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Keyword: ‘data’

How a Single Source of Data Truth Can Improve Business Decisions

September 12th, 2014

One of the great things about writing MarketingSherpa case studies is having the opportunity to interview your marketing peers who are doing, well, just cool stuff. Also, being able to highlight challenges that can help readers improve their marketing efforts is a big perk as well.

A frustrating part of the process is that during our interviews, we get a lot of incredible insights that end up on the cutting room floor in order to craft our case studies. Luckily for us, some days we can share those insights that didn’t survive the case study edit right here in the MarketingSherpa Blog.

Today is one of those times.


Setting the stage

A recent MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Newsletter article — Marketing Analytics: How a drip email campaign transformed National Instruments’ data management — detailed a marketing analytics challenge at National Instruments, a global B2B company with a customer base of 30,000 companies in 91 countries.

The data challenge was developed out of a drip email campaign, which centered around National Instruments’ signature product, after conversion dropped at each stage from the beta test, to the global rollout, and finally, to results calculated by a new analyst.

The drip email campaign tested several of National Instruments’ key markets, and after the beta test was completed, the program was rolled out globally.

The data issues that came up when the team looked into the conversion metrics were:

  • The beta test converted at 8%
  • The global rollout was at 5%
  • The new analyst determined the conversion rate to be at 2%, which she determined after parsing the data set without any documentation as to how the 5% figure was calculated

Read the entire case study to find out how the team reacted to that marketing challenge to improve its entire data management process.

Read more…

Customer Relationship Management: 5 steps for finding the right vendor for your data hygiene

October 21st, 2013

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

The quality of your database represents the quality of your customer and prospect relationships.

Here’s why: Effective marketing depends on relevant messaging, and relevant messaging depends on how well you know your customers.

For instance, at best, your email will be tuned out, ignored or lost. And, at worst, you’ll be labeled a spammer if you:

  • Use the wrong name in the salutation or send to someone who has left the company.
  • Send emails that detail tactical how-to’s while the recipient has long been promoted to a position that requires more strategic, bigger-picture knowledge.
  • Offer solutions that are obviously unaffordable for the recipient.

The problem is cleaning and appending databases — making sure they’re accurate and contain all of the information you need to send the most relevant information — isn’t as glamorous as branding or content strategy. So, it’s easy to overlook. But no matter how beautifully you decorate the house, if the plumbing doesn’t work, you can’t live there.

It would be great if cleaning and appending data was something you only needed to do once. However, much like the plumbing I mentioned, the things we rely on eventually need maintenance to uphold that reliability.

When you consider there will always be changes in buyer behavior at play that will likely result in the need for rapid changes to your B2B marketing efforts, it becomes apparent that effective data hygiene is an ongoing process. Conceivably, if you avoid cleaning data for a year, 60% of your database could be obsolete by the end of those twelve months.

Receive help with your data

With all of the demands made of marketers, keeping data clean can be almost impossible to do on your own.

That’s why I’m involved in hiring a vendor to support MECLABS with this monumental task.

There’s a multitude of data vendors and sometimes it can be easy to go with whoever is the cheapest. But, cheaply acquired data is often the most expensive — it can be rife with inaccuracies.

You want to make sure the vendor you choose can live up to its marketing. This is why it’s wise to invest the time and effort to test prospective vendors before hiring them.

Step #1. Compile a list of vendors

So, where do you begin to search?

For us, the ideal place to start was by compiling a list of vendors recommended to us or have been used previously for smaller projects.

Step #2. Determine what information is most important

In our case, it was:

  • Contact name
  • Job title
  • Company name and company address
  • Contact phone number and company phone number
  • Industry/SIC
  • Revenue

Step #3. Weigh each record field by value

Assign weighted values to each of the appended items depending on your needs. For instance, if job title is most important, then give it a higher weight than company address.

Here’s a weighted version of the list from the example above:

  • Job title: 5
  • Contact name: 4
  • Company name and address: 3
  • Contact phone number and company phone number: 3
  • Revenue: 2
  • Industry/SIC: 1

Step #4. Use a large enough list to sample test vendor accuracy

We started by taking a list of 100 records we knew to be highly accurate and stripped out some of the data.

Next, we added those 100 records to a list of 900 additional records to create a test list of 1,000 total records that we sent to each vendor.

Once a vendor finished appending, we then pulled the 100 records we knew were accurate from their work and cross-checked them for accuracy.

We also used additional verification sources like LinkedIn to help double check the data in the samples to make sure each vendor’s quality was accurately assessed.

Step #5. Add up the scores and consider any other factors

The vendor with the highest score from your testing will likely be your best choice, but there are factors of completion time, size, cost and complexity of data to consider in your overall decision.

Selecting a vendor can be difficult, so I hope these steps will help put you on the path to having the cleanest and most relevant customer information possible.

One more thing…

How do you handle data hygiene?

If you have any other data cleaning recommendations, I would love to hear about them in the comments section below.

Related Resources:

Do You Expect Your Inside Sales Team to Practice Alchemy?

How to Build a Quality List and Make Data Drive Leads

Webinar Replay: Teleprospecting that Drives Sales-Ready Leads

List Buying: 6 tips for buying the most effective lead list

What is Data? A discussion about getting value from your marketing analytics

July 12th, 2013

What is marketing data really? When used right, it’s not just numbers that tell you what happened.

That is what I like to call the “newsman approach” to marketing analytics – information that simply sums up previous customer behavior.

You don’t want to be the newsman. You don’t want to be Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw or Brian Williams. You, dear marketer, must look to the likes of Al Roker and Willard Scott. After all, it is the intrepid weatherman that discusses not only what already happened, but what is going to happen.

I discussed with Scott Hutcheson, Content Director, Paramore, how to effectively use marketing data to look beyond a simple gut reaction to numbers to find out what they can tell you about future customer behavior in this, the most recent episode of MarketingSherpa Marketing Research in Action …


In this episode, Scott and I discussed research from the MarketingSherpa 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report, which is sponsored by Paramore…

00:42 – Up is good, down is bad? Not so simple. Don’t settle for gut reactions to your marketing analytics. Scott and I discussed non-analytical decision-making strategies. 


4:44 – What can you learn from page views? Scott and I discussed content marketing metrics tracking.

  Read more…

Marketing Analytics: Now that marketers can collect data, interpretation is the top challenge

May 3rd, 2013

Technology is fantastic. But, it’s not magic.

Marketing analytics can be extremely powerful. However, just like any other tool or technology, it takes hard (and smart) work to turn data into knowledge.

So, in the MarketingSherpa 2013 Marketing Analytics Benchmark Report (sponsored by Paramore), we asked marketers …

Q: What were your organization’s most frustrating challenges with marketing analytics in 2012?

Then, we asked your peers what they thought about this marketing research. Here’s what they had to say …


Interpretation of data

What is interesting is that the top two challenges are related to the interpretation of data, not the collection of data.

We have finally turned the corner on the basic blocking and tackling of data consolidation through technology and processes, and now the most important challenges are focused on how to effectively use the analytics for improved decision making.

It has taken a long time to get to this point, but it is encouraging to see that 42% of respondents stated that acting on data to improve marketing performance was their #1 challenge, followed by combining data from multiple sources to draw correlations and make predictions (41%).

Integrating systems and siloed data finally has fallen to the bottom as most marketers have the technology and tools to do this process. Now we have to do the hard part and make the data talk to us, guide us, and give us insights.

– Cyndi Greenglass, Senior Vice President, Strategic Solutions, Diamond Marketing Solutions

Read more…

2013 Mobile Marketing Trends: 2 key data points to help you understand this growing behavior

February 12th, 2013

“Mobile is a behavior, not a technology. It’s about accessing content wherever you are. It’s really the use that is mobile, not the device,” Anna Bager, VP and GM, Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, said in an interview with ClickZ.

This leads to part of the challenge facing marketers. How do you optimize for this emerging behavior? After all, technology is easier to optimize for than fickle people. If you were just optimizing for technology, you could simply, or not so simply, make sure something reads well on mobile.

So to remix an ancient Greek aphorism …


With all thy knowing, know thy customer

In today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, we’ll give you an abbreviated look at some data and resources compiled by the MECLABS Business Intelligence team to help you understand this new and still-evolving customer behavior.

“According to a recent Adobe survey, mobile optimization has been identified as the most exciting digital opportunity of this year,” said Gaby Paez, Associated Director of Research, MECLABS. “As marketers, we need to learn as much as possible how consumers of all ages are using their smartphones; how and when they are visiting our websites, checking their emails, etc. More and more people are using their phones instead of laptop or PC to buy online.”

“We put together this summary to help our team get a quick snapshot of key takeaways they can incorporate now in their optimization projects. We hope this summary helps many of our readers, too,” Gaby offered.


Key Data Point #1: Users are spending a growing amount of time with their devices

What struck me about visiting New York City a few months ago is the sea-change in behavior of office workers. You used to walk through Midtown Manhattan and see people on the street in front of office buildings taking a smoking break. Now, everyone is milling around checking their smartphones.

Website traffic coming from mobile devices increased 84% from Q4 2011 to Q4 2012, according to a report from Walker Sands.


Nielsen also shows mobile growth but breaks it down slightly differently and looks at a slightly different timeframe – July 2011 to July 2012. Its study shows a significant difference in time spent in mobile Web versus apps. Time spent in mobile Web grew 22% while mobile apps grew by 120%.


How you can use this data: First off, this data is a great proof point to secure the budget necessary to reach mobile customers.

Second, you can use these mobile growing habits to help grow other, more traditional channels as well. For one way to do this, read the MarketingSherpa how-to article, “Mobile Drives Email List Growth: How to use SMS and relevant content to add opt-ins.”

Of course, that growth isn’t occurring in broad brush strokes …

Read more…

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

December 21st, 2012

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.

  Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Data mining Twitter for trends, sentiment and influencers

August 21st, 2012

Data collection and analysis is a topic near and dear to most digital marketers’ hearts. Social media interaction is another topic that fits the same bill. What happens when you combine data mining with links shared on a social platform? Measurable and actionable insight that can inform your marketing planning and tactics.

Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, co-founder and Chief Scientist of Topsy Labs, took the time to explain to MarketingSherpa how marketers can mine Twitter for links, hashtags and topics to learn more about influencers, trending subjects and how your brand is perceived.

Data collection and mining is Topsy’s core business, and Rishab shares the types of data that marketers should be tracking on Twitter and what marketers can, and should, be doing with this social media information.

Eddie Smith, Chief Revenue Officer, Topsy Labs, will speak on this topic at the upcoming MarketingSherpa B2B Summit, August 27-30 in Orlando.

  Read more…

Digital Marketing: Be relevant, data-driven and precise

July 31st, 2012

I think all marketers would agree that digital technology has brought about a sea change in the world of marketing. The basic model has gone from almost exclusively “push” messages to more of a “pull” approach that combines traditional channels, such as advertising and direct mail, with strategies like search engine optimization, social media marketing, mobile and email marketing.

At one point in time, marketers could dictate the message their prospects and customers received, and then hope that message resonated enough to drive sales. In the complex sale, this meant Sales was handed scads of leads from a variety of sources with almost no additional information about that prospect on where they were in the buying cycle, or even where they were in the buying process at their company.


Power shifting to the customer

In marketing today, prospects and customers are educating themselves about your industry, business space and product or service area. This holds true in both B2B and consumer marketing.

These people are not interested in receiving marketing messages pushed to them from the mountaintop. They want useful information to begin the decision-making process long before they actually interact with your company or brand.

This new way of looking at marketing has been described a number of ways, and one new book fresh off the presses calls it, “precision marketing.”

I had the chance to speak with Sandra Zoratti, Vice President Marketing, Executive Briefing and Education, Ricoh. Along with Lee Gallagher, former Director Precision Marketing Solutions, Ricoh, she co-authored, Precision Marketing: Maximizing revenue through relevance, which is this week’s MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway.

Sandra defines the term, “Precision marketing is about using data to drive customer insights so that you send the right message to the right person at the right time in the right channel.”



The precision marketing framework is about following a logical, sequential and continually improving process:

  1. Determine objective
  2. Gather data
  3. Analyze and model
  4. Strategize
  5. Deploy
  6. Measure

We covered a variety of what Sandra considers precision marketing topics, including how it can even help improve your marketing career.

Before I get into Sandra’s ideas, here are a few interesting data points from the book:

  • 64% of consumers say promotional offers dominate email and traditional mail received. Only 41% consider these offers “must-read” communications.
  • Out of the 91% of consumers opting out or unsubscribing from email programs, 46% do so because the messages are not relevant.
  • 41% of consumers would consider ending a brand relationship because of irrelevant messaging, and an additional 22% would definitely end the relationship because of irrelevance.
  • A survey of IT buyers by the International Data Group found 58% of vendor content was not relevant to potential buyers, and that this lack of relevance reduced the chance of closing a sale by 45%.

Are you seeing a theme here? Relevance is extremely important in marketing today.

“I say customers are powerful, in control, and they know it,” Sandra says. “They vote with their dollars. They vote with their attention, and what I would call their brand-altering online voices. So, customers are really in the driver’s seat, and marketers need to recognize that.”

  Read more…

Marketing Research in Action: Content marketing data

May 24th, 2012

On the latest episode of Marketing Research in Action, I discuss research about content marketing from MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition (free excerpt at that link), with Ninan Chacko, Global Chief Executive Officer, PR Newswire



Here’s a look at what Ninan and I discussed. Feel free to use these links to jump straight to that point in the video.

1:06 – Webpages

1:38 – Social media (other than blogs)

2:28 – Press releases

4:34 – How a press release should look in 2012

6:35 – Using a press release to promote other content marketing channels

8:22 – The benefit of cross-media integration


And here is a closer look at that data from the SEO Benchmark Report …

 Content marketing products, by organization size


Related Resources

Brand TV: Using Video to Engage Audiences (via PR Newswire)

Overall Content Marketing Strategy Leads to 2,000% Lift in Blog Traffic, 40% Boost in Revenue

Public Relations: Getting corporate data out of subject matter experts heads and into quarterly trend reports increased media coverage 261%

Combining Email, Search, Social and PR for a Content Marketing Campaign: 6 Tactics to Generate Surge in Visitor Traffic

MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition

The Lament of the Inside Sales Team: Data, Data Everywhere, but Who’s Ready to Buy?

January 27th, 2012

Originally published on B2B LeadBlog

As the MECLABS Research Partnership analyst team, my colleagues and I speak with professionals who attend our events (like the next month’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit in Las Vegas), purchase our publications, and want more information about how MECLABS can help grow their business. So every day we hear about the challenges they’re facing.

One issue that surfaces all too often is optimizing databases: When you have a database of thousands upon thousands of names, how do you help your team easily and effectively prioritize who to contact? Nearly every company I talk to does some kind of lead scoring, but rarely do those lead scores align with their database in a way that allows their sales teams to determine — at a glance — which prospects are the right fit at the right time.

This hit way too close to home. Here at MECLABS, my team was struggling with the same issue. Through events, publications, and general inquiry, we add hundreds of interested potential partner inquiries to our database every few weeks, sometimes even thousands. We have an ace IT team that has set up platforms so we can quickly identify who fits our Ideal Partner Profile, and we’d contact them as soon after they express interest in our Research Partnership program. We are very well aware of the importance of timeliness for marketers who are struggling to optimize their sales and marketing funnels. And we’d follow up based on the next action that was associated with their file.

But it took Brooke Bower, our data-analysis whiz, to help our team look at our database from a new perspective, one that would help us get the highest return on our time by focusing on the most promising potential partners, as opposed to merely the most urgent.

What we realized was missing was a comprehensive at-a-glance snapshot that basically shows us the key factors that define a successful research-partnership engagement:

  • If the individual making the inquiry is a decision maker or an influencer
  • How many events the individual, and his team, have attended and publications they’ve purchased compiled in an easily sortable list
  • Their organization’s firmographic details — such as revenue, marketing budget, sales cycle and size

We enlisted the IT department to add fields to our existing platform to bring together these details into a single “opportunity grade” that would be applied to each potential partner’s account. (The concept of an “opportunity grade” was recommended to us by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO of MECLABS.) The higher the grade, the better fit for a long-term, strategic research partnership.

Within just a few days, through the teamwork of IT, marketing and sales, we have sorted our database so that it reveals to us that “opportunity grade” for each partner. It wasn’t rocket science, just taking the time to ask the hard questions (thanks Brooke), and look at what we do from a fresh perspective, to give IT the parameters they needed to bring it all together. This is a project that will never be completed, of course. We’re going to continually work with Brooke to analyze what qualities make up our most qualified research partners and make sure our database can easily and accurately help us identify them.

Great results happen when people and departments with different skill sets take time to put their minds together — in this case it was Brooke’s data savvy combined with my hands-on experience talking to potential Research Partners about their challenges.

I’d really like to hear about your experiences in building a database that helps you engage more efficiently and effectively. I welcome you to share them in the comments.