What do 223 million contact records have in common?

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A lot, as it turns out. But before we dive into that, let me first say that today is an extremely exciting day for us here at Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex. And not just because it’s St. Patrick’s Day (even if we are feeling the luck-of-the-Irish since it hasn’t snowed in Boston since, oh, Sunday…). Today is a huge day because we are officially sharing our 3rd Annual State of Marketing Data Benchmark Report.

This report represents a massive labor of love for our entire team at NetProspex. We’ve got a long history (relatively) in B2B marketing data and our data processing factory has been built from the ground up based on what we’ve learned about managing company and contact records at scale. Each year, thousands of companies plug into that platform to analyze what their marketing data looks like – and to establish a roadmap for improvement. We aggregate the data as it spins through the factory (and at almost a quarter of billion records, it’s a lot of data) and use the results to compile and share with everyone (we hope) through our Annual Benchmark Report.

This year we built-out an interactive site to navigate the report – which you can get to here – that allows you to sub-segment based on your company demographic. At the bottom of it all, you can download the full report (or even better, go ahead and run a Data HealthScan to see how your data stacks up – it’s free). You can also join John Donlon from SiriusDecisions and I on a webcast later today where we will discuss the report and get John’s recommendations.

There were some interesting top-level stats we sifted out of this year’s data set. Don’t let this dissuade you from digging into to the full details, but here are a few of my takeaways:

  1. The amount of data we analyzed this year grew from 61M to more than 223M. That’s nearly a 4-fold increase. Clearly B2B marketers are leaning-in to better understand what’s going on inside their databases.
  2. More than 71% of records analyzed suffered from inaccuracies or incompleteness. Even by the most basic definition of completeness (including an industry). As marketers work to drive micro-segmentation and personalization efforts, they are going to need to fill-in a lot of gaps in their data to support it.
  3. Some stats improved (lower duplication, moderately better email deliverability) while some declined (phone number quality). But on the whole, I didn’t see a huge delta in any core metric. So, even with the massive influx of new data, we are seeing that most B2B marketers are starting from roughly the same place. It’s important to note that our report utilizes only the first-time data analysis done before we unleash our data hygiene and enrichment process on customer files.

There are also some tips from our Marketing Data Hero throughout the report – and some great analysis about the folks who are taking time to analyze their marketing data. Give it a look. We hope you enjoy it and welcome any feedback for next year’s edition. Here’s to (better) Data Sliante!

B2B Spring Cleaning is Upon Us

 

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It has been a long winter here in Boston. Two more inches of snow and we will have had the snowiest winter in city history… a record I am certainly not hoping to break. With multiple feet of snow on the ground and 30-degree days being considered “warm”, spring cleaning had not crossed my mind. At least, not until last weekend when I was searching for the TV remote in preparation to binge watch Netflix (an activity I have become quite fond of during this year’s seasonal hibernation). However, instead of finding a remote under the couch cushion, there was leftover Halloween candy and a serious collection of dust bunnies. So despite the white stuff outside my window, I suppose it is time to consider doing some spring cleaning. After all, the calendar does read March and the meteorologists are promising a 50-degree day in this weekend’s forecast.

While the long, dark months of winter leave many of our homes with a layer of dust (and in some cases chocolate-covered couch cushions), spring brings the comfort of freshly scrubbed floors and neatly organized closets. As B2B marketers, we should also use this time to consider the cobwebs in our B2B marketing databases. This could be people who started the year with a new title, old email addresses, and the leads you haven’t spoken to in months… or even years.

On March 17th, we will be releasing our 2015 State of Marketing Data Benchmark Report, which will allow marketers to see the health of the average B2B database, and the absolutely critical reasons why marketers can’t afford to ignore their data pain any longer. We are co-presenting these results with SiriusDecisions and MarketingProfs, and will share the key steps for managing your data and what portion of your marketing budget you should allocate towards developing a data management strategy. Here’s a hint – it’s easier and cheaper than you think. You are not going to want to miss this important webinar. For more details and to register, please click here: http://mprofs.com/swcs838det. In the meantime, if anyone has any idea on how to get chocolate out of polyester, I am open to suggestions.

Should Marketers Question the Quality of Ad-Targeting Data Providers?

An article appeared recently in the WSJ entitled “Marketers Question Quality of Ad-Targeting Data Providers”. The main premise was that marketers have serious doubts about the accuracy of some of the data quality they purchase from 3rd party data companies. Full Disclosure: I work for one of those companies, namely Dun & Bradstreet. This gives me a unique view of data quality (or lack thereof) within the AdTech ecosystem, as well as a view into how data quality and accuracy are defined (or not).

The three main points of the article were:

  • 3rd Party data is often more expensive that the value it delivers. This begs the question, “How does a marketer measure the value of an ad campaign”. Certain KPI’s like CTR and CPC are almost criminally inaccurate. Unless the product can be bought in a single mouse-click, these and many other KPI’s are irrelevant. This is especially true in the B2B space where the purchase cycle is much longer with many touch points along the way. The sooner that Data Providers and the Marketers/Advertising firms begin to demonstrate the attribution between an online ad impression and a name within a Sales/Marketing Automation platform, the quicker we’ll be able to lay to rest antiquated KPI’s and look to a more holistic view of the customer journey from interest to purchase to repeat purchase. Too often, “quality” 3rd party data gets diluted by a Marketer/Advertising firm which blends in cheaper, lower quality data in order to create a lower cpm. Nobody wins when this happens.
  • There are limited ways to verify the accuracy of 3rd party data. This is actually the cornerstone of the entire article. The value of 3rd party data, or any data, rests on how it’s collected, verified and updated…all of which lead to accuracy. Too many data providers offer data sets that are based on assumptions, presumptions and inference. Simply because I visited a particular site or conducted a specific search doesn’t qualify me to be placed within a certain Audience Segment. And it certainly doesn’t expose where I am along the buying journey and/or what caused me to begin the journey in the first place. B2C data may be a little more forgiving but B2B data must be purposeful every step of the way. At D&B, one of the key methods of insuring accuracy comes about from contacting, via phone and email, the B2B professionals that make up our data segments. Once verified, this data can fuel a marketers CRM marketing efforts (ie. email, calling campaigns, etc) and Digital marketing efforts (ie. display, social, etc). Obviously the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) needs to be removed for digital targeting. But this gets us closer to the “anonymous lead to purchaser” attribution that we are all striving for.

Over time, there is strong hope that 3rd party data will improve. Nothing improves over time without the coordinated efforts of dedicated individuals. However…accurate, actionable and affordable 3rd party data is available today. It’s up to the buyer to ask the hard questions about data collection and understand how to truly measure effectives (ie. increased sales).

Marketing = Love

It’s hard to believe that nine months have already gone by since I started working at NetProspex. It seems like only yesterday I was fresh out of college, eager to start my first real job as a Sales Development Representative. It didn’t take long to fall in love with the fun, supportive atmosphere of the company, but it also quickly became clear that sales was not for me. By September, I knew I wanted to join the marketing team here. And because NetProspex truly believes in hiring from within, I’m happy to be writing my first blog as their new Marketing Campaign Coordinator.

So far, I absolutely love working in the Marketing Department and am eager to jump start my new career. However, I knew when I accepted the position that working in marketing would be tough. I first had to convince the team I was the best person for the job, and have been pushing myself every day to prove that is true. This means closely listening to the brilliant minds that work around me, constantly reading articles like, “How to Write the Best Nurture Campaigns”, and learning the basics of email marketing best practices. It also means staying late at the office or eating lunch at my desk, so I can catch a webinar on the top priorities for demand gen marketers in 2015.

Some people might think I am crazy, but isn’t this what love is all about? Taking that leap of faith and immersing yourself in what you are most passionate about, while constantly striving to become the best possible you? Love takes work, sacrifice, and persistence, but when you love something, the obstacles that once seemed impossible, are tackled with ease. You can accomplish things you never thought possible.

As I continue to grow here at NetProspex, I hope to take you all along my journey and continue to share my passion for marketing. Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate by doing what you love, with the people you love!

Tom Brady is Our Hero!

We are the champions – my friends. 

 It’s official. The Patriots are Super Bowl 49 World Champs. New England’s fourth Super Bowl victory was perhaps its sweetest.

 Tom Brady, 3-time Super Bowl MVP winner, 4-time Super Bowl champ along with Bill Belichick, Hall of Fame coach, led their team to a thrilling victory over the Seahawks. I still can’t believe it. When the team returns from Arizona, and the parade rolls through Boston, they will undoubtedly be cheered on as heroes.

 I truly love this team. It’s been a decade since the Pats won their last Super Bowl in 2005.  Sure, they’ve been back a few times since, only to suffer the agony of defeat. But they worked hard, fought against major obstacles (#deflategate anyone?), but in the end, truly inspired us all… just like any classic superhero.

Ask Patriots fans and they’ll tell you that Tom Brady is as close to Superman as Boston will ever see. His work ethic is legendary. He’s the first one to practice every single day and greets his teammates by saying “good afternoon” when they arrive at 6am. (Seriously, can he be anymore perfect?) He proved that anyone can go from rookie to MVP with hard work.

 Marketers are in the same boat. While we may not be able to throw a football like Tom Brady, we all have our game-winning moments. Unfortunately, unlike Tom Brady, B2B marketers don’t have our highlights playing on ESPN. We don’t have a place to showcase all our marketing hero moments – until now. Stay tuned to hear more about NetProspex’s #marketinghero project, where we will be taking off your mask, uncovering your secret identity, and giving light to all the inspiring, often selfless work you do each day.

 In the meantime, we’ll be out celebrating Superman, I mean, Tom Brady, and the Pats. Cue the duckboats!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Content Marketing

Chances are you’re using content marketing to supplement your other marketing strategies. After all, content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads, according to an infographic from Demand Metric. Pretty impressive, I know.

But are you doing it right? Are you creating enough content or using the right distribution channels? Whether you’re new to the game or just in need of little a refresher, below are some critical content marketing do’s and don’ts and some links to some other content marketing thought leaders on the topic:

  1. Do create a solid strategy: As with any new marketing venture, you must have a solid strategy or roadmap in place. Creating and disseminating custom copy that aligns with your corporate brand messaging is a big responsibility—and one that’s a lot harder than you may think. Create a strategic roadmap outlining everything from goals, deadlines and processes to alignment with upcoming events and product releases. Trust me it will pay off. Lee Odden from TopRank Online Marketing has an excellent new eBook on “Building a Content Marketing Strategy” that takes multiple perspectives on why a strategy is important and some key areas to focus on.
  2. Don’t be a sleazy salesperson, but don’t think we’re stupid either: The ultimate end-goal of all marketing is to drive sales; content marketing is just another way to guide prospects through their buyer’s journey. But it is different in the sense that it should be used to educate, entertain and inspire buyers to take action. Doug Kessler from Velocity wrote a good post a little while ago that I really related to. What resonated with me was his point on transparency – we exist as marketers to help sell something, so embrace it, but leave the used-car salesman act at home. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and do your best to make it valuable to them. Make what you have to say compelling, enlightening, even inspirational. Because people want to feel inspired, to be that hero that brings a new solution to their workplace; make them understand why it should be your solution.
  3. Do make it social and shareable – Lucky for you, users love sharing great content – and when they share it, they actually get more out of it themselves. The New York Time Insight Group conducted a study on why people share content, and they found that 73% of their survey respondents say that they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it. Talk about increasing its impact! Give your visitors the tools to do just that by integrating social sharing buttons. What’s more, don’t forget to socialize your content via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ to spark the conversation and increase consumer engagement.
  4. Don’t forget about design: Sure great content will keep visitors coming back for more, but what about the look and feel of your blog and the site that houses it? Besides looking pretty, your site needs to be easy to navigate. Good design leads the viewer’s eyes from one area to the next and highlights key messages along the way (like this list of bullets I’ve created here). After all, what good is creating content if no one can find it? Never underestimate the power of a solid-looking site.
  5. Do use multimedia: Content marketing isn’t just tied to blogging. It now spans an ever increasing number of form factors, everything from traditional data sheets, case studies and videos, to infographics, eBooks, SlideShares and podcasts, to tweets and Facebook posts. Make sure you change it up a bit and give your users a well-rounded experience – because people can now interact with your brand across multiple channels, and the more opportunities you give them to interact with you, the higher chance you have of getting them to share what you produce and maintain engagement with you. Perform some testing to see which types of tools resonate most with visitors.

Six Signs You Need Marketing Automation

As a B2B marketer, life can be hectic—and that’s an understatement. At any time, you’re probably juggling a million different tasks, from email marketing to babysitting the lead funnel to content creation. And just when you think you have a second to catch your breath, another dire request gets sent your way.

Sound familiar? Then it might be time to invest in marketing automation software, which takes over some of the heavy lifting for you. Marketing automation has quickly become the “go to” tool for B2B marketers, as it allows them to streamline, automate and measure various marketing tasks and workflows. If you’re currently using marketing automation, and your work life is still crazy, stop reading this blog and click here for a small respite.

Okay, back to the MAP newbies. Apart from being able to save time and increase efficiencies, the software can assist in things like nurturing relationships with leads, building alignment with sales, proving marketing ROI and increasing customer retention. But enough about what it does… how do you know you need it? Below are six telltale signs you’re ready for marketing automation:

  1. Your leads require nurturing: If you’re like most businesses, the majority of your leads are not sales-ready. You may have a nurturing process in place, but if leads are continuously falling through the cracks, this is a strong indication that you need marketing automation. The software allows you to push your non-sales-ready leads into nurturing tracks and continuously communicate with them via automated, perfectly-timed messages.
  2. Your reporting is nonexistent: Now more than ever, marketing is being held accountable for its spending. If you’re struggling to accurately calculate your marketing ROI, then you may want to consider marketing automation, as the software helps you seamlessly track lead-to-revenue time and measure program ROI.
  3. Your sales team sees you as the enemy: Tension between your department and the sales team is at an all-time high because sales can’t tell a good lead from a bad one. If this sounds familiar, then marketing automation is right for you. The software helps marketers accurately score leads based on demographics and activity, so sales won’t waste time actively pursuing unqualified leads. Your data quality might also contribute to this, but I’m not here to sell you on marketing data management… well, not in this blog anyway.
  4. Your team is overwhelmed: If your marketing team is spending so much time performing repetitive manual tasks like building manual workflows or recreating programs, that they don’t have time to concentrate on new strategic initiatives – you’ve got a problem. And, your team is probably very bored. Marketing automation mechanizes your most common marketing processes so you can save time, allowing you to spend time on the important stuff, like taking the latest Buzzfeed quiz on What’s Your Ikea Spirit Name?
  5. You take a “one size fits all” approach: Your engagement levels are down because you send the same tired message to everyone in your database. Your excuse? You don’t have a way to prioritize and engage your prospects. Marketing automation centralizes all of your marketing data including detailed prospect and customer interactions/behaviors, so you can segment the right message to each customer.
  6. Your content is going stale: Do you have a backlog of content that you’re not using effectively? Don’t worry, even us marketers using marketing automation have trouble with that one. But creating standard emails, landing pages, and automated programs that you can clone for each piece of content will definitely help. Developing and cloning your ideal marketing campaigns for each channel will become your new favorite thing. I promise.

Those are the six telltale signs that you’re ready for marketing automation. The good news is that this skillset is in high-demand, so getting your hands dirty with it now should yield excellent results for your career in the future. Have other reasons you think you desperately need automation? Share them in the comments below!

Great Marketing Starts with (Even) Great(er) Data

Earlier today we announced that NetProspex has been acquired by Dun & Bradstreet and I couldn’t be more excited to be sharing it with everyone here and digging into a bit more about what it means. I am excited for, proud of, and extremely thankful for all our employees and our customers who have been on this journey with us. I believe this is tremendous news for B2B marketing and sales leaders who are increasingly focused on demand creation and business growth – and increasingly challenged by ensuring they have the right data to do that effectively.

Over the past 6 years we’ve built a company focused on understanding professional contact data and the process required to maintain it at a very deep level. We’ve helped hundreds of B2B marketing teams better reach their target markets and improve their ability to create interest and deliver demand (in the form of qualified leads) to their sales teams. More recently, we’ve productized our data factory and processing plant to help marketers plug-in and unlock value in the data they already have – and in the new data they collect every day through their (expanding) set of marketing channels. The goal, as always, is to ensure our customers have accurate, complete and actionable data at their fingertips. Because great marketing starts with great data.

So, the combination of our professional contact data and data management capabilities to the world’s largest commercial database is exciting stuff and I am really enthusiastic about the combined value we expect to bring to you as we move forward under the Dun & Bradstreet umbrella. Better targeting, smarter segmentation and improved insights about companies and the decision makers who run them enable you to find and communicate with your ideal customers and grow your business.

You will hear a lot more from us about this news in the coming days and weeks. Suffice it to say, our ability to help you focus on the right companies and maintain the right data for your go-to-market activities just got a whole lot better. In the meantime, you can get some more great insight on the news on the D&B Connectors blog including some video commentary from both of our executive teams.

I want to thank all of our employees – all of which are coming with me over to Dun & Bradstreet – for their innovation, energy and customer-first attitude every day at NetProspex. I am proud of the culture we built together. I also want to thank our customers and partners for taking a leap with us. No start-up makes it to this point without people like you making a bet on us. Your trust in us as a data partner, your feedback and guidance on our product direction, and your belief in our company and people simply mean the world to me, and every single employee of NetProspex.

Looking forward to taking the next step. Stay tuned!

Calling All Customers and Prospects: Help Us Feed America This Holiday Season

Part of the holiday celebration for most families includes gathering together around a table for a feast of delicious foods. This picturesque scenario is a far cry, however, from the holiday experiences of thousands of families that don’t have enough food. In some communities, as much as 89 percent of households with children are food insecure or lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

We want to change that. And that is why we’re joining forces with Feeding America to achieve two goals at once. We want to help feed the less fortunate this holiday season while also spreading the word about how simple it is to feed your marketing technology systems with great data. As the largest domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States, Feeding America boasts a nationwide network of 200 member food banks that provide groceries and serve meals to an estimated 46.5 million people each year, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors… many of whom face significant health challenges.

It is our goal to raise $20,000, but our CMO has challenged us to break the (food) bank with this drive. For every introductory meeting we set up with a new prospect, and with every quote, online review or case study from existing customers we receive through December 31, 2014, we will donate to help provide a holiday meal for a family in need.

If you are an existing NetProspex customer, click here to join the cause. Your actions will result in a $250-$1000 donation made in your name.

If you have been meaning to learn more about NetProspex and our data management platform but need a little extra incentive, click here to set up a meeting and we’ll donate $50 to Feeding America.

Odds are someone in your life will be visiting a food bank this holiday season. Help us help those families in need. Join us today.

Fall is in the air, Deals are closing, sales are high, Interested? Come join.

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A little haiku for you all out there. As the small yet insightful haiku states, sales are high and NetProspex is hiring talented sales executives to join our quickly growing team. What we couldn’t fit in the haiku is that we are offering $10,000 to join our Strategic Account Executive or Account Executive team by the end of December.

Yes, Q4 is a busy time for closing business and knuckling down but are you actually excited to show up to work everyday? If the answer is no, NetProspex could be for you. UNCAPPED commission, lucrative commission structures and market-leading compensation plans are just some of the reasons why you should join our team.

In addition, we have an amazing leadership team with perks and amenities to boot. We just had a team Thanksgiving potluck and many of the folks stated how grateful they were for working at a company with such an amazing culture. Need more proof? Check out our past blog entries… we offer free yoga, happy hours, nerf gun wars and more. Not enough? Check out some of the awards that line our trophy shelves.

If you are looking for a fast growing, flexible company then let’s talk. $10,000 could be yours faster than you know.

Check out our Account Executive and Strategic Sales Executive positions now. Not in sales? We are hiring for other positions too!