Championing the power of data

Championing the power of data 1024 x 683

Marketers who work in the event and publishing sectors are a creative bunch. They embrace an enviable catalogue of skills, from building website content to writing compelling DM copy; scheduling multiple media contact points to dealing with tricky customers on the phone. And you would be hard pressed to find anyone else in your organisation who navigates around as many technology platforms as they do (even in IT).

One of the most frustrating aspects of the marketing role I have come across over the years is the lack of investment in data. Given that this is arguably an organisation’s most valuable asset it is like keeping the family silver in an old cardboard box in the cupboard under the stairs. Sitting in a spreadsheet data is useful, in a interrogatable database it becomes all powerful.

Investment in a database is money well spent, but it can be hard to come by. Monthly maintenance costs are difficult for some organisations to swallow because the benefits reaped are not directly identifiable. The ability to select data for a campaign, automate processes, keep records up-to-date and have a clear idea of the quality and quantity of data available all reduce the manual processes a marketer must undertake, allowing more time for strategic decisions and impactful communications, but time isn’t a business metric so it’s difficult to quantify.

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time at the DMA gaining some understanding of the possibilities created by location marketing. Listening to some of the professionals working with consumer clients I must admit to being marginally jealous. They have fully embraced the concept of Big Data and how it enables them to craft individualised messaging to customers based on their actions and activity. Recording the touchpoints their Data Subjects interact with enables them to serve small pieces of relevant content when intrusiveness is low, creating a multiplicity of ‘micro marketing moments’ that draw consumers into their community and close to their brand.

I can see you rolling your eyes now. “But how is that relevant to B2B?” you are muttering. The point is that it is very relevant, because just as the GDPR no longer distinguishes between B2B and Consumer data (every record is a person), B2B marketing needs to recognise that the way a recipient responds to marketing isn’t defined by their industry or profession, but by the way in which they interact with technology and content.

Sending out long, turgid emails promoting third party information on the premise of ‘keeping you up to date with the event’ doesn’t wash any more. Hoping that by the third email the relevant person will have had the energy to seek out the one conference session they are interested in won’t either. But if you have a database that knows someone is a dentist and has previously expressed an interest in intraoral scanners or has clicked on content in an email about patient record keeping, then you can set up an automated alert to serve appropriate content, keeping them interested.

Ah yes, content. Another little soap box I am likely to get onto if invited! Content marketing really is the way forwards.  Done well it will enable you to send out truly relevant newsletters, engage your exhibitors, partners and advertisers, and bring people back to your website time and again (which will enable you to service website retargeting campaigns online and in social media). Put content and data together, add in automated processes and you will be accelerating your marketing efforts straight into the fast lane.