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How Inbound Marketing Can Reach Senior Executives, Many of Whom aren't Online.

over-under-marketing-reach-influencers-by-inbound-marketingAt last week's HubSpot User Group meeting in Stamford, there was a great question from one of our attendees. She asked, "how can I use Inbound Marketing to reach CIOs, many of whom are not online?" Her company is in a mature B2B market where there are many competitors and subsititutes. The company is finding that its traditional outbound marketing tactics are less and less effective. She was at a loss.

You can reach senior execs who aren't online through their influencers.

Turns out that there's a great way to reach CxO targets through Inbound Marketing: influence their influencers. While more and more 50-something managers are as Internet-savvy as any Gen-Xer, the social rules of hierarchical corporations remain intact: top dogs have their people do the legwork on new initiatives. So the way to reach the executive suite with Inbound Marketing is to support the information-gathering efforts of their staff.

Another long-true maxim of marketing to the c-suite is that you can use what we call an "over-under" approach. Reach the CxO with one message, and the influencer with a deeper and more detailed one. In the case of the CxO, we often use direct mail, and when budgets allow, an "undeniable" three-dimensional piece that gets past the gatekeepers that still protect America's top execs.

Over/Under marketing will reach your targets even more efficiently by integrating Inbound Marketing with Direct Marketing.

This over-under marketing approach is tried and true. In the days before the Web, we’d send a set of content-rich direct mail pieces to staff-level execs, with the goal of educating and creating preference. At the same time, we would send a larger and more impressive mailer to the senior exec, usually with the goal of creating awareness and sometimes fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). We’d also throw in a call or letter to the gatekeeper letting him/her know that an important package was on its way for the boss (goal: get the gatekeeper to put the item on the boss’s desk).

So if you are trying to reach executives who are 55+ and unlikely to be searching Google for you and your product or service, consider targeting their influencers.  And while you’re at it, create a traditional direct marketing campaign targeting them. The beauty of this strategy is that you will have a much smaller direct mail list to manage (and budget for creative/postage/production) and you’re much more likely to show ROI on the whole campaign.

Start with a goal, then build your personas...

Steps to take: if you don't already have one, create a persona for the influencer(s) in the buying process at your target accounts; find a direct marketing specialist if you don’t have one in your roster of service providers; build a multichannel campaign to achieve your objectives integrating Inbound Marketing and Direct Marketing; and, demonstrate fantastic results.

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