Speaking at a BMA conference in New York recently, I posed a question to the audience: “Are any of you happy with your marketing data?” To my surprise, two hands shot up.
Now, normally I find business marketers complaining endlessly about their data. It’s out of date. It’s incomplete. Too many duplicates … But that day I was presented with a rare opportunity. So after the session, I collared one of the hand-raisers, Adam Gelles, who turned out to be a partner at Marketing2Marketers, a B-to-B agency specializing in ad-sales marketing. Adam agreed to share his data secrets in a follow-up interview. Please meet New York’s happiest database marketer.
Q: Your company supports the ad selling function. So I am guessing your target audience is media buyers. Can you tell me more about your clients’ targets? Who are these people/companies, and how do you reach them?
Yep, we help media, advertising and marketing tech companies reach business decision-makers whose responsibility is marketing and advertising. Think CMOs at major brands and their global teams. Plus the marketing, advertising, media and creative agencies that support them.
Historically, clients have used traditional means — event sponsorships, ads in advertising-trade journals, and so forth — to drive business. But in today’s complex marketplace, a more sophisticated approach is needed. This is where M2M comes in. We help clients scale and grow their businesses by customizing marketing automation platforms, social media marketing tools, and content marketing systems specifically for ad sales marketing. In some cases, we also manage these tools on behalf of clients as a managed service. Lastly, we have built a couple of our own tools where existing offerings fall short or aren’t completely compatible to the uniqueness of ad-sales marketing.
Q: I was so impressed to hear you say you were happy with the B-to-B marketing data you have on hand. Where do you get it?
We use several sources to support our clients’ data needs. Some — like Hoovers and Data.com — are typical for the B-to-B marketer, and some are unique to the advertising business, like trade journal circulation databases. Lastly, we have a special technology that direct integrates our Salesforce Instance with LinkedIn data.
All sources are curated. That is, data is aggregated, normalized and reconciled at the individual and company levels. We encourage clients to manage multiple data sources to triangulate the truth.
Uniquely, we also add our own layer of intelligence (custom attributes) for segmentation. These attributes are designed to improve how actionable this data is for both the marketer and the sales teams. Some of these attributes include company-specific firmographics unique to ad-sales marketing, and some are attached to the individual business decision-makers.
For example, we developed an “innovation” score, on both the contact and the company level. The score is based on public information — Unilever’s Foundry program, for example — to grade the top 200 advertisers’ inventiveness, on a one to five scale.
Q: How is your data housed and accessed?
Currently, we use Salesforce for much of our database management. Salesforce connects via APIs with many of the marketing tools out there, like Pardot and Hootsuite, so the individual attributes, market intelligence and segmentation can be populated across multiple marketing tools. In some cases, we have also built custom tech to support technologies that don’t currently sync with Salesforce.