Successful business marketing involves a combination of research, business statistics, analysis, and people. As a result, having and retaining business contacts in marketing represents the bread and butter of the profession.
Whether it be marketing for attorneys or marketing for toymakers, all business share two main goals in success:
- Hold onto existing customers to keep them coming back for more product or service.
- Continue to find new customers to generate growth and expansion as well as replacing those customers that eventually drift away.
The primary way to make this happen is through people. As a result, contacts are as good as gold when they represent existing or new business resources.
Retaining contacts means not only just organizing them for the purposes of keep one’s rolodex or email folder straightened, it also involves maintaining relationships.
As a result, the more contacts available, the more options a marketer has to solve a problem or business challenge.
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Basic Data Protection
Contact information retention first relies on utilizes a good database tool and backup protections to preserve information. It’s not enough to keep your contacts in email folder. Since one never fully knows when moving on from a job may happen, leaving all one’s contacts in one location can be problematic.
Office folders can be erased or sudden relocation can miss an opportunity to collect the data before leaving. As a result, every good marketer backs up his or her contact information in multiple locations to preserve them. With today’s offices moving more and more towards cloud computing, this backup activity gets far easier.
Contact data sets can be saved on an office computer, smartphone, and an Internet separate website, with simultaneous updating for changes, adds, and deletions. Not utilizing this benefit is just asking for difficulties when having to reconstruct relationships on the fly.
Networking Requires Contacts
To continue to find new leads and exposure to new business networking needs to be pursued. However, a business person can’t just walk in on a meeting, party, or soirée completely cold.
This is where contacts provide the key to break the ice. Without them, the marketer is on the outside, having to rely on third party research to get necessary business information.
With a good contact connected to the targeted customers, the marketer can get personal and close with conversations, finding out key information for successful business marketing proposals, ventures, and contract bids as necessary.
New and Old Contacts Both Matter
Marketing contacts can range from old college friends to staff of customers met in the course of business. No contact, big or small, should be ignored. All can be helpful.
That secretary or office assistant who handled basic paperwork? She could be a great simple source for additional information in meetings and communications, providing information as simple as the whereabouts of critical customer managers or future meetings.
The media contact with the annoying questions about future products? He could make a good, unconscious plant for leaked facts to generate new business interest.
Each contact met has some kind of future value, much of it obtained by word of mouth and personal relationships being maintained.
Contacts Protect Careers
As marketers moving from position to position in a career, contacts can provide a professional lifeline to better opportunities or fallbacks if a current or new job doesn’t work out.
A common lesson taught to new business students involves “never burning bridges.” There is a valuable truth to this concept; old contacts can be the friends that provide both business referrals as well as job recommendations when on the career hunt.
Word to the Wise
Marketers have to be careful, however, with where they gain their contacts and employment contracts signed in the course of a career. Many businesses that rely on personal services to customers and clients treat such contacts as protected business assets.
Marketers who leave a business may have signed a confidentiality contract or conflict of interest agreement, agreeing not to raid these customers if striking out on one’s own from a previous employer. Such agreements represent direct revenue streams for the original employer, who is likely to sue to retain ownership of such contacts and their own successful business marketing operation.
What successful business marketing strategies do you use?
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