Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Data-Driven Marketing, or the process of making decisions that arise from the analysis of data, is in the news (again).
Let’s review the topic’s latest headlines from the likes of Forbes and Aberdeen. Data-driven organizations are:
- 3x more likely to have increased revenues
- 6x more likely to achieve competitive advantage and improve profitability
- 5x more likely to retain customers
In essence, the success of data-driven marketing comes from systematically extracting inferences from data sets to uncover trends and create opportunities that expand marketing effectiveness. True, it’s a buzzword, but it works (i.e. stronger campaigns and better insight into performance – results that matter!).
This buzzworthy strategy, however, comes with what many see as a major challenge: data (duh!). Why? Because data’s ever-changing, hard to manage, and could result in critical errors. Just consider this stat: 40% of business objectives fail due to inaccurate data. Not good.
At the same time, we can’t do without data, so let’s not get so down on it. Think of it this way: data is the electricity that runs your house; it makes the TV work, keeps your food cold, lights up your rooms…it’s necessary.
The same goes for the data that’s a part of your marketing strategy. Although there are thousands of tools that can assist your strategy throughout the funnel, it all starts with data. People recognize this, so much so that 79% of marketers actually partner with a B2B vendor.
So, now that we’ve discussed the single most important part of data-driven marketing, let’s dive into its three key components and look into how each can work to electrify your marketing strategies.
- Sales and marketing alignment for data-driven cooperation
According to a recent study by SiriusDecisions, B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth, and 27% faster three-year profit growth.
Revenue is undoubtedly one of the biggest drivers of sales and marketing efforts, so why isn’t alignment between the two teams more of a no-brainer? Why isn’t it already rooted in all core marketing and sales functions? Why even continue to bring it up? Because true alignment is (very) time-consuming and difficult to achieve. At the same time, reaching alignment, and keeping it going, is imperative for infusing your campaigns with data-driven strategies.
As with anything else, persistent challenges stand in the way to alignment: lead mismanagement, unknown customer profiles, and scattered metrics. Unsurprisingly, overcoming these obstacles is no piece of cake; but it’s worth a try if you’re looking to (seriously) benefit from data-driven marketing.
First order of business: identify those responsible for the passing around of all things data and agree on how to best measure success. Then, employ a shared system for managing your leads through preferred data providers and workflows. Finally, test continuously to see what works. For example, studies show companies using lead scoring had a 77% boost in lead generation ROI over those not using scoring. Try this out!
- Define your ideal customer profile (ICP) for data-driven personalization
Know your customer. This age-old marketing truth holds all the more weight in today’s increasingly competitive digital landscape. At the same time, this bit of advice is wasteful without action. Here’s what you do: define your ideal customer profile (ICP). An ICP can inform your entire sales and marketing strategy, from content creation to advertising to sales outreach. To create your ICP successfully, check off each of the following:
- Talk to your sales, finance and customer success teams. Find out what sort of customer is most responsive. Ask about any new buying trends they may be seeing. Take careful note of outlined demographics.
- Analyze your existing data to validate what your teams are seeing and hearing.
- Create broad descriptions of your ideal customers. Then, segment these accounts into more distinct personas (the more detailed, the better).
- Make sure that all of your data up-to-date. This may take some time, but it’s imperative to update your database before proceeding further.
Once you’ve done all the work, and fine-tuned your ICP, you’re ready to apply your data-driven IQ to create personalized content and perfect your outreach to each unique persona. Among best-in-class B2B content marketers, 71% tailor content to the profile of the decision maker. (source). Personalized content ensures that you are speaking directly to your target audience in a way that will be most engaging and useful, so it’s imperative that you work on getting your ICP right. At the same time, it’s important to rethink and review your ICP on a regular basis to refine your strategy.
- Track, measure & optimize for streamlined data-driven success
A marketer’s job is never truly “done.” If you’re planning to adopt a data-driven strategy fully, you’re by default committing to continually revisiting and testing your theories to design – or refine – the perfect marketing campaign. Start by creating a baseline against which you can benchmark conversation rates for all new activities. While it’s important to understand internal achievements, you also need to see how your work compares to industry benchmarks. Meet with your team regularly to go through the data on both a granular and trend level.
Look at programs at different points in time; some marketers only measure their programs immediately after deployment. In doing so, they miss some pretty critical metrics. Likewise, look at your company’s historical data to get a better sense for when you can expect to see opportunities.
Importantly, pledge to periodic reassessment — you will likely be getting successes and opportunities way beyond the initial program deployment, especially if it’s a longer tail program.
In short, by aligning sales and marketing through data, and enhancing your campaigns with data-driven strategies, you’re ensuring the power of your initiatives stays on for years to come. Now that’s electric!
Interested in hearing more from data-driven leaders who have seen and experienced success in marketing? Attend ZoomInfo’s 2017 Growth Acceleration Summit in Boston, September 13-14, where over 25 celebrated industry speakers highlight actionable marketing and sales strategies.
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