Lee Odden

MarketingProfs B2B: Case Study on Email, CRM & Social Media

I decided to do a little liveblogging at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum and picked this session: Why email CRM and social media have become the tools of modern B2B marketing where a case study was presented by Genworth Financial.

Joel Book from Exact Target introduced the case study:  Creating brand advocates is as important as creating brand awareness. [I would say more important. An advocate proactively shares the brand experience]. Funny, Google “brand tattoos” to see some serious brand advocate activity.

How are marketers using digital media to engage?

  • email + crm
  • email + social

Email and CRM help to automate interaction. Automation is the key because marketing staff and budgets are not increasing. In order to continue deliver personal and timely messages to customers, you need to automate.

Social participation brings customers together and provides an opportunity to include a call to action to join a newsletter.

Brands are aligning themselves with a specific cause, to add to their brand image.

Genworth Financial case study:

Genworth sells their insurance products through brokers, not directly to consumers.

Reduced marketing resources along with the expectation to have successful marketing campaigns let them to realize that more is not always better. It’s more important to send the right message to the right customer at the right time. Genworth understood the need to personalize communications and to offer in multiple mediums.

They started their email efforts with a business unit and have now expanded to 20 businesses. In 2006 100k emails were being sent and now 3.79 million emails are delivered as part of their program.

Personalized messages are critical to their email marketing. Email newsletters are personalized for the customer and according to the Genworth sales person. Open rates are 7-10% higher when the email comes from the sales person.

Email has realized cost savings as an alternative to print direct mail. Most new product introductions are launched only via email.  Emails were highly personalized and customized, which is very expensive to do in print. $3 million in print and direct mail cost savings were realized in 2009 for one of their marketing efforts.

Increased productivity is attributed to email and Genworth is able to use dynamic content and salesforce.com integration to create 700 highly customized emails every Friday.

Email – high ROI. Example: A co-branded campaign delivered highly personalized emails with Genworth customer logo, contact info and was distributed on behalf of Genworth customers (insurance brokers) resulting in a 12% increase in sales ($ millions) with only a $420 spend.

Efficiency of data integration and dynamic content. Customers used to receive 1-5 emails for each product. Now they only receive 1 with all info consolidated. Genworth used to have 4 FT employees and now only need one to manage email. This is as result of integration with salesforce.com and using exacttarget.com.

Timeframe to get completely setup including installation and testing: 1-2 months.

Creating self serve email templates for sales teams helps them become more efficient.

Enhanced reporting and metrics are available with data integration based on salesforce.com custom objects. Ex: what type of customers open and click the most. What’s working and what’s not.

Email Integration with Social Media has been tentative because of working in a regulated industry. However, the need to better engage with customers motivated them to move forward, albeit, tentatively.

One example is an email newsletter and blog. The blog is hosted on Active Rain (a real estate community). The newsletter gives a snippet of information and then links to a longer form of content on the writer’s blog. On the blog, readers can make comments and ask questions.  A loop is created by including a call to action on the blog to subscribe to the e-newsletter for people that get to the blog via other means.

A Facebook fan page was used as a destination for a national brand advertising campaign designed to recognize caregivers.  Genworth used online advertising, PPC, SEO, social advertising and Genworth producer and consumer web sites to promote. They now have over 7,000 fans. Most successful was Facebook advertising.

Email was used to drive traffic to Facbook and inspire participation and engagement. More awareness and education for products are expected to increase sales.

It’s essential to deliver content in the formats and mediums that your customers want. Integrating data with dynamic content in a combined Email, CRM and Social Media effort can help marketers become more efficient, effective and profitable.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Wow this a great list of things to consider for B2B companies. I know that I'll be bringing these ideas back to my social media task force for consideration/implementation. Hope you're having fun out in Boston!

  2. No doubt, email is cheaper than direct mail. I’m actually starting to believe snail mail is extinct. The only downside I believe is your email will be considered spam (so do not abuse it). Personalizing is very important–shows that you care (even if you don’t). Keep It Short and Sweet, direct to the point. (no one wants to read a lengthy email).

  3. ideas of Email Success in B2b…seems good…Never tried that but seems your study can be implemented

  4. It is critical that each and every website owner create all types of marketing efforts that include Facebook Pages, Facebook group pages, Social Bookmarking, Press Release sites and Email Campaigns as well. It's all needed to create more exposure and relevant inbound links…

    • Creating all types of marketing efforts isn't practical for most marketers, since it doesn't take into account where customers are actually spending their time. Doing a socialgraphics audit first is essential to understanding where prospects are discovering, consuming and sharing content. It also reveals influencers. When you can answer those questions first, that's where you'll want to spend your time.

  5. Avatar intelestream says

    Great article. No doubt social networking is redefining CRM. For further reading, Intelestream has recently published a whitepaper about the subject. The whitepaper defines the concept of Social CRM, offers strategies that can help organizations better leverage social networking as part of their overall customer management strategy. The paper can be read at http://www.intelestream.net/en/whitepapers/the-

    • If you want to link to a direct download that is relevant to the blog post, fine with me. Linking to a landing page to capture email addresses is not something we're interested in.

  6. Avatar internetmarketing11 says

    Thanks buddy for sharing so precious knowledge with us……..:)

  7. We have been looking into automation with social media referrals as some are strictly seeking information we provide. We can separate geo-positive referrals from clients simply utilizing this strategy.

  8. Avatar Todd @ BuzzStream says

    Lee, what are your thoughts on using Facebook fan page as a landing page for an email campaign? I see it's value in boosting Fan count and encouraging interaction but my thinking is that some customization would have to be done that aligns with the campaign goal(s). Like you mentioned doing some research to steer the strategy would be needed but do you think this would be the best play for building a bit of “community” around one's business?

  9. Avatar build a niche store says

    I just came across your website. It is truly excellent and very valuable resource in today’s economy.

  10. Reduced marketing resources along with the expectation to have successful marketing campaigns let them to realize that more is not always better. It’s more important to send the right message to the right customer at the right time.

  11. Avatar emailmarketer says

    I recently read a White Paper on combining CRM with demographics in an email campaign program. Imagine targeting people, not just buy demographics, but by their personal purchasing habits which overrides the need to know age, gender, profession, etc. A powerful combination having both at your fingertips, especially for service oriented industries like theaters and stores.