Tips and Tools from a Marketing Data Strategist
Erin Faust is passionate about data. Supporting a large sales and marketing organization that routinely turns to her for insights, she understands the power of having good, clean data. “I think of myself as a problem solver, and having access to the right data can be the unifying factor that helps us focus our efforts and drive real value,” says Faust.
As Ricoh’s Marketing Data Strategist for Demand Generation, Faust is responsible for ensuring her team can quickly move potential buyers from consideration to decision. That means having clarity about Ricoh’s audience at every stage of the sales cycle; no small feat for a company that is investing in multiple marketing campaigns across distinct verticals and marketplaces. “I work in an extremely fast-paced environment, and it’s really important to come up with ways to organize and manage all of our disparate audience data,” says Faust. “At the end of the day, we need to be confident that the data we’re using to inform our marketing strategy is complete and accurate.”
Like most organizations looking to drive more quantifiable results, Ricoh has some pretty aggressive pipeline and revenue goals. The data Faust works with to inform the team’s sales and marketing decisions plays a vital role in driving the company’s audience segmentation and targeting strategies, all of which have a direct correlation on Ricoh’s bottom-line. “If we get results, we prove our value; then it opens doors for more budget, more tools, more efficiencies,” says Faust. “That’s why it’s important to find the sales and marketing tools that will work best for you.”
Faust has found that using a combination of the right tools and tricks has helped her bring order to what was otherwise chaos. First, she works closely with every single member of her team to understand the goals of the campaign and understand the intended target audience. Believe it or not, this is a manual process, with Faust documenting audience criteria for every campaign with copious amounts of detail. From there, she’s able to size Ricoh’s reach to that audience, determine gaps, and recognize if the current targets are sufficient.
“I need to have information at my fingertip so I can keep moving forward,” explains Faust. “This is my way of quickly assessing our target audience and moving on to the next step. I don’t necessarily share these documents with the stakeholders unless they want the information; most do not. Bottom line, if there’s a question, I can answer it.”
Once Faust has a complete picture of the target universe, she’s able to recommend an acquisition plan. It’s a completely data-inspired approach to demand gen. But given that data is a living, breathing entity, it’s constantly in motion and evolving. “If our contacts haven’t been touched in some time, there is likely some decay that needs to be addressed,” explains Faust.
From email decay to having outdated records, it’s important for Faust to be able to understand the overall health of their database. Most companies routinely struggle with this. In fact, according to a recent study, 1 in 4 marketers lack confidence in the quality of their customer and prospect data within their sales systems. Faust tackles this challenge by routinely performing a data health scan.
“The Data HealthScan allows for decisions to be made in the account and contact strategy with regards to reach into the marketplace,” says Faust. “If the results come back and the data looks good, the plan can then be executed. But it’s never that simple; there’s always room for improvement.” Having a window into the health of Ricoh’s database gives Faust a clear view into areas that need improvement. This is where having the right tool means the difference between success and failure.
Faust believes she found one such tool to help her manage her daily routine in D&B Workbench Data Optimizer. The data services platform is intended to unite and align sales and marketing data to connect online and offline buyer activities. In addition to providing the Data HealthScan, D&B Workbench can be integrated into marketing systems; in Faust’s case, it works directly through her marketing automation platform, Eloqua, enabling her to not only assess her overall data quality, but cleanse, enrich, and improve her targeting strategy.
“Workbench has helped us simplify the process of maintaining our data overtime,” says Faust. She uses the platform to cleanse and enrich Ricoh’s contact records, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of the data being used in her acquisition campaigns. The process removes companies no longer in business, identifies corporate hierarchies, and appends the records with updated firmographic data to help boost accuracy.
In addition to cleansing Ricoh’s records, Faust uses Workbench to enhance her targeting strategy. “When I am looking for prospect data, I can search Workbench by SIC filters, titles, job function, whatever it might be I need for a specific campaign, and load the contacts directly into our system and suppress anything I may already have. Everything I get is new, which is another great feature.”
The ability to help companies like Ricoh identify audiences with the highest propensity to buy is made possible through a combination of machine-learning analytic models, as well as through D&B’s patented D-U-N-S® Number, which is the foundation for ensuring Faust is finding contacts that not only mirror the characteristics of a specific profile, but ensures the information that’s being returned is completely accurate.
Tools like Dun & Bradstreet’s Workbench goes a long way in helping Faust keep her data optimized. “Identifying the right tools to aid in efficient data strategy, support, and hygiene is key to our team’s success,” states Faust. “To do this you must have good insight to the data you have, the special circumstances that may arise in your data, and an understanding of the gaps you need to close in order to be successful.”