The truth is that we, as business leaders, put too much pressure on data to solve all our roadblocks and setbacks. Make no mistake, data is the most important marketing currency, and we at Lone Beacon consider it—first-party data especially—our lifeblood.

The problem is that many who seek to take advantage of data don’t know how to use it or how to put it into context.

Many in the financial advisory business use data as a marketing tool to promote and gather leads from events, or to gather individual investors or firms as prospective clients. To catch these prospects, snail mail is a common practice. The return via a snail mail database is about .02%-.05%… and for some reason, the industry seems very happy with those returns.

When we began collecting and marketing first-party data in the realm of “all things digital” we would get about a 5% return on our data. We would signify “a return” as someone or some firm that would schedule an appointment within 12 months.

Our actual returns were 10-20 times higher than the financial advisory clients we service were used to! Unfortunately, much of that data was inapplicable in that circumstance, so presented our data with a grain of salt. It only took a reasonable dose of caution for clients, used to snail mail, to turn their noses up entirely at these stellar results. An uneducated buyer (or seller) does not have realistic expectations regarding an outcome or goal, especially when it comes to the application of new data.

Today, our rate of return on digital first-party data is 7%-18%… but we don’t need that grain of salt anymore. And why should we? Our digital returns are volumes ahead of the norm. The compulsion to defend the failing status quo is the only reason why one would not LOVE those averages. Without context, 7% may seem small, but compared to a .05% rate of return for snail mail marketing, you’re looking at massive savings and marketing budget efficiency. And to better educate the buyers of (quality) first-party data—and to calibrate their expectations—know that anything above 5% is 100 times your snail mail rate!

Of course, just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it’s 100% predictable.  But if you do it right, you can expect a 10, 20, or even 100-fold improved return above second- and third-party data and conventional marketing avenues.

Don’t be afraid to expect serious success when you dive into digital.


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