Data is everywhere, and marketers are gung-ho about using it to improve everything from their campaigns to customer experience.
No doubt, marketers are leveraging customer and internal data generated from sales, marketing, and business activities. That is clearly not enough.
To underline this momentum, 74% of marketing professionals expect to pull out their proverbial company credit card and increase their data marketing budgets, according to a recent GlobalDMA/Winterberry Group study. So what are the data sources to invest in to gain real insights and intelligence of coveted prospects and customers they are trying to discover and delight?
We know marketers are investing in known data appending plug-ins, data management providers, and predictive analytic providers. However, one source often overlooked in the marketing data ramp-up is the media companies that have been generating traffic, prospects, and customers for marketing clients for years. Yes, I said media companies.
Historically, media companies have been pigeonholed as a way for marketers to reach audiences. However, with media companies rapidly evolving, many marketers are tapping into media companies as core “data-gen providers.” Either because of survival instinct or innovative thinking, media companies have leveraged new technologies and have tapped into their sophisticated data repositories to make available valuable customer and program data. For marketers, this is great news.
This evolution has further been spurred by the wealth of data types available today. For example, prospect, customer, intent, behavior, and account intelligence are all types of actionable data. In parallel, the definition of media company is clearly changing. This includes traditional Web and print publishers, digital lead-generation providers, and advertising technology companies offering solutions to deliver audience and leads in more data-driven ways.
To survive, media companies are shedding expensive print and eyeball-generating Web operations. They’re also capitalizing on the opportunity to reinvent themselves as data source experts and serve marketers’ seemingly endless appetite for highly specific customer and prospect information.
To truly re-emerge as data marketing solutions, media executives are thinking beyond traffic, impressions, and lead generation. They’re now investing in products and solutions to deliver high-quality prospect and performance data. The result is a source for marketers to gain prospect information and marketing intelligence to put their technology systems and content to work--and in turn, drive customer acquisition they are on the hook for from their peers.
Progressive media companies realize that data is the asset they can provide to their paying marketing customers--data that informs how and with what to capture prospect interest. Specifically, two types of data sets are emerging to become the lifeblood for media companies to best serve their clients:
1. Behavioral prospect data to signal intent: Based on users’ behaviors, media companies have a unique grasp on what buyers of targeted companies may be interested in. Using data science, this intent-based data about an individual’s online activities and interests is collected and shared with marketing clients to use in their targeting and communications. Most importantly, specific areas of content interest can be gathered, which often signals research around an upcoming purchase. The media company can also provide precise, additional targeting by serving ads or emailing offers. Marketers use this data to score leads based on specific activity and increased interactions. They can also prioritize and fast track the best opportunities immediately by nurturing prospects in a more targeted program or sending them to sales for immediate follow-up.
2. Company content consumption data for account-based marketing: Account-based marketing is all the rage today, and for good reason, as it focuses on targeting specific companies that B2B marketers and sales executives have identified as ideal prospects. Media companies use digital tactics, demand generation, and data solutions to help marketers identify purchasing intent with a specific list of target companies. Using company IP addresses and domain intelligence, for example, they can share this activity data when target companies are viewing or engaging with their content and retarget them immediately with additional information and offers.
The media company transformation from a traffic and lead generation source to data providers is still in its early stages, but marketers can take these steps now to tap into the wealth of prospect and customer data intelligence:
• Take inventory: Take time to get underneath the hood of media and ad tech providers to understand what type of technologies and data systems are in use and what data types and formats are available.
• Start testing: Through trial and error, determine the data approach that will improve marketing and customer acquisition efforts.
• Formulate a data plan: With an abundance of data from existing marketing tech systems, devise a holistic plan that integrates first-party data and media partners’ data to create intelligent targeting and engagement.
• Embrace partnerships: Don’t settle for out-of-the-box data services. Media companies are experimenting with all kinds of new data products. Be the marketing professional who shapes the new offering to gain a competitive advantage.
The influx of data has undoubtedly transformed marketing over the past few years--and with new data sources emerging, we can anticipate this function to continue to evolve, becoming more efficient and targeted. Right now, there is no question if prospect data and intelligence will become available; it’s merely a matter of when. Marketers and media companies alike should ensure they don’t get caught unprepared. Collaborate now and be ready to put this valuable data to work.