Wednesday, March 19, 2008

B2B Database Marketing

We came across this article from BtoB Online that mirrors our opinions on the value of database marketing: No better time to try data mining

It focuses on B2B and makes the case for why mining customer data is so important, and how it adds value to your business.

It also provides three straightforward tips to help B2B marketers embrace database marketing and effectively use their customer data:
"1) Set clear marketing objectives. Data mining techniques are useless if you don’t know what you want to achieve. You don’t want to do data mining for its own sake. You want to make sure that you produce knowledge that is actionable. You need to be focused in your data mining so that you are producing results that can be implemented into tactical initiatives that help you achieve your marketing objectives. It’s all in the planning. It’s about putting together a roadmap of analysis that is needed to help drive and meet marketing objectives.

2) Conduct a data audit. How current and reliable are your customer data? To find this, assess the information based on its origins. Did the information come from the customer directly, during the point of sale or from a third-party source? Look to your marketing objectives to determine what information is required.

Make sure you are able to track all transactional history back to the customer mapping. A common issue is the use of different versions of a company name in your database.

3) Clean up your data. Data hygiene involves looking for potential errors, undefined fields or duplication. The follow through from the data audit is to make sure you capture all the information you can on a customer and making sure you can match those transactions."
Since so many B2B companies are organized around a traditional sales model (i.e.: outside or inside sales reps are responsible for sales and much of the customer marketing), these database marketing tips are especially important.

There's really no reason NOT to learn more about your customers, consumer or business. And, in this economy, it's imperative that firms do more with less. Maximizing the value within your own database will reap rewards. Two immediate benefits that come to mind.
  1. If you understand who your best, most profitable customers are, you can find more just like them. It just so happens that RRW has just introduced an entry-level customer profiling solution (under our Analyze Your Customers division). For a very low fee, we'll profile your business or consumer customers and show you how they are different from the universe at large. With this insight, you can then go after prospects that look just like good customers. Pretty nifty!
  2. If you understand the products that an individual customer is most likely to need, you'll be able to intelligently offer them the next best product. This type of intelligence will boost your cross-sell and up-sell programs immensely. Plus, it should help with customer retention, since the more products a customer has with you, the less likely they are to defect. See this article that reviews our analytical approach in understanding the next best product to offer.
These are just two examples of how database marketing can positively impact your marketing strategy and your bottom line.


Ted Grigg said...

Thank you Nancy for covering such an important topic. I get involved with BtoB lead generation a lot in my practice. And the lack of a quality database causes some sleepless nights for my clients.

They usually have active databases, but the poor quality of the master file requires calling all records before launching a lead generation campaign. Why?
Because the inhouse telemarketers and service reps who complete the information do not follow established business rules.

Business rules for proper fields and forcing complete and accurate data entry are completely absent. And even if they are, the inputers are not trained in how to input the data properly.

Titles are missing. Gender fields do not exist or title fields were never set up to begin with. If someone at the contacted company responds and was not on the database to begin with , the inputer overwrites the data with a new name.

This all makes personalized mail impossible and tracking for back end evaluation is impossible.

BtoB databases have not progressed much in most companies over the last 10-15 years.

It's really sad when you consider the lost profit-making opportunities if these companies had dedicated the necessary resources to improve their databases.

Suzanne Obermire said...

Ted, great comment about the deplorable state of most B2B data. Agree 100%.
Suzanne (not Nancy, this time :))