Using Big Data to Modernize Your Marketing

Harvard Business Review recently came out with a study called Building the Ultimate Marketing Machine – a great read for anyone who is interested in making their marketing departments more effective.  Unsurprisingly the very first thing mentioned in this study is “big data – deep insights”.  At this point almost anyone in the B2B marketing space has heard of big data.  At this point marketing departments seem to fall into 3 categories.

1. They know what big data is, but have no idea what to do with it to find insights or don’t have enough data yet to generate the insights they need.

2. They have started to leverage technology to try and generate insights from their data, but have not figured out what to do with those insights.

3. They have been using technology to generate marketing metrics from big data for a few years and have found ways to tweak their marketing mix accordingly to increase revenue growth.

For small and mid-market companies tackling big data can be a huge challenge because of the lack of resources (time, budget, employees, etc.) and I think many of us fall into the first two categories.  So here are a couple suggestions for ways to start taking advantage of all the data that your CRM (or marketing automation) system is collecting.

First make sure that the system you are using is optimized to capture the data that you want.  This may mean using some custom code or perhaps purchasing some technology that helps capture and sort through all your data. At Full Circle Insights we use Salesforce as our marketing (and sales) data repository and have been able to leverage that system and our own products to capture all the data we need to track key funnel metrics, campaign influence and attribution, and capture more information about every lead that comes into the system.

Then once that system is in place make sure you have the right person (or people) to measure and analyze the data – marketing scientists.  If you are able to find someone who can effectively leverage the system(s) you have to generate reports that show meaningful insights about the marketing and sales initiatives that your company is running that will more then pay for their salary.

Finally once your system is set up properly and you have the right people in place to analyze and measure your data its time to have the entire demand generation team start communicating about campaign performance, marketing and sales processes, etc.  The best way to do this is with regular meetings that involve the key stakeholders on the executive, marketing, and sales teams. With all the data being effectively analyzed you will be able to find some very interesting metrics that can help shorten the sales cycle, find and fix bottlenecks in the marketing-sales hand off, and increase revenue generation from your existing programs. The real key here is to continue to have these meetings even if you think you think have solved all your problems because the demand generation process is constantly evolving and something that works now may not work the same way in the future.

So while tackling big data may seem like a huge undertaking – it is possible even if you don’t have a ton of resources.  You just need the right technology and the right people to find actionable insights that will help your business continue to grow.

Josh Rosenberg

About Josh Rosenberg

Josh earned his MBA from Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business in 2012 with a concentration in Marketing Management. Previously he worked in marketing at Zscaler, Inc. and is currently the Marketing Manager for Full Circle Insights.