Working with our client-base of medium to global enterprises here at Novacom, we regularly take on and manage client data, normally when setting up email marketing campaigns for them, or when running marketing automation programmes on their behalf.

What we have observed, and seems to be a common denominator across most data we review, is the lack of segmentation that has been undertaken as datasets are built.

Making history, history

Generally the reason for this is historic, as data didn’t need to be organised and segmented because it has been stored purely as a matter of record rather than as a digital marketing asset. This situation is very common, and to a point where it is almost the norm.

And it means that because the data was never configured for marketing communications, its structure will almost certainly be inappropriate for this purpose, and if it is to be reconfigured for marketing use, a significant amount of diligent work will be required.

Making history your future

A common reaction among marketers is to consider parking this stored data and seeking to acquire newer, appropriately configured data from a mailing list vendor. While this will be faster, the data you possess contains real, live – albeit a few historic – contacts.

These contacts likely know your enterprise, and there is a good chance they are current customers or at least have experience of your enterprise, its products and services.

And if this is the case, so initial, introductory communications need not form a time consuming step in the communications process.

Personalisation is key

Given that this existing data is effectively a commercial record rather that marketing data, the data fields will require reformatting into a configuration that can be readily personalised. That is to say in basic terms, the data can generate names and salutations.

While this work is being undertaken, further blank data fields can be included to capture additional data, covering everything from a website visit log and product/service heat map, through to buying history.

This will take your data up a level, as a buying persona is now emerging through this progressive targeting.

Building a picture

Dependent on the type of data required, the additional data fields you have created can be populated either by using basic, publicly available information such as home address, or for more sophisticated behavioural data website activity may be applied.

This can be achieved by configuring web pages, web content and website assets in a way that drives visitor behaviour through the need to make a specific decision on what to look at or where to navigate.

The options here are varied and considerable and will build solid, powerful and detailed insight into your existing buyer persona information.

You have now created a considerable amount of data and formed a very powerful sales and marketing tool in this data set. This is not only commercially very valuable and must be kept secure, but is also subject to stringent data privacy regulations.

These laws govern how and where data may reside and how and where it may be transmitted, and eye-watering fines can be imposed for contravening these rules.

Protection and risk mitigation

It is therefore critical to ensure that any digital marketing agency you partner with in pursuit of national email marketing or international marketing automation programmes are fully conversant and up to date with international data security laws.

This is best demonstrated through the agency being in possession of internationally recognised ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certification.

This post was originally published on the Novacom blog.