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How Data Can Be Marketer’s Secret Weapon

Marketing can be the standard-bearer that keeps everybody on the same page

Episode Summary

Actionable data is the lifeblood of modern B2B marketing. But without common definitions and standards, data loses its value. And you might be surprised to learn that marketing can be an organizational leader when it comes to setting such guideposts.

Data Analyst Theresa Kushner says true data quality begins at the collection stage, where siloed groups often cultivate stats and data points that suit their objectives, but not those of the entire organization. She recalls a conflict between a company’s sales and product team over late shipments. Turns out, the product team was simply changing the schedule to ensure “on-time” deliveries, regardless of when orders actually shipped.

Experiences like these led Kushner to conclude that marketing can be the “glue,” as she puts it, to help develop and maintain a core set of standards about how data defines your business. This begins with the most fundamental of definitions – exact who is your customer? The answer is not as clear cut for many businesses as it should be, she says.

Episode Insights

  • Insight #1: Marketing analytics are more than just campaign response. Every campaign takes time, money and focus. So evaluating the real impact of a mail series requires more than just click rate, or even revenue attribution. Workflow data – turnaround time, freelancer fees, new tools required – are all part of the equation. And that doesn’t begin to touch on opportunity costs and other financial metrics. Building this kind of success profile will require integration with numerous data sets, but Kushner says it’s worth it to elevate B2B marketing to being more than just transactional.

  • Insight #2. Data is useless unless everybody has access to it. If you don’t integrate your marketing, sales and CRM data, you are losing out on the opportunity to sell to your best prospect: an existing customer whose problem you just solved. This creates not only a window for an immediate upsell, but also a clear indicator that this account should be on the “hot” list for the marketing push behind your version upgrade next quarter. And the data should flow both ways – you don’t want to -- you don’t want to send a marketing effort to a customer who has just reported 15 service tickets, or promote that new version release promotion to a customer who just bought your product.

  • Insight #3: You have to define exactly what you are talking about before you can talk about it meaningfully. One of Kushner’s first conversations at a previous employer was with the CFO about how many customers they actually had, and she was surprised to learn there was no clear definition of “customer” shared by everyone in the company. Is it a person who has bought from you once? Is it a person who buys from you regularly? Is it a prospect that sales is working but that has not bought yet? For that matter, is it a person or a company? These definitions often need to come from marketing. People have to know what you mean when you say we have 10,000 customers.

Key Takeaways

What you will learn from Theresa Kushner’s episode?

  • How CMOs need to focus on creating a single, clear personal entity that accurately combines all the various data and representations they collect about each individual buyer.
  • Why marketing can be the “glue” that ensures everyone, from sales to customer success, is working from the same definition of who the customer actually is.
  • Why marketing needs to expand its view of data beyond basic demographics and transactions to understand the real cost and opportunities of serving customers.

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