Geoff Downer, InsightStream Co-Founder and Director, Solutions

~by Paul Harris, Sales & Marketing Assistant

Recently Global-Z had the opportunity to speak with Geoff Downer, Director and Co-founder of Insight Stream Ltd, a data-driven marketing service company that specializes in helping clients (especially B2B) enhance and manage complex marketing projects.

Geoff works in the United Kingdom and has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of data-driven marketing and the application of marketing automation, bridging marketing and IT.

We hope you enjoy our interview with Geoff.

Global-Z: You’ve made a career out of data-driven marketing. How do you know that the data you use to enable decisions is indeed accurate?

Geoff: This is a very good question.  We say it’s really easy to obtain data, but the difficult thing is to obtain good data. We have developed a network of suppliers whom we now trust. We have taken data files from them, enhanced the address data, cleaned them, matched them to other business data reference sources. Often times, we also have added emails and pinged them before committing data to campaigns. Although we can never know that the data we use is 100% accurate when we start, we can do everything that is ‘best of breed’ in the industry to ensure it is.

Global-Z: What are the common challenges your clients face when they work with you on data-driven marketing campaigns?

Geoff: That’s a very interesting question. The most common challenge is not usually a lack of data, as most clients have far more data then they realize. The most common problem is finding and gaining access to the data from the many different systems that support the various divisions of their companies and operations. For example, sales and marketing  has multiple data sources but also does customer service, warranty, production and so on. Very often we will start with a discovery exercise to help our clients identify, and (if possible) analyse all the data sources available to them. We try to make the best of the data they’ve got before we start going to external data sources to enhance or to find additional prospects.

Global-Z: When a marketing campaign is global, how does that a change your strategy when you make data-driven decisions?

We do deal with global campaigns for clients, and we can source data when required on a worldwide basis. We also can provide our clients with international data processing and enhancement services.  Provided the marketing objective has been correctly defined, I suppose the main impact of going global on a data strategy is upon practicalities such as the different data protection requirements in different regions.  It’s absolutely essential to ensure that in each marketplace, the campaign is meeting local requirements.

Global-Z: Social media marketing is a hot topic conversation for B2C marketers. I’m wondering what your thoughts are about the usefulness of social media marketing for B2B companies?

Geoff: I think there’s no doubt that social media marketing is becoming a reality for B2B as well as B2C. As with the traditional marketing channels though, we feel it is important to regard this for what it is – a new and exciting real-time marketing channel, but not something that is so different it should be treated in a separate way. It’s important to integrate your social media marketing with other channels and to plan for its use in your overall marketing strategy. One of the key ‘watch outs’ for B2C’s and B2B’s is that it is really important to recognize that social media marketing is interactive. You must have a resource dedicated to spending at least a part of the day monitoring your communications and responding as necessary.  You can then use any feedback to inform and influence other communications across all the channels you use.

We work with a very interesting social platform that combines social listening capabilities with event trigger campaign management functionality. The communication to our clients’ customer and prospect base can be timely and triggered by the issues that are of common interest.

Global-Z: What excites you about the future of data-driven marketing?

Geoff: I’ve been doing this work for very long time and I still enjoy it! What excites me most is the growing understanding of the importance of data to both sides of a customer supplier relationship. Secondly, I’m excited by the growing understanding that different customer touch points are all part of the overall relationship between the customer and the supplier. By centralizing all interactions and analyzing the data to inform future stages of the communication cycle, we can ensure that the customer is provided with the information they need when they need it.  Overall, helping the business process become more efficient while creating a more satisfying experience for all parties. Long may it continue!

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