In a previous post, we talked about how your B2B data should influence your marketing decisions. Data-driven marketing allows you to connect with the right people, in the right way, at the right time.

The Forbes Insights report, “Data driven and digitally savvy: The rise of the new marketing organisation”, states: “Ultimately, a data-driven organisation learns to employ data analytics as part of all marketing campaigns, from conception to post-campaign review. Within a data-driven enterprise, information can move freely and is consistent across all channels. Within organisations that have achieved high levels of customer intelligence, there is a data-centric culture that is supported from the top down, and decision makers at all levels are provided training and support in mastering the power of data to better reach their markets. ”

In this post, we will focus on a particular facet of this approach: data analysis and profiling. After all, you can’t implement data-driven marketing if you don’t first understand your data. Data analysis and profiling enables you to really get to grips with your database by identifying key trends and characteristics. You might have a database full of high-value contacts, but if you don’t understand what connects them (and what doesn’t), then you won’t be able to fully benefit from this valuable tool at your disposal.

Profiling and analysis in focus

According to Search Data Management: “Profiling tools evaluate the actual content, structure and quality of the data by exploring relationships that exist between value collections both within and across data sets.”

In other words, profiling and analysis enables you to identify recurring trends and attributes among your current customers. For instance, you might analyze your database by industry sector, size and/or job title, in order to pinpoint clusters of similar customers, who are important to your business. You can then create buyer personas that represent each of these key groups. And, having gained this knowledge, you can go on to acquire similar prospects that match these high-value profiles, thereby boosting sales.

One of the best ways to achieve this entire process successfully is to partner with a B2B data consultancy. They will have the in-depth knowledge and expertise to help you take your B2B database to the next level. And they will able to provide you with a list of new contacts based on your insights. Additionally, by outsourcing to a consultancy, you free up more time to focus on your organization’s core competencies, such as developing new product lines or perfecting your service.

The ongoing benefits

Profiling and analysis significantly improves your return on investment. Primarily, you will be able to reduce the total cost of your marketing campaigns because you won’t be wasting time attempting to build relationships with the wrong people. Furthermore, those prospects that you do target are far more likely to engage with your organization, thereby improving response rates to your campaigns.

On a longer-term basis, you can carefully nurture new leads and customers, according to their specific wants and needs. You can create tailored content for different segments of your database and leverage the marketing channels that elicit the best response – whether that’s email, telemarketing, direct mail, or a combination of the three.

And, before you know it, you will be on the way to successfully implementing data-driven marketing. However, it is important to note that it may take some time for the benefits to really make themselves clear.

The Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey found that, today, data-driven marketing is either embedded or strategic for 78 per cent of marketers. Nevertheless, just 39 percent of organizations are capturing significant business benefits – such as improved ROI, increased customer loyalty, or more sales conversions – from acting on customer data. These results may reflect the fact that, for many businesses, data-driven marketing is still a new phenomenon, which requires ongoing investment of time and resources – often easier said than done when maintaining business-as-usual operations!

The report comments: “One area that stands out as showing no progress is the use of data-driven decision making to enhance competitive advantage. This is the ultimate goal, as it employs data to transform the way the organization does business, by finding new opportunities, channels, or markets and by using different business models.

“[…] The next step is using these insights to inform a new business model or strategy. That’s a tall task for marketers, considering that they don’t always have a seat in the C-suite, and in order to spearhead enterprise-wide transformation, they have to influence areas over which they may not have responsibility.”

Putting into place a B2B data strategy will ensure that you can fully leverage your findings. However, this may be a task that goes beyond the marketing department and, resultantly, may take longer to achieve. All that said, data profiling and analysis is a great first step to take on the road to fully implementing data-driven marketing.