In a recent survey conducted by Patricia Seybold Group and the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (Survey on Data-Driven Marketing, March 2011), more than 100 marketers reported what types of marketing data most interested heads of other departments. Customer data was the hands down winner, recognized as the top choice by CEOs, COOs, Business Unit Leaders, and Service Delivery Leaders. The findings (see below), while not statistically significant, do raise some questions worth pondering.
|Type of Data||Top Choice For:|
|Customer Data||CEO, COO, BU leader, Service leader|
|Sales Accepted Lead Data||Sales leader|
|Markets Data||CTO (2nd choice for CEO)|
|Marketing Programs Data||CFO|
|Competitor Data||None (2nd choice for Sales, Service, CTO)|
|Contacts Nurtured by Marketing||None (4th choice for Sales)|
Consider first, the kinds of data needed to understand sources of future growth (markets, competitors, customers) and the kinds of data needed to understand short term opportunities (customers, competition). Then consider what is needed to forecast short term success (sales accepted leads, contacts nurtured by marketing). Finally, what is needed to allocate budget dollars (marketing programs data).
It occurs to me that marketing has started its measurement activities in the area of least value to the company (marketing programs data). It is, fortunately, moving higher in the food chain to using contacts nurtured by marketing to forecast revenue. But still that is mechanics — can’t be ignored but not the source of the real value to the company. It is time for marketing to set its sights on growth and provide credible information to the rest of the organization on customers, markets, and competition.
Approach this like any other project — understanding what other departments are trying to accomplish and then providing information that helps them do that better, faster, more easily, more expertly. Providing credible marketing data to the rest of the company requires organizational outreach — crossing departmental lines, understanding needs, communicating effectively, and building relationships that foster mutual achievement.
That said, it is not all about the rest of the organization using the data…it is also about marketing’s uses of data to find new opportunities and capitalize on known opportunities. Be just as disciplined about the needs analysis for the marketing department. Afterall, you are/should be leading the charge.
A March 2011 survey conducted by Patricia Seybold Group and Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) found a correlation between leadership in data-driven marketing and increased sales productivity as well as improved market share over a two year period. Pretty exciting results!
Digging deeper into technology factors affecting their success, we found that more than half the data savvy marketing organizations have had a technology strategy and roadmap in place for more than a year, compared with only 12% of the other marketing organizations in the survey.
We also found that the data savvy use more kinds of marketing data in more ways. Significantly, the uses achieved through the capabilities of marketing automation systems, such as determining which leads are sales ready, predicting campaign effectiveness, and segmenting markets for targeting campaigns, stand out among those that the data savvy use but others don’t use. We see this finding as further validating the importance of marketing automation systems in driving improved business results.
Look for the survey report later this week at the Patricia Seybold Group site.
Every B2B marketer should read Arnold Waldstein’s thoughtful post entitled, “Context, not content, is king.” The context he describes is exactly what B2B marketers need to provide in their content curation. He points out that, “Few of the curation platform players seem to understand that content without dynamic context is really neither interesting nor that valuable.”
Waldstein talks about, “finding groupings around information needs” and the tremendous opportunity for business to invigorate new groupings relevent to its products/services. This is the challenge for the B2B marketer: pick the topics/issues that keenly interest a particular audience and provide a point of view that keeps bringing them back. The point of view adds the value.
Marketers who use curation to establish a thought leadership position can’t stand on the sidelines, just aggregating and selecting relevant content. That’s like saying, “I know what’s going on.” By contrast, being a thought leader means you are saying, “I know what’s going on, what’s coming down the road, and here’s what it means to you.”
A lot of Waldstein’s post refers to the role social voting is having on curation: if a lot of people like something, some consider it more valuable. He doesn’t. Neither do I. Social (i.e., friendships) can’t provide the context that adds value.
In today’s B2B buying environment, marketing can not be effective in driving demand, building brand, or charting strategies for future growth without technology. There are hundreds of reasons why marketers should invest in technology but I am more interested in what marketers report as their reasons. So, in a recent survey conducted by Patricia Seybold Group and ITSMA, I asked.
First a few details on the 107 survey respondents:
- Large B2B companies (half over $1 billion in revenue)
- Half from companies that primarily sell services; half from companies that sell products and services
- Marketers all managed one or more marketing functions in their companies.
The top four reasons these marketers invest in technology are to:
- Improve efficiency
- Make marketing investments based on data
- Hand better quality leads to sales
- Obtain greater understanding of prospects and customers to improve offers, products, services
Those who had made much more investments in technology for longer periods of time didn’t have significantly different reasons. In other words, the leaders haven’t moved on to focus on new horizons. They are continuing to invest to improve efficiency, accountability, sales productivity, and customer understanding.
If you are a marketer just beginning to invest in technology, you face a tough game of catch up. Data keep pouring in that correlate technology investment with data-driven marketing and correlate data-driven marketing with greater improvement in market share, lower cost of sales, and higher sales velocity. If you are just starting out you do have the benefit of learning from others’ mistakes…so take full advantage of the research on implementation success. There is no time to waste.