Tracking competitor pricing in business-to-consumer (B2C) markets is relatively easy. After all, retail outlets are well-known for one-upping each other on prices, discounts and special offers. However, business-to-business (B2B) markets are different. Tracking competitor pricing, while defining the strengths and weaknesses of a given competitive offer, is nowhere near as simple. However, your marketing data can help.
Deciphering your B2B competitor's pricing and market strategy can be accomplished in real-time. However, without the means to interpret the marketing data, and extrapolate the most important and useful information, all you're left with are nondescript numbers. In fact, too much marketing data can overwhelm and frustrate you if you lack the means to make sense of it all. So, what do you need to make sure you capture the most important marketing data and use it to your advantage?
The Importance of a Marketing Database Software
A data enrichment strategy will help you clarify your data if, and only if, you have the marketing database software capable of keeping up. That software can help you cross-reference multiple data points so you can identify emerging trends. However, to do that you need to understand the difference between lagging and leading indicators, in addition to having a marketing data gathering strategy that relies upon customer-facing data and online data.
• Lagging Indicators:
These are historical data points. They help explain what happened in the past. They outline why some quarters are busier than others, why your revenue rises and falls at different periods of the year, and what happened when you launched different promotions, pricing changes and special offers. They help you pinpoint seasonality and demand fluctuations and help explain why you may or may not have attained sales budgets.
• Leading Indicators:
Your lagging indicators help you predict leading indicators. If you've gathered enough marketing data to know that the second quarter of every year starts off with declining customer demand, then you should be able to predict how competitors will respond. How much will they drop pricing by? What have they done in the past in terms of special offers and discounts? Have they used me-too products and deals to steal business? Have you been able to stop them in the past, and if so, how were you successful?
• Marketing Data Gathering Strategy:
It's no longer just a question of having feet on the ground. While your B2B salespeople will still be gathering data straight from customer calls, discussions and visits, it's also equally important that you use multiple online data sources. Your digital advertising campaigns, email lead generation plans, your website, and your social media channels, are all sources of real-time marketing data.
Each of your online resources can be used to gauge how well a given offer has performed and what your competitors are doing at this very moment. The more data you have, the more important data enrichment becomes. However, only relying upon what customers tell you won't help you capture what they do when they're online. It's the difference between outdated customer-facing data from weeks ago, and real-time online data emerging from your market at this very moment.
Data enrichment works when you combine customer-facing data with the data emerging from real-time online resources. Relying upon one, and not the other, won't work. You need both and can only benefit from that data with a database marketing software capable of helping you make sense of the information emerging from your market.