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4 Steps to Efficiently Manage Your Marketing Data

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by: Todd McCormick (@TMcCormick2011)
24 May 2013

When I talk to marketing leaders, many tell me they’re concerned about how much of the data they’ve collected is spread out over seven or eight separate tools. They know they have great data in their CRM and Web analytics platforms, as well as in other applications, but they’re also keenly aware that they’re not acting on all of it effectively. And it’s impacting the customer experience.

When marketing campaigns aren’t based on a comprehensive view of buyer behaviors, your ability to engage consumers in meaningful ways spirals out of control. One of my colleagues recently received a discount email offer for 12-packs of beer and full cases of wine, but due to his religious leanings, he never buys alcohol. Talk about an easy way to alienate someone! He now shops at a new grocery chain, even though he’d been a loyal customer for years.

To avoid this scenario, you need to do something different. As Warren G. Bennis once said, “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.” Here are four steps to take toward gathering your most revenue-critical information to create a centralized, real-time database that feeds super-personalized marketing campaigns.

1. Merge your data.
Effective behavioral marketing begins with moving to a unified digital marketing database that captures prospect and customer interactions across multiple channels – site visits, email, social, mobile, Web forms, your CRM and more. If your organization sells to other businesses, for example, and your marketing data doesn’t include your CRM data, you’ll have a hazy picture of your pipeline.

2. Enable Web tracking.
Configuring your system to capture data from Web tracking connects the dots between your “contacts” and all their online behaviors and interests. Tracking can capture everything visitors do on your Web properties, including downloading and viewing habits. When you know what interests visitors in the moment, you’ll know how to communicate in the most relevant ways, and then tell your sales reps (if applicable) when to connect, and why. For example, if someone downloads a white paper about email integrations, then he might also be interested in viewing a Webinar about creating email-powered video campaigns.

3. Find your points of failure.
What are the holes in your data process? For many B2B companies, for example, the first point of failure is found in the ways sales and marketing teams are accessing CRM data. If you have a sales rep working a large tech industry prospect, for instance, are you triggering marketing opportunities in the right ways? This rep might be pulling prospects from your CRM, sending each an email through your email marketing provider, and gaining some useful knowledge about engagement through your provider’s Web analytics, but he’s not learning much outside of what the standard statistics provide.

4. Look for untapped opportunities.
Whether you’re pulling data from internal databases, external databases or both, assess all you’re currently doing with the data you collect. You’ll likely discover ways you could be more accurately and effectively targeting and personalizing your messaging to prospects and customers. For example, just because the sale is over doesn’t mean you should stop tracking behavior. Pay attention to how your customers behave after the sale, and then customize your automated offers according to the new data gleaned. 

Conclusion
Once all of your content is merged and assessed, it’s time to discover the true power of the automation engine — the ability to create dynamic content and build unique messaging tracks for each customer or prospect in your database. In my next blog, I’ll discuss the ways in which marketing automation drives your content and turns your email into a content aggregator, targeting individuals at all points of engagement.

In the meantime, I recommend you check out Forrester’s “Automation: Redefining Marketing’s Game Plan” Webinar to learn how leading marketers “eliminate guesswork from demand generation and customer relationship management … [while] iteratively improv[ing] customer relationships.”

Related Resources:
1) White Paper: “Vision, Skills, Data: Making the Most of Marketing Technology
2) Blog: “Make Your Marketing More Personal and ‘Bobular’!
3) White Paper: “20 Ways to Personalize Content and Enhance the Customer Experience

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