Knowing Your Audience: Big Data, Social Media, and IT Marketing

With the staggering upswing in digital communication channels over the past decade, we know more about our customers than ever before. At least, we have more information about them than ever before, the irony being that we have so much information through our ‘big data’ efforts that we know scarcely more than we did previously. The answers we seek may be deeply buried.

This has created a huge demand for data architects, analysts and others who can help move us from simply having information to having usable information. An approach other than sifting through impossibly huge data sets may be in order; a sidestep to a more targeted data collection effort.

Identify Your Decision Makers and Buyers

As with any other marketing effort, there are two groups or individuals you want to target: the key decision makers and the purchasers. Clearly, the two groups will have slightly different needs. The decision maker is much closer to the end user, concerned with features and performance as primary drivers of value, while the purchaser needs to be convinced of ROI. Both need to be satisfied, but there is surprisingly little overlap.

The key to identifying these will be, in most cases, to look at the trends of known customers with the aim of developing metrics which will allow you to differentiate visitors based upon browsing behaviour in order to serve targeted content. This will enable you to give your salespeople better information when they make contact.

Target Your Data Collection Channels

Not everything will be easily caught by metrics, nor are metrics necessarily easy to apply. A rather more straightforward method of identifying and retaining decision makers is to create targeted channels covering as much of the customer lifecycle as possible.
Fundamentally, this will only catch decision makers: a dedicated purchaser has no investment in your product. Therefore, a focus on creating interesting technical content may be effective. Regular blogging, podcasts, or conference talks which appeal to those who appreciate the function of your product can show you exactly which customers you should be convincing with feature/benefit and which with cost/benefit.

Personalise Where Possible

Once you have established who is who, push personalisation wherever possible: in personal contact and online. Tie names to roles insofar as you can so that when your sales team make contact, they know whether to err on the side of cost or content.

Beyond this, explore the growing discipline of website personalisation. You can serve specific content based upon usage history in order to target visitors accurately and with information that will appeal most to their preferences.

In this way, you still exploit the data that has been the subject of such significant investment over the past decade. By asking a specific question, you can far more easily come to a usable answer and start putting that data to work while the data architects try to make sense of the backlog.

Sources: What is Customer Lifecycle Marketing?:
The Homepage is Dead: A Story of Website Personalization:


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