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Are you frustrated with the sales and marketing effort that is wasted targeting bad data, or the wrong market segments for your solutions or services? Then this is the article for you!

Data is the foundation of any marketing campaign, but if your marketing data is not well profiled you could waste a lot of time and effort qualifying out organisations who don’t have a need for the solution or service you offer, and not enough time focusing on those organisations who do!

Get your message to the businesses that need and want what you have to offer; we’ve all heard the phrase ‘Data is King,' but how can we create a database that fits our market profile?

First, it’s important to distinguish between company data and contact data. This blog deals with the initial stage of identifying the type of companies in your target market. We’ll go on to contact data in another blog post, where we take a look at understanding the demographics and behaviours of the people (contacts) buying your product / service, click here to read it.

Let’s take a look at the key steps in this process to understand how to profile your target market:

  1. Understand What a Good Prospect Looks Like - aka - Target Account Profiling:
    Do a detailed analysis of your existing customer database. 
  • What industry sectors do they operate in?
  • Typically what size of organisation are they by revenue and number of employees?
  • Where are they located?
  • What other common characteristics do they share (for example, do they have a large fieldforce, do they use a certain type of technology, do they operate in a regulated industry, etc.)?

  1. Identify the Type of Organisations You Should Avoid:
    Equally important is to understand what’s not a good fit. Analyse lost opportunities or ex-customers. Why are they not a fit for your business? Do they have any common characteristics you should try to exclude when working on the profile of your target market?

  2. Segment Your Database for Targeted Campaigns: 
    Most businesses can market to a variety of different industries and sizes of organisation, but it makes sense to segment your database into various subsets of data to target with a tailored offering specific to that group of organisations.  For example, you might have different value propositions depending on industry sector or location. Remember; don’t break your target down too far, you can have more than one niche market. Consider if your marketing message should be different for each niche market. If you can reach both markets with the same message, then maybe you have broken it down too far.

  3. Source Data from a Reputable Data Provider:
    If you are buying in a database, rather than doing a data-build, then its crucial you use a data broker who is well established and reputable. It’s not worth cutting costs when buying data as in the long run it will escalate other spending if inaccurate. Consider how they source the data (for example banking information, company financials, newspapers and other media). Can you trust that they provide complete coverage of your market? Send the data broker the profile of your target market (as identified in steps 1 & 2) and ask them for a) a count of the number of companies they can provide that fits your profile, and b) a sample of the database to validate the accuracy of the data they provide.

  4. Dedupe Your Target Account List with Your Existing Customers and Prospects:  
    This may sound obvious, but you would be amazed at the number of companies that forget to identify their own customers and prospects within their  marketing database and risk targeting them in a new business campaign!

We have now taken a look at the key steps to go through when creating a target market database. With the right segmentation techniques and data tools, you can ensure that your campaign database only includes companies that fit your target market profile and avoid wasting any more effort targeting the wrong type of organisations.

If you want to know more, why don't you request a free data count to help you to profile your target market and begin 2016 with a strong lead generation foundation?

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