There’s always a next thing in marketing.

Whether it’s predictive content curation engines, deep customer and demand gen analytics, artificially-intelligent subject line creators, or more accurate, timely ad delivery, we’re constantly pushing forward to find a new way to hook and delight, a new way to drive business into the funnels we’ve designed, a new way to connect with audiences we want.

And as we push forward—investing more money and time into discovering and maintaining these processes—we have to consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, we don’t need more tools in the stack. It’s like car accessories—you can buy all you want, but it won’t fix the problem if you’re just out of gas. What we need is better data, and a better idea of what to do with it.

I don’t think it’s any secret that I’ve been beating the drum of contact data accuracy for years. I’ve built a company and a life on it. But now more than ever there’s a real need for better contact data—especially in marketing departments. Given that our goals in marketing are to reach people—and reach the right people at the right time with the right message—having access to great contact data (as well as all the interesting data that’s created through its maintenance) should be of the utmost priority.

Contact Data and Email Marketing

Obviously, having good data is critical for successful email marketing. And that, in a way, is obvious. Whether you email marketing manually or use a marketing automation platform, your email list (or email database) is critical for both demand gen and retention efforts.

Given that, statistically, that list goes out of date at a rate of ~33% per year, incredible amounts of money and effort go into maintaining it, keeping it fresh. And still, with all that spend, companies get blacklisted, emails bounce, and CTRs remain low.

With better contact data—and access to an engine that works to keep that data updated—marketers gain the ability to deliver, to focus on the quality of the experience rather than making sure it goes through. It boosts quality while allowing for marketing departments to make their spending more efficient and meaningful. And, it creates a strategic foundation for larger, more complex marketing strategies.

Contact Data and Account-Based Marketing

Though currently a bit bulky and labor-intensive, there’s no question that account-based marketing (ABM) is the future of B2B sales. Through its hyper-targeting, one-to-one content creation, and meaningful outreach, ABM offers the most personal—and most effective—approach.

But to perform ABM successfully, there are several things you need to get right (and they all center around good contact data):

  • Decision-maker targeting
  • Industry/audience alignment
  • Campaign personalization

Each of these, in their own ways, are a different piece of the contact management puzzle. Decision-maker targeting requires the ability to easily identify and reach out to decision-makers within a specific business, industry/audience alignment asks that you be able to identify other businesses/influencers in your target space, and campaign personalization requires a one-to-one understanding of the specific account/decision-maker that you’re targeting.

The right business. The right person. The right message.

And it all comes back to good contact data. Though the process is described in detail here, in some ways, it’s simple. With good contact data (and the ability to track its change across time), you can easily understand the org chart of any business that you’ve identified as a target, hone in on the circle of decision-makers you need to persuade, and, given who and where they are, determine the kinds of content and messages needed to create a winning ABM experience.

Contact Data and Content Marketing

Similar to ABM in its “win them by engaging them on their own terms” approach, content marketers also benefits from quality contact data by providing your team with the tools they need to create unique experiences that drive targets into your funnel.

Offering a combination of industry/user-role data from your current customers and the ability to accurately deliver content to lookalike audiences through social and targeted email, contact data augments content marketing efforts on both fronts—content creation and delivery.

Assuming that it’s accurate, the analysis of current customer contact data provides significant direction for research and content development in any content marketing effort. Through a simple export and sort of your current customer data, your marketers are able to creating deeper understandings of the roles and industries currently benefitting from your offering. This then provides them/you with a researchable/ownable messaging trajectory that allows for the creation of segmented content strategies that continue to drive in the easy sells—those like your current customers.

And with that accurate data, your marketers will be able to target those people no problem. Using basic lookalike audiences (available on all major social platforms), content is delivered accurately and with greater impact than what you’ll get with outdated lists that create fewer and fewer returns.   

Contact Data and the Marketing Ecosystem

Beyond what you can control in house (acquisition, social, content, lead gen, etc.), the marketing ecosystem as a whole revolutionizes with better contact data. The programmatic and retargeting ad networks you use gain the ability to target even further—by gender, job title, industry—making your paid spend go further and create more meaningful returns for your dollar. Predictive analytics platforms gain new data critical for transforming the efficiencies of your sales/marketing efforts. And even the agencies you may use gain better insight into your customer-base and market fit, allowing for the creation of more relevant, meaningful creative.         

The Bottom Line

In short, better contact data completely transforms the current state of marketing efforts. It allows for a more solid internal process—email, ABM, content marketing, acquisition—while empowering your vendors—delivery, analytics, creative—to provide better, farther-reaching, and more deeply-targeted services. When contact data is good, everyone wins in marketing. Let’s not forget that as we’re looking toward marketing’s future. Hence, we need a good contact management app for professionals.

For high quality contact data and updates, check out the CircleBack app.

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