Why Good Contact Data is a Must in Marketing Departments

There’s always a next thing in marketing.

Whether it’s predictive content curation engines, deep customer and demand gen analytics, artificially-intelligent subject line creators, or more accurate, timely ad delivery, we’re constantly pushing forward to find a new way to hook and delight, a new way to drive business into the funnels we’ve designed, a new way to connect with audiences we want.

And as we push forward—investing more money and time into discovering and maintaining these processes—we have to consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, we don’t need more tools in the stack. It’s like car accessories—you can buy all you want, but it won’t fix the problem if you’re just out of gas. What we need is better data, and a better idea of what to do with it.

Now more than ever there’s a real need for better contact data—especially in marketing departments. Given that our goals in marketing are to reach people—and reach the right people at the right time with the right message—having access to great contact data (as well as all the interesting data that’s created through its maintenance) should be of the utmost priority.

Contact Data and Email Marketing

Obviously, having good data is critical for successful email marketing. And that, in a way, is obvious. Whether you do email marketing manually or use a marketing automation platform, your email list (or email database) is critical for both demand gen and retention efforts.

Given that, statistically, that list goes out of date at a rate of ~33% per year, incredible amounts of money and effort go into maintaining it, keeping it fresh. And still, with all that spend, companies get blacklisted, emails bounce, and CTRs remain low.

With better contact data—and access to an engine that works to keep that data updated—marketers gain the ability to deliver, to focus on the quality of the experience rather than making sure it goes through. It boosts quality while allowing for marketing departments to make their spending more efficient and meaningful. And, it creates a strategic foundation for larger, more complex marketing strategies.

Contact Data and Account-Based Marketing

Though currently a bit bulky and labor-intensive, there’s no question that account-based marketing (ABM) is the future of B2B sales. Through its hyper-targeting, one-to-one content creation, and meaningful outreach, ABM offers the most personal—and most effective—approach.

But to perform ABM successfully, there are several things you need to get right (and they all center around good contact data):

  • Decision-maker targeting
  • Industry/audience alignment
  • Campaign personalization

Each of these, in their own ways, need good contact data to work properly. Decision-maker targeting requires the ability to easily identify and reach out to specific businesses and decision-makers, and demands that you’re able to ensure alignment between those businesses and the content you create for them, and campaign personalization requires deep, personal understanding of the specific account/decision-maker that you’re targeting.

The right business. The right person. The right message.

And it all comes back to good contact data. Though the process is described in detail here, in some ways, it’s simple. With good contact data (and the ability to track its change across time), you can easily understand the org chart of any business that you’ve identified as a target, hone in on the circle of decision-makers you need to persuade, and, given who and where they are, determine the kinds of content and messages needed to create a winning ABM experience.

Contact Data and Content Marketing

Similar to ABM in its “win them by engaging them on their own terms” approach, content marketers also benefit from quality contact data by providing your team with the tools they need to create unique experiences that drive targets into your funnel.

Offering a combination of industry/user-role data from your current customers and the ability to accurately deliver content to lookalike audiences through social and targeted email, contact data augments efforts on both fronts—content creation and delivery.

Assuming that it’s accurate, the analysis of current customer contact data provides significant direction for research and content development in any content marketing effort. Through a simple export and sort of your current customer data, your marketers are able to creating deeper understandings of the roles and industries currently benefitting from your offering. This then provides them/you with a researchable/ownable messaging trajectory that allows for the creation of segmented content strategies that continue to drive in the easy sells—those like your current customers.

And with that accurate data, your marketers will be able to target those people no problem. Using basic lookalike audiences (available on all major social platforms), content is delivered accurately and with greater impact than what you’ll get with outdated lists that create fewer and fewer returns.

So What?

It’s easy enough to point to a problem, and say that it’s a problem—but without any solutions, it’s not very helpful, is it?

Fortunately, there are several processes that, used in unison, allow you to have better, more accurate contact data capable of driving everything I’ve discussed above.

  • Ensure that salespeople are always bringing in data.
    Build a culture of networking, and equip your teams with business card
    scanners capable of exporting data to your CRM.
  • Use that data you have.
    Have lead generators export a list of all the good data you have, and begin
    sorting it in different ways. Sorting by industry, by title, by location, and by company creates a significant amount of additional data that can be used for gap analysis, ABM, new segment identification, and more.
  • Use the data you have (part II).
    Good data goes a long way in today’s marketplace. Targeting tools on various
    social networks allow for the creation of lookalike audiences—targeting new
    prospects that are professionally/demographically similar to customers you
    already have.

There are also a number of tools you can try that provide data hygiene on both personal and enterprise scales.

However you choose to do it, ensuring that good data flows in and existing data is consistently refreshed is critical to your marketing success. We can talk analytics and marketing stack all day long, but without good data, you’ll always be stuck playing a game of numbers and loss.

Manoj Ramnani
Manoj Ramnani
Founder & CEO

Manoj Ramnani is the founder and CEO of CircleBack. With over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience in the information technology space, Manoj’s expertise encompasses everything from developing successful consumer products, enterprise solutions, and mobile applications to starting businesses in the healthcare, e-learning, and federal verticals. Manoj graduated from George Washington University's business school with a degree in management of information systems.
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