The mass proliferation of data has given marketers the opportunity to better understand their prospects and make smarter decisions about market discovery. However, when marketers rely on traditional, firmographic data to inform their decision-making, they miss out on key insights that can tell them a lot about their customers and markets, including their personalities, priorities, preferences, and even their needs and budget. Instead, marketers should turn to external data sources—company websites, social profiles, job boards, and digital messages—to advise their market expansion efforts.

“The key is not just collecting the attributes, but determining which signals are important to your business based on history.” – David Raab, Raab Associates

Here are 4 digital sources that provide marketers with richer, real-time information about their markets:

Company websites

Company websites provide static information, such as industry and locations, and dynamic information, such as press releases announcing executive changes, new product launches, financial reports, and office openings.

Technical data derived from digital messages

This data stems from two sources: marketing automation systems and Web analytics tools. The presence or absence of any such technology can be a clear indicator of a company’s propensity to buy other types of products or services.

Social and public interactions

Social and public interactions include Twitter messages, LinkedIn profiles, Facebook comments, and Yelp reviews. Marketers can rely on actual content, such as questions about a specific topic, job titles used at a company, or customer complaints. However, more widely available measures—online and social presence—are often powerful indicators of need for a specific solution or responsiveness to social messages.

Postings on job boards

While job boards like or Dice may not be a first thought for marketers, they can provide specific information about the products and technologies a company is using, which proves incredibly useful to companies looking for prospects using complementary or competitive products. Job boards can also indicate the business or product direction a company is moving in, as well as show general information about company size, growth, and industry.

Other public and private sources

These include government contractor lists, patent filings, trade associations, and directories. They can provide specialized information, alerts of important developments, and basic lists of companies by industry.

Interested in learning more about how predictive insights unlock explosive growth in new markets? Check out this on-demand webinar with marketing technology expert, David Raab.