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Posts Tagged ‘data hygiene’

Marketing Data: Using predictive analytics to make sense of big data

December 21st, 2012 2 comments

One buzz word/phrase that became very popular in business circles this year was “big data.” And, even though the term is trendy and probably overused, the overall concept has major implications for marketers.

Marketers are awash in campaign data, more so now than ever before. Email marketing campaigns produce data about open rates, clickthroughs, unsubcribes, and more. Visitor activity on company websites can be tracked, and in the case of registered users or leads flagged for scoring, that activity is not only tracked but also attributed to a particular individual.

Elements tracked can include the website visit itself and activities such as downloading Web content or watching embedded video. That tracking can get pretty granular, such as combining a series of website activities, or exactly where in an embedded video the viewer stopped the playback.

Taken as discrete pieces, all these data points are essentially meaningless. Taken together, they can provide insight into the tracked individual. Furthermore, subjected to deeper analysis, they can provide insight into what the most promising prospect or customer with the most long-term value looks like for the company.

This is where predictive analytics come into play. To provide more insight into predictive analytics and big data, I interviewed Omer Artun, CEO and founder of AgilOne, a cloud-based predictive marketing intelligence company. Omer also has an academic background in pattern recognition, data mining and complex systems.

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Defining CRM: Thoughts from three experts

December 7th, 2012 2 comments

A recent B2B newsletter article, “CRM How-to: Tactics on Marketing/IT alignment, database strategy and integrating social media data,” covered three tactics on customer relationship management, commonly known by its acronym, CRM.

In researching the article, and speaking about many customer relationship management concepts with six experts on the topic, one aspect of CRM that came up was, “How is CRM defined?”

Even between the story’s sources, there was no hard and fast definition. However, I thought it was also interesting to think about how different people define CRM, often depending on their role in a company or as a thought leader in the customer relationship management field.

Although there is an entire continuum of concepts, most can fit into one of these three general areas, completing the sentence, “CRM is ____:”

  • Simply the software piece called a CRM solution, such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, InfusionSoft, Oracle Siebel, et al.
  • All technology related to customer relationship management, including CRM solutions, marketing automation software and email marketing solutions
  • Everything involved in the customer lifecycle and customer interactions with a company, including all of the above, customer service and more

Since this topic did not make it into the newsletter’s how-to article beyond the introduction, I thought I’d give MarketingSherpa Blog readers the opportunity to hear what several of those experts had to say on answering, “What is CRM?”

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Marketing Analytics: What the heck is ‘cross-channel management?’

January 24th, 2012 2 comments

Technology and language have a strange relationship. Technology pushes the limits of what we can do. Language lags behind, trying to explain what we’ve done.

For example, take “cross-channel management.” Or is it called database integration? Or multi-channel management? Or a unified customer database?

All these phrases strive to describe a similar technology — one in which a company centralizes all its customer data and makes it actionable. The vendors appear to differentiate themselves in their language and their features.

But marketing teams are reaching the limits of their databases and they need more than snappy jargon. They need clarity.

Nearly 90% of email marketers say integrating email data with other data is at least a “somewhat significant” challenge, according to the MarketingSherpa 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, written by W. Jeffrey Rice, Senior Research Analyst, MarketingSherpa. And just last week, we published a case study about a credit union that replaced its database to push its email marketing forward.

To help clarify this topic, I spoke with Kristin Hambelton, VP of Marketing at Neolane. Neolane provides “conversational marketing technology” (which is another phrase you can add to the list).

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B2B Marketing: 7 tactics for implementing marketing automation from a fellow brand-side marketer

December 15th, 2011 No comments

In the B2B marketer’s toolbox, marketing automation software is more like industrial equipment than a simple screwdriver. It’s a capital investment, and it does some serious heavy lifting.

There are many automation vendors out there with a wide range of price points and features to fit the needs of marketers of all size of prospect list and complexity of sale. One thing that remains the same across all these options is there are some key elements to fitting marketing automation into any sales cycle that every marketer should keep in mind.

Jason Striker, Digital Marketing Manager, ICM Document Solutions, presented “Marketing Automation for Misers – Strategies for implementing an effective automation program on a tight budget” to the audience at the recent MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2011 in San Francisco, and he offered a solid blueprint for doing just that for marketers with any budget size .

Here are seven tactics Jason gave our Summit attendees that I’d like to share with you:

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B2B Marketing: Building a quality list

May 27th, 2011 3 comments

Teleprospecting, email campaigns, drip marketing, lead nurturing — all of these marketing tactics have one very important element in common. Each one begins with a list, and the quality of the data in that list has a direct influence on the success of each tactic.

Looking at the top of the funnel

“Data is so top of the funnel, yet it is so undervalued,” says Brandon Stamschror, Senior Director of Operations for the Leads Group, MECLABS (the parent company of MarketingSherpa.)

He explains that creating a quality list begins with an organizational philosophy that places a high value on data quality. This might require a philosophy shift in some companies, and it will likely require leadership support in the idea that data quality is important and that this importance might need to be proven by testing.

“A lot of times I see that marketers think they have this really robust, large database, but soon find out that because of data quality issues, they only have a small segment of their actual ideal customers that they wanted to be focusing on,” says Stamschror. “They are kind of getting lost in the quagmire of trying to manage untargeted data.”

Pay more, gain more

Stamschror says the solution may be to spend more on data to reap the benefits of higher-quality lists.

He explains you want to:

  • Be specific about the data you need to focus on
  • Don’t collect more data than you really need on your ideal buyer profile or persona

If you don’t do these two things, it can become overwhelming to manage a very large list. And if your data quality is low, you might have a list of 50,000 contacts, with only 10,000 who are relevant to your business.

Data hygiene is an ongoing process

Looking at data quality isn’t something you can do once and be satisfied that you’ve completed a task to take off the “to-do” list. Stamschror recommends data remediation projects every three to six months if there is no other data hygiene process in place.

Even though it’s not cost effective having your lead generation and prospecting staff spend time tracking down bad entries in the list, or engaging in a wholesale data update, it is beneficial to create a process where your team is regularly updating and appending account information as part of their day-to-day activity. There is little, to no, additional investment for staff to update contact fields as they discover missing, or incorrect, items. Stamschror adds if controlling data quality isn’t feasible as an internal process, you should find a data quality partner you can trust.

He explains, “It is always important to have someone who has some distinct responsibility for data quality.”

Stamschror says that as many as half of all lists he’s encountered contain duplicate information because there is no data hygiene or remediation process in place to keep the database clean.

“It really gives you a false sense of security,” he says. “You think, ‘I have all these contacts that I can run email campaigns or teleprospecting campaigns off of,’ and then you find out once you get into it that your list isn’t really as big as you thought it was, or as robust as you thought, and worse yet, you are spending a lot of time just wasting time (with the bad list).”

Less can be more

Stamschror says it is much more important to have a very clean, but smaller, prospect list, as opposed to a bloated list full of bad and/or irrelevant data. He states this is particularly important for B2B marketers who should be focused on a smaller group of highly targeted prospects.

Stamschror offers a piece of final advice, “You know the companies that you really need to be focused on. So focus on the right one.”

Related Resources

(Members library) CRM and the Marketing Database: Data hygiene, behavioral analysis and more

(Members library) Cause Marketing: Marketer builds email list with 20% conversion rate

New Chart: Most effective email list growth tactics

Email List Hygiene: Remove four kinds of bad addresses to improve deliverability

B2B Marketing: The 7 most important stages in the teleprospecting funnel

Photo credit: Donovan Govan