Recently I wrote a post about dynamic documents. It really is amazing how dynamic a document can be in the technology age. Data, of course, is central to many of the tactics I discussed. As I wrote that post, it occurred to me that a discussion of dynamic documents would be incomplete without some mention of the dynamics involved in managing the data in our campaigns. After all, your campaign is one part creative, one part offer, and one part data, right? Please forgive that nostalgic moment – back to the dynamics of our data! I’m sure we all agree that better data can drive better campaign results, just as better documents and more compelling offers can do the same. The question is, what are some practical, actionable steps that you can take to get to “better data”?
Profiling the Target
Like the data you work with, you should keep in mind that profiles often change over time. Knowing how you created your customer profile and periodically validating it should be part of your marketing strategy. If you’re marketing to a broad geographic area, be mindful of any regional differences amongst your customers that would support segmenting the target demographics in your list data selection for prospecting in those areas.
Understanding Our Data Sources
To really get your mind around what it takes to get to “better data” think about the systems and activities that create the data you work with, and what the information they provide really represents. At times we treat data as if it’s a monolithic “thing” that we specify, acquire, use, and discard. Once our campaign has run its course we take our campaign measurements, compile our ROI stats, and claim victory or begin to imagine why we are seeing lackluster results. When the next quarter or cycle comes along we start over.
The systems creating your data are usually not static but rather quite dynamic. The better you understand those systems, and the more consistently you give them love and attention, the higher the ceiling becomes for the results you can achieve. How quickly are they changing, are you capturing the changes, and how often are you capturing them? Are you giving your existing qualified audience opportunities to keep their profile current? Are you providing creative ways to capture new contacts, and cultivate more conversations with people interested in what you’re selling? Where such tactics require too much manual time spent to be practical, or are requiring too much of your budget, can they be automated?
Creating a Bigger Target
How intentional are you about not just the hygiene of your list, but leveraging the information provided from your data sources to create a larger audience of people like them? As marketers, we’re increasingly being asked to prove our value, and so value we must create (was it Yoda that said that, or Yogi Berra?) “Really?” you ask “run a campaign purely to expand the size of the audience?” With all of the effort you’ve invested in profiling your customers and prospects, why not try a campaign to increase the size of your audience, because a larger audience can create great leverage to increase conversions and create more value. After all, we do this thing called marketing because therein exist opportunities for investments that make a real contribution to our bottom line, and isn’t it fun when it works?