Article
Written by Mark Beekman
Posted on 08/10/2015

From Big Data to Smart Data in B2B marketing: 5 simple steps

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Big data has been the talk of the town in the world of B2B marketing for a while now. But more than just talking about it, businesses need to know how to work with it effectively. Those doing so are now one step ahead of the competition, as by converting big data into smart data, they can enjoy a higher average customer value, a higher conversion rate and lower marketing costs.

B2B marketing is undoubtedly developing from a creative approach to a data-driven one. Modern marketeers are incorporating smart data into their processes, but how can you ensure that you too will soon be part of the most advanced form of B2B marketing? The five steps below should make things much clearer.

Step 1: Add proper structure to your B2B customer database 

The five steps below will see us construct a database of prospects with the assistance of big data. The starting point for this, is to have your own existing customer database. Before you can integrate big data into your own systems and use it to produce smart data, it is important to ensure that your own B2B customer database is really well structured. That existing database needs to be divided up based on characteristics such as:

  • Date it was established
  • Sector
  • Region
  • Size of the company in FTE
  • Turnover
  • Products

Step 2: Define the DNA profile of your best customers

Using your well-structured database as a platform, you can now carry out an analysis of all your customers. Additionally, you should link the data from your own database to other market data, such as studies about which sectors and regions do better than others. This enables you to establish a DNA profile of all your customers. Only then, can you accurately highlight what the characteristics are of your best customers, and what those are of your less good ones.

Step 3: Link the best customers to big data 

Link the profiles of your most valuable customers to a large unstructured database that contains every possible item of data you can find from every possible website (big data). Using Graydon as an example, we have indexed the content of all Dutch websites in a big data database and can now look for common/shared words or characteristics that are featured on the websites of our most valuable Dutch customers.

This search is yielding a great deal of information and we are finding certain common denominators that crop up time and again among our most valuable customers. For example, the websites of our best clients reveal that there are many different variations of the word ‘innovation’, such as ’innovation in IT’, ‘innovation in data’, ‘modern technology’ and ‘automation’ to name but a few. Clearly our best customers are investing far more in innovation and technology than comparable other companies in the same segment.

Step 4: Search out the look-a-likes of your ideal customer

Based on the link established from your database to the big unstructured database, you arrive at a more accurate ‘ideal DNA profile’ of your existing customers. You have now created ‘smart data’. This smart data tells you what the characteristics of your best customers are. Armed with this knowledge, you can then search your own database for lookalikes of these companies that are not yet customers of yours.

Step 5: Run more effective campaigns with a cast-iron target group

By making the link between your own data and big data, you finally arrive at what is a cast-iron target group. So, when you run your next marketing campaign, you are not shooting wildly in the dark on the old spray and pray principle. No, you are firing your arrows straight and true at companies that you know have many similarities with your best customers.

And because you know your best customers very well, you know exactly what they need. You also know what goes on in their sector. This means that you can approach their look-a-likes very specifically with your marketing and sales campaigns. In other words, you derive a dual benefit: not only can you fire your arrows at a carefully delineated target group, but you can also offer that target audience some very specific solutions. 

Result: a happy salesforce

The results of this method of working - using smart data - can be felt immediately. By incorporating big data into a marketing approach, you will generate a higher average customer value, see a higher conversion rate and see marketing costs fall.

But not to be forgotten: adopting such an approach will only serve to provide your sales colleagues with the best possible support on a daily basis. They in turn see their hard work being converted into more and better deals. And isn’t a happy salesforce the best and most beautiful thing that you could wish for as a marketeer?