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And there are plenty of fish in the sea. The good news? There are more prospects than ever (about 7 billion, give or take). The bad news? There are more competitors than ever, too.

The old days of marketing were based on scarcity. When there were only a handful of products or services in a category, all you had to do was get more attention than your competitors.

Today the tables have turned. It takes more than being flashy to generate business – and that’s a good thing. Instead of just trying to be the hottest product on the block, marketing means getting to know your customers and catering to their wants and needs. What was once superficial advertising has transformed into genuine business-to-buyer relationships, based on mutual benefit.

Think of it like dating – you are trying to woo prospects and then turn a one-time customer into a life-long relationship. The key to creating that kind of loyalty? Content. The messages you choose, the channels you use and the timeliness of delivery play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining customers. In short, content is courtship.

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Choices can make us all feel like Goldilocks. One option is too big, another option is too small. Data integration can feel the same way. It’s hard to know what’s “just right” for your organization.

Wait – what exactly is data integration? It’s the combination of technical and business processes used to combine data from different sources into meaningful, valuable information. And it starts by defining where your data is coming from. Is the data in an existing database, spreadsheets or your CRM system? Are you picking the right data that is valuable enough to spend money moving it between systems? Which processes will get the job done?

There are a lot of questions involved.

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Disclaimer: Thorough research into your competitors is important, even crucial to your success. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Finding a partner with the tools and experience to sift through mounds of data, collect the right intel and analyze your adversaries gives you the best chance to “zag” against their “zig.” 

Still, there are instances where timelines and resources aren’t available to adequately assess your competitors. Use these tips when you’re in a pinch to understand how your competition is attracting and retaining customers.

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The digital world is changing every day. But when it comes to social media, there are some truths and guidelines that always ring true for creating the best experiences, building the best relationships, and putting your best foot forward.

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Marketing doesn’t have to be unpredictable. It’s no secret customers base their buying decisions on their experiences. And since online experiences are a huge part of that equation, it’s more important than ever to invest in analytics – and measure the real impact on your bottom line.

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Previous Blog Entries Posted in Business

October 24, 2014 | Greg Ewing Lee: Dreamforce 2014 in Review: Catch the Wave, Ride the Lightning

No doubt about it, Dreamforce never fails to impress. And this year was no exception. Miss the fun or haven’t had a chance to watch the sessions …More...

October 12, 2014 | Jen Thompson: #DF14 Basecamp: What You Can Expect (Part 2)

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September 10, 2014 | Jen Thompson: 10 Reasons to Watch: Customer Journey Live Webinar

Want to walk a mile in your customer’s shoes? Let us take you a whole lot further. You’re invited to join us for a new webinar series …More...

November 21, 2013 | Danielle Naboulsi: DF13: Leaning In with Sheryl Sandburg

On her last day of Dreamforce, see why Heidi Haaven, our Communications Director, picked Sheryl Sandburg’s keynote as her favorite session of the week.

November 20, 2013 | Danielle Naboulsi: DF13: Analytics Unleashed with the New Analytics API

Get the scoop on the new Analytics API from our Director of Business Analysis, Greg Ewing-Lee

July 31, 2013 | Suzy Rokke: How I made my vacation a success - personally and professionally

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May 31, 2013 | Suzy Rokke: Project Management Challenge

I’m taking a break from providing helpful hints and how-to’s to ask Project Managers to look at reality for a moment and challenge themselves.

April 30, 2013 | Suzy Rokke: How to use Smartsheet predecessors to organize your task lists

As Project Managers we all love to do lists!  Sometimes we make lists just to check off what we did for the day!  A great tool for …More...