Surprising Words of Advice: Aim Smaller With Marketing Campaigns

How to ensure your micro-campaign proves successful

Aim Smaller

We’re all familiar with the expression “less is more.” But, as marketers, do we ever stop to consider how narrowing our focus might give us better results? Sometimes, we get so overwhelmed by the big picture that we miss out on quick wins and immediate opportunities. After all, our standard strategies tend toward seeking out more leads, more data and more engagement.

What if the key to unlocking optimal demand generation from our marketing campaigns is, in fact, doing less—that is, in regard to downsizing swollen campaigns? Indeed, during the recent B2B Content2Conversion Conference, the VP and group director of SiriusDecisions discussed a growing trend across the marketing landscape defined as “micro-campaigns.” It’s a simple, but counterintuitive, objective: We must aim smaller with our marketing campaigns to realize more success.

In order to create a successful micro-campaign, B2B marketers must utilize data in a highly targeted manner which enables campaigns to become focused for a smaller audience. In doing so, you can create more personal marketing messages for a specific group of buyers.

As such, the driver of your micro-campaign success is your marketing database. Marketers must focus on eliminating “dirty data” from their databases so that they can target their campaigns toward the buyers who are most likely to purchase. When a business’s database is cleansed, enriched and segmented properly, marketers can extract more pinpointed insights about their buyers and, in turn, create more-targeted messages.

So, what are some other ways to ensure your micro-campaign proves successful? Here are a couple tips:

  • Establish your niche: Use your database as a means of investigating your customers and their top pain points. Then, repackage your company’s offerings with a specific solution that speaks directly to these consumers and their needs. In this way, you can set yourself apart in your market by zeroing in on specific targets, rather than over generalizing your market and trying to speak to everyone at once.
  • Downsize channel usage: If you previously embarked on large-scale campaigns focused on a widespread group of buyers, you probably found that some channels were more effective than others; leverage those channels to your advantage. For instance, hone in on a singular social media channel for your next campaign—one that will provide an avenue for focused, personalized conversations with your consumers. Establishing a solid relationship with your potential buyers in a more intimate way will help drive more-efficient buyer journeys, stimulate good reviews and lead to more recommendations.

So marketers: Think big, aim small! You’ll be surprised by what you see.

You Love Data, But Your Team’s Not So Hot for It: Three Tips to Get Them on Board

Advantages you will gain from using a marketing data management service

Get On Board

While you might value the insights you can gain from analyzing B2B buyer information stored in your, marketing database, perhaps the rest of your team hasn’t seen enough results—like increased lead generation—to want to sift through it with you. After all, the task of normalizing, standardizing and de-duplicating data that hasn’t been properly cleansed or enriched is enough to make most marketers back away.

Indeed, the inconsistencies found in your current database might be rather frighteningly difficult to tackle in a strategic manner. Namely, the incomplete and expired data compiled from lead capture forms, webinar sign ups and event registrations hinders your ability to glean the most pinpointed insights about your buyers. That is, no matter how dedicated you are to trudging through your data, if it isn’t maintained properly, you might as well be searching for a needle in a haystack.

All too often, gaining insights from marketing databases is a struggle for today’s marketers simply because the data is compromised. In fact, a recent survey from KPMG, titled “Going Beyond the Data: Achieving Actionable Insights with Data and Analytics,” revealed that 85 % of respondents (144 CIOs and CFOs from major corporations) said their biggest challenge with analytics is in implementing the right solutions to accurately analyze and interpret data. That is, businesses need help not only with organizing (cleansing, enriching and segmenting) but also in gleaning more actionable insights.

As such, it’s time to make a compelling case for investing in marketing data management software to augment your data management strategy. Here are three advantages you and your colleagues will gain from using a marketing data management service:

  • Minimized manual data efforts: With data analysis being a top priority for today’s marketers, there are now advanced technologies to help with the maintenance and management of marketing databases. Best-in-class solutions can take care of the legwork by cleansing, enriching and targeting business databases. That is, technology can make your data more consistent, complete and easier to work with, all without manual effort.
  • Improved clarity and insight on your target buyers: Marketers can’t just make educated guesses about their consumers’ preferences; they need cold, hard facts to substantiate their intuitions. Extracting insight from your marketing database can give you the clarity you need. For instance, from your gleaned data, you can better know your potential buyers—from their job titles to their organizations (e.g., size, location and industry).
  • Content that delivers results: When you know exactly who your consumers are, you can create content that speaks directly to them in a personalized fashion. Modern consumers crave customized interactions with the brands they patronize. So, use your data insight to create blogs that target their top pain points, and social posts that are relevant to their industry concerns.

Data is not to be feared, but to be enjoyed. So, start making the most of it by using technology to guide you—you’re going to love the outcome.

It’s Time for B2B to Get Social

How to make social media a winning part of your marketing strategy

Social Media DBNPThere’s a rumor going around that social media may not be as beneficial to B2B organizations as it is to B2C companies. However, according to AdWeek.com, “More than 9 in 10 B2B marketers say that increased exposure is the number one benefit of social media.” The truth is, B2B organizations that do social media well are going to be ahead of the pack in 2015. The challenge is how to execute a successful plan at your particular company. Here are some ways you can make social media a winning part of your marketing strategy:

1. Make a game plan
From determining your goals and deciding which channels to focus on to creating a calendar and determining how you’ll measure analytics, there’s a lot to lay out before you begin utilizing social. You’ll want to decide what your main objectives are, what channels you’ll use, how many resources you have, and what kind of content you want to share. 

2. Divide and conquer 
You won’t be successful on all channels at once and some will garner stronger results for you than others. Once you’ve determined which channels you’ll use, decide out how each one will function. You may find that Instagram is a great place to share event photos and company culture, but LinkedIn is a better place for you to promote content and product updates. Determining what percentage of your posts will used for each of these purposes is also helpful. Just remember to work towards building a community and developing conversations. You don’t want to be overly promotional all the time. 

3. Gather your gladiators
Creating a solid team is essential. You need skilled writers, creative content developers, talented graphic designers, and organized analysts to make your social media movement successful. Many companies mistake “using” social media for “understanding” it. Just because someone comes to you and says they Tweet on a daily basis in their personal life, doesn’t mean they’ll understand how to execute a successful business strategy. Today, promoted posts and paid tweets are a big part of social media for businesses. It’s important that your team has an understanding of how to navigate this aspect.

4. Brand your channels
Make your channels a strong reflection of your brand and the direction you are heading in as a whole. Your header and profile photos, description, and overall tone should be consistent and on-brand across all social channels. Even the filters on your Instagram photos and the type of content you decide to send out should create an experience for your visitors that is true to your organization.

5. Measure your progress
You may be spending hours on developing your strategy and creating innovative social media posts, but if you don’t measure your progress, you’re doing your team a disservice. You could be missing some major signs when it comes to what is working and what is not. Every channel has its purpose and some content works better on one channel than it does on another. By measuring stats such as new followers, engagement (i.e. likes and retweets), and top vs. bottom performing posts, you’ll be able to know what is helping, or hurting, the growth of your channels. You’ll also be able to see which channels help you the most and deserve the most attention.

Quick Tip: Pulling reports once a week is absolutely fine. There’s no need to get too far into the weeds. You want an informative overview, not a long look through the magnifying glass. You should, however, be paying closer attention to paid social media campaign progress so you can continuously check your budget and make improvements to your campaigns.

6. Listen closely
Having your finger on the pulse of what competitors and customers are talking about, as well as what’s new in social media technology is key. You can’t do all the talking… you have to listen, too. Social listening should be a main component of your strategy so you can be a relevant part of the discussion and cultivate content that is both current and engaging. The more you listen and take time to explore what’s trending, the easier it will be to grow your channels.

7. Use the buddy system
Engaging with partners and like-minded brands on social will help boost your visibility and grow your following. It also gives you credibility when an established brand with a large number of followers “retweets” or “likes” your posts. Lean on partners and vendors that you work with to help share your accounts and the content you’re posting. Reach out and interact with fans and potential followers, especially those who are speaking about your brand. These evangelists will be your greatest allies.

8. Get to know your audience
Knowing which followers to target on social media can be difficult, especially since your audience may vary slightly from channel to channel. However, the general profile of your clients should be something you’re very aware of. Start by examining your current clients and figuring out who they are and how you and your sales team communicate with them.

Quick Tip: Analyzing your customer data can also be helpful when it comes to choosing your audience for paid social media advertising. If your current data is incomplete or inaccurate, you’re not going to find it useful when deciding how you want to spend your ad dollars. Access your records with a free Data HealthScan and get your team on track.

Why Modern Marketing Takes More than Just Guts

Making informed marketing decisions while keeping a creative edge

Modern Marketing

As marketers, we have to have good instincts.

We need to be able to sense imminent trends; to pivot with our customers and key stakeholders when we need to creatively explore a new avenue; and to embrace a forward-thinking mindset that allows us to keep abreast of the changing landscape. Some would say that this is the art of marketing.

But, it takes more than just a keen eye for market shifts and a set of sharp instincts to understand and effectively focus on our target buyers’ wants and needs. After all, if we make decisions solely based on our gut instincts—rather than evidence extracted from data— we’re more susceptible to inaccuracies which make our campaigns ineffective. This is where the science of marketing comes in.

I know, I know. Most of us got into marketing because we were better in English than in Chemistry in school. However, the investigative approach is now essential for making smarter marketing decisions. In fact, Teradata’s “2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey” reported that two-thirds of professional marketers said they make faster, more accurate decisions when they use data to help support their choices. So that’s good – the majority of us know that smarter marketing comes from both art and science.

So what can we do as marketers to ensure we’re making informed judgment calls, without losing the creativity that makes our jobs so much fun? Let’s look into a few

  • Build (and consult) buyer personas: Buyer personas, which drill down the specific buying preferences, pain points, demographics, etc. of a target market, should be used by marketers to validate their hunches on who their target profiles are and effectively align marketing messages with known This practice requires more than just a marketer’s gut feeling about a certain type of buyer; rather, it takes quality data insight to execute these personas successfully. And it’s no small challenge. In fact, a recent study from ITSMA revealed that 83% of B2B marketers find their buyer personas to be only “somewhat” effective. The study deduced that this is because marketers tend to rely more on their hunches about their target consumers instead of concrete data. So do your diligence – pick up the phone and start talking to the people who bought your product and the prospects that chose someone else.
  • Collaborate with sales: If marketers don’t regularly touch base with the sales team, they are bound to miss a wealth of actionable insights collected from their colleagues on the other side of buying cycle. For example, if the marketing department continuously sends what they’ve defined as qualified leads through the sales pipeline, but the sales department is having trouble converting these leads, then marketing must be alerted right away. You can’t just throw leads over the transom and figure your job is done. Again, many of us got into marketing because we are more “socially inclined” – so go talk to your sales team. Marketers must be aware of the conversion rates of the leads they generate, as low rates are indicative of a larger problem, like poorly targeted messaging, an inaccurate business contacts database, or ineffective lead scoring.
  • Work on professional development: Modern marketers must also engender a data-driven skills set to ensure they’re taking a more methodical approach to their marketing strategy. I’m not saying go all the way back to your Chemistry books, but you have got to dig into the data. Today’s marketer must be analytical and curious. More specifically, he or she must be able to take an investigative approach to gaining insights about prospective consumers. Without a curiosity to find new insights – how else are we going to be creatively inspired?

Marketers: if you’ve got a hunch why not see where it leads you? But this time, use evidence to substantiate your instincts.

Improve Segmentation with Data Enhancement

Why better segmentation results in more successful marketing campaigns.

Improve Segmentation with Data Enhancement

Just as you differ from your colleagues, each and every contact within your database is unique. Sure, they all share one common denominator—a need for your product or service—but what resonates with one contact doesn’t necessarily resonate with another.

A person in an executive role, for example, won’t find a white paper titled “Three Ways to Convince Your Boss They Need Data Cleansing” relevant because he or she is the boss! However, a midlevel marketer might find that information very useful and valuable.

Once you have your prospects’ attention, the last thing you want to do is turn them away by sending them irrelevant messages. Segmentation—or slicing and dicing your contact database into various buyer groups that share similar preferences and purchasing habits—allows you to deliver more personalized marketing campaigns and facilitate a 1-to-1 buyer experience.

But there’s a catch.

Most marketing databases don’t have the necessary contact information required to properly segment customers. In our “2015 State of Marketing Data” report 84% of the 223 million records analyzed were missing industry revenue info and 82% were missing employee fields. Without complete data records, effective segmentation is nearly impossible.

All hope, however, is not lost. By enhancing contact and company data with incremental information— such as company demographics, installed technologies, or key contact information such as title, job level or phone number—you’ll have the ability to work your marketing magic. This will allow you to send content to the right persona, personalize website experiences, and target offers at the time of engagement.

Find out if you have the complete company intelligence and contact details to confidently segment your data by taking our Workbench solution for a spin. P.S. It’s free!

Improve Your Brand Strategy

Five simple steps to help strengthen your brand marketing strategy

When it comes to content and brand marketing in 2015, you have to be authentic. In a world where information is at your fingertips, the best thing we can do as marketers is to be straightforward with our audience, know exactly who they are, and how to appeal to them. Gone are the days of inflated facts, excessive language, and casting wide nets. When it comes to promoting your brand, customers want a personalized experience. Here are five helpful hints for how you can improve your brand marketing strategy and win over the crowd:

1. Keep them in the loop.
Customers want hard facts, technical explanations, and the story behind the product they are investing in. Buyers are deeply researching products and their technology before making a decision now more than ever. It is essential to have a solid, yet simplified explanation of each of your products readily available to consumers. Telling your audience what you’re working on and what they can expect to see next is key.

2. Make a connection.
Consumers want to feel connected to the brands they are incorporating into their lives. From whether your founder has a dog or a cat to where your team likes to grab a coffee in the morning, customers are more likely to be engaged with your brand if you interact on a human level. They also want you to act as a resource rather than a commercial. This means, sharing relevant external articles, insider info, and behind-the-scenes photos through your social channels, as opposed to a constant flow of your product shots.

3. Keep it simple.
Gone are the days of flashy, overdone branding and design. Sleek, simplicity is on the rise. Take Apple, for example, their use of white space, clean lines, and lightweight fonts makes an impact on buyers and what they consider current. Your brand message also needs to be clear and consistent throughout your product line. The content you share should highlight both your brand’s personality and perspective.

4. Show some love.
There is nothing a person enjoys more than being part of the story. Brands who host in-store events and social media promotions geared toward celebrating their customers will see higher engagement and loyalty. I remember receiving an “anniversary” gift from Birchbox.com after being a subscriber for one year. It was only a simple keychain, but it made an impact on me as a consumer. It is this surprise and delight tactic that will set you apart from the competition. It doesn’t have to be excessive; it just has to be thoughtful and timely.

5. Keep it real.
Did you make a mistake? Does your latest upgrade have a glitch? Tell your customers the story. Explain what went wrong and what you’re doing to fix it. Humanizing the process will help customers to appreciate and understand your company, and even help many to forgive errors and setbacks. The more transparent you are with your audience, the more likely they will be to stick with you through the ups and downs.

Now that I’ve shared these tips with you, I want to express the importance of knowing your audience. You can spend millions on the very best content marketers, community managers, and graphic designers, but if you don’t know who you’re reaching for, these efforts won’t get you far. That’s where we come in. Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex wants to help you clean up and manage your marketing data so you can spend more time building your brand and telling your story. Check out our free data services platform, Workbench to jump-start your efforts.

The Hierarchy of Marketing Needs

Why data management is the most essential solution.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” This saying made famous by Charles Dickens may one day describe the current state of marketing technology.

We have more technology today than we’ve ever had. Scott Brinker’s now-famous Marketing Technology Landscape lists nearly 2,000 technologies (up from around 1,000 in 2014) aimed at assisting marketers in accelerating prospects through their buying process. Marketers are now faced with more products, more opportunities and – unfortunately – more risk as they shop for technology.

For some, the ultra-saturation now gives marketers virtually unlimited choice in how to approach common challenges – and now that they have larger budgets, and more buying authority, they can tackle the harder problems. Armed with a historically generous budget to spend on tech, marketers are empowered to procure technology tools to move the needle for the business.

For others, the answer may not be so simple. Unfortunately, no playbook or grocery list currently exists for buying marketing tech. Each marketing department’s stack is determinate on their customer base, market, organizational competencies and budget (amongst other factors).

So then how should a CMO decide the best place to invest? In 1943, a psychologist named Abraham Maslow categorized and prioritized human needs in a book named “Motivation and Personality.” In this publication, he designed a “hierarchy of human needs” layering each need from the most critical, starting at the base. Maslow identified the base level as physiological needs, such as air, water and food. At the peak of the pyramid is self-actualization, a need for sure but hardly as necessary as requirements of the human body.

Maslow Pyramid
What if we applied this methodology to marketing technology? In other words, what solutions are most critical in creating a marketing technology stack that ensures ongoing a successful marketing execution?

As I constructed my pyramid, I thought about marketing needs. What was the food and water of marketing tech? What was the base level of the layer cake that all other technologies could build upon?

After careful consideration, I couldn’t envision a scenario where a marketing program could thrive without effective data management as a foundational element.

Marketing automation and email service providers are powerful tools in connecting with an audience and pushing leads through the various phases of the marketing funnel. However, without the appropriate lead data, segmentation goes away or goes awry. Am I marketing to a prospect or a customer? What role is this lead in? Which industry? And where the heck is this customer or prospect?

Despite the traditional adage of “content is king,” today content is finely tailored to maximize engagement, and tailored content can’t be delivered appropriately without the guidance of data.

Analytics and dashboards are essential in gauging the success of your program. Predictive analytics is even deeper, reliant on historical data before any insights can be surface. Each are vital to ongoing success but are reliant on operational programs.

Marketing Pyramid
Data management is the most essential solution in the marketing stack.

So what is data management? One might assume it means hosting marketing data but it’s much more. In fact, the true value of data management is two-fold: instilling data hygiene and enriching data to uncover rich insights regarding your lead and contact data. In essence, it’s about knowing your customers and prospects through good data. And, what’s more, important to a marketer than truly knowing customers?

Want to learn more about how the theory of human motivation applies to smarter marketing? Check out “Predictive Analytics and Marketing Data.”

Six Steps to Data Strategy Success

Cycling

What does a successful data strategy mean to you? As a member of the Customer Success team at Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex, I talk to clients every day. During these conversations, I’ve found that our clients each have varying definitions. I’ve also noticed that the organizations that have developed a successful data strategy are taking similar steps to move the needle. By sharing these insider tips with you, my hope is that you’ll be able to develop and employ your own strategy.

1. Run a “Cleanse & Enrich” every two months.
As part of a data management subscription with Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex’s Workbench, you have the ability to run up to six “Cleanse & Enrich” projects per year. Cleanse & Enrich helps identify undeliverable emails, email threat risks, bad phone numbers, duplicate emails, and more.

2. Remove undeliverable emails and threat risks from your active lead database.
So, you’ve run your first Cleanse & Enrich, but now what? Take immediate action on undeliverable emails and email threat risks. Some clients will remove these contacts entirely while others will unsubscribe or archive them. This decision will depend on if you have limitations set forth by your MAP or not.

3. Incorporate multiple data points when deciding if you should remove a contact.
This one is more of a long-term strategy. Considering factors such as recent activity, industry, revenue, etc. is important when filtering your database. Once you remove the bad emails and send out a campaign, it is time to review the results. After you’ve sent several campaigns and reviewed the level of engagement, along with other data points, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you should remove additional contacts.

4. Track campaign metrics and email health on our Scorecard.
After you’ve completed a Cleanse & Enrich project and sent your first major campaign, having a place to track all the key metrics is extremely beneficial. As part of our home run strategy, our most successful clients track their campaigns’ open rates, conversion rates, deliverability, etc. We then work with them on how to continue improving on our Scorecard.

5. Make sure your CRM and MAP have a bi-directional sync occurring.
By confirming a bi-directional sync is taking place, you are able to see if information is automatically being updated in both systems whenever changes are made. If one system is updated and the other is not, you risk losing valuable insight into your customers and prospects.

6. Root for the Red Sox.
I’m kidding about this last one, but it couldn’t hurt!

These steps serve as a solid foundation for sustainable success. As you develop your own data strategy, be sure to keep them in mind and share this insight with your team. You’ll be their MVP in no time!

How to Create a Well-Oiled Data Machine

Well Oiled Machine

As a B2B marketer, your contact database is the center of gravity for all your prospect and customer communication. It serves as an important resource for segmentation, targeting and buyer engagement strategies, but it’s also your biggest pain.

Let’s face it; marketing data management is a challenge for all B2B marketers. Just take a look at some of the findings from our “2015 State of Marketing Data Report”:

  • At least 71% of 223 million-plus records analyzed were lacking basic firmographic data like industry and revenue
  • 54% of records analyzed did not include a phone number
  • 62% of companies’ email deliverability rank as “Questionable” at best

There are various reasons as to why data management remains a challenge for many organizations. For one thing, marketers don’t have time to manually fix data, so they simply let the problem continue. What’s more, integration conflicts between your customer relationship management system and marketing automation platform can generate inconsistencies as there are no defined rules for what information overwrites another when a record gets updated.

Right about now, you’re probably panicked and wondering what to do. After all, basing key decisions on bad data can result in business inefficiencies, poor customer service, and inaccurate insights. Below are some tips on how to create a well-oiled data machine:

  1. Assess: Chances are it’s been a while since you’ve looked under the hood of your database. Before you start removing and/or appending contact records, perform a thorough assessment of your data. For example, does the current make-up of your database still match your target profile? Evaluating the current state of your database allows you to gauge just how much elbow grease you’re going to need. Don’t want to get your hands dirty? Click here to get a free Data HealthScan.
  2. Standardize: Data from diverse sources often lives in different systems and formats, making it difficult to gain a single version of the truth. Therefore, it’s important that you standardize all data entry formats and requirements to ensure fields are complete and formats are consistent. Start by creating consistency in how data enters your systems. For example, use standardized pick-lists on your registration forms, which will ensure data is correctly formatted when it enters your marketing system. Better yet, use automatic data enrichment routines on the back-end so you can focus your registration questions on buyer behavior rather than company firmographics.
  3. Cleanse/Append: Undeliverable emails, postal addresses, and non-working phone numbers waste a considerable amount of marketing resources and degrade the overall performance of marketing initiatives.  Append records that are inaccurate or incorrect, and remove contacts that aren’t your target buyers or don’t influence the sale. It’s easier than you think and our Onboarding Process walks you through it.
  4. Maintain: Effective marketing data management requires ongoing maintenance—it’s not a one-and-done affair. Records left unattended can rapidly become stale and inaccurate, so be sure to develop and deploy a maintenance program. Research from our aforementioned report, states that companies that employ consistent data hygiene create seven times the number of inquiries and four times the number of leads than those who do not.

Need help assessing your data? Click here to see how we can help.

Stop Playing 20 Questions With Your Prospects

20 questions blog photo

Raise your hand if you’ve ever abandoned a site after being asked to fill out 20 fields just because you wanted to access a piece of content. Chances are your hand is raised high above your head; I know mine is.

While frustrating, it’s easy to understand why marketers create these mile-long lead forms. After all, the more information they have about prospects—for example, business size, job title and annual revenue—the easier it is to validate whether they’re qualified leads. Yet, asking visitors to fill out a vast number of fields is the quickest way to turn them away. Let’s just say, if your visitors wanted to engage in a game of 20 questions, they would get in their cars and take a long road trip with a boring buddy.

According to Formstack’s 2015 Form Conversion Report, “Contact form submissions…dropped to a mere 1% conversion rate across all industries analyzed.” With four being the average number of fields required, it’s clear that obtaining even a small amount of information is a challenge.

So, here you are in between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, you don’t want to alienate your visitors, but on the other, you need all that juicy sales qualification information to help qualify leads.

Well, I have good news for you: You don’t have to choose between the two.

With a data enhancement tool, like our Workbench solution, you’re able to augment information captured on your registration pages/forms so you don’t waste those previous few form fields on this kind of data. Contact details are enriched on the back end, so you still get accurate, actionable data without sacrificing conversions or lead scoring opportunities. And, if you are getting that core demographic and firmographic data on the back end, you can focus your form questions on key challenges or buying indicators that can drive more effective follow-up. It’s a win-win situation.

To learn more about how you can enhance the quantity and quality of your marketing data, click here to take our free Workbench solution for a spin