All buying is personal. To effectively engage and convert buyers, it is crucial to personalize communication based on individual goals, roles, and peer segments. 

“However, you can only do buyer personalization if you have the right data and systems to understand intent, engagement and conversion,” says Devin Littlefield, CEO at Market Vantage, a B2B marketing agency with expertise and consulting in online marketing, paid and organic search, paid social, web analytics and marketing automation. 

I recently had the chance to talk to Devin and get his insights on the significance of data strategy and systems in moving to marketing personalization. 

Building the Data Model: Establishing a Central Hub

To lay the foundation when working with clients, Devin begins with Data and Systems 101. He identifies the key marketing technologies that teams need to integrate, highlighting the central role of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools like Salesforce or HubSpot. 

Devin emphasizes that a “clear central hub is crucial, and errors often stem from not having the CRM set up properly.” He argues good data strategy is central to modern marketing, which revolves around having a clear central hub, ensuring everyone is working with the same data, and understanding the goals and objectives related to awareness and demand generation.

This hub should be used over time to bring together various stand-alone tools, such as marketing automation platforms, ABM/Intent tools like 6Sense and Rollworks, analytics tools including Google Analytics, and sequencing software and lead enrichment tools like Apollo, ZoomInfo, and Clearbit. 

“If we focus on the fundamental data levels, our ultimate goal is to drive towards overarching objectives, such as achieving a specific revenue target or a designated sales volume attributed to marketing campaigns. In this context, it’s essential to work backward and address fundamental questions. We need to optimize our strategies, channels, and campaigns to ensure alignment with these overarching objectives,” says Devin.  

Know the Question You Want to Answer: Strategic Goal Alignment

Alignment is crucial. To ensure everyone is on the same page, working with the same data, it is important to define clear goals and objectives for the data strategy. Devin suggests “three lenses” that can be used to anchor your data-driven marketing strategy.

These include:    

  • An awareness lens focused on examining the total volume of impressions versus the total addressable market.
  • A demand gen lens that looks at drivers of converting Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) into quality Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). 
  • A funnel optimization lens that connects marketing metrics to already tracked data on booked sales meetings/SQLs and SQL pipeline progression and conversion to closed won deals.

Devin says: “You need to examine your marketing campaigns as a whole through multiple lenses, you gain a comprehensive understanding. However, a common challenge for companies is focusing solely on top-line metrics, such as the number of impressions or 0.1% click-through rate (CTR).”

Use Sprint Testing Method: Iterative Testing for Success

“It is really hard to link campaigns to closed won revenue, but we can start to measure volume and type of ad impressions to volume of meetings,” says Devin.

He recommends employing a sprint testing method involving an on-going series 14-day sprint trial where a single variable is tested in one cycle. The testing cycle can be conducted over a quarter, half year, or full year, providing insights into channels or campaigns that drive success. 

This iterative approach fosters continuous improvement in the marketing strategy. Each cycle  allows experimentation with different messages and channels. 

Strategic goal alignment is the linchpin of today’s marketing success. It requires a unified front where everyone operates from the same data playbook. Defining clear objectives around awareness, demand generation, and funnel optimization. 

Devin’s insights provide a roadmap for businesses aiming to leverage data effectively in their marketing strategies. By establishing a robust data model, aligning strategies with overarching goals, and adopting an iterative testing approach, companies are better equipped to leverage buyer personalization as a key part of their overall revenue growth strategy.