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Data basics

By Catherine Stock-Haanstra

We regularly speak to established businesses who don’t have a database of their clients, customers, prospects, leads or business connections.

This is my plea as a marketer to collect that data.

We’re not talking about investing in a costly CRM system (well, at least not to start with!) we’re thinking spreadsheet, clipboard, tick list and a pen next to the telephone. 

Let me explain why this is a cause close to my heart.

You want to invest time, money and effort in scaling your marketing activity. Fantastic, good move. Now, where are you going to prioritise this effort? For many businesses this becomes a case of trial and error.

Imagine if you had a database that told you exactly where your leads were being generated from? Suddenly you have a clear guide of where to invest your efforts.

But this isn’t just about knowing that your website brings you more leads than sponsorship of the local business networking event.

Even a basic database can give you some real trends and insights. Demographic trends, firmographic trends, geographical gaps in your sales demand and geographical saturation. In practice this is data such as who in an organisation made that initial contact with your company?/Which member of the family unit typically books?/Where do they live?/How did they hear about you?/What value they were to you?

Even basic data gives us marketers gold insights that we can start to form a picture of who we’re talking to and how we’re going to talk to them.

Then of course, we can measure any activities’ success. Know that you’re missing out on lead opportunities in the South East? Great; we target them, increase activity and monitor whether an increase in effort is reflected in the traffic/leads/enquires (delete as appropriate).

So, what are you waiting for? Print yourself off a basic spreadsheet, share it around the office, give it a month and see what trends you can glean from the data.  

Catherine Stock-Haanstra is the Director of PIER Marketing. Request a database template from the PIER team here.