An example of one of the Lead Driver+ emails sent to the window and door manufacturing sector. Lead Driver+ includes a variety of channels, from email, enews, and website interstitial ads to social, programmatic audience extension and re-targeting. It all rolls into a detailed scored lead report.

Don Marino knows he has a complex marketing message to deliver. As marketing manager for Ahearn & Soper, he enjoys a clear market differentiator, but not one that can be easily conveyed in traditional display advertising.

Ahearn & Soper is a full-spectrum provider of supply chain solutions to the warehouse, manufacturing and healthcare sector. That includes hardware, software, supplies and service, and includes such household brands as Epson, Honeywell, Toshiba and Brother. They also run their own label printing shop, thus using much of the technology they sell and service. All in, they offer clients a full range of options few can touch.

“We are an ecosystem with many moving parts,” Don explains. “We have a lot of human expertise behind every product we sell and service, and our range includes hardware, software, service and our own label print shop, so it makes it tough for competitors to penetrate.”

That’s an enviable position but conveying that broad market advantage across the many verticals it serves presents a challenge. It requires storytelling, multiple assets and many touch points. It also requires a different go-to-market strategy with sophisticated partners.

Multi-prong marketing

To communicate these market differentiators, the company has been an early and repeat client of one of Annex Business Media’s newest branding, demand gen and lead gen products – Lead Driver. Don has run Lead Driver programs in four Annex markets as of January 2024, including packaging, printing, manufacturing, and window/door manufacturing. He has been impressed with the results.

Lead Driver is an automated marketing campaign that builds an audience from among Annex’s 60+ B2B media brands. It delivers an ongoing series of messages and content via email, social, enewsletters and targeted website modal ads. Prospects that respond to one message are automatically sent subsequent material to help educate them on the solutions and move them further down the funnel. Marketers receive a list of scored leads at the end of the campaign.

An enhanced Lead Driver version also includes some omni-channel or programmatic outreach using Annex’s own first-party data to help build and extend a targeted audience. Called Lead Driver+, this approach has also been used by Ahearn & Soper, an audience extension tactic that works especially well in smaller, niche markets where audience size might otherwise be a limitation.

Market to sell

It all starts with building relevant B2B audiences, an area that first drew Don to partner with Annex.

“Annex has such a diversity of publications and respective audiences – from manufacturing to security, food, printing, packaging, and others. These align well with our own target sectors, markets that touch on warehousing, manufacturing, and printing. Whether it’s product tracking, real-time data, or labels, Annex has markets that need our solutions. It’s a good match.”

After audiences are selected or custom built, high-quality content is the key to successful Lead Driver campaigns. Here Don and his mighty marketing team of three have an ace in the hole – They create a consistent array of relevant content in multiple formats. Don had 34 years of experience running a marketing agency prior to joining Ahearn & Soper, so he understands fully how solid content will make or break a B2B campaign.

“You have to leave the customer with some real value,” Don urges. “We create video, white papers, you name it, and it’s all in easily digestible, skimmable formats. We build our content based on how people prefer to consume it.”

For clients without that expertise or bandwidth, Annex runs Amplify, its own B2B content marketing studio. Run by seasoned B2B editors, it creates content in every imaginable format, from video and infographics to white papers, webinars, podcasts and research.

Early results

Don is pleased with results from the Lead Driver and Lead Driver+ campaigns he’s run. Part of that success can be traced back to the consistent, ongoing investment Ahearn & Soper has committed to in these markets.

“Annex is a big part of our investment, but we also do a lot of complementary outreach outside of that network. Our cadence is high, so we’ve been able to pick up some market share.”

Once leads are received, in addition to direct sales outreach, Ahearn & Soper uses the data to help build target audiences and finesse customer profiles. Once prospects are brought into the Ahearn & Soper marketing fold, they are included in all relevant marketing channels well beyond that first sale.

In addition to the collection of scored leads, Ahearn & Soper has seen direct sales attributable to the Lead Driver campaigns. These include four sales resulting directly from a Lead Driver+ in Annex’s modest window and door brand Fenestration Review. This is an example of how using an omni-channel extended reach can help flesh out a niche market.

Annex continues to work with Don to fine-tune the reporting process, but overall, he is pleased with how the campaigns have turned out.

“Annex is doing a great job. I’d recommend working with these guys without a doubt. They’ve been a great partner.”

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