Who are your target customers? Of course, you should already have this well defined in your strategic marketing plan, but it is good to review as you begin planning your data strategy.

Before you can make good decisions about your marketing data, you need to have a good idea of who your ideal customers are, how you plan to reach them, and what information your sales and marketing team needs to track about them.

For instance, you might ask questions such as:

  • Are your best customers consumers or business people?
  • How do customers typically find out about products and services like yours?
  • How do customers buy products and services like yours—directly, through resellers or dealers, from a retail store, via the Internet, etc.?
  • How much do your customers expect to spend for a product like yours? Is it an expensive enterprise-strength product for large companies or an inexpensive product with fewer features designed for small companies and departments? Is it a luxury product for affluent consumers or a cheap product for discount shoppers?
  • What is your typical sales cycle? What information must a customer obtain and what sales interactions must occur before a prospect completes the purchase of your product or service? Will customers buy directly on the first contact or does a sale take more time and involve multiple sales calls and negotiation meetings?
  • How often do existing customers re-purchase from you? You will need to make sure your sales reps know when to reconnect with existing customers.

All of these factors impact how you acquire leads and marketing lists and what you do with the prospect data once you have it. And after you have been collecting data for a while, you’ll want to analyze the data again to refine your data strategy.