Building Your Data Foundation, Part I


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In B2B marketing today, there are so many interaction points between companies and their customers leading to countless opportunities to establish a meaningful dialogue. The challenge is that many marketers focus mainly on the programs – which campaigns to run and when – that they forget the most important part of the equation – their data.

Yes, it’s true; data gets a bad rap. It’s not nearly as fun to talk about cleansing and standardization, yet as a marketer, I would argue those functions are critical. I gave a Webinar recently that talked about the importance of building a solid data foundation and here’s what I shared.

The Six Dimensions

Six Dimensions View

Although this post is focused on data & technology, it’s important to take a holistic view of your marketing efforts by looking across all of six dimensions. In doing so, you’ll probably recognize that you face challenges in one or more of the areas above. In some cases, you might have the vision and are organized for success but are constrained by legacy systems that limit your ability to market effectively. Or, you have data coming in from myriad sources, but have no data strategy. So where do you start?

Mapping the Customer Lifecycle

Prospect Lifecycle

The most logical place to start is with a map. Take a comprehensive view of your customer lifecycle – from suspect to lead, all the way through to customer – and the behaviors associated with each stage of engagement. Doing so helps you “understand” who your customers are and what types of treatments to apply based on their value to your organization. The picture above is a representative map. Yours will probably look a bit different.

Once you’ve developed your map, you will likely develop treatments to move prospects through each stage of the lifecycle. As you think through how best to engage with your customers and prospects, think about what information you’ll need to develop relevant communications that encourage the desired behavior.

At this point, you’ll need to ask yourself three critical questions: What data do I have? What’s of value? Are there any gaps? The answers will inform your data strategy, which maximizes the information available to provide insights and ultimately impact your decisions. And it’s not just about the data sources; how data is collected, stored and managed is paramount…which is another post entirely.

In part two of this post, I’ll share the four critical steps that go into building a rock solid customer database – customer definition, cleansing & standardization, data matching and master record creation. Be warned: it’s not nearly as exciting as building an acquisition campaign, but its impact could be far greater.

Stay tuned.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek
Michelle BB brings almost 20 years of technology marketing and marketing services experience to Quaero as the Executive VP of Sales & Marketing. She channels her experience as a consultant into the role of chief evangelist, helping companies understand how to make their data work for them, not against them. Michelle earned her Master's degree from Simmons College.


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