Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Marketers Should Stop Snub of Third-Party Data

Many data-driven marketers seem to suffer from a costly bias that focuses on first-party and second-party data and gives short shrift to third-party data. For example, an April report of the "Data-Driven Marketing Benchmarks for Success" study by Ascend2 and ZoomInfo shows that a company’s internal first-party data is used by 86% of data-driven marketers, but only 49% use data from marketing partners, 32% use data from channel partners, and a mere 27% use data from third-party vendors. Why the third-party data snub? Marketers may assume that first-party data is more powerful, but that power depends on data quality and completeness. In fact, third-party data has a vital role in enriching first-party data by adding key targeting information. Third-party data sets can be appended to first-party data to correct and fill in missing elements such as e-mail addresses, phone numbers, lifestyles, demographics, purchase indicators and more to strengthen customer insights. Second, while first-party data is more powerful for certain marketing goals--such as loyalty programs, targeting and retargeting existing customers, or profiling best customers--it's not going to provide a mailing list of new prospects for growth! Marketers can rent quality third-party data and segment these specialized data sets to target prospects by factors such as demographics or firm-ographics, trigger events, location, recency, purchase history, and more. Marketers also may assume that even second-party data from partners is of higher quality than third-party data. First, that ignores the inherited quality problems and integration issues of second-party sources. Second, more high caliber third-party data is available today than in the past. Marketers can further ensure third-party list quality by working with a data-independent provider, by selecting aggregated data from multiple quality sources and files, and by making sure all data is frequently updated and hygiened. For more on the power of third-party data for direct and digital marketing, read

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Survey: Market Rewards B2B Predictive Marketers

Business-to-business marketers who use predictive analytics are rewarded with better revenue and market position, according to a recent Forrester Consulting survey. The study tapped 150 respondents from market-leading B2B firms in a range of industries, dividing them into predictive marketers, those using modeled data for forecasting and scoring, and "retrospective marketers" without predictive analytics. The survey, commissioned by predictive marketing firm EverString, found that B2B predictive marketers are 2.9 times more likely to have revenue growth above the industry average, 2.1 times more likely to occupy a commanding leadership position in their product/service market, and 1.8 times more likely to exceed company goals when compared with retrospective marketers. No wonder 89% of the B2B marketers interviewed included predictive analytics in their 2016 plans, either initiating or expanding implementation! Some 49% already used predictive marketing, 44% said they planned to expand or upgrade existing predictive implementation, and 40% planned to initiate predictive efforts within 12 months. Equally interesting, most of the marketers (78%) saw a shift in their role from demand generation to deal acceleration, requiring involvement in the sales cycle beyond pouring leads into the top of the funnel. And here is where predictive marketers led retrospective counterparts again. Predictive marketers showed effectiveness across the customer life cycle, with 49% listing two or more customer discovery tasks (building brand equity, audience targeting, identifying best account types, etc.) among their top three best practices, balanced by 51% including two or more tasks from later in the sales cycle (such as qualifying leads and managing the end-to-end customer experience). Retrospective marketers focused mainly on customer discovery in naming their top three best practices (70%). Marketing success with any stage in the sales cycle is still all about the data, however. Predictive and retrospective marketers agreed that their two biggest marketing challenges were ensuring quality data from a variety of sources (47%) and managing data from a variety of sources (47%). For a Forbes magazine summary with a link to the full report:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Are You Using Lifetime Value's Full Marketing Power?

We work with many clients who use customer Lifetime Value (LTV) in planning acquisition budgets--tailoring the spending to acquire a customer to the revenue expected from an acquired customer's future "lifetime value" of purchases. But acquisition budgeting isn't the only way to leverage the power of this standard database marketing tool. Here are at least three other important ways LTV can help optimize marketing results, as pointed out in a recent Direct Marketing News magazine article by Jason Compton. First, LTV can guide channel selection. Cost per lead, cost per conversion and repeat purchase patterns can vary significantly by channel and impact customer value. So LTV becomes not just a guide to acquisition budget but to efficient spending by channel within that budget. Second, LTV can help with retention strategy by showing which customer segments have the highest long-term profitability. Compton uses the financial services industry as an example of how LTV helps balance retention focus between lower-asset younger customers who may be more profitable long-term and high-asset older customers who have already made most of their financial services purchases. Third, the LTV measure can help refine and redirect marketing assumptions--provided marketers go beyond a one-time snapshot and use data to continually reevaluate LTV. Compton cites the mobile carrier industry as an example of how an LTV shift forced strategic change. Mobile carriers started out subsidizing handsets to lure customers, assuming customer long-term value would more than cover the discount. But once regulatory changes allowed easy provider change and competitors engaged in aggressive switching tactics, the subsidy ploy was largely abandoned. For the complete article, read

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Spring-Clean That Sales Funnel to Keep Leads Flowing

If lead flow has slowed and lead performance is spotty, maybe it's time for spring cleaning of the sales funnel. A recent post by Megan Totka, chief editor of, offers a recipe for how even a small business can clean and polish its sales process. Start by purging old, unresponsive leads--plus, we would add, update contact and targeting information, and clean up inaccuracies and formatting of retained prospect data. Then create a time frame for contact and follow-up so leads don't go stale. Totka points out that the odds of qualifying and converting a lead increase by 21 times if called within 5 minutes, compared to 30 minutes. Obviously, speedy entry of new, qualified leads is an important system goal. But those incoming leads need good pipeline processes not only for lead entry but also lead qualification and management. CRM software can help, but it boils down to deciding on basics for turning leads into sales opportunities. Totka lists some key questions to ask: When leads come in from various sources, where do they go? How much time do you have to enter them? Who or what qualifies them? Who or what moves them along in the funnel? How much time do sales agents have to follow up with the leads? With those issues in mind, evaluate new or existing sales processes for problem areas, places where leads leak out, or stick and go stale. Still, no matter how good the sales funnel, it only works if a steady flow of leads is entering, and that means adjusting marketing strategy to boost qualified lead generation--testing and optimizing targeted e-mail, direct mail, social media and online promotions. If qualified leads aren't converting despite good targeting, then seek prospect feedback. Is it an overly complex sales process or something more basic like noncompetitive pricing? Test and readjust the lead gen and sales processes, adding lead nurturing, in the form of follow-up e-mails or calls, to move prospects past sticking points. However, even if the sales pipeline is pleasingly full, don't forget to keep purging unresponsive and inaccurate data to prevent costly clogs! For the complete article: