Trends in data analysis offer opportunities, challenges

NetProspex in BtoB magazine
July 23, 2012 – 12:01 pm EDT

This month’s Business Mailers’ Co-op and Interactive Marketing Conference, hosted by database marketing company MeritDirect in White Plains, N.Y., was rife with discussions about measuring data performance, integrating data, data licensing, and just about everything pertaining to this year’s topic, Big Data.

“Why is it so difficult to understand what information to use, how to extract the most value from it and how to measure it?” said Charles Stryker, CEO of data consultancy The Venture Development Center, Mount Laurel, N.J. “Companies are using less than one-tenth of one percent of the data they could be using. The opportunity to ingest the appropriate data you’re not ingesting is monumental.”

One trend promising to extract more value from data is data licensing, whereby marketers purchase lists for extended use over time, instead of renting them for one-time use only.

“Data licensing is a dramatic departure from how to sell and use data,” said Chris Blohm, senior VP-data and media services with MeritDirect. With data licensing, the lists are sent directly to the marketer (instead of a bonded mail house) for use in any way, and as often, as that marketer sees fit. Typically, the license runs for one year.

Blohm said the trend is being driven by the rise of online data compilers such as Salesforce.com Inc.’s Data.com (formerly Jigsaw), Database101, NetProspex and ZoomInfo, with transactional websites that allow marketers to assemble and buy lists from compiled and crowd-sourced techniques.

A one-year list license allows marketers to conduct multiple campaigns that delve deeper into companies; integrate the purchased data across various parts of the business, including both sales and marketing; better measure results and compare them to the performance of in-house lists; and augment partial in-house records.

“Because of this type of buying method, marketers have changed the way they think about and acquire data,” Blohm said.

Marketers eager for better data insights aren’t stopping there.

According to Stryker, increasingly useful sources of data collection include data from search and social media, as well as from Web crawling and crowd-sourcing.

Search data can be used to identify prospect companies whose employees are searching for particular products, offering an early warning sign of pending purchases, Stryker said. An analysis of social media, meanwhile, helps verify the accuracy of database contacts, and identifies what people like and don’t like.

Web crawling and crowd sourcing offer distinct ways to identify Web users and their professed needs. And when these four data sources are cross-matched, even more accurate, insightful information can be made available, he said.

However, Stryker acknowledged that “the weak link today is finding people with the skill at looking at billions of data points and extracting insights from them.”

Bruce Biegel, senior managing director at marketing consultancy Winterberry Group, cited another challenge facing marketers: integrating “known” data from in-house lists with unknown or vague information offered by website visitor behavior.

“One of the most interesting cases is recognizing somebody when they come to your site, and giving them the right offer,” Biegel said. “When 80% of your audience is completely anonymous, how do you treat them?

“If I can organize this data, stop it from being so messy and segment it, I can then feed it into a decision engine to make the right offers to the right people at the right time,” he said.

Biegel urged marketers to create a “registration ethos” at their companies, to build their email databases for purposes beyond email campaigns.

“The key to syncing, matching and recognition is the email address,” said Biegel, noting email’s relationship to browser identity. “The more you can do to get people to subscribe, register or declare with their email addresses, the bigger pool you’ll have available for matching that information with the known contacts in your CRM database.”

 Source: http://www.btobonline.com/article/20120723/DIRECT0101/307239997/trends-in-data-analysis-offer-opportunities-challenges

NetProspex a finalist for “Innovative Technology of the Year” Award from Mass TLC

NetProspex clients

Woohoo! We’re thrilled to be recognized as a finalist for the Innovative Technology of the Year- Sales and Marketing award from the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.

Our B2B data cleansing solution CleneProspex was recognized for having a “significant impact on the company, customer, and market.”

Contact data quality is a problem that plagues B2B marketers, yet a company’s prospect database is at the core of every lead generation program. Often, companies build this database over time, from multiple sources, with data that is constantly decaying. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, one third of a marketing database goes bad in the course of one year.

Our CleneProspex™ service is used to assess and improve the quality of a client’s prospect database. The service identifies and removes records with an undeliverable email address, potential email threats, out of date phone numbers, missing fields, or duplicates. With this service, marketers improve their program results, reduce costs and risks associated with bad data, identify gaps in their prospect database, and realize greater business value from their contact records. Clients can then fill in missing data from a massive, crowd-sourced database of business contacts.

Who’s Who in BtoB Magazine? NetProspex CEO Gary Halliwell, that’s who!

GarySpeaking

Congratulation to NetProspex CEO, Gary Halliwell for his recognition in BtoB Magazine’s “Who’s Who in Direct Mail” 2012.

“This year, Halliwell spearheaded a $7 million capital financing deal to extend the company’s database compilation capabilities, crowd-sourcing of sales leads and channel partner integration. The Software & Information Industry Association named NetProspex a double CODiE award winner as best lead-generation service and top solution for integrating content into work flow.”

Read the full listing here.

 

 

Why “list” is no longer a 4-letter word

NetProspex lists

Gary Halliwell, July 17, 2012
Marketing lists have a bad reputation. For B2B organizations, acquiring information about potential customers has historically meant buying or renting lists from publishers and professional directories. Poor data quality, lack of coverage, and few segmentation options were some of the limitations of an industry that owes much of its thinking and behavior to the byzantine, non-digital world of direct mail, rather than the needs of marketers driving today’s revenue generation engines. “List” is often a four-letter word associated with a sketchy industry.

However, we are seeing a turning point in the B2B data industry that has occurred because of the incredible growth of customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation — a sector that has boomed throughout the current recession. The combination of technology and business process automation in the sales and marketing environment continues to deliver revenue for companies large and small. However, when you mix dirty data and automation, quite simply, nothing happens. I refer to this as “friction” in the lead generation process, and it has been the impetus for change in the data industry, forcing the separation of the wheat from the chaff.

Marketing and CRM automation provide the plumbing of today’s sales process. Data are the things flowing through the pipes, and dirty information will easily gum up the works. When marketing emails bounce and sales follow-up calls reach a dead end, bad data get really expensive really fast in a revenue generation environment. Today’s B2B marketers are smart — they aren’t using lists for “spray and pray” tactics, but rather for targeted audience development driven by a bloom of content marketing. They’re also smarter data shoppers — not falling for the old tricks of buying data without accountability for its performance. Today, data acquisition and maintenance strategies are key ingredients of successful marketing departments.

This new market drove the turning point; the old way just wasn’t working for marketers, and the data providers needed to change. Fortunately, at the same time this was occurring, technology came into existence that forever overhauled the list business as we know it. Sets of segmented, consistent data of high quality are now the tools of a savvy marketer and the fuel that amplifies persona-based content marketing through automated systems. Marketers today can choose to work with data that have been “scrubbed” to ensure greater accuracy, disparate information can be combined more easily, and, with the advent of this cleaner and more complete data set, marketers can perform more complex segmentation, slicing and dicing to their hearts’ content.

Today’s marketer has choices when it comes to buying lists and improving the data they already have. As the industry continues to evolve, buyers will want to perform due diligence when they select a partner. Marketers can and should:

  • Know the origin of the list data
  • Be familiar with the methodology being used to keep the data clean
  • Expect reputable list providers to offer a guarantee
  • Ensure their email campaigns are CAN-SPAM compliant
  • Look for a partner that provides additional data services that may be helpful, such as data cleansing

When done right, lists can be a respected and critical part of successful B2B marketing programs. Marketers leveraging automation, lead scoring, content marketing, and inbound web registrations all have one critical piece of the puzzle in common: contact and company data. The B2B data companies willing to rise to the challenge can become partners for marketers who need to amplify their messaging and create demand. The rest will be left behind.

Source: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/32225.asp

11 takeaways from the “Building the Marketing Dream Team” webinar

Dream team

Yesterday, our Senior Director of Demand Generation, Tamara Graves, presented alongside Ellen Valentine, Product Strategist at Silverpop, and Talibah Mbonisi, Manager of Marketing Operations at Silverpop. The event was hosted by Kate Maddox, Executive Editor at BtoB. Register and watch the on-demand recording here.

It was a jam-packed hour full of actionable insight as to what it takes to build the marketing dream team at a B2B organization today. If you couldn’t make it, here are 11 takeaways from the event:

1. Marketing is changing, our teams must change with it.
The four major drivers of marketing change today include the rise of social media, buyers’ self service mentality, new marketing technology and solutions, and smartphone/tablet proliferation.

2. The role of marketing operations is taking the place of email specialists and database managers.

 

 

 

 

3. PR & Media planning roles are seeing a shift to focus on inbound, content, digital, and social marketing.

 

4. There’s a new role model for B2B demand gen marketers: Karl “The Mailman” Malone.

 

5. A demand gen marketer is responsible for campaigns that work the whole funnel from top to bottom

6. There’s a difference between demand gen and sales execution.

 

7. Demand gen marketers don’t only care about the # of leads created, but rather, how much $$ it adds to revenue.

 

8. Marketing operations professionals are the key to marketing tool selection and integration/strategy.

 

9. Change hurts for B2B companies… as more than half of the webinar attendees don’t have an operations position.

10. Today’s marketer is a techie, data nerd, creative, and diplomat…. all rolled into one fabulous being.

11. Marketers should add “tin cupping” to their skill set.

Understanding the shifting roles of marketing professionals will be key for B2B organizations in the future as technology continues to shape our strategy in new and exciting ways. Register and watch the on-demand recording here.

Fueling the B2B revenue machine

Ferrari

The latest in our series: You bought a list – now what?

We always talk about marketing automation as the engine in a Ferrari – it only runs with quality fuel, in our world, that means quality B2B data.

Robert Rosenthal recently posted a great article “B2B Marketing Is Now a Revenue Machine. Really The post is a great summary of the opportunity for B2B marketers today to create demand with on-demand data prospect services, digestible content, short videos, and powerful marketing automation.

Until recently, it could take B2B marketers years to dramatically expand a prospect database. Now, thanks to newer data sources, you can do it quickly – for a small fraction of the conventional cost.

These records include email addresses in compliance with CAN-SPAM. So you’re able to regularly market to prospects via cost-effective email advertising – without constantly paying rented media or offline production charges.

One question that NetProspex customers face when using a targeted list is what to send this list. The content is just as important as the list. Robert suggests videos without a registration form, as they’re educational, fascinating, and easily digestible. We just finished a similar video for our Data Assessment Report, check it out!

Of course, this also means prospects can tune you out by ignoring your email – or simply opting-out. And if you ask prospects to fill out a form to receive a reward, the overwhelming majority will essentially say “Thanks but no thanks.”

So while B2B marketers are able to grow the database rapidly, they won’t win hearts and minds so fast. What’s typically needed is an email campaign that breaks through, makes the right impression on prospects, and gets them to act.

Web video is an increasingly popular way to educate B2B prospects. It’s the power of television, without the waste. Video enables you to run a conceptual series packed with emotional ideas – pulled off in brand-appropriate ways. When Web video is executed properly, engagement rates often soar.

To get the most out of every prospect list, Robert suggests automating your marketing efforts.

Marketing automation technology not only takes results reporting to another level, it transforms the relationship between sales and marketing. The two functional areas agree on precisely what constitutes a sales-worthy lead. Marketing finally stops hearing “All the leads suck” from sales. And sales continually sees more genuine prospects to pitch through real-time reporting and instant lead-routing; triggered campaigns; and other good stuff from the marketing team.

Place all the stars in alignment and B2B marketing really, truly can become a consistent revenue machine.

Read the original post. 

Thanks for letting us share your thoughts, Robert!

3 Decks to Inspire Your B2B Content Marketing

B2B Marketing Content

We’re kicking off a new series: You bought a list.. now what?

Acquiring targeted prospect records is only half the battle for B2B marketers. How you do make the most of these new potential sales leads? Our most successful B2B marketing clients utilize targeted marketing lists to amplify their B2B content marketing strategy. Below, we’ve collected 3 dynamic Slideshares to inspire your B2B content marketing strategy.

3 Slideshares to inspire your B2B content marketing.

 

Happy content-creation!

From Tamara’s Desk: 5 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Database

B2B Spring Cleaning

Tamara Graves is our Senior Director of Demand Generation here at NetProspex, driving pipeline activity and opportuntiy creation for our company, but more importantly, helping our entire team understand the day-to-day needs and problems of our clients working in B2B demand generation.

She recently contributed to a post on Silverpop’s blog by Ellen Valentine:

How’s your spring cleaning going this year? If you’re like me, you’ve been putting it off until the last minute. The clock is ticking as we say hello to Summer, so plunge into that messy closet, see what’s hiding under the bed and dare to reach back to the deepest corners of the fridge.

Many marketers have allowed their databases to grow a little unruly, letting unknown entities lurk in the depths. Fortunately, there’s still time to whip your data into shape. Follow these five steps to get your data spic and span, enabling you to connect with customers and prospects more strongly and ultimately drive revenue:

1) Assess the (messy) situation. Before diving into your data, take a look and see what you have. Are there any records or pieces of records in your database that you weren’t aware of? Email addresses that belong to competitors or are clearly fictitious (Mickey Mouse)? Records that don’t have complete sets, or belong to people who aren’t the right buyers for your product? Get a feel for what needs to be scrubbed clean or tossed out with the trash.

2) Build piles and sort through them. Think of your data as a closet you’re cleaning out—you need to sort your data assets into a few different piles, then work your way through each one. To help simplify the process, consider adding a field for “buyer persona” and writing a query to sort your database and capture who your buyers are.

Also, start thinking about what you want to do with your respective piles. Do you want to keep the “non-buyers” group in the messaging mix because they’ve shown interest? What about people who seem to fit the buyer profile but just aren’t responding? You’ll want to get rid of some data sets, archive some until future notice, and try a different tactic right away on others. And remember that you don’t have to go it alone—sometimes third parties can help with this task.

Don’t limit your analysis to inactives. If there are customers who have just bought once, what can you do to get them to buy again? For those who have bought from you multiple times, perhaps an upsell campaign would be productive.

3) Fill in empty spaces. As you’re cleaning the closet, you may realize sections of your wardrobe are pretty empty. Likewise, you may notice big gaps in your data. If you don’t have enough data to do segmentation, you’ll have to think about how to remedy this situation. Maybe you’ll need to append data, or perhaps you’ll want to develop an email campaign or promotion geared toward encouraging contacts to provide additional information.

4) Learn from the experience. Just as you might discover you need to reassess your pantry layout because you’re using some items more than expected and others less (sorry, Mr. Pasta Maker), you’re bound to learn some unexpected things as you’re sifting through your data. For example, maybe there’s somebody that’s buying from you that you didn’t think would be in your wheelhouse. Use the occasion to study your contacts and see if there’s anything you can to do to turn the dial on either side—both re-engaging inactives and turning active customers into even bigger fans.

5) Don’t delay—get started today. Whether you’re jolting inactives from their slumber, trying to get one-time buyers to buy again, or looking to build loyalty among your best customers, think how you can take them to the next level of engagement. Ideas might include:

  • Reaching out to them via a different channel (e.g. phone or print)
  • Offering a Snooze option
  • Asking them to update their preferences or tell you more about themselves via a survey
  • Inviting them to like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or add you on LinkedIn
  • Creating emails promoting items that fit with customers’ previous purchases
  • Promoting new thought capital, changes to your website or cool giveaways

So what are you waiting for? Clear the cobwebs out of your database and start engaging your prospects and customers today. You might be able to streamline and eliminate a bunch of inactive, inaccurate and incomplete records. You also just might find some (new) loyal fans, followers and, better yet, qualified leads.

Download the Data Quality Management Guide

Read the original post on Silverpop’s blog.

What NOT to do if you’re a B2B technology marketer.

Business Oops

If you’re a marketer for a technology company, chances are you’re fighting for the attention of professionals that are exposed to plenty of messaging from competitors.

Read on for 5 important things NOT to do, listed in reverse order of importance. Take heed; unless, of course, meeting your goals is not important to you.

Did you miss  5 B2B Technology Marketing Tips?

Don’t…

1 …skip the persona building exercise.
It would be great if your customer came to work today and said “I don’t have any problems. I think I’ll read a bunch of marketing materials to figure out how I should spend my day.” The reality is: your customers have real, day-to-day needs, and as a marketer it’s your job to understand these needs, and help them see why and how your product/service/or solution can help make their lives easier.

2 …overlook your client’s technology environment
Understanding your persona’s technology environment can be an important predictor of a company’s willingness to adopt your solution. If your company provides a cloud-based product, knowing a company has adopted other cloud-based technologies tells you precisely how to message to them. Also, use technology-install data to identify companies using your competition, and don’t be afraid to message aggressively. Targeted messaging to companies with competitive installs packs a 1,2 punch because it helps increase your market share while decreasing that of the competition.

3 … engage with only the final decision maker
Have you noticed? The length of the B2B tech buying cycle has increased more than 20% in just three years. Why? CIO’s readily admit that their own companies are to blame for most of the waiting period – 60.8% of the delay is due to their own buying process complexity 1 .  The truth is, more people are now involved in each decision. Failing to engage all of them with your content means missing opportunities to align them around your product, and build internal champions. Increase your opportunity to make a sale by engaging enough of the influencers at your target organizations. (Yes, this means you’ve got to build more content geared to their needs as well. Sorry.)

4 … ignore how the customer wants to buy
IT executives have consistently told IDC that they’d like their buying cycle to be shorter. Three months feels about right to them – which is 40% less than what they experience currently1. About 36% of the delay, according to IT leaders, is caused by poor marketing and sales processes on the part of their vendors1. It’s time to figure out the sell cycle of your clients, because marketers are getting part of the blame.

5 … send product-feature email blasts.
‘Nuff said. Yikes.

1 IDC’s 2012 Buyer Experience study.

FURTHER READING:

Click here to download 5 B2B Technology Marketing Tips

Looking for technology-install data? Click here to learn more about TechProspex: find contacts at companies using over 800 specific technologies.

 

 

NetProspex and AG Salesworks Announce Partnership to Drive High Quality Leads for B2B Organizations

AG Pipeline Connect

New England-Based Companies Launch Joint Solution Guaranteeing Fully Qualified Sales Opportunities

NetProspex, leading B2B data services provider, today announced a partnership with AG Salesworks, an expert in developing highly qualified sales opportunities for B2B technology firms. The new joint solution, AG Pipeline Connect, delivers a critical need for B2B organizations: high quality, targeted leads that convert into profitable customers. Leveraging NetProspex’s verified contact data services, AG Salesworks will deliver full service marketing and sales campaigns that guarantee fully qualified sales leads.

As data from marketing programs and sales efforts often exist in disparate locations, B2B companies can lose visibility into subtle changes in their target market. With 25 percent of the workforce changing each year, a business contact database is continually degrading in quality. To position each client for success, the joint solution begins with a comprehensive database overhaul. NetProspex first determines a client’s ideal buyer profile, ensuring a prospect database is properly targeted towards the correct decision makers. Next, the company delivers a quality cleanse based on their proprietary CleneStep™ methodology, identifying incorrect contact information, appending missing fields, enhancing records with key demographic or firmographic details and adding net-new contacts to ensure sufficient database coverage.

Once this process is complete, AG Salesworks applies a proprietary and proven methodology to develop qualified sales opportunities from this data. This process includes campaign messaging, followed by outbound email marketing and teleprospecting. Real-time campaign analytics are delivered in detail, along with closed loop feedback on all leads passed to clearly show return on investment. With this model, the NetProspex and AG Salesworks solution demonstrates clear return on investment, with a 20X guarantee in stage-1 pipeline.

“This solution has allowed us to forecast with far more confidence,” stated Joe Federbush, vice president of Sales and Marketing at ESI. “With 87% of the leads generated by AG progressing to next steps, we are seeing an excellent return without the costs and challenges of having this in house.”

NetProspex President, Michael C. Bird, says, “Properly-targeted contact and company information is at the core of every successful lead generation program. By pairing NetProspex data with the powerful opportunity-development of AG Salesworks, this is a combination that will create the pipeline B2B technology organizations need to reach their goals.”

The joint solution is immediately available to B2B technology organizations. For more information, interested parties may visit http://www.agsalesworks.com/services/ag-pipeline-connect/.

View release on Marketwire.