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Forget Big Data – say hello to Big Knowledge!

March 27, 2020

Welcome to part 1 of a 6-part article series on knowledge, the Buyer Journey, marketing/sales synergy and better sales results.

Why do data integrations keep marketers awake at night? In all the recent marketing research I found, ‘data integration’ was named as the top challenge of marketing departments. Marketing platforms integrate pretty easily, data flows both ways. So, what’s the real issue?

Well, let’s start with the phrase ‘data integration’. Does that mean the technical knowledge required for integration? Having the right data? Or is the biggest obstacle for B2B marketers simply a massive disconnect between ‘data integration’ and improving marketing > sales > revenue?

 

The amazing difference between Data and Knowledge

The concept of ‘data’ is itself problematic. It’s a term that leaves me cold. ‘Data’ has not inspired me to higher win rates, larger deals or better margins. Even the word cannot be less appealing.

Knowledge is the opposite. It has charm. It suggests power.

Customer knowledge leads me closer to deals and long-lasting business relationships. Market knowledge helps me to navigate towards oceans of opportunities. Competitor knowledge guarantees me the right punch lines in face-to-face meetings.

Data stops the show. You can bang your head against the wall all you want with Big Data—gigatons of bits and bytes are not going to help you sell.

 

Is the word ‘data’ misleading us? Deceiving us? Yes.

I experimented by replacing ‘data’ with ‘knowledge’. Immediately, all jargon started to make sense. See for yourself:

Combine first- and third-party data sources to gain a more complete view of your audience.

…and the same sentence with knowledge treatment:
Combine first- and third-party knowledge sources to gain a more complete view of your audience.

See what I mean? Here’s another one where I replaced all ‘data’ with ‘knowledge’:

Customer knowledge refers to all personal, behavioural, and demographic knowledge that is collected by marketing companies and departments from their customer baseThe collection of knowledge is aimed at finding insights into customer behaviour and maximizing profits.

Know why this works? Because data is like a mineral. Most of it is useless stone, but there are valuable particles that we can refine into knowledge. To do that, you have to know where to dig, how to refine, purify—and of course how to use. Once you have knowledge, you have power. You can do something with it.

 

So, how do you convert customer data into customer knowledge?

In order to win each micro-moment of the journey, marketers need to deliver better, more relevant experiences—NOT FROM YOUR VIEW—but from the customer’s. Understanding motivation at each phase of the journey is the golden bridge you must build. And the bridge’s building blocks are alluring, brass-tacks, amusing or otherwise attractive content. It can range from Twitter comments to videos to eBooks, heavy-duty white papers or research documents.

 

Do you know what prospects are thinking?

The following diagram will give you some generic guidelines.

Big data – prospect's key questions along buyer journey

The simple, universal fact is that prospects are not keen on getting offers in the research phase. You can accelerate the velocity of the purchasing process, but you cannot skip phases.

You have to tailor the questions in the above diagram to fit your line of solutions and vary them to capture the essence of each issue from the buyer persona’s point of view.

 

So, what’s next?

By finalising the journey story from the buyer’s angle, you can fill in the gaps of missing knowledge.

That will be the core of our next blog: Essential customer knowledge to gather along the buying journey. Stay tuned.

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