It’s not an overstatement to say that data has taken an increasingly integral role in modern business processes. From operations to strategy, data determines every step a company takes and marketing is no exception. To be fair, large enterprises have always relied on data to fuel their marketing efforts. They collect and crunch a massive number of data points to identify the best customers, zero-in on the optimum channels and formulate their overall strategy.
Now that such data is readily and cheaply available to everyone, even SMBs are swiftly moving toward data-driven marketing. For large enterprises, outsourcing their data needs allows them to save significant time and resources, while scaling their efforts and exploring previously untapped markets and strategies.
If you are looking to build a data-driven marketing strategy for your business, there are three things you need to be aware of:
- The data points you need
- How to navigate across the data points
- Aligning data with marketing channels
The data points you need
When it comes to data, the more the better. It’s a marketer’s dream to know every little detail about their market, the accounts, what their customers use, what they want, how much they are willing to spend, and the list goes on. But of course, the reality is different. Acquiring customer firmographic, technographic and intent data takes time and effort. Moreover, it requires savvy data storage, management and organization. Let’s focus on the three sets of data you need to get to create a more effective data-driven marketing strategy.
This is the most basic set of information about companies. It includes their industry, headcount, revenue, locations, etc. Some data providers also offer org charts, while others give a department-level breakdown. Always opt for the latter as org charts are a mess. This set of information allows you to tick a few boxes while defining your ideal customer profile (ICP). For instance, if you want to target IT companies operating out of at least two locations with revenue >$100M and 500+ headcount, firmographic data will deliver the desired list.
This is particularly important if you are an IT company or the solution you sell is compatible with specific technologies. It gives you a breakdown of the technologies any company has deployed and their estimated annual tech budget. Suppose you sell an office security solution that works only with Red Hat. While a company may choose to purchase your solution and deploy Red Hat, they are more likely to buy if they already have that technology in their back end.
This data set includes behavioral data about what people are actively searching for. If people at a company are actively searching for a particular kind of solution, it indicates a clear intent to buy. For example, if a buyer searches for “Salesforce alternatives,” it shows that they are looking to buy a CRM solution and it would be a good time for a Salesforce competitor like Zoho to reach out.
Scoops and insights
This kind of data covers dynamic information like recruitment, funding, M&A, and other news alerts. It offers a sense of what’s going on at any particular account and by extension, provides insight about the best time to reach out, messaging, pain points, and so forth. If a company has just raised a large funding round, it might be a good time to reach out with your solution that they previously didn’t have a budget for.
Finally, once you know who your target audience is, you need their contact information to actually reach out to them. Email addresses, direct dials, mobile numbers, and LinkedIn profiles are generally the types of information available. For pure marketing purposes, you’ll need only a prospect’s email and LinkedIn profile, as the other contact channels are better suited for sales outreach. Since people frequently change their jobs, you should always opt for human-verified information to ensure you reach the right people.
How to navigate across data points
Now that you know the ingredients, let’s take a quick look at the recipe for data-driven marketing. The process can be executed in five simple steps:
- Apply firmographic and technographic (where applicable) filters to get an intermediate list of target accounts.
- Apply intent data to score those accounts and decide the priority level.
- Closely follow business insights to understand the state and behavior of those accounts to obtain a list of accounts that need a solution right NOW.
- Navigate the department-level breakdown of each account to identify the decision-makers and influencers. (For smaller firms, everyone’s an influencer.)
- Export their contact information to be used for targeted marketing.
Aligning data with marketing channels
After you have a list of people you want to target, along with their contact information, you are essentially limited only by your imagination. There are countless ways to reach your target customers. The most effective include:
The most obvious and easiest approach is email outreach. It is particularly effective for those at the top of the funnel, as they are actively looking for a solution. With the right pitch, they’ll be compelled to respond. If you think cold emails do not work, think of it in a different way. Given that you already know who you are sending to and what they are looking for, how is it a cold email? It’s what savvy marketers call warm emails.
Ads and sponsorship on LinkedIn
Targeted ads and sponsored posts on LinkedIn are slightly expensive but very powerful marketing channels. Plus, given that you’ll be running your campaigns for a small, curated audience, you are bound to receive many more clicks at much lower costs.
In marketing, content is always king. Even more so in a data-driven world. Since you have a general profile of your target accounts, you can create tailored content for specific sectors and personas to generate engagement, create brand awareness and get leads.
Given how effective data-driven marketing is, the companies that do not use it are destined to be outpaced by the ones that do. If you are intimidated by the scale and variety of data points you need to build your own strategy and the corresponding cost of licensing so many vendors, there is a solution. Companies like SalesIntel provide the data points previously discussed on a single platform.
That said, if you lack the marketing resources and ideas to build your strategies, Elevation is here to help.