challenges you’ve been facing when it comes to your direct marketing messages to existing customers?

This is the second of a two-part article on Leveraging B2B creative to increase customer lifetime value. For Part 1, click here.

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I’m a creative problem-solver helping clients who use Direct Marketing but need more effective lead generation and deeper customer relationships. You can learn more about me on LinkedIn.


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  1. […] This is part one of a two-part article on B2B direct mail creative and how you can leverage it to increase lifetime customer value. to view part 2, go here. […]