Data integration and value positioning pair well
I'll admit that fast technical talk makes my hair hurt. When I'm in a meeting with savvy marketing directors who demonstrate their comprehensive understanding of how data mining, analysis and activity integration drives better sales performance, I lean forward just to keep up.Technology advances have put consumers (including B2B clients) in the marketing driver's seat. It pays to listen and respond to them personally. What if there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of potential customers to reach? How do you respond in a relevant personal way to each one of them? It's all about the data!Successful organizations - the ones doing well despite the current economy - are constantly collecting, organizing, classifying and acting on the data that customers are readily providing. The data includes everything from basic contact information to various lifestyle traits and personal habits. Social media profiles have exploded the amount of personal information available. It's all out there, but it takes work to gather it. It requires time, commitment, feet on the street, networking and phone calls. It takes strategy, research, verification, segmentation, entry, storage and management.Marketing data is dynamic and so should be the value messages. This means they should be modified based on specific interactions with customers and prospects. These interactions are generated by active (e-mail, direct marketing) as well as more passive (advertising, Web sites) communications.The key is to continually improve and refine your segmented messages to their respective audiences. Proper data analysis and classification is the key to finding your customers' various sweet spots and directing your follow-up toward their preferences.Prospects can actually be "spied" on in terms of what links they click, how often, and how much time they spend on specific pages. The reporting tools in e-mail programs and Web site analytics are very instructive on how you should follow up once people have engaged with you online.Targeting the messageAfter collecting and qualifying contact data, other applications can add rocket fuel to an integrated marketing campaign. This new media reality leads me to old-fashioned value positioning. That very positioning may be communicated differently based on what the dynamic marketing data is telling you.For example, let's say a car dealer launches a general interest e-blast to its customer/prospect list. Analyzing the click-throughs, he notices 28 clicked on SUVs for sale, 16 on fuel-efficient compacts and only three on full-sized sedans. A couple weeks later a similar but new e-blast goes to the same audience.He notices 21 of the same 28 clicked to the SUV section, 11 of the original 16 to the economy cars and only 2 completely new clicks were made on information for the full-sized sedans. Should he then focus his marketing messages toward the big sedans? Of course not. The car dealer would want to tailor two different targeted messages to the people who showed repeated interest in either the SUVs or the compacts.Assuming the follow-up is well crafted, there's a good chance the dealer will lure a couple of interested prospects into the showroom. He may even want to get on the phone with the identified prospects and talk up the "amazing factory incentives" relevant to their product interests.As simple as this example may sound, it's illustrative of how working the data can help you craft sales messages more likely to resonate with individual members of your diverse audience. There is virtually no limit to how targeted you can get over the long term. Today's CRM software is "smart" enough to at least partially automate the process of lead generation. The keys to success are collaborative, diligent sales and marketing teams devoted to intelligent strategy and the use of modern communication tools.Chuck Sink, sales director at the Manchester marketing firm wedü Inc., can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.