One of the quintessential skills that every digital marketer should possess is perhaps data management!
Not only do marketers have to source, validate, and store customer data – they also have to efficiently manage all the information to keep it readily accessible and useful. Irrespective of the industry or vertical you are working in, no matter what product or service you are trying to sell, if you are into the B2B space, you ought to take your data pretty seriously. In one of our recent blogs, we discussed at length about how data standardization and cleansing helps boost marketing strategies. In this post, I aim to highlight why B2B firms today are looking at effectively managing data like never before and how you could yourself get started in this. Here I am sharing my views on how you can intelligently collect data and scale your marketing efforts to drive revenue.
Data management for B2B firms
Right at the onset, it’s important to understand what data management means for B2B firms. Well, even in the simplest terms, data and information is the most valuable asset for businesses. However, to retain its usefulness, the data needs to be managed well. This includes acquiring the data, sorting it, validating and processing it, and cleaning it periodically to ensure that the existing data is authentic, relevant, and useful. If data is managed, it will remain free of risks (security loopholes, duplicate data, etc.) and will add value to marketing campaigns.
With data collection, ‘the sooner the better’ is always the best answer - Marissa Mayer
With data becoming bigger (we are staring at big data, right?), it is all the more important to keep it clean and current because unmanaged data can be harmful. Irrelevant and incorrect data will connect you to the wrong target groups and thereby collapse your marketing strategies – in the same breath, relevant data will connect you better (with your audience) and help you make better (business) decisions as well.
Data management advantages
Out of the many benefits that effective data management strategies bring you, the topmost include:
- Reduction in errors – connecting the right marketing efforts and the right audience
- Updated data adds better value to marketing campaigns
- Managed data means better security of information
- Information that is managed well can be easily accessed and used
So, with these wide-ranging advantages to explore, marketers cannot afford mismanagement of data. To survive the game, in the long run, they have to take care of the information that is floating all around – the first step in this is to manage the data.
Effective data strategies for B2B firms
Every business is looking at personalizing their customer’s experience – marketing the right context and content to the right customer, at the right time, and across all devices. To achieve this, it’s imperative that appropriate data managing strategies are devised and implemented. Effective data management strategies do not require marketers to make significant investments; nonetheless, smart practices can surely take one ahead of the others in this game. Below are a few data management best practices to help you build your roadmap:
- Data analysis: The source of your data is a major factor. Where you have got the data from, alongside the format in which you get it are both equally significant. Besides, also evaluate the cost of the data – if you are purchasing it, and if it can deliver on your firm’s goals. Unless the data is aligned with your business, irrespective of the price, it will do you no good.
- Sorting and consolidating data: Once you have the relevant data, remember to sort it as per requirement, and merge it into one list. This will help you to utilize the data best. You may need different data sets at different times; therefore, having the sorted data handy can be immensely helpful. Sorting data enables you to do target marketing and come up with innovative marketing strategies.
- Cleaning data: Data cleanliness directly implies better customer experience, which can result in driving revenue. So, revisit your data regularly to eliminate all outdated/ redundant data and add fresh content to keep your list evergreen.
- Planning for attrition: Surprises may not always be good… especially when it’s about data management. So, if you don’t want your data lists to throw lemons at you, plan for attrition. Data cleaning should prepare you for this – you’d know about the duplicate records, the un-connectable phone numbers, incomplete/ incorrect email ids, etc. Therefore, planning for attrition will prepare you while designing effective marketing campaigns.
Data has always been critical to the success of marketing strategies for B2B firms. With IoT and big data ready to enter our lives, data management is now important like never before. Every aspect of handling data is important – right from acquisition to validation and segregation and from cleaning the data to using it in the campaigns. Therefore, take your data seriously and let it play the instrumental role in shaping your business – the role it is meant for.
And, now, a bonus tip!
How to collect data intelligently and scale your business?
As shared above, proficient management of data is just one side of the coin; the other side being its effective use. The first step in this journey begins right when you start to collect data ‘intelligently’. Here’re some sure-shot ways that have worked for marketers:
- Via webinars: Displaying your proficiency (subject matter expertise) can be one of the best marketing tactics! And, what better way to display than to host webinars, where you can talk at length about your particular industry/ product/ service? Webinars help you acquire customer data like none else – first-hand, authentic, and relevant customer data is what you can expect to derive in the least. At the most, these marketing activities help you capture customer personas via the webinar registration forms that they fill.
- Via surveys and quizzes: Another popular data collection technique is organizing quizzes and detailed surveys. These help you capture the perfect customer insights, in their very own words. Interactive surveys help you collect demographic details, particular age groups, product preferences, budget choices, and so on.
- Via preference center/ subscription center: You can also explore this space and get your customers to fill in their email preferences. This can be an excellent tool to gather their current and valid email addresses, personal data, their interests, subscription frequency (weekly, monthly, fortnightly), etc.
- Via placing forms before any PDF download: To engage your customers, you need their personal as well as professional information. If you can get them to fill up a form before they can download an eBook, a newsletter, or a case study, the details of the form can help you understand a lot about their backgrounds and choices. Naturally, you can use all this information to create relevant messages and engage them appropriately.
- Use of progressive profiling forms: Marketers use this tactic to subtly capture information in bits and pieces, like in the first attempt, name and email address are collected. In the subsequent attempts, customers are asked for contact numbers and product preferences, and so on. This way, marketers build their data repository without overwhelming the customers in their first attempt and can also engage customers using the newfound information.
- Via Tele calling: This is one of the most popular methods of gathering market insights, across industries. Besides providing you a first-hand experience of your customer’s interest in your business, this can also help you take care of both your existing as well as new customers – nurture old leads and engage new ones.
Data management isn’t a one-time affair – you need to be consistent and practical. Coming up soon is a follow-up blog on importing data to a marketing automation platform for further use. Watch this space.