Try saying that ten times fast. It wasn’t meant to be a tongue twister—although it is. Rather, it’s a play on words to introduce the difference between Implicit and Explicit Strategic Marketing.

 First of all, we need to understand the terms as they apply to this strategic marketing. Explicit, which includes statements like “The temperature today is 83 degrees,” leaves no room for interpretation.  While implicit statements, such as “It’s kind of hot today,” are less specific. A “hot” day can be anywhere from 80 to 100 degrees, depending upon your perspective. 

Marketing strategies work the same way. A quarterback who tells his wide receiver to run 15 yards and then turn around is providing explicit strategic direction. If he tells his receiver to break loose and watch for a pass, his direction is implicit. When a good salesperson calls on a prospect, he can read the prospect’s visual cues—or body language—to determine whether he or she is ready to buy or not. What the prospect says is explicit data; what his body language tells the salesperson is implicit data.

Marketing automation leader Eloqua creates a customer’s Digital Body Language by capturing data from online interactions. By looking at which things Website visitors clicked on, ignored, downloaded or lingered over, Eloqua can “read” not only explicit data like whether they purchased or not, but also implicit data like the kinds of items about which they sought more information.   
Strategic marketers today can use this kind of online tracking and reporting to score leads using both explicit and implicit data. And skilled practitioners can coax meaningful implicit data from the explicit data.

Here’s an example: Sally and Susan decide to meet at Sears to shop for new clothes on their lunch hour.  That’s an explicit statement.  But there’s plenty of implicit data that can be extracted from it.  For instance, it’s safe to assume that Sally and Susan both have jobs, that they’re friends and that they probably work near a Sears.  What’s more, if they’re shopping at Sears, they’re probably not affluent or fashion forward. 

In strategic marketing, using both explicit and implicit data to score leads provides a clearer picture than using one alone. Armed with a potential customer’s explicit data, such as his or her name, company name, address, email address, company size, industry and job title, a marketer can make some assumptions that help provide a deeper understanding. Someone with a job title of Director or higher will probably either be able to make a decision or influence one. Someone who works for a manufacturer will probably be more interested in software for manufacturing companies than someone who works in government.

By establishing very specific criteria for lead scoring and nurturing that leverages both explicit and implicit data, smart marketers can increase their conversion rates and more.