STRATEGY AND PLAN 

Where Are You Going?

In the famous words of NY Yankee's catcher Yogi Berra, "If you don't know where you're going you might not get there." While I'm sure Yogi was not thinking of developing a B2B database, his quote couldn't be more appropriate. Companies have lots of data but no data destination in mind.

B2B firms are now collecting more data than ever before with the spread of CRM and MRM, plus all the data from social media. The quandary is that B2B marketing and sales departments are not sure what data is needed vs. wanted – and there is a big difference in value between needs and wants when building a company-wide database. If no data strategy and plan is in place, the task will overwhelm any person or department responsible to build the database. That's only the first challenge, as the database then needs to be kept accurate so that analytics can be applied to drive usage that increases both sales and profits – the real goal of Data-Driven Marketing.

So how do you develop the best data strategy for your company and how can we help?

Obviously, it's a discovery process that can include some or all of the following steps:

  • Targeting and segmentation of the market
  • Micro-segmentation of the top segments
  • Outline the buying process and decision makers and influencers by function
  • Identification of the data elements that describe the macro and micro segmentation developed
  • Understanding of the current data collection methods in place such as CRM
  • Determining where the data will be derived from – both internal and external
  • Estimation of the decay rates for key data elements
  • Establishment of a process for data updating and cleaning
  • Projection of the logical usages of the database for both marketing and sales
  • Estimation of the value of an accurate database for budgeting and justification

Upon the completion of this process, an overall data strategy and plan can be developed.

Once this step is completed, it sets the stage for the next step – Data Acquisition, Database Development and Management

How Can We Help?

When you're ready to develop a Strategy and Plan, or would like to validate an existing one, we can help. Frequently, our Observations and Recommendations process and report is a solid first step. Call us to determine the best approach for your company.




DATA ACQUISITION, DATABASE DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT

The Good, Bad and Ugly of B2B Data:

Once the Data Strategy is completed the next issue becomes, where do we get the data required to fuel and drive the marketing car? The Good news is that there has been a substantial increase in the types and sources of B2B data, including internal sources. The Bad news is that each source has different data, sometimes not easily accessed and/or used, plus it can be expensive. The Ugly remains the accuracy and completeness of the data, as each source uses different compilation and gathering methods and must be carefully checked to insure it meets minimum accuracy requirements.

B2B Data Sources:

In general, there are four sources of B2B data:

  • Internal data from CRM systems; marketing department's list of responders, prospects and leads; accounting's transactional purchasing records and at times customer service's interactions.
  • Public data from major compilers (e.g. D&B), response lists (e.g. trade magazines) and new sources (e.g. Jigsaw, ZoomInfo, LinkedIn, Spoke etc.) that each have unique strengths and weaknesses.
  • Self-provided data from registrations, surveys and other prospect or customer interactions where they provide the data.
  • Developed data typically from telemarketing or other proactive communications to gather and/or verify data and information relating to the target market(s).

While there are only four types of data sources, there is a vast difference between each one. This requires an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses before deciding to include them in the database build. For each of the sources, the pluses and minuses are:

Internal Data:

Strength: Data and information from internal sources is highly relevant to the business of the company and there will be no better source of data to describe prospects and customers. From CRM (customer relationship management) software to MRM (marketing resource management) software to accounting's purchase records to even information contained in the customer service department's notes on inbound calls, a rich and accurate trove of data exists.

Weakness: Frequently this data is on separate software and is not integrated into a single view of the customer or prospect. While it may seem easy to integrate these data silos, it is not for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, internal politics and legacy software systems that are not easily changed. In addition, all too often the data in these systems is viewed as accurate, but no data cleaning or enhancement process has been regularly performed. Therefore it is not unusual to find that contact information on these systems is less accurate than outside lists which are notoriously bad.

Public Data:

Strength: There is not only a wide variety of additional public data sources, but new sources have recently become available. Traditional demographic data compilers, such as D&B, have improved their lists by adding depth of contact names and are verifying data by telemarketing. Response lists, such as trade magazines, are adding demographic information to their already accurate contact names. New sources such as Jigsaw and ZoomInfo have developed different approaches to compiling B2B information that have significant advantages. In essence, there are more and better public data sources than ever!

Weakness: In spite of the good news on public data sources, there still remain some disadvantages. Contact accuracy remains a problem as many of these lists do not keep up with the decay rate of contact-level data, which is researched to be at least 5%/month. In addition, they have different policies as to how one can obtain and use the data. Some are keeping to the traditional policy of one-time usage on rental. Others are high priced and difficult to deal with. The key is to find a source/list that maps well to the target markets of the company, and then negotiations are required to agree to usage and price.

Self-Provided Data:

Strength: Prospects and customers, at times, find it in their self interest to provide information on themselves and the stage of their buying process. This data can be extremely valuable and timely for both marketing and sales. In addition, information and data that is not in the public domain, but is relevant to selling these individuals, can be asked for and be a dramatic boost to continuing lead qualification and customer relationship development efforts.

Weakness: The major weakness of self-provided information occurs in the beginning of the buying process when information is asked of inquiries. This information typically attempts to qualify the inquiry too aggressively, and the individual inquiring may not want to accurately provide this information as they may not want to be hounded by telemarketing calls.

Developed Data:

Strength: At times, information is required that is either not available from the preceding sources and/or is needed to be verified before launching a marketing communication program. To obtain this information, either an email or outbound telemarketing effort is required. If the data is subsequently gathered, it will be both accurate and valuable. This effort usually focuses on verification of the proper contact within an organization, before a communication is sent.

Weakness: As response rates from email programs are typically too low, the default is telemarketing. While this approach does dramatically increase completion rates, it is expensive.

How Can We Help?

First of all, we know B2B data and most of the sources as well. This knowledge equips us to efficiently and effectively sort through all the data options and select the best ones to fit the data strategy and market segmentation. We then can assist in negotiating the best deal on behalf of our clients, and monitor the acquisition process to insure no mistakes since we are not a list broker.



ANALYTICS AND MARKET SEGMENTATION

It All Starts with Segmentation:

As B2B companies turn to increasing targeted communications with relevant messages and offers, the role that Analytics and Segmentation play becomes critical to campaign success. Mandinci.com has decades of experience in determining targeting and segmentation strategies by a number of methods, including an established analytic methodology.

Segmentation:

Segmentation is the "head" of the marketing campaign planning process because once you know who you are talking to, the rest of the process becomes much easier to execute. In the Data Usage For Campaign Planning section of our services, there is a long treatment of our segmentation approaches, and we recommend you go there for more information.

Analytics:

B2B companies are attempting to improve lead generation, sales conversion and sales force effectiveness. For example, many B2B companies are now offering products, services and even service contracts through their websites. Hence, they quickly find themselves in the direct marketing business, with all of its inherent newness and complexity for traditional firms.

Even if they are not in the direct marketing business, B2B companies live in a bewildering multi-channel promotional world. Often, the complexity of the channel overlap is staggering. In such a world, measuring the effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts is extremely difficult. For example:

  • Start with the field sales force.
  • Then, perhaps, layer on an outbound telemarketing team.
  • And, direct mail and email to support the field and phone sales teams.
  • And, media promotional efforts, including trade press and trade shows.
  • And, Web marketing, including search and paid affiliates.
  • Finally, do not forget the newest marketing techniques, such as social media.

How do you get your hands around the massive amounts of data that flow from these channels, so that you can understand where your sales and marketing dollars are workingÖand where they are not? How to you determine what triggered a prospect to become an inquiry, lead , and a first-time buyer? What criteria seems to determine if a customer will become a loyal, long-term customer? In short, how do you use data to generate the most effective campaigns leading to long-term revenue and profit?

Mandinci.com will guide you through this complex new world. We have decades of experience building and maintaining marketing databases for multi-channel marketers. And, we have deep expertise in employing analytical techniques – from the basics to the state-of-the-art – to leverage these marketing databases to drive revenue and profitability.

Phase 1: We Are Well-Versed in the Basics

For clients who want to walk before they run – much less sprint – B2B Marketing.com offers an established analytic methodology as the foundation for success:

  • We begin by profiling your customers and/or prospects, including by four-digit SIC or six-digit NAICS, and by company size. Basic? Yes. But, profiles and penetration studies are very effective ways to identify where the potential hotspots are. And, many B2B companies have never taken advantage of these techniques.
  • Then, we segment your market, using a combination of business judgment and available data. This allows you to focus on your target audience when developing your offers and messages, thereby tailoring each promotion to each individual audience segment.
  • Then, we construct statistics-based predictive models to take full advantage of your available data, and to provide a structure for your sales and marketing efforts. Examples include "look-alike" models to support lead-generation efforts.
  • We also develop sales and marketing test strategies, so that you can continuously fine-tune your promotional efforts; and, ideally, ultimately approach an optimal state of financial investment across all of your promotional channels.
  • Finally, we create reports and dashboards to monitor your target marketing efforts, and to provide guidance for the next set of promotional initiatives.
Phase 2: We Are Ready for Star Wars When You Are!

When you are ready for state-of-the analytics and segmentation to take you to the highest levels of Data-Driven Marketing, Mandinci.com is ready! When it comes to advanced analytics and segmentation, we have just about done it all. The following are the sorts of projects that are among our core competencies:

  • The creation of formal, analytically-derived homogeneous segments, such as customer clusters, tree-driven customer "groupings," and merchandise segmentation to support product affinity and/or product progression analysis.
  • Detailed cohort analysis, including lifetime value to improve prospecting.
  • Generating insight on the "implicit demand" not being captured; for example, merchandise logically linked to previously-purchased companion items.
  • Likewise, share-of-wallet analysis.
  • Helping construct short and long-term contact strategies, including test design and backend analysis, to support new promotional concepts.
  • Assisting in the optimization of contact strategies across multiple channels.
  • Interpreting the results of data mining to drive target marketing programs.
  • Standardized reporting and key-metrics dashboards.
  • Marketing Action Reaction Systems ("MARS"); that is, automatic triggers that generate tailored promotions whenever customers display predefined behaviors.
  • Assisting with the implementation of data-driven operational CRM; that is, key customer information that is packaged for access at touch-points such as the field sales force, call centers and e-commerce sites.
  • Supporting loyalty programs and other forms of long-term incentives.
  • One-purchase customer analysis.
  • Assisting in the review of circulation planning and reporting. We have extensive circulation management experience. For example, since mid-2001 we have been heavily involved in circulation management for Godiva Chocolatier's catalog/e-commerce division, the majority of which is focused on B2B gifting. Beginning in the first-half of 2005, Godiva has outsourced this entire function to us.
  • Macro, multi-year business modeling based on bottom-up transaction forecasts; that is, business simulations that support sophisticated "what-if" analysis, complete with anticipated P&L's.
How Can We Help?

Mandincicom is experienced in developing analytic and segmentation models for an array of industries. It's likely we have had experience in your market and that can significantly shortcut the process. Give us a call to see what experience fits your needs.



DATA USAGE AND CAMPAIGN PLANNING

Data Not Used Is Of No Value:

It's surprising how infrequently the database is actually used in B2B to power marketing communications. If the preceding three process steps in the Data-Driven Marketing Process have been completed, there now exists a new and powerful capability for both marketing and sales. In general, at this stage the majority of the database usage is to communicate to the market, by driving four traditional goals:

  • Lead Generation – from both new and existing customers
  • Lead Nurturing – particularly for firms with long and complex sales cycles
  • Customer Relationship Development – now a shared responsibility of both marketing and sales
  • Reactivation – where dormant or lost customers can be brought back to life

It has been repeatedly shown that the more relevant the message and offer, the higher the engagement and response rates. The database provides the platform to determine what message and offer is appropriate based on what is known about the potential or current customer.

Once this step is completed, it sets the stage for the next step – Data Acquisition, Database Development and Management

It Starts With Segmentation:

There are three levels of segmentation. The first is macro-segmentation and generally defines a company's major markets – automotive, construction, agriculture, etc. The second level is micro-segmentation, and is a clustering approach to find smaller segments for communications to individuals who exhibit one or more characteristics that provides the platform for relevant communications. The third level is one-to-one segmentation first proposed by Peppers and Rogers in the early 90's. In B2B, this type of segmentation is best practiced by the sales force.

Marketers are continuously in need of valid micro-segments to direct communications towards one or more of the above goals. There are some proven approaches to segmentation and a list follows. A 27-page white paper titled Profiling, Targeting and Segmentation is available in the Resource section.

Eight Micro-Segmentation Approaches:
  • Demographic – industry code (SIC or NAICS), size in revenue or employees, geographic location, etc.
  • Relational demographic – a fact or characteristic of the target market directly related to the value proposition, product or service being marketed. Equipment-in-use is a typical relational demographic fact.
  • Behavioral – a wide area starting from inquiries, attendance at webinars/trade shows, downloading white papers, and up to and including calls to customer service.
  • Competitive – there are multiple forms of competition. Direct – who are the current suppliers, and potential vendors that sell the same product/service? Indirect, "other" solutions that solve the buyer's need. Budget – no money no sale. Status Quo – why change?
  • Job Function – different job functions (i.e. CFO) have different needs and interests. Also, the function an individual plays in the buying process such as decision maker, influencer, economic buyer, etc. can form the basis of a cluster for highly-relevant communications.
  • Stage of sales cycle and/or buying process – an obvious and highly-productive cluster, assuming the data is up-to-date (which should not be assumed).
  • Analytical – various analytical approaches and models should be applied to the database to uncover segments that are not easily found without these models
  • Customer and/or transactional – an important way to micro-segment, and often overlooked by marketing in the rush for leads. Frequently, customers can and should be a target market for lead generation and/or customer relationship development, and should be done in close cooperation with sales.

The clear benefit of micro-segmentation is that the more relevant the message and offer in any media, the greater the ability for it to break through the clutter, engage the individual and generate the desired response or behavior. Only when marketing, and even sales, uses advanced segmentation strategies will real improvement in productivity be achieved.

Obviously, measuring the results of any marketing communications and tying it back to the source data is another key usage of data and will be discussed in the fifth step, Result Analysis and Reporting.

How Can We Help?

Mandinci.com has had years of segmentation and campaign planning experience for a wide selection of clients. Frankly, the first segmentation approach is usually not the most productive, and we can not only advise on which ones have worked well for other clients, but use our experience and analytic capabilities to find the best ones for you. Give us a call when you want to get granular!



RESULTS ANALYSIS, MEASUREMENT AND REPORTING

A Partner for All Your Needs

What does "Results Analysis, Measurement and Reporting" mean to B2B companies? The answer is the same as it was with Data Usage and Analytics and Market Segmentation." And, that is: Everything and Anything!

The reason is that traditionally most B2B firms have handled their sales and marketing campaigns on a one-at-a-time basis. They have focused on each promotional initiative in a vacuum, and have not considered its interaction with all of the other campaigns that constitute the annual promotional calendar.

Sometimes, B2B companies get lucky, and their sales and marketing campaigns interact synergistically, and the end result is greater than the sum of the parts. Unfortunately, that is rare. More often, there is no synergy or integration across marketing campaigns.

The problem is that the B2B sales and marketing environment has become extraordinarily complex. The reason is what we talked about in "Analytics and Market Segmentation." Many of today's B2B companies operate in a bewildering multi-channel promotional world, where the amount of channel overlap is profound. In such a world, measuring the effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts is a real challenge. Fortunately, Mandinci.com can guide you through this daunting new world.

Phase 1: We Are Well-Versed in the Basics

Some clients want to walk before they run. And, that's OK. B2B Marketing.com understands how to implement the basics, and knows that:

  • Pipeline calculations must be based on an agreed-upon definition of each step in the sales cycle, so that robust measures of effort-to-value can be created.
  • Response rates must be tied to the quantity and quality of the responses; for example, the number of truly qualified sales opportunities that are passed on to sales, and the cost-per-opportunity.
  • Likewise, it is important to track the number of sales opportunities that are converted to a sale, and to generate projections of the resulting short and long-term revenue and profit.
  • Reporting must incorporate breakeven and expense-to-revenue ("E/R") calculations.
  • The results of any testing must be valid and then embedded into future campaigns for continual improvement in results.
Phase 2: We Are Ready for Star Wars When You Are!

Database marketers agree that the ultimate goal is multi-channel synergies. However, when they try to allocate each response to a single promotion, they are implicitly assuming that the response was caused solely by that one promotion. If this were the case, then why talk about multi-channel synergies?

Do the multi-channel complexities of your sales and marketing efforts require you to implement modern techniques in results analysis, measurement and reporting? If so, then Mandinci offers a proven, multi-step approach:

Step #1: We will focus testing and measurement, and promotional management, on logical time periods such as quarters or seasons, and not on individual efforts.

If B2B companies really want to be prospect and customer-centric, then why do they insist on trying to analyze each promotion? Prospect and customer-centric businesses analyze qualified leads and customers, not individual promotions! This is done by:

  • Calculating each qualified lead/customer's economic potential within each logical timeframe, using predictive tools that are tied to financials.
  • Determining the corresponding promotional dollars that should be allocated to each qualified lead/customer within each timeframe.
  • Selecting the appropriate multi-channel promotional mix, based on past results and tests.
Step #2: For each of your qualified lead/customer types, we will estimate the true incremental effects of campaigns across multiple channels.

This is done by analyzing your marketing database for past "natural tests," and by running going-forward longitudinal ("over time") tests.

  • Mandinci.com recognizes that, because of promotional cannibalization due to overlap, there is no guaranteed relationship between stimulus and response. In such a world, the response device can mean little, even when a source code is included.
  • Therefore, it is unwise to try to deconstruct qualified lead/customer results by promotion. Instead, we apply an over-time ("longitudinal") input/output approach to testing and measurement, where different promotional mixes are compared by overall P&L.
Step #3: Re-think the role of Source Codes.

Source Codes are an effective way to organize information. They are short-hand descriptors for planning, tracking, and especially for quality control across the multiple vendors – or, internal departments – that are often required to execute a promotion. However, they should not be used to make promotional decisions.

Mandinci.com studies the qualified leads/customers assigned to each Source Code, and not the Source Code itself. Likewise, we designate qualified leads/customers as the unit for calculating (over-time) P&L's.

Step #4: Continue to test, monitor and refine as necessary.

Mandinci.com continually refines its estimates of the true incremental effects of a given multi-channel promotional mix, within logical time periods. This is because we recognize that circumstances change!

How Can We Help?

When it's time to measure and report results, Mandinci has many years of experience doing both. Results speak loudly to senior executives, and we know which ones to focus on for continuous success and funding. Just give us a call to discuss your needs and/or difficulties when it comes to measurement and reporting.

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Mandinci is physically located in Miami, FL and Stockholm, Sweden.
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