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What is your company’s data acquisition strategy?

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Rob Manne
Sales & Marketing Automation
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“I hate e-newsletters,” the CEO of a scale-up tech company told me recently.

“Nobody reads e-mail marketing, they jam up inboxes, and cheapen our brand.” This CEO preferred to talk about the PR, content and social strategy for the upcoming product launch.

It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this. Tactics aside, this brings up a significant gap among many B2B and B2C brands: they have no contact or data acquisition strategy. Without one, you will have difficulty competing over the long term.

Your lowest cost marketing channel

It’s expensive to go through gatekeepers to reach your audience. After investing time and money to develop your content, you have to pay a lot of money to search engines, social media, and online media to reach your prospects or customers.

Many marketers see this as the cost of doing business. But relying on third parties who are constantly looking for new ways to capture more of your marketing budget is a mistake. A better idea is to think strategically about the cost of acquiring and communicating to these customers.

When you first start out, you have low awareness and few customers. So, you have to rely on paid media. But once you’ve started selling to these customers, your brand awareness and reputation is established and starting to grow. By this point, start transitioning from high-cost paid media to low-cost owned media like your website and email.

It’s about much more than email marketing

Does the information you have about your customers or prospects only come from Facebook, Google or an outlet’s media kit? As great as third parties are, nothing beats having direct access to your customers with your own data.

Acquiring contacts – turning those you interact with into “known” individuals - should be a key part of your marketing program. Contacts will come from visitors to your website, members of your social media communities, or any number of on- and offline tactics. You may want to have standalone contact acquisition programs, or factor contact acquisition into regular campaigns and communications.

What do you do with these contacts?

Programs like Hubspot use a powerful CRM with sales and marketing automation to capture contacts via forms. Once these contacts are “known,” you can start tracking how they interact with your website, content, and even members of your sales team.

That brings us back to email. Yes, there is a lot of bad email marketing; but there is also a lot of bad advertising, PR, social campaigns and billboard. But the reality is that 60% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email.

Companies that use e-marketing effectively do their homework and respect their audiences. The best examples are personalized, valuable, and vary based on company and category. One company might provide monthly news and updates, another might provide weekly discounts and offers, and another might just nurture leads along using customized content delivered by email.

You’ll find that as your list of contacts grow, email will become the most valuable way to communicate with those you have the closest relationship with. Here are the key components to consider.

Five key components of a data acquisitions strategy

  1. Review and adhere to data policies. Be sure to follow best practices when it comes to data privacy, storage and permissions, whether CASL, CAN-SPAM, or others.
  2. Audit what data you might already have. You’d be surprised how many companies have prospect or customer data they haven’t actually used. Be sure to understand and respect the premise by which they provided their contact info, and take this into account with your approach to engage them.
  3. Offer value in exchange for their contact information. Consider offering a discount, reward, or high-value content in order to get a person’s contact info. Clearly communicating what they might get over the long-term will also strengthen your ask.
  4. Plan how to keep your contacts engaged. Your contacts shouldn’t be an after-thought that receives a pasted press release every quarter. Build a vibrant program for your contacts that also ties into our other marketing efforts. Email programs like MailChimp or integrated programs like Hubspot are highly recommended. Be mindful about communicating too frequently with low-value content, and re-visit and segment your contacts regularly to stay relevant.
  5. Ask them for feedback. Your contacts are also your lowest-cost market research channel. Build in a regular feedback loop for your e-marketing, and also tap them for product, competitor or market insights. A survey of your contacts will complement other marketing research to give you a better picture.

Is anything standing in the way of your company building a data acquisition strategy?