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We’re all familiar with the old marketing question – is it knowledge or instinct that generates leads? In today’s data-driven world good marketing campaigns are based on rich information. This represents a huge shift across the marketing function and the business. Let’s take a look at the critical role data plays in marketing.
The way I see it, there are two data environments. 1) Internal (what’s happening within your four walls as an organization) and 2) external (data that’s collected from outside the organization.) The internal view gives us information on customers and prospects and helps us to understand how our brand and solutions are perceived. When we look at external data we’re able to understand how our campaigns are performing. It also gives us a trail of “data breadcrumbs” that buyers are leaving behind as they go through the purchase process. Their research as well as information they share on social media gives us a lot of actionable insight.
The goal for marketers is to match the internal and external data collected to gain visibility into the entire customer journey. This 360 view gives us the ability to offer relevant content at the right time to help in the purchase process. There are some good tools that help us to know immediately when a customer enters our site what vertical they are in and how big of an organization they are with. This helps us to serve up content and graphics that will be right on message. If you can target a segment from the beginning, this fosters an uptick in conversions and leads. But maybe just as importantly, it engages the sales organization because the more they know about a prospect the more invested they become in guiding them.
Challenges That Need To Be Overcome
While there are some great databases and analytics tools out there, they are disparate. For example, we have strong data from Eloqua and through Salesforce we can see what’s happening within our four walls in order to make good campaign decisions. We also have tools like Google Analytics to collect external data – to better understand our prospects and how they are interacting with competitors. But siloed these data points don’t tell a cohesive story. We still need tools that can merge the internal and external data and give us a detailed timeline of the buyer’s journey. Right now, to get this 360-degree view of the customer – it’s still a manual process.
Traditionally sales has been very focused on the funnel and making sure the top, middle and bottom are populated. But the availability of data has presented a cultural shift and re-prioritized things a bit. Marketing is successful in supplying sales opportunities when its able to take care of the entire funnel and it does this by using data to see customers’ journeys holistically. It’s our job to make sure sales has the intelligence they need to expedite the sale. That’s when things get exciting.
In my opinion, everyone should be looking at data. It needs to be part of the culture and ethos of the marketing organization. It definitely represents a shift from how marketing was done in the past. And back to the knowledge vs. instinct debate, while, I don’t recommend ignoring a strong gut instinct, today, the data is so good there’s less need to rely on instinct and experience.
As Chief Marketing Officer, Melissa Puls brings nearly 20 years of experience in results-oriented global B2B marketing to Progress. Puls has a proven track record of developing successful marketing strategies that deliver bottom-line results. Puls establishes best-in-class demand generation, content and web marketing, creative services and marketing operations, designed to drive revenue.
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