My biggest take away from 2012 is that data acquisition will change more in the next year than in the previous five.  Previously, the name of the game was to procure as many contacts as possible that aligned to a prospect definition and embark them on a nurture program.  Competitive advantage was created by identifying  more names than your competition.  I recall the SiriusDecisions quote, “The battle between competitors is being won and lost at the top of the funnel.”  This approach still has merit, but it’s the execution that has and will continue to change.  Let me explain.

Many marketers pin their data acquisition needs on a few well-known providers.  This is understandable since they provide access to millions of contact records and the logistics of managing more vendors taxes your internal resources. These same providers are Oceanos vendors and we strongly advocate their value in a demand creation strategy.

However, our analysis reveals that their combined reach is typically 30% of a client’s target audience.  In addition, their strong brand awareness ensures that their contacts reside in both you and your competitor’s database.  It’s clear that the company most effectively nurturing the other 70% will win the so-called battle.

As a savvy marketer, what do you do?  The optimal approach is similar to an investment portfolio: source contacts from a large network to produce a custom data asset that is stronger than the sum of its parts.  It’s the execution that presents all the challenges including data asset identification, internal logistics, cost negotiation and timing.

Because you can go only so far with third party feeds, there is a point where custom research is necessary to identify incremental contacts.  Custom discovery requires web and social media mining along with other research driven techniques.  But it’s these contacts, which cannot be acquired via third party, that provide the competitive advantage.  For this reason, finding a partner that has the know-how and technology to accomplish this in scale is invaluable.

Out with the old and in with the new and undiscovered.  Make 2013 the year of achieving your competitive advantage; where better to start than at the top of your funnel.

View our video for more information on Oceanos:  http://ow.ly/gHxVi

Brian Hession is President & Founder of Oceanos and can be reached at bhession@oceanosinc.com

 

Designing a federal government demand creation strategy presents data concerns.  The biggest challenge facing marketers is identifying and isolating target contacts.  Many large databases are weak in their ability to delineate federal from state and local contacts, and although the government trade publications have good coverage of the market, they offer broad job function segmentation.  Most marketers tend to accept this limitation, resulting in non-targeted campaigns or in some cases, reaching institutions outside of federal government.

You don’t have to accept weak data.  Oceanos can help you overcome your data challenges and give you a competitive edge.

The first step in designing a data strategy is the development of a robust prospect definition; you must first highlight the characteristics associated with the target agencies and then define the types of contacts to reach.  Oceanos’ objective is to build a named account list with the institution’s demographics, domain and any valuable business intelligence.   Contact identification is imperative because the market for technology products in federal government is diverse.  Although contacts can be categorized based on your unique marketing approach, the default groups are:

  • Decision Makers
  • Influencers
  • End Users

To facilitate job title identification we recommend job title mapping, an analysis that is critical in the identification of the optimal job titles and key words for segment mapping.   The next step is the creation of the balanced data portfolio, which is necessary to ensure repeatable demand creation.  An Oceanos federal government data strategy includes twenty to forty different sources.  When architecting a data strategy, we seek to leverage the strengths of each data source to produce a custom solution that provides a competitive marketing advantage.

There are  five data types within a scalable data strategy:

  • Perpetual crowd-sourced data feeds provide you access to the full contact record.  Oceanos’ List Optimizer is synched to these sources, including crowd sourced providers and select publishers.
  • Perpetual research-based data provides various levels of intelligence to assist sales executives that are actively selling into government institutions.
  • Rental lists include both vertical and horizontal source and are derived from trade publications, associations, show attendees and communities.
  • Leased data allows you to receive the data directly to support predefined nurturing strategies via your internal marketing automation platform.
  • Federal government business intelligence is primarily sourced from RFP’s and outbound calling programs.  This intelligence can be procured and released directly to assist in segmentation, prioritization and messaging.

Oceanos can serve as the Data Acquisition Hub for all public sector units.  We can assist in establishing standards for all third party data acquisition.  Centralization of the data acquisition will provide your company immediate cost efficiencies and will minimize the procurement of poor quality or duplicate data across business units.

View our List Intelligence Brief:  Architecting a Federal Government Data Strategy at http://youtu.be/5pt7zpwtNAw.  For more information on how Oceanos can help you overcome data challenges associated with federal government, please contact Brian Hession, President & Founder of Oceanos at bhession@oceanosinc.com

 

 

 

On November 8th, Oceanos will celebrate it’s 10th Anniversary – a milestone for our company!   We’ve come a long way from our original start in Marshfield 2002.  From those humble beginnings, Oceanos has thrived and grown into an industry leader in database marketing.  We’ve evolved as a research and advisory firm that designs data strategies to support all types of demand creation strategies.  Our solutions are powered by proprietary List Optimizer™ technology and smart, focused people.   We view ourselves as data consultants, akin to an investment firm, but rather than stocks we analyze data.  This includes both traditional list sources along with all types of business intelligence.

Sales and marketing organizations look to us to architect a data portfolio that aligns to their prospect definition, is scalable and will drive returns.  The expertise we provide is not just selecting data source A over B, but rather the ability to combine pieces of data, from a multitude of sources resulting in a solution that is stronger than the sum of its parts.  It’s maximizing data utility to support both contact prioritization and the ability to segment and align messaging to tightly defined audiences.  This is List Intelligence™  and our blue chip client roster is the proof that we deliver results.

Over the years, we are proud to report that Oceanos has received numerous business and industry accolades including articles in the “Boston Business Journal” as well as being named to “Inc. Magazine’s” Fastest Growing Private Company list for three consecutive years.  Our impressive client roster includes blue chip clients such as Iron Mountain, Autodesk, Bloomberg, Citrix, CA Technologies and Lenovo.   Thank you to all our clients for helping make Oceanos a success.

As Oceanos approaches its 10th anniversary, we are more confident now than ever that our intellectual capital and technology has created a very special company.  To learn more about Oceanos can provide you with a unique data strategy, view our new video: http://youtu.be/zcOiTM30_W4

If you are interested in learning how Oceanos can optimize your demand creation activities, feel free to contact Brian Hession, President and Founder at bhession@oceanosinc.com

 

 

We have all read plenty of articles about “good data”,  how important it is and “good data” is like gasoline in your car…. so on and so forth.   But how many businesses can definitively stand behind the data they sell you?  At Oceanos, we believe we have cured bad data.  The past few years of research and investment into our List Optimizer™ software seem to be really paying off.

So, how do we make “good data”?

Oceanos, does not own any data. We have partnered with dozens of data providers and based on your requirements, we pick the best vendor and buy the data for you.  But this data is just the raw material, like crude oil.  We run this raw data through a detailed process of refinement identifying bad email addresses and correcting phone numbers.  In addition, we run a whole phone verification process on your file and also standardize the postal addresses.   At the end of this process we produce a certificate called the Oceanos “Data Audit Certificate”.   The certificate tells you what we started off with and what we have done to get it right.  It proves what we have done to get to “good data”.  You will be surprised how the data gets modified as we refine it and will learn many times that we have corrected 50 – 60% of the file.  These steps result in a clean list that enables you to target your message to the right audience.

View the Oceanos Data Audit Certificate:  http://www.oceanosinc.com/objects/pdfs/DataAuditCertificate.pdf

Give us a chance to do business with you and try out the Data Audit Certificate yourself.  Good data is not a theory anymore, good data is a daily practice at Oceanos.

If you are interested in learning how Oceanos can  guarantee “good data”, feel free to contact Raghu Prabhu, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at rprabhu@oceanosinc.com

 

 

Excerpt taken from IDC CMO Advisory Survey

Customer Data Acquisition: The Keys to Effective List Management

Customer Data Management is the foundation of digital marketing and is emerging as a discipline of its own.   The importance of having accurate, timely and well managed data is crucial in today’s marketing efforts.  Every aspect of the customer data management process should be designed to deliver the highest data quality possible.  It is recommended that list acquisition teams at the very least include advisors from sales and channel management to facilitate standard compliance. The day to day mechanics of sourcing, vendor management, negotiating, data cleansing, etc. can be left to small marketing group. But this must be done in the context of a larger policy that is designed to create a seamless customer creation process.

It is no surprise to see that formal request for proposal (RFPs) are generally not required for list purchases, as the dollar amounts are usually under the corporate threshold. However, the lack of a standardized review process can make buyers vulnerable to poor list acquisition decisions. As a result, it is recommended that companies establish a Customer Data Advisory Board.

The panel should work with the Customer Data Czar to establish standards for customer data acquisition which should include: standardizing data structures across applications, establishing guidelines for list requisitioning, providing written policies for list usage, and identifying preferred sources by data type (contact, market, company, social, etc.)

Oceanos can work with your business to support all types of demand creation and database building programs.  We also provide risk mitigation, diversification and cost certainty strategies to ensure data investment optimization for your business.

For full report visit: http://oceanosinc.com/idcreport

 

 

Oceanos was proud to introduce keynote speaker Michelle Vaughan, Worldwide Director of Demand Generation for Citrix Systems, at the SiriusDecisions Summit in May.  Michelle’s presentation outlined the Oceanos Competitive Intelligence Data Strategy that Citrix implemented to secure market share from a direct competitor. 

The first step in a displacement program is to identify the competitor’s customer base.  Citrix turned to Oceanos to architect the competitive map resulting in the identification of approximately 8,000 named accounts.  Below is a brief summary of the software install intelligence collection process. 

  • Data is gathered from hundreds of sources on the web including news releases, lease filings, trade publications and a wide moat of research providers.
  • Data is reviewed, standardized, processed and assigned a confidence indicator based on the algorithm that weights each piece of intelligence.
  • The process is systematically repeated to identify and validate new and existing intelligence.

After identifying the software intelligence, it is mapped to the company domain level.  The domains are then loaded into List Optimizer™, beginning the process of building targeted, multi-channel contact data sets.  After the competitive sites and targeted contacts are mapped, marketing and sales are provided a platform for rolling out a robust displacement program.  To extend reach into the target audience, our research analysts will architect a data strategy that includes rental list sources. 

Combining research with proprietary technology, the Oceanos solution enables a marketing department to produce downstream revenue with increased pipeline velocity.  Industry leading organizations, such as IBM, SAP, Lenovo and Citrix, are utilizing our software install intelligence with great success. 

To learn more on this topic, download the Oceanos – Citrix case study:

http://www.oceanosinc.com/Citrix-Oceanos-Case-Study_SiriusDecisions_Summit.pptx

 

 

 

Having the right data is an invaluable asset.  To maximize the return on your investment, you need a Data Asset Manager.

Would you just invest your entire retirement in one stock?  Well maybe if it’s Apple; but in practice it exposes you to extreme risk.  When you are investing your valuable resources in the acquisition of data assets meant to support your sales and marketing program, how are you differentiating each data source?  Can any source be the total solution or do you need to follow the traditional investing wisdom “DIVERSIFY”?

Statistical analysis of all campaigns contained in the Oceanos Knowledge Bank, an aggregate of all campaign results show there is no single database that will provide you with adequate diversification to mitigate your risk while providing you with exposure to the assets you need to speak to your audience.

SO HOW DO I BALANCE MY PORTFOLIO AND MAXIMIZE MY RETURN?

Marketers are overwhelmed with having to sort through a dizzying array of data providers all promising to be the best solution; they need guidance.  An independent data management firm who represents YOU and not the data providers can help.  At Oceanos, we’ve identified four characteristics you should look for in your data partner:

MAKE SURE YOUR DATA PARTNER WORKS FOR YOU.  Work closely with an independent data advisor not aligned to any particular data source.

QUANTIFY IT.  Use empirical statistical and technical analysis to identify trends and potential market trends.

DISCUSS THE METHODOLOGY.  Work with your data advisor to develop a strategy to identify and obtain the assets you want.  Determine the methodology used by the advisor in grading potential assets for inclusion in your portfolio.

DETERMINE FAIR MARKET VALUE.  It is no value to pay two times as much to get an asset that performs at a level equivalent to better valued assets.  Ensure that your data provider is able to establish fair market value for the assets you obtain to provide with your best chance to maximize your return. 

Download the Oceanos List Optimizer E Book at http://www.oceanosinc.com/ebook/ to learn about our proprietary software that will enable you to diversify your data investment.

 

 

A global technology company was seeking to build brand awareness and drive response from within the computer-aided design and engineering audience (CAD/CAE).

CHALLENGE: IDENTIFY ENGINEERS BY CAD/CAE SOFTWARE BRAND

The client built individual portals for leading CAD/CAE brands including Dassault Systemes, PTC, Siemens PLM and Autodesk. The campaign objective was to drive design and product engineers to one of the four CAD/CAE portals via a series of impactful email creative designed by the client’s creative agency that featured brand specific messaging. For example, the subject line for targeting SolidWorks users read, “SolidWorks – 5 Greatest Performance Challenges.” Since messaging referenced the specific CAD/CAE brand, accurate audience segmentation was imperative.

SOLUTION: TARGET ACCOUNT BASED LIST STRATEGIES SUPPORTED BY COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE

Oceanos designed a data asset allocation strategy comprised of a list portfolio that included pedigree engineering publications, communities and societies. To acquire the software install intelligence, Oceanos aggregated data from a myriad of sources including annual reports, news releases, trade publications, social media and other online sites. The resulting data was reviewed by Oceanos analysts, standardized and assigned a confidence value. With this competitive intelligence insight, the Oceanos research group was able to develop a named account list for each target CAD/CAE platform. These named accounts were then enhanced with their corresponding email domain and bundled by brand. The resulting domain string was utilized as a “filter” to segment the engineering contact lists. The creative assets were then aligned to the appropriate segment, deployed and tracked.

RESULT: 200% INCREASE IN EMAIL CLICK-THROUGH RATE

The segmentation and content alignment yielded impressive results. As the chart below illustrates, the average click through rate exceeded 3.34% ― nearly triple the average. To maximize the success of this ongoing campaign, individual list performance was evaluated and a full scale list strategy was established to ensure comprehensive reach within the target audience and, more importantly, to minimize list fatigue. The result is a robust, repeatable, demand creation engine.

To find out more about Oceanos, download the updated List Optimizer Ebook at http://www.oceanosinc.com/listoptimizer/

 

Tom Pisello, Chairman and Founder of Alinean shares his insight on interactive white papers.

White Papers are Influence Kings, But Need Personalization to Retain Crown

Internet Fuels IT Buying Cycles

According to a recent survey of 500 technology decision makers and influencers Internet access to content is changing the way IT solutions are purchased, with buyers using on-line research to drive substantial portion of the decision making cycle on their own. This trend does not only hold for IT buyers, but for buyers of B2B solutions overall, as ever more savvy buyers use on-line content to set strategies, and explore and select solutions, all before ever engaging a sales representative.

For these buyers, content is an all important decision catalyst, with buyers researching opportunities, solutions, technical specifications, financial justification, success stories references and competitive comparisons. In a do more-with-less environment, buyers view on-line content as essential to the buying process, a facilitator to help make better decisions more quickly.

Content that Matters Most

When surveyed as to the most influential content in decision making, white papers remain the stand-out content of choice.

This marked the third year in a row that white papers were ranked as the most influential when compared to several other collateral types, including superior influence in driving purchase decisions over case studies / success stories, product brochures / data sheets, videos, and podcasts.

Although white papers remain influential, media firms such as Ziff Davis Enterprise (ZDE) and others report that white paper downloads are DOWN year over year.

Unfortunately the bulk of white paper marketing involves communicating the same information, in the same way, over and over to prospects as different as Joe’s Barber Shop and Exxon Mobil.  This results in information overload, with low response rates, a slower buying process and lack of competitive differentiation. The issue is that traditional white papers are often not engaging enough to break through the clutter.

So, how do marketers make whitepapers more effective, more relevant, and more ONE-TO-ONE?

Interactive White Papers

One way to overcome these issues is via Interactive White Papers – by creating content that is dynamic, adaptive and personalized in real time, fundamentally changing the way white papers engage buyers.

Research from Marketing Sherpa and KnowledgeStorm shows that targeted content is more effective when customized for:

  • Industry (82% more effective)
  • Role/job function (67%)
  • Company size (49%)
  • Geography (29%)

Designed to create more impactful and highly relevant content experiences for buyers, Interactive White Papers connect a solution’s benefits to the unique needs of each customer through a question-and-answer interface that updates dynamic text modules within the white paper. Based on responses to profile questions the white paper is personalized to analyze the buyer needs and present relevant and personalized results.

The Bottom-Line

For buyers, Interactive White Papers provide a fast and easy way to personalize specific data and messaging points in the white paper, enabling them to streamline their research and create more effective resources that can be shared within their organization.

For marketers, personalizing white paper content based on user profile, creates a better attraction, connection and stronger engagement. Noise is removed and education streamlined, helping to reduce sales cycles and drive more sales.

More information on white papers can be found at:  http://www.alinean.com

 

Kristin Hambelton, Vice President of Marketing, Neolane shares her insight on:
Why Do I Need Marketing Automation If I Already Have Salesforce Automation and Email Marketing?

Today, the three different functional tools for engaging with customers across sales, service and marketing is defined as Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Often SFA and customer service tools are integrated to try to create a holistic record of customer interactions over time. But what about the third pillar under the CRM umbrella—marketing? Where is the tool to manage and act on this data?

An emerging class of marketing technology has been developed to fill this critical void in CRM datamarts: marketing automation. Marketing automation technologies typically include email marketing, campaign workflow, web analytics, content management, a marketing datamart, and robust integration with SFA tools. However, because marketing automation technology is still emerging, a few common misconceptions stunt adoption.

For example, consider this common question: We use salesforce automation to store prospect activity and we have an enterprise class email marketing tool. Why do we still need marketing automation?

The first question to ask is how deeply your existing salesforce automation and email marketing tools integrate. To be successful, there must be deep integration across email, web analytics, social media, telesales, and field sales. Marketing automation tools have built in workflow triggers and deep integration with salesforce automation tools so prospects can be handed off to sales at just the right time.

Also: We have an enterprise class web analytics tool. Are the web analytics capabilities in marketing automation tools redundant?

Marketing automation tools don’t replace web analytics, instead they provide a completely different set of tools for sales and marketing. For example, marketing automation integrated to web analytics and email provides visibility to clicks and tracking of the link and corresponding web activity and behavior. Marketing automation makes this web analytics data actionable.

To be effective, marketing automation must integrate tightly with the salesforce automation tool, email marketing, and web analytics to prioritize leads and provide a window into the prospect’s intentions. By increasing efficiencies through better qualifying leads and increasing effectiveness by ensuring sales efforts are more personalized and relevant, marketing automation enables sales teams to do what they do best – SELL.

If you’d like to learn more, please download Neolane’s complimentary whitepaper on the subject: “Why Do I Need Marketing Automation If I Already Have Salesforce Automation and Email Marketing.”

Bio: Kristin Hambelton is vice president of marketing at conversational marketing technology provider Neolane, Inc. (www.neolane.com). She is responsible for Neolane’s market and brand strategy and operations including corporate communications, demand generation, product and partner marketing, and digital marketing including search and social media. Follow Kristin on Twitter @KMHambelton.

For additional information, download the Oceanos List Intelligence Report at: http://www.oceanosinc.com/listintelligence/

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