Most marketers grapple with data in all its forms every day.
It’s flooding in from multiple sources in every organisation and it’s not getting easier to work with – in spite of the rise of marketing automation, salesforce automation, customer relationship management and financial management software. AI and machine learning will add to the noise, generating more data and insights which need to be assessed and used or discarded depending on the context.
If anything, the reliance on these platforms has made data a master rather than a slave – and not a particularly benevolent one.
The ability to damage brand, disenfranchise customers and lose prospects can be performed at a scale and velocity previously unimagined. The wrong email to a customer database can be delivered in seconds.
Not that long ago, in many industries, marketers didn’t need to know more than the basics when it came to data collection, management and use. Arguably, FMCG has always been the exception where deep diving data streams from retail outlets was critical for carving out categories, driving sales, maintaining profit and informing product development.
Today, as a marketer if you really can’t pull datasets apart and apply at least rudimentary analysis and management tools, it can be difficult to make a lasting difference in an organisation.
Yet, in our experience, many marketers do struggle with data. Keeping it clean and useable, the basic hygiene factors needed to make it useful, can seem unsurmountable when it simply floods into databases unchecked.
So what’s the answer?
Our short paper, Are you in data denial?, offers some practical pointers to get you heading in the right direction or at least baseline your own organisation’s approach to data control and management, particularly in relation to the marketing function.
When you say social media a lot of people still think Facebook and Instagram. Depending on what your B2B company sells these platforms may be of little use to you, but there are other platforms out there which you can use to increase brand awareness, share your marketing content, and reach potential new customers.
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Thanks to business social networking channels like LinkedIn, it is easy to identify potential B2B prospects based on criteria such as industry, role, and seniority. Organisations that are not taking full advantage of this tool are missing out on the opportunity to generate more leads, often at a significantly lower cost than traditional outreach methods.
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When I run my free, two-hour Orientation to B2B social media event every month in Sydney and Melbourne, I point out the dangers involved when companies focus on driving audiences to social media properties rather than their own websites.
There’s a simple reason for this advice. You don’t own your presence on social networks – and your pages can be taken off you, sometimes with warnings, sometimes with none. It’s a bit like building your family home on a block of land you don’t own – it’s not a good idea.
Everybody loves instant gratification.
Social media, email, mobile phones and credit cards have no doubt contributed to the current culture of instant gratification! I know I do it myself. I’ll send a quick text or email anytime rather than waiting, I’ll tweet or Facebook my thoughts from my mobile rather than waiting to share with someone in real life. We get pleasure from doing something now and getting instant feedback and results.
What’s wrong with that?
There are so many benefits of social networking. Personally, I love keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues. I have recognised that for me it’s a great way to maintain contact with people. Social networking is also a great way to maintain contact with my professional network to help maintain and build my business reputation by keeping reminders in the market about my areas of expertise.
More than a year ago I began running orientation to social media sessions for B2B companies as I found (and still find) that many businesses don’t understand the benefits of social media or how to use them.
January is a great time to look at things with fresh eyes. I know I have been doing this not only for clients but also in my own business.
- What are we currently doing?
- What is delivering results?
- What should we improve?
- What’s our strategic goal for the year ahead?
- Is what we’re doing now contributing to that goal or distracting us from the things that can contribute to that goal?
- Do we have the right people, in the right seats on our bus?
- Have we given those people the right tools to help them succeed?
As more businesses venture into social media, the questions that business managers are asking is shifting.
The most common question I get today is ‘How do I manage my staff’s use of social media?’
It seems that no matter where you go, people are talking about this new phenomenon called social media, and what it means for businesses.
The conclusion from the circles I have traveled has been “not much”, or “we’re waiting to see”, or downright skepticism that there will be benefits for business-to-business interactions.