Business-to-business marketing has changed drastically over the last decade, and one of the most important factors contributing to that change is the data companies are able to collect on a daily basis. If you are not using data to create your marketing strategies, then you are already behind the curve. You’re going to keep falling farther behind if your competition is using data-driven marketing. Companies that do not have access to pertinent data will often cite that issue as the biggest reason why they are not having sales and marketing success. While not collecting enough data is one issue for many companies, another issue comes with not knowing what to do with the data that is collected. There needs to be a well-developed plan on how to interpret and utilize the data to ensure you don’t drown yourself information that you will never be able to use.
Develop a Plan
Before you start using data to drive your marketing strategies, you must first develop a plan on where you are going to gather information. There are more options available than you can possibly use, so you need to narrow down where you will be getting the most accurate and useful data to create a strong marketing strategy. Some of the most common and effective ways to gather data come in the form of landing pages, surveys, forms, and contact pages. Know the difference between data you want and data you need. You don’t want to make the mistake of collecting too much data as you will most likely not be able to monitor and interpret it once you’ve collected it.
Segment the Market
There is just too much information out there to collect, monitor, and interpret data on everyone. It is imperative to segment the market to make the data more manageable. Find out who your key demographics are and start focusing your efforts on collecting as much relevant information as you can on them. For example, you can use behavioral segmentation to classify buyers into three categories: frequent buyers, light buyers, and non-buyers. If you want to focus on your frequent buyers you can mark them as the demographic to follow in order to identify common traits between your frequent buyers. Industry leaders like Hubspot have taken that critical data and implemented it into their CRM to grow and track the sales pipeline, increase ROI, and increase web traffic. If you do not segment the market, you will be flooded with data, and most of it will be irrelevant to what you are trying to accomplish.
Monitor Incoming Data
Data has become the most important tool for most marketers, as long as they can keep up with the information they are receiving. Microsoft Chief Advisor to the CEO Craig Mundie once said, “Data are the new raw materials of business.” He couldn’t be more right. Companies are receiving data daily from various sources (social media, web data, surveys, data companies, etc.), and the data can change daily. Some of the most used data collection companies are Datanyze, Zoominfo, Insideview, and Bombora. Each company specializes in a different type of data collection pertaining to B2B marketing, which is an important distinction to understand. While data comes It is vital to keep a constant eye on what is coming in to identify trends and patterns that are developing. It takes a great deal of time and focus to constantly monitor incoming data, but in the words of Arthur C. Nielson, “The price of light is less than the cost of darkness.” According to The most effective way to monitor this data is by selecting someone and electing them as the sole data monitor. If you do not have someone on your staff who has experience monitoring data, you will either need to teach them their new role or bring someone in from the outside to take on that responsibility.
“Data are the new raw materials of business.” – Microsoft Chief Advisor to the CEO Craig Mundie
Analyze and Interpret
The real challenge of data-driven marketing is being able to analyze and interpret the information you’re receiving. The most important thing to note is that you will never be able to analyze every bit of information that you receive, and you may drive yourself crazy if you try to do it. Set up a series of KPIs where you are capturing your data to help hone in on the most important information. There is no “this or that” guide to what data you should analyze and what you shouldn’t, which is why it is so important to understand your business and your market before you start analyzing data. What you are analyzing and what your competitor is analyzing may be two completely different sets of data. The key to analyzing this data is to approach it from all angles. We monitor the data to know what is happening, but we analyze to to know why the events are occurring the way they are. If you can figure out the “why” then you are well on your way to a successful campaign. Finally, be objective in your analysis to avoid any sort of confirmation bias. If you have an idea of what you think should work and only seek to obtain data that further affirms that idea, you are setting yourself up for failure in the long run.
Use your Findings
Once you have taken the previous steps, start using what you found to influence your marketing tactics. Be aware that trends will constantly change. According to Kissmetrics, this data is not just going to improve your marketing and sales strategies, but it will also improve your customer experience based on these trends. You will need to be able to adapt and evolve to maintain a high level of success. You may also find that something you thought was going to work is not working at all, and that is part of the natural ebb and flow of marketing. Something you think may be a hit may turn out to be a complete flop, and you need to be able to pick yourself up and start over without dwelling on the past.
Data-driven B2B marketing is here to stay, and the tactics used to gain and analyze this data are constantly evolving. You need to constantly adapt and keep up with changing trends in your market and across all markets. Consistent success is rare, and it is reserved for the hardest working teams in the business.