The Risky World of Global Email Marketing

How to Obtain a High ROI Without Putting Your Company at Risk



The B2B global marketing world continues to get smaller and smaller. Really??

Let me explain.

When the digital age was born we could not get enough of it. The ease and speed in which we could send and receive information was exciting. No longer was an accurate mailing address the most important piece of data for marketers, it was now the email address. And with that, suddenly there were no boundaries.

Fast forward to today. We are all on information overload, especially in the B2B world. Email use continues to grow in the business sector, with the average user sending and receiving 126 emails a day (to me, sometimes it feels like 1260 a day). This number is expected to grow to 140 by 2018, resulting in almost 140 billion emails being sent and received a day. Crazy number, right? In response to this, many countries have taken regulatory steps to reduce the amount of unsolicited/unwanted emails. The problem is, there is no consistency from country to country.

As marketers, not only is it important that we ensure that every email we send is relevant and useful for its intended audience, but it’s also our responsibility to understand the anti-spam laws and marketing regulations for all of the regions where we do business. We are on the hook to comply with the local laws in the areas we mail to. For example, in Canada, email marketers must adhere to CASL (Canada Anti-Spam Law) regulations which state that all email recipients must have opted-in to receive a communication or the sender should be prepared to be fined. They mean it. Earlier this year, the Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer of Canada issued a $1.1 million penalty to Compu-Finder, $150K to Porter Airlines and another $48K to Plenty of Fish, the popular online dating site, for spamming Canadians.

In the European Union, the opt-in regulations are not as clear and vary based on the country, making the risk even higher. Some require opt-in action, some do not. Some do not require opt-in if the email content is relevant to their business title. In some countries, it is okay if the email address is publicly available. Other parts of the world, like Brazil, Asia-Pacific and Latin America have their own set of spam rules.

Once upon a time, B2B marketers could email the world. Today, the global digital marketing world is getting smaller and more challenging to communicate with your target audience.

So, with all the challenges and compliance risks that these regulations bring, is it still worth investing in global email marketing? Absolutely! According to the Direct Marketing Association (2015), for each dollar invested in email marketing, businesses see an average ROI of $43 and potentially upwards to $80 with aggressive, smart spending on technology and services. In Canada, that ROI value is $74. I like those numbers.

The question for today is how to invest marketing dollars in global digital programs for the high ROI payback without putting your company at risk for anti-spam fines or worse, being black- listed. Most businesses look to professional list service companies for this level of expertise.

At Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex, we have your back. For global contact data, we use between 15-20 in-country and aggregate vendors to source our international contact requests to ensure high quality and high deliverability, guaranteeing a 90% delivery rate. With access to over 50 million contact records, we source our data only from countries that support opt-out email marketing practices, ensuring no risk to you or your company.

Although the world of global email marketing has gotten smaller and more complex, working with a partner like Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex has made it easier and safer.

Download our GlobalProspex data sheet to learn more.

Success Breeds Success

Why We’ve Made Customer Success Number One

Hero Book Blog3

At Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex we believe in the power of a strong customer success team. We want our customers to have the ultimate service and support they need to achieve their goals. As such, we’ve worked to create a repeatable and scalable onboarding process to instill best practices from the get-go, and an advocacy program (the Hero Hub) to celebrate and reward our customers when those best practices generate results for their business. We want to hear from them, engage with them, and learn from them, because their success fuels our inspiration and innovation.

But let’s be honest – we  fully realize that we aren’t curing cancer here. We also acknowledge that managing the data quality of a marketing database isn’t the most fun thing to do (and probably not your top reason for choosing a career in marketing), but it’s an essential part of the overall success of any marketing strategy. It is the foundation upon which all campaigns are built. Therefore, the individuals who manage this critical piece of the marketing puzzle are truly the unsung heroes of the industry.

We’re fortunate to have some amazing customers who are using Workbench Data Optimizer in ways that enable them to do some incredible things. And I know that I’m excited to be a part of B2B marketers taking control of their data and achieving the aggressive growth goals of their business.

So, we decided to compile their stories to create The Marketing Superhero Book. This book features the stories of marketers from Brooks Automation, Fluke Corporation, MediaMath and Proformative and explains how they were able to work with our team to:

  • Better segment their audiences to deliver more relevant, personalized experiences
  • Improve conversion rates across their nurturing programs (and drive better leads to sales)
  • Drive their brand message into new markets where opportunities exist, and
  • Reduce the risks associated with email marketing and improve their sender scores

The book also features some common “data villains” you’ll encounter when tackling the problem of poor data quality in your marketing database – and tips to defeat them. This is your guide to creating a solid data marketing strategy, a data management checklist – a guide to being a Marketing Superhero.

Check out The Marketing Superhero Book and see why I believe that success breeds success. And don’t forget: great marketing starts with great data.

Is Your Email Marketing Strategy Set Up for Success?

Techniques and Tools Email Whiz Kids Find Effective

Email Best Practices

As marketers, we understand the worth of a stellar email marketing campaign. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute revealed that 83% of B2B marketers use e-newsletters as a primary content marketing vehicle. What’s more, a study from Ascend2 revealed that 48% of B2B marketers agreed that email marketing is their most effective tactic—even above websites and landing pages.

But not all email campaigns are created equal. We must put on our strategic thinking caps when implementing our email marketing strategies so that we can maximize the value of our messaging to make the greatest impact on our buyers.

The best way to optimize your brand’s messaging is to ensure that your database isn’t undermining the deliverability of your messages. You must evaluate the health of your marketing contacts to ensure that the names, addresses, job titles and company names aren’t expired or duplicated. Your marketing database atrophies at 3% per month, so if you aren’t monitoring your data on a regular basis, many of your emails are guaranteed to bounce. This is a stat marketers can no longer afford to avoid.

You can ensure your data remains in tip-top shape month after month by deploying marketing data management software. This software will automatically cleanse, de-duplicate and even enhance your database by completing information that’s missing from some of your contacts—like an accurate email address, for instance.

Once you’ve completed the necessary preliminary work, you can focus on implementing tactics that will help you create messages that better align with the specific phases of your buyers’ journeys. Here are a few techniques and tools email marketing whiz kids find to be the most effective:

  • Split A/B testing: Increasing your open and response rates can be as simple as changing one small variable. Split A/B testing is a tactic marketers can use to find out if changing an element in their emails might improve resonance with buyers. So, next time you send an important email, try sending half of your contacts a standard subject line, and the other half a cheekier one… or even use a compelling stat. That is the basics of A/B testing – once you’re comfortable conducting proper experiments, you can do really cool tests to find out the exact length your message where people stop reading, or how different types of photography can impact clickthru rates. This will also enable you to create an email content strategy based on real numbers.
  • List segmentation: When you’re confident that your marketing database is a dependable source from which you can glean buyer insights, you can optimize your email marketing messages to align with your different buyers’ pain points, interests, budgets, and careers. You can segment your audience into different categories so that you can create more personalized messages, which will result in more targeted and relevant email campaigns and higher response rates. This also is pretty basic, but you’d be surprised how many marketers we work with that aren’t doing this as strategically as possible… or even at all.
  • Email automation: Automating your emails can help with the frequency and consistency of your campaigns. For instance, when you must craft a string of messages that target individuals various phases of the buying cycle, you can use automation to pre-schedule emails to be sent on specific dates to help maintain consistency. What’s more, you can also assign different paths for a prospect to take, based on their behavior. For instance, if your potential customer clicks the “register for our webinar” button, the next email to be automatically sent will be a “thank you for signing up” message, including event reminders. When you’re ready for more advanced steps, you can do things like mapping people’s email activity to their stage of the buying cycle, and then use that information to show specific display advertisements for retargeting purposes.

We are officially here. The day when it is no longer okay to send batch, untargeted, one-time messages to a list pulled from a dirty database. Take the time to map out your data management strategy, invest in a marketing automation platform, and train your team to create engaging messages and data-driven campaigns will truly drive opportunity creation (and revenue) for your company.

Marketing Hero Spotlight: Chris Heggem

Why Apcera's Head of Content Believes in the Power of Sidekicks


My name is Chris Heggem and I am the Head of Content Marketing at Apcera, a trusted multi-cloud platform. Content marketing, to me, is about telling compelling stories that resonate with target audiences to drive business results. Good content can (and should) take many forms – video, whitepapers, blog posts, landing pages, ads and email campaigns to name a few.

My job is to determine what content we believe will be more effective at captivating our audience and creating strong demand for our solutions. The role is as strategic as it is tactical. From a high level I’m making sure our programs and campaigns are integrated and on message, but I’m also writing copy, designing presentations and editing video.

What target audience are you marketing into?
Our primary audience are larger enterprise IT organizations, but there are many components of the Apcera Platform that are appealing to developers and the startup community. Have two different audiences that react very differently to the same message is a challenge, but is also a lot of fun.

How did you get started in marketing?
I’ve been involved in startups since high school. My first role was to perform market research, and it was a struggle. I had strong opinions about the market and tried to validate them through data and interviews, but would get frustrated when reality didn’t support my perception. As smart as I thought I was, I had to learn at a young age to listen and be objective.

What’s the biggest marketing villain you’ve conquered this year and how did you do it?
One of the biggest villains for marketers is content that has the company or their product as the hero of the story. Many companies talk about who they are and what they offer, but very rarely articulate why the audience should care. The real hero of your content needs to be the customer. Customers see themselves in other customers. Give them the spotlight and take on the role of sidekick. You’ll get much better results as a dynamic duo.

If you could have any superpower what would it be?
As I mentioned earlier, listening and objectively interpreting data is one of the most powerful marketing skills. Too often we shape data to support our biases. I would love to always be on point when I reach out to my target audiences.

What is your biggest data villain?
Data, especially metrics, can be interpreted to mean a lot of different things and can throw your marketing programs off track if you have an inaccurate understanding. Methodical A/B testing does a lot of remove the riddles from your data.

What would your marketing superhero name be?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. I think I’m most effective when I’m the sidekick to a customer, so I guess I’d be called “Advocate.”

Chris Heggem | Head of Content Marketing | Apcera | @ChrisHeggem

Is there a marketing hero within your organization that you’d like to nominate? Email us at or tweet us @NetProspex using #marketinghero and we’ll be in touch!

Marketing Hero Spotlight

Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of Marketing

marketing spotlight

Many marketing professionals spend their day defeating data villains, pushing the boundaries of marketing, and going beyond what anyone thought was possible… often times without much credit. They are fighting the evils of dirty data and winning. This year, Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex is putting a big spotlight on those individuals. 

One of the ways we are celebrating these caped crusaders is through our Marketing Hero Spotlight series. This series will feature Q&A blog posts and #marketinghero tweets that highlight professionals who are helping their organizations truly move the needle.

Are you one of the masked marvels? Do you know someone who is constantly saving the day? We want to hear your story so that we can celebrate each other and learn from one another. If you or someone you know is a true marketing hero, email us at or tweet us at @NetProspex using the #marketinghero hashtag. Be on the lookout because we may reach out and ask you to be part of our campaign.

It’s time to take off your mask and gain the recognition you deserve. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Amp up Your Personas with Technology Intelligence

Why the Type of Technology a Company Invests in Tells the Best Story

Tech Marketer Target

The cornerstone of all successful B2B marketing strategies is to know your target buyer and know them well.

B2B marketers invest a lot of time profiling their ideal customers so they can more fully align their messaging and programs to drive results. For many, developing detailed personas on their target buyers are a must. Typical information for these personas includes title, reporting structure, education, work experience, age, leisure activities…you get the idea.

But what if you could get a real glimpse into how your customers and prospects work every day? Think about it…the types of technologies they utilize on a daily basis to get their job done can provide a snapshot into their specific work responsibilities and daily workflow.

The reality is that businesses today could not function without the many technologies they utilize to simplify and automate everyday functions. At 1.8 billion users a day, Microsoft Office is a given for business professionals. If you are in Accounting or Finance, ADP, Concur, NetSuite and others will be part of your daily workflow. If you are a small business, it may look like QuickBooks. As a Marketer, Marketo, Eloqua or will be part of your technology suite.

The type of technology a company chooses to invest in often can tells a better story about their priorities than a title can. For example, the responsibilities of a Director of Marketing can vary considerably from company to company. Yet if you know the company is using Eloqua for marketing automation, it suggests that they have a fairly sophisticated digital marketing strategy, high-level marketing operation expertise, and a significant budget.

Looking beyond persona development, having an inside track on which technologies a company chooses to install, can provide complementary and competitive intelligence that can drive more effective demand generation execution. If your business provides a connector to ADP, Salesforce or Marketo that provides financial or contact data, honing in on those companies and contacts that utilize these software programs allows you to target your marketing efforts where you can have the most impact. Or, in the example of competitive intelligence, what if you had intelligence on organizations using a competitive technology or a tier 2 solution? When a company invests in a similar solution to your own, the business need and budget are already established (two of the biggest obstacles in the sales process). Before you send an email or your sales team picks up the phone, you already know the key selling points you need to make to go for the win.

For sophisticated marketers, this kind of technology intelligence can take your targeted campaigns to whole new level of effectiveness. At the end of the day, it just makes sense.

At Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex, our TechProspex data tracks over 5,000 technologies across 2,200 product mapped to over 4M companies with a 90% plus accuracy. When it comes to targeting, the more you know about your prospects and their technology, the better. Let our high-value TechProspex data give you a distinctive competitive edge.

Want further insight? Download our Five Targeting Strategies for Technology Marketers to learn more.

Shorten the Buying Cycle

How Premium Content Can Captivate Qualified Buyers

Shorten Cycle

Reeling in leads can be like running a Spartan race in stilettos, drinking Baileys on a hot summer day, or listening to your Aunt Janice tell you about the time she had her hip replaced… possible, yet unpleasantly challenging.

All jokes aside, I know how hard it is to find that hook, that angle that intrigues buyers and makes them realize the worth of your product or services. However, captivating buyers early on with relevant, engaging content is the key to shortening the cycle and can be accomplished with the right data and a little bit of creativity.

According to Demand Generation’s “2015 Content Preferences Survey,” 67% of buyers rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. What’s more, 45% of buyers reported that they must view three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson; some respondents admitted to needing to see upward of seven pieces before speaking with a rep.

It’s probably a good time to evaluate the success of your current content marketing strategy. Buyers like to see a myriad of content before engaging with you, so make sure you have a wealth of content that is easily accessible to your website visitors. Ensure that you’re using different types of content—blogs, case studies and eBooks—to interest those who may want to see a variety of pieces.

An abundance of diverse, branded content will not only provide concrete information, such as product functions and prices, but will also enable your potential buyers to gain a deeper sense of your value proposition and personality. In a world of lofty marketing concepts and campaigns, there is nothing a customer appreciates more than you getting to the point and providing them with something of value.

When you offer your buyers all of the information they are looking for in one central location, you can shorten the buying cycle dramatically. You establish a trustworthy relationship between your brand and buyers by providing resonant content that incites action, i.e., content that makes your buyers want to speak with a sales rep.

But the secret ingredient to optimally accelerate the buying cycle with your content marketing is leveraging insight extracted from your marketing database. We must ensure that the business contacts information residing within our databases is accurate and complete so we can create content targeted specifically toward certain groups of buyers.

Here’s an example: if you have a group of small business owners from the same geographical location that have similar budgets, you can create a message that specifically mentions their location and links back to the products and services within their price range. In doing so, your buyers will feel that this message was personally tailored to meet their needs and interests.

Is your content marketing successful? Measure the average length of your buying cycle to find out. You might learn that you need to learn more about your contacts in order to create higher-quality content that engages and turns them into buyers.

Let Data Guide You Through the B2B Buyer’s Journey

Why Making Buyers the Center of Your Universe Is the Key to Success

Buyer's Journey

Your potential buyers begin their quest to find the most suitable product or service to address their business needs long before they ever make contact with your brand. As a result, each one of your prospects will be in a different stage of their journey by the time they interact with your marketing collateral—e.g. downloading your infographic, attending your webinar or opening your email.

Thus, marketers need to account for these various phases when crafting their strategies. You must have personalized content on deck that will engage everyone from a very interested buyer to a frequent website visitor that is just starting out on the buying journey. Researching and documenting your buyer persona, a detailed profile of an example buyer that represents the real audience, can help to inform—and transform—your strategy in ways you may not have thought possible.1

With that said, it’s no surprise that 87% of senior marketing executives’ top goals for the next three years is to better understand the customer buying journey. After all, understanding your potential customers’ buying journeys puts you in a better position to provide premium content that addresses their needs and concerns.

What’s more, 76% of senior marketing executives feel their second most important goal is to educate and influence purchasing decisions by mapping the right content assets and distribution channels to key stages in the customers’ buying journey.

So how does one effectively map out the buyer’s journey? It requires gaining customer insight, or focusing on buying behavior patterns, and leveraging a savvy team of marketers who can strategically match actionable messages to specific groups of buyers. Because your buyers are the source of the insights that will differentiate your content and clarify all decisions, we’ve created a Buyer Persona Guide to help you through the process (view here).

Before you can begin drawing up your map, you need to derive customer insights from your marketing database and tactfully organize these findings into groups based on demographics, firmographics and behavior.

Segmenting your data will enable you to extract more valuable information that will help you to streamline your investigation of the buyers’ journey. For instance, you can group together CMOs from businesses with 100 plus employees and a budget of $500,000. At the same time, you can group smaller businesses with smaller budgets. Doing so allows you to spot trends and patterns based on demographics.

When it comes to content engagement, you might learn that CMOs from larger companies are more responsive to sophisticated market research-based email marketing messages that inform and inspire action from the recipient. Conversely, representatives from smaller businesses may spend more time engaging with content such as thought leadership blog posts, case studies, or whitepapers.

By segmenting your data, you can pay closer attention to a specific group’s behavior and determine what makes them respond to your brand quicker. By continuing this process, marketers stand to gain acute insight as to what types of content stimulate most buyer interest and ultimately expedite the buying cycle.

To learn more about buyer-guided content marketing, download our Buyer Persona Guide filled with tips, tricks, and insight you can apply to your own strategy today. Stay tuned for future blogs on the new buyer’s journey I just rolled out at Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex.

Hey Marketers, Be Careful How You Spend Your Money on Analytics

CMO Survey Predicts 83% Increase in Spend on Analytics Over the Next 3 Years

Increase Spend Analytics

Divvying up your marketing budget is a complex task; there is so much to be gained (and lost) that you don’t want to waste precious resources (or your reputation) on tools and tactics that aren’t effective. One area of marketing spend that continues to promise strong returns is in the area of data analytics. But a word of caution: don’t accept the findings and recommendations of analytics engines on blind faith, be diligent and confident that they are based on a solid foundation of accurate information.

A recent study, titled “The CMO Survey,” revealed that marketing leaders’ spend on analytics is predicted to increase by 83% over the next three years. This isn’t that surprising when you consider that the areas most likely to be advanced by data analytics include customer acquisition, customer retention, social media and multichannel marketing. These all impact both the top and bottom line for marketers and their businesses, so it makes sense to find a better/smarter/more cost effective way to improve those metrics.

Interestingly though, given the strategic impact that analytics can have on a marketing plan and despite the fact that marketers are planning to increase their analytics budgets during the next few years, the report also found that 69% of CMOs have not formally evaluated the quality of their marketing analytics. This is a mistake. You can’t blindly accept what a tool is telling you without some kind of validation process in place.

So, when it comes down to rolling out an effective marketing analytics plan, here are some tips to ensure your new data analytics budget produces meaningful results:

  • Evaluate flaws in your current plan: Pinpoint what isn’t working so you can ensure your new plan doesn’t include the same mistakes. For example, one major pitfall that could be sabotaging your current analytics success is an abundance of dirty data. Expired email addresses, duplicate business contacts and inaccurate demographic and firmographic data can negatively impact the insights generated from your analytics. This can send you after the wrong audience or market, wasting resources and time. So, evaluate the last couple of campaigns and see if they are delivering the results you expected, if not, get to the root of the issue and fix it.
  • Eliminate and enhance your data: Regardless of how your campaigns are performing, it’s time to say sayonara to dirty data. Dedicate some of your data analytics budget to implementing best-in-class data management Investing in a system that can regularly cleanse, enhance (by injecting new, reliable business contacts) and segment your data will enable you to market smarter. Credible, segmented business contacts will help you convert more sales and realize heightened ROI.

When increasing your spend in marketing data analytics, make sure you invest in the right technology so you can gain the biggest bang for your buck.

Why Psychographic Data Isn’t So Psycho

How Psychographic Data Helps B2B Marketers Gain Valuable Insight

Psychographic Data

As modern marketers, we know we need data to substantiate the messages we deliver to our target audiences. But we should also understand the value of gathering information beyond what we can infer based on their locations, budgets or company size. If we really want to segment consumers in the most accurate way possible, we must pull back deeper layers of their collective psyche.

According to a recent study from Forbes Insights and Quantcast, 71% of the 300 executives surveyed answered that psychographic data is paramount to the success of their digital marketing campaigns. So how can marketers garner more compelling personal information about the contacts in their businesses’ databases short of meeting with them face-to-face?

Here’s some advice:

Tune in to social media: Get a better handle on your customers’ personal interests by keeping up with their conversations on social media. When you start being more attentive to your key targets on Twitter or LinkedIn, you may notice certain trends surrounding the values and thoughts about your industry. Leverage this information to market your products to each business segment differently. Show your prospects and existing customers that you care about their interests by engaging with them across these platforms and reflecting their values in your marketing messages. If you can’t commit to interacting with each of your customers and prospects (because face it, who can?) then at the very least define a target group of influencers to engage with and study at least a few times a month. Often times, you can find quick trends by studying the leaders of the pack. For example, on a flight to a big marketing conference, three marketers were sitting in a row. They were all wearing black jeans, had oversized headphones, iPhones, and a hardcopy book to read. I could turn that into a small infographic, a funny tweet to connect with my target audience, or even choose to giveaway books and headphones at my next tradeshow.

Engage your buyers: Getting to know your buyers through a customer advocacy program can give you an inside look into what makes them tick. Through challenges and quizzes, you’ll discover what types of movies, music, activities, and interests your customers are excited about. You can also find out what social platforms they use the most, what they have to say about blog posts and campaigns, and more. This information can fuel your future campaigns. If you discover your audience really loves nerf guns and Star Wars, you can work that into your display advertising and see how it impacts clickthroughs on your digital ads. For us, we know many marketers love fitness and travel, two themes we’ve brought into our marketing campaigns with great success.

Take this data and use it to fuel online and offline activity: Marketers often ask how to actually use this type of information in their programs. My recommendation is treat it like a mix of fields you can add to your marketing database, and information to fuel your events, content and display ad strategy. If you add fields like “Interests” or “Events Attended” and start collecting that data through surveys or your sales team, you can then study the results to influence which events you attend, what you giveaway at tradeshows, fun activities you plan for customer appreciation, and what types of images/memes/gifs you use on Twitter. Those small touchpoints and ways to engage with the subcultures of your core audience can add up to much stronger conversion rates.

Make a commitment to get beyond your data fields and you’ll be happy you made the effort. You might also discover a unique new interest, or find a niche group of people who share your deep love of baseball, rap music, scotch and marketing ops. We’re a pretty cool group.