You don’t do business with data points; you connect with people. Without software to impose order on the torrents of customer and lead data that flows into your marketing director’s office, you can lose sight of individual customers in all that information. The big-data applications marketing software uses to make sense of huge volumes of information ensures you never lose that personal connection no matter how large your business grows.
Joining the Buyer’s Journey
Depending on your industry, your current marketing software, and your customers’ habits, you may not even know your leads are there until they’ve completed more than half the work it takes to reach a buying decision. They’ve gone on half the buyer’s journey alone, and during that personal journey, they may already have encountered information from competitors. Establishing a connection with them and becoming known as a useful source of content earlier in the journey is critical to helping them become your customers when they’re ready to buy.
That journey, especially in B2B marketing, is a long one. It starts with identifying a need and seeking solutions for it. To do this, leads start with content. The big-picture questions such as “What do we need to solve this problem?” and “What’s on the market?” generally begin with search engine queries. If your content is there at the outset and follow proper SEO practices, you’ve already joined your potential customer on the first leg of the buying journey.
Nurturing Leads with Content
When you walk beside your prospect in the earlier stages of the journey by providing useful content, you’re also able to direct attention to other points of interest. Marketing automation systems map contextual and behavioral data against demographic and firmographic information to build unique profiles of each lead, and with these profiles, you and your marketing team have a good idea what this person prefers to download, read, watch, or share. It’s this insight, this detailed look at individuals and their habits, that makes big data as powerful for connecting with people as it is for developing big-picture analytics.
Here’s an example of this principle in action. You see one of your prospects sharing a marketing message from a competitor on Facebook, but you know this lead has spent time on particular product pages on your site. This is your chance to make a pre-emptive strike and send samples, gated content, or special offers based on your greater knowledge of this lead’s specific needs. That potential customer will soon be writing about you, giving you the opportunity to earn not only that lead’s business, but also inquiries from others who follow him or her.
Personalizing with Big Data
When used properly, a marketing automation system gives companies the power to have a one-on-one conversation with thousands of leads at once. You’re able to customize emails to recipients’ past browsing and buying habits, demographic and firmographic data, and on-site behaviors. Your marketing company can use the system to slice audience segments into sections as fine as you choose, even to creating segments of one. From there, you can pinpoint your most influential audience members. When you’re able to spot the influencers, you can apply extra motivation to them and know your choices will have a ripple effect.
Big data and individual connections aren’t in conflict; they work in concert to help you understand your audience more fully and deliver even more outstanding service to them.
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