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Why Outside Data is Marketing Automation’s Newest Bestie

From strong nurture campaigns to lead generation to deep engagement, marketing automation can swiftly accelerate brand success when used strategically. The results can be so satisfying, in fact, that many marketers don’t realize they can take their success to an even higher level by using outside data. This is particularly true of content.

Most businesses today, including your competitors, are pumping out a steady stream of content assets. To stand out in that sea of messaging, your content program must be built on a foundation of smart strategy, good writing, solid design and a thoughtful execution plan. And above all else, it must be meaningful. Only a relevant message that reaches the right person at the right moment will transform indifference into interest.

Data has always fueled good content, of course – robust actionable data that accelerates your ability to both qualify and convert leads. The problem? When you’re limited to your own data, the kind sitting inside your company’s CRM, marketing automation and production systems, it’s easy to get misled.  Maybe the consumption was just a one-off download. Maybe they requested the content for someone else. Maybe they have multiple interests that aren’t represented in your content (but should be). And if you get the story wrong, your whole funnel can suffer.

That’s where outside data becomes your new bestie.

 Drilling Down with Data

There was a time when outside data meant a downpour of information that was mostly indigestible. These days, though, we have advanced new tools that can scan multiple data sources across the web and create repositories of demographic and interest-based information. Basically, they help with one of those marketing automation parts that aren’t automatic—using outside data to give you deeper insight into your leads and customers.

“In a nutshell, better data means more relevant content, which means better conversion rates,” Erik Matlick, Bombora CEO, explained. “It’s especially helpful for Marketo users who sell multiple products because they can find out what product at what time the user is actually interested in. Some customers use the data to generate sales calls with a more multi-channel approach. It helps others stop over-sending, which is a huge waste of money. All around, there are fewer unsubscribes and higher interaction rates.”

Let’s see how that works in a hypothetical business: Company X.

Relevant Content

Company X’s team discovers their content isn’t performing as they hoped. Going back to their buyer personas, they realize they need to dig deeper into pain points, buying decisions and effective content catalysts. So they adopt a data aggregator to find out what kind of B2B content their target accounts and contacts are consuming on other sites. By augmenting their own data, they develop richer and more precise personas and unleash nuanced campaigns tailored to segmented leads and prospects. In short order that leads to…

More Engaged Leads

Engagement metrics spike, thanks to that relevant messaging. This isn’t a surprise; Demand Metrics found that content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, while Aberdeen has reported that personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14 percent. Sure enough, Company X finds their leads and prospects are spending more time reading their material and going deeper into their content ecosystem. And because the leads are finding their needs addressed, the result is…

Better Conversion Rates

According to Jupiter Research, relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. The aforementioned Aberdeen study also states that personalized emails increase conversion rates by 10 percent. That’s what happens with Company X – their leads feel understood so they begin trusting the brand. After all, Company X has been able to speak to their specific needs in their content, so leads conclude their products must be designed to work pretty well for them, too.

Multi-Channel Success

The team continues to collect outside data to perform segmentation, develop personas and create campaigns. Because they’ve transcended internal data and are viewing leads and prospects through an expanded lens, their programs draw on big-picture information. Instead of wasting time on the wrong leads, they’ve intensified the power and accuracy of their programs, and drive higher ROI.

As you can see, these benefits don’t happen automatically. Marketo gives businesses excellent tools to execute, but it’s up to the marketer to collect the data that matters and analyze it intelligently to reach the right audience. That’s why data tools are such a great complement to Marketo; by tapping into the countless “external” signals that exist outside of company systems, marketers can take their lead insights to the next level.

There’s no doubt that marketing automation is one of the best technologies to happen to modern marketers. But as with most tools, the benefits are commensurate with the work that goes into it – and by collecting outside data, marketers can enjoy the rewards of an even more powerful system.

Want to learn more about how outside data can help you create a revenue-centric buyer process? Check out this TOPO case study about how LeadMD did just that.

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