Mintigo’s most recent DNA Spotlight Report shows B2B prospects who smile in their profile photos are nearly four times more likely to respond to marketing engagement. Online professional profiles were examined for the report to determine the likelihood of prospects responding to a “cold email” from a B2B marketer. The study focused on campaigns aimed at promoting B2B services to sales, marketing, and business development titles, and it evaluated publicly available attributes of the email recipients.

Putting a Face to Big Data

With B2B marketers’ needs top of mind, specifically the need for more advanced targeting methods to hone in on prospects likely to respond to marketing engagement, Mintigo used its Customer Search Engine™, which uses big data analytics to process unstructured information on the web, including social profiles and website content, to conduct this study. Mintigo analyzed the click-through results of email campaigns sent by one of its customers, which were aimed at promoting B2B services to sales, marketing, and business development titles. After identifying and sourcing new contacts who exhibited the ideal traits of buyers, Mintigo evaluated publicly available profile attributes of the email recipients. Those attributes included facial expression, evaluated by eye and validated with the help of the facial recognition platform. Social connections, recommendations and career history from sources including LinkedIn profiles were also evaluated. In addition to key report findings, the study illustrates how tech-savvy marketers can stay ahead of the curve by looking to data sources that are in fingertip reach, yet aren’t part of the typical demand-gen bag of tricks, enabling marketers to put a human face to big data.

Key report findings include:

  • A smile has real value. A prospect who smiled in his or her profile photo was 3.8 times more likely to respond than one who wasn’t smiling. While 5.3% of recipients responded overall in the email campaigns, 20% of all “smilers” responded.
  • People who “recommend” other LinkedIn members — who attested to the skills of their connections on the LinkedIn network — were 4.5 times more likely to respond than those who didn’t.
  • In general, responsive people posted longer descriptions of themselves and shorter descriptions of the individual jobs they hold or have held.
  • Interestingly, the study found no direct correlation between the number of professional recommendation a person received and their likelihood to respond.
  • There was also no correlation between the number of connections a prospect had on LinkedIn and their likelihood to respond.

Putting Value on a Smile

For B2B marketers, the challenges of finding prospects who will respond to an email increase proportionally to the amount of data available. Meanwhile, click-through rates for B2B marketers’ “cold lists” are sometimes less than 1 percent, with a cost per opportunity of upwards of $1,000 at times. The future of profiling prospects is, indeed, in the profile — that is, in the professional profile data those prospects post online — and marketers stand to benefit by putting a human face on big data. Interesting enough, a smiling face in a profile photo almost quadruples the chance that a prospect will respond to a cold email — something as simple as a smile indicates significant value.


Marketers currently tend to rely on traditional services that are incapable of analyzing clues from big data from the web and social networks, which can reveal valuable indicators of the behavior of prospects. But through sophisticated analysis of publicly available data, the process of finding and nurturing leads becomes much more efficient and ultimately more profitable.