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Three Critical Marketing Tasks Made Better With Data

When marketers talk about the art of what they do, the picture they are painting has to be one inspired by data. The most creative campaign won’t return results if the marketer who conceived it failed to tap into the Big Data muse. Luckily, data-driven insights are available to all. The professionals who leverage those insights find greater success in their outbound marketing activities in three critical areas.

1. Identifying and targeting leads

Honing in on the right leads starts with the creation of detailed buyer personas, and that begins with existing customer data. Marketers should analyze the information they have about their best customers to determine the profiles of others who are most likely to buy. Once such personas are created, sales and marketing teams should apply them to their prospect databases. That process must be automated, so that as new leads enter the pipeline, the sales team receives real-time data upon which it can act.

Beyond typical buyer persona characteristics, sales professionals need tools that determine contextual, relevant information about prospects. That information must go deeper than just a contact’s name, title, company and industry. There is also data available that draws from industry discussions, events and news, which can be crucial in helping sales teams succeed. For example, data alerts should be able to tell a sales representative that a prospect who leads IT at a governmental organization was potentially affected by a security breach that has attracted news coverage.

2. Timing outbound marketing activity

Prospects are not static creatures -- their needs change over time and in relation to numerous events, and those shifts influence their propensity to purchase. A marketer who can track and analyze buying triggers is far better positioned to deliver qualified leads to the sales team. To improve timing through data, marketers must consider which scenarios indicate an increased willingness to buy. If the company sells logistics or human resources software, for example, knowing that a particular prospect is expanding into several new regions might be a critical piece of information. Or the fact that an executive has been hired or promoted might indicate the opening of a window into prime selling time. Outbound campaigns based on such trigger data can lead to six times the response rate of campaigns that do not leverage triggers.

3. Increasing the effectiveness of search engine marketing (SEM)

Data improves the results from search engine marketing, as well. When marketers know what events are happening to their prospects, what challenges prospects face, what news prospects are announcing, and what industry trends affect prospects, they can hone in on the most effective keywords. Thus, their SEM strategies become more specific, more targeted and therefore more effective. For example, if target prospects are heading to an industry trade show, marketers can increase the amount of the budget dedicated to those related keywords and search terms.

There is no doubt that marketing is an art, and outbound marketing in particular needs to incorporate the creative in order to resonate with prospects. However, that art needs the support of relevant, real-time, contextual data in order to reach its full potential. By incorporating deep data analysis into their campaign strategies, marketers can more accurately identify and target leads, schedule their outbound marketing activity and increase the effectiveness of their search engine marketing efforts.

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