Archive for February, 2007

Sourcing external marketing data

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Having undertaken a conference delegate propensity modelling exercise recently, the next step was to source external data matching the necessary profile. This meant more than simply looking for “lists” of magazine subscribers or other trade show attendees. Instead it involved applying a more granular filter on as wide a universe of senior IT contacts as possible. The delegate profile is based on job title, organisation size and location, so we needed to be able to select across these criteria. Since our data requirements are ongoing though, due to the year round conference calendar, we also needed a source of constantly refreshed data, not simply one-off lists for each campaign. Finally, it’s crucial that we are able to take possession of the data itself in order to be able to perform our own campaign execution, as opposed to the data owner conducting it on our behalf.

Mardev have a range of useful sources, but tend to fall into the “list” category and also usually insist on undertaking campaigns on a proxy basis. This isn’t an invalid approach in terms of database creation, but our creative, execution, tracking and response mechanisms are tuned to being able to undertake campaign activity ourselves. Harte Hanks’ [link] European-wide IT contact database, which they proactively maintain via telephone updates and other research, is closer to our requirements. However, they didn’t quite seem flexible enough for us in terms of selections and data delivery, which would have made life difficult from a workflow point of view. In the end, we’ve settled on Proactive Marketing, who have built and maintain a similar, actively updated IT contact database. The have a comprehensive job function schema which allows us to make selections based on our profile, as well as the usual industry and organisation size classifications. Proactive also provide a very straightforward web interface in order to query and download data on an ad hoc basis.

The plan now is to “operationalise” the Proactive data feed, to fit it into our regular data management processes. This means receiving a regular (probably monthly) set of updates from them, with all new and amended data, tagged with interest areas to match our delegate profiles. The trick, as always with such feeds, is managing the changes in data between each update, ensuring the amendments are applied but that nothing else is lost, tracking the relevant interests and ensuring that old data is removed.

So far, the results have been very encouraging, with “new” contacts registering for events as a result of having been included in campaign activity. As ongoing activity builds familiarity with the brand and offering, we’re confidant that response will increase over time.