In the second installment of this 7-part series, I speak with Ed Gundrum, HiP’s Vice President of Technology. Ed came to us from Pitney Bowes Software with more than 10 years of supervising data analysis. His background in information management, analysis, reporting, and modeling, coupled with his business acumen, make Ed an important contributor to tactical and strategic decision making. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Utica College and an MBA from Golden Gate University.
Let’s see what Ed has to say about technology and data in the demand gen business.
Technology, at HiP, drives every aspect of the business. What are the types of tools you and your team use each day to accomplish our task of quality demand creation for clients?
We would not be able to deliver quality leads to our clients without a robust database of contacts and companies from which segment pursuant to the demographic and firmographic requirements of our clients. We utilize a relational database model using SQL (Structured Query Language) to pinpoint and extract target groups for loading onto our ESP platform for email broadcasting. In addition to the contact/company data, we also capture and store hard bounce and unsubscribe records in our database for exclusion from all future campaigns. We also capture engagement metrics across all our campaigns which allows us to send broadcasts on multiple IP’s by non-engaged vs. engaged for which we are realizing 5-10% open rates for our previously engaged contacts. Beyond our relational database, Excel is our primary tool utilized to extract, translate, and load data across our various systems.
Ultimately, creating a lead at HiP, begins with your data. Can you describe the “journey” a contact record makes from data source to client delivery?
Contacts start life out in our database with all the corresponding demographic and firmographic information. On a monthly basis, we send the entire database through email hygiene to identify undeliverable and spam-trap contact records which are then removed from our database. Upon receipt of an insertion order, we extract the matching contacts from our database and load them into our email platform for the campaign broadcasts. Engagement results are extracted after the campaign is complete and loaded into our instance of Salesforce.com for processing by our Call Verification team to primarily validate titles and phone numbers. Once Call Verification is complete, the resulting “valid” contacts are identified and provided to Client Services for review and delivery to our clients. The final step in the contacts journey is to upload records back into our database and apply updating information discovered by our Call Verification team, such as title, phone number, department, etc., which is important, especially if the contact has changed jobs or been promoted, and allows us to segment them correctly for future campaigns.
What is the biggest Technology challenge you face in the business today?
Our use of technology allows us to accurately segment our data and to provide the most targeted leads to our clients. Our biggest challenge is efficiently and effectively managing the volume of data that we have and maintaining its accuracy. Data stewardship is crucial in allowing us to deliver targeted leads to our clients, so we are constantly reviewing titles, departments, and functional levels to ensure these are maintained and updated accordingly. We use automation/scripting as much as possible, but we are always looking at better ways or available tools to assist in this endeavor.
Where do you see HiP’s use of Technology and Data going in 2015 and beyond?
We will continue to focus on data stewardship and refined segmentation models in 2015. This will allow us to “right-size” our target groups, which in turn will reduce email volume and produce results more closely aligned with our client needs. Focused target groups also reduced fatigue and unsubscribe rates, improves outcomes, and reduce time spent internally on reviewing and filtering the campaign results, on call verification, and overall reduced processing time. Another area of focus for 2015 involves building a Topical Engagement Model which will utilize two plus years of engagement by campaign “topic” to produce a score of each contact’s interest in various topics (e.g. Cloud Storage, Marketing Automation, Network Security, etc.). Our hope is to layer these scores into our segmentation model and to build our target groups with those contacts that have shown a prior level of interest in the offering of our clients. Additionally, we hope to build out a campaign quoting tool which will allow our Sales team to quickly determine the size of target groups available and quickly provide accurate and competitive quotes.
Let us know what you think:
- Do you have any questions for Ed?
- How does HiP’s data processes compare to that of your organization?
- What are your biggest challenges in working with data?