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