The Importance of Truth in Messaging

Why Honesty Is an Essential Part of a Strong Marketing Strategy

Truth in Marketing

I recently saw the movie Concussion starring Will Smith and was inspired by the themes of honesty and integrity throughout the film. This may sound like a stretch, but it made me think of how important these themes are to the way we do business as marketers. Although we aren’t responsible for the lives of NFL greats, we are responsible for helping our customers manage their most important, as well as sensitive resource – their data. It is our goal to deliver quality products through honest, straightforward brand messaging and exceptional customer support.

According to a survey of 500 executives from the Knowledge Group and Gyro, 72% of respondents said a lack of trust was the main reason for the termination of past business relationships. As marketers, we need to properly digest that fact and learn from it. We must build our brands with honesty from the very first moment of contact with every prospect.

Content, social posts, and nurture programs are all opportunities to build a positive, lasting relationship with your audience. To guarantee you are promoting transparency in your messaging, apply these tips when communicating with your prospects:

Cut to the Chase
We all know that marketers don’t have time, so it’s important to give them what they need up front. Is your message filled with jargonese or does it really say what it should? It’s important that readers walk away with something of value each time they hear from you.

Get the Executives Involved
Consider adding an email or two to your nurture campaigns that come directly from the leadership. Hearing the values, the mission, and the direction of the business can mean more coming from the top. Plus, people enjoy getting to know the faces behind the machine. 

Edit Everything
Marketers are intelligent and extremely observant. Take a moment to read through your message to ensure it is of the highest quality. Precision, wit, and a red pen can help you establish a solid relationship with your prospects.

Don’t Hide the Opt-Out
A clear opt-out will put your audience at ease and will help you avoid sending messages to buyers who aren’t interested. This will save your company time and money by avoiding the wrong audience.

Be Honest
Have you ever sent out an email with an error? Ever had a glitch in your system? Be transparent with your buyers and use the opportunity to showcase the strength of your customer support team, as well as the importance you place on integrity. Marketers want to know about any foreseeable challenges and want to hear from you when you’ve made a mistake.

Review your messaging strategy to create and sustain relationships with your audience that are built on principles and company values. As Will Smith’s Dr. Omalu said, “tell the truth” and your prospects will respect – and eventually trust – you with their business.

If you have an example of a way you build trust with your prospects and customers, share it in the comments below or tweet us at @NetProspex.

Overcome Change in the B2B Marketplace

How a Targeted Data Subscription Can Save Your Marketing Efforts



B2B contact data is in bad shape. Few marketers would argue with that statement. Why is that? It seems strange that with all the sophisticated marketing tools and technologies at our disposal that we continue to have this conversation.

I have a theory as to the “why” based on pure logic: constant change in the B2B marketplace.

Mergers and acquisitions are at an all-time high. For the first half of 2015, there were almost 5,000 M&A deals worth close to $900 billion – Heinz-Kraft and Charter-Time Warner being the most notable. These investments drive corporate efficiencies along with brand and market strength, but at a price: change in personnel, change in facility and office locations, change in corporate structure, change in company size and revenue.

The economy is another factor. People are changing jobs, both forced and voluntarily at a staggering rate. According to the Department of Labor, in the first half of 2015 over 5 million people changed jobs every month.

The constant change causes B2B data, both company and contact, to constantly be in flux. All of this change can wreak havoc on your outbound marketing and nurturing efforts. Contacts you had established relationships with may have moved on, new people may be in charge of budgeting, new decision makers may have been injected into a buying process due to merging organizations. Regardless of how this constant change materializes to you, it no doubt has an impact on your marketing efforts. That’s why you need a trusted source of contact and company information to augment and enrich your internal database to ensure you have the deepest reach into your targeted personas.

Successful organizations accept the never-ending cycle of change and proactively source accurate lists of contact data that support their marketing initiatives. They invest in robust, accurate contacts that include the firmographic and demographic information they need to pinpoint their “look-alike” contacts in order to drive program success.

The value of this accurate marketing data goes beyond email deliverability and phone connectability (these are a must-have):

  • Segmentation and profiling based on complete data and success metrics
  • Communications that resonate with target audiences – customizing the message for best results
  • Sales enablement support with faster lead routing and enhanced firmographic and demographic insights

The reality is you need an expert, a partner, to help you navigate the ever-changing, slippery slope that is marketing data. Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex’s Targeted Data Subscription ensures that you are consistently filling the top of your funnel with accurate and actionable B2B data on the targets you want to reach. We embrace the crazy world of bad data and have your back. For example, as your contacts degrade, we replace them free of charge.

Change: Once you accept it, the marketing world gets a bit more manageable.

Download our Targeted Data Subscription sheet for more information.

Add Science to Your Inbound Marketing

Why Your Inbound Marketing Strategy Requires a Scientific Approach

Science Blog

Travel back in time with me. We’re going to your middle school science class. You are sitting in your uncomfortable chair, with that tiny desk, listening to your teacher go on and on about the scientific method. And you’re thinking, “I’m not going to be a scientist. When am I going to use this?”

The answer? Now!

In your modern day career as a marketer, your inbound strategy requires a scientific approach. (As a refresher, the scientific method is a body of techniques for investigation phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.)

Much like scientists, marketers’ hypotheses are proven incorrect. Like when you create a newsletter and it doesn’t perform. Such discoveries prompt us marketers to further explore our options in the journey toward finding the perfect formula for our inbound marketing channels. This scientific method approach produces measurements and results that are likely to garner success in the end.

In fact, HubSpot’s “State of Inbound 2015” report revealed that marketers who check their metrics three or more times per week are over 20% more likely to achieve positive ROI than marketers that do not. That is, marketers who methodically test their campaigns have a better chance of achieving ROI from inbound marketing efforts.

The Hubspot report also revealed other factors that influence positive ROI in marketing departments across the globe. For instance, companies with sales and marketing departments that create service-level agreements (SLAs) gain higher ROI than the ones that skip this step. Indeed, 47% of companies that have an SLA increased ROI, compared to only 35% that increased ROI without an SLA.

To that end, documenting your company’s inbound marketing procedure by creating a sales and marketing SLA that clearly outlines goals and duties to be executed by each department (and doing it as methodically as possible) will help keep both departments aligned. As well, it will provide a clearer view of the elements that might need to be updated or changed over time to improve your results.

Another way that marketers can become more methodical (hence, successful) in their approach to inbound marketing is by identifying variables that are negatively affecting their overall results. For instance, the HubSpot report shared that more and more marketers are finding paid advertising such as print, outdoor and broadcast to be overrated and ineffective. To that end, discover and eliminate the variables of your marketing strategy that are proving to be more of a cost center than an ROI producer.

So tell your inner 8th grader that the time spent in science class wasn’t wasted. Marketers who aren’t afraid of a little experimentation will reach the top of the class. Get out your safety goggles and your beakers, start measuring more metrics, documenting your procedures, and removing those that are ineffective.

The Risky World of Global Email Marketing

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


GlobalProspex Blog


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.