In B2B marketing — data is the new creative.

Direct marketing has never been considered fashionable or sexy. Those using advertising or focusing on branding turn their nose up at a discipline that is more tactical than creative. But then the economy slows and everyone wants to track the results of their marketing spend. So direct marketing is now back in favor.

DataThe heart and soul of effective direct marketing, of course, is and has always been data. So I was happy, yet surprised, to read an article I discovered through a link on CMO.com a day or so ago.

The article was by Michael Mancini on Nielsenwire entitled “B2B Discovers Market Segmentation.” This article reported the availability of comprehensive databases that “give marketers access to accurate and current data within a consistent framework on 13 million business establishments –critical information such as a company’s total headcount and industry classification. By appending these data to its business customer file, a company can create a robust business segmentation approach to guide prospecting, sales territory mapping, advertising and target marketing.”

It’s great advice. My surprise was that this practice was presented as new. He could be right that some B2B marketers are just discovering it. But many have been appending data from files such as these for decades to build a profile of their best customers and then going back to the database and selecting “look-alikes” to target their marketing.

Multiple sources such as D&B, InfoUSA and many others offer data that can be appended to lists to build a productive marketing model. Some data suppliers, of course, are better than others. AccuData taps multiple sources to provide businesses with the ability to append data to their customer list to build a profile. In addition to finding “look-alikes” on the outside database, marketers can bump their profile against their existing pipeline to identify those leads that are the best match.

It’s excellent advice, so I thank Michael for the reminder. Regardless of whether this capability is new or not, it’s a powerful tactic for moving the success of B2B marketing up to the next level of success. When the results come in, marketers will see why good direct marketing is always fashionable.

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