Progressive Profiling: The Key to Personalized Marketing

Here’s a look at how progressive profiling can help businesses personalize their marketing and better connect with their buyers.

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They say data is the oil of the digital economy—a precious resources businesses are just beginning to tap into. However, the majority of companies struggle to keep their prospect and customer data up to date, and it’s costing them every day. Here’s a look at how progressive profiling can help businesses personalize their marketing and better connect with their buyers.

The Consequences of Bad Data

Is bad data impacting your business? If so, you’re not alone. Around 60% of companies struggle with poor data quality, according to research by Integrate. The consequences are far-reaching for these businesses as data becomes increasingly more important to enterprise success.

Poor data creates chaos and wasted opportunities

You don’t know what you don’t know. When data quality is low, you end up basing important decisions off faulty information. This is why unreliable data has been called marketing’s “silent killer.”

Justin Gray, CEO of LeadMD, compared what he calls “garbage data” to cigarette smoke: You know it’s deadly, but you keep up the same bad habits.

Bad data insidiously misleads. It becomes impossible to scale your business when you don’t have reliable numbers telling you where you’re starting from and where you have the potential to go.  It’s no surprise that companies with low confidence in their leads and CRM data consistently report missing revenue targets.

Source: Integrate

Teams have to work twice as hard to get half as far

The financial costs of data issues come in many forms. For one thing, it can drive up database costs by up to 50% and lead to hefty fines for compliance issues.

But nowhere does bad data cause more headaches than with the human element of your business. Why? Because bad data makes it hard for your sales team to do their job. Integrate’s report cites bad leads as the number one cause of delayed follow-up on new leads.

Correcting bad leads is a labor-intensive task that eats up huge amounts of time. This survey of 14 B2B marketing departments found that the work of cleaning up leads cost an average of 51.9 hours per week.

All this extra work doesn’t just hurt the bottom line, but can also lead to resentment between departments. 51.9 hours is a lot of time, and in the case of data clean-up, it’s anything but quality time. Those are hours your marketing team spends staring at spreadsheets and doing data entry instead of generating business.

The costs of bad data are enormous, but so are the upsides of reliable data. Having the right data allows your to personalize your content—from multi-channel social media experience, to targeted emails, to more accurate buyer personas that guide your marketing strategy.

What Is Progressive Profiling?

Inbound marketing is based on leveraging data at the right time to reach potential customers. Progressive profiling enhances this philosophy by creating more two-way conversations between digital marketers and the people they’re marketing to. Instead of relying on assumptions, a marketer can ask prospects for information gradually through intelligent, personalized methods.

Using advanced forms, you can automatically display questions based on the information you already have and which stage your lead is at in their buyer journey.

In other words, a new visitor to your website won’t get the same form questions as someone who has already signed up for a demo and downloaded your eBook. Each will get a series of relevant, personalized questions spaced out over a specified length of time.

With progressive profiling you’ll not only see a higher conversion rate, but you’ll collect more info than if you bombarded visitors with a long form right off the bat.

How Progressive Profiling Works

With survey tools like GetFeedback, you can seamlessly integrate progressive profiling into your existing CRM, saving you from data quality nightmares and giving you the info you need to take your content personalization to the next level.

The best time to solve the bad data problem is at the point of data collection. You want all the info you can get, but if you ask for it all at once, you’ll kill your conversion rates.

Progressive profiling tailors your forms to the visitor with automatic fields. This leads to more complete and more accurate information. Plus, since your data is the product of multiple site visits and repeat engagement with your content, you’ll get a better idea of a lead’s strength just by the amount of information they’ve been willing to provide.

All of this means you gather more info with less work, you have fewer data quality headaches, and you can create relevant and personalized marketing content based on relevant and personally specific data.

progressive profiling nurture path

Using Surveys for Progressive Profiling

Surveys and forms can work interchangeably to collect dynamic information from leads as they move through the funnel. Surveys give you the opportunity to directly ask subscribers what they care about instead of grouping them into a generic persona with an automated, impersonal nurture path.

Let’s say a piece of content is relevant to multiple audiences. With surveys, instead of making assumptions, you can simply ask people what they’re interested in learning more about.

Responding to a survey is more conversational than filling in a form and it gives you more detailed information about specific pains or qualification questions as people interact with your content. This adds new depth and dimensions to your data. If organizations really bake this out, they can start with a form and move to survey questions to build out a comprehensive customer profile. This is the real value of progressive profiling.

If you integrate surveys with your marketing automation tool, you can develop workflows to automate this process. Over time, you get an enhanced picture of your leads, which helps you market and sell to them with more precise targeting and comprehensive personalization.

free trial survey - progressive profiling

Progressive Profiling with GetFeedback for Pardot

Progressive profiling is getting a lot simpler thanks to new integrations coming down the pipeline. With GetFeedback’s Pardot integration you now can personalize surveys and emails with data from Pardot and generate one-touch embedded HTML surveys for Pardot-friendly emails.

  • Drive two-way conversations: Seamlessly weave surveys into marketing journeys so customers can tell you what they’re thinking

  • Tailor experiences based on customer preferences: Shift nurture and email paths based on feedback for smarter engagement

  • Get the right leads into the hands of your sales team: Influence qualification, scoring and grading with feedback, and pass more deals to sales

  • Extend the power of Pardot: Enhance Pardot’s smarter marketing automation with deep customer insight.

  • Get the resources and expertise you need to succeed: From best practice guides to dedicated customer success managers, you’ll get the support you need to launch a successful integrated feedback program

Overall, this integration means better data and marketing that works smarter, not harder. In no time at all, you can accelerate engagement, improve lead segmentation, and drive conversions with direct customer feedback that flows seamlessly between marketing tools.

GetFeedback for Pardot - progressive profiling example

Leveraging Data to Drive Conversions

As you think about your approach to progressive profiling, remember: It’s a process. The whole idea is to move away from big bulky forms that nobody wants to fill out. That means collecting information in little chunks, a couple pieces at a time.

How to put progressive profiling to work over time

Progressive profiling has been compared to dating. The questions you ask on a first date are very different from what you’re both comfortable with after you’ve been seeing each other for a while. Obviously, you have a lot more “data” about your best friend than you do about someone you just met online, and you can’t expect someone to give you their life story the first time you meet.

At every stage in this process you want to be asking yourself two questions:

  1. What information do I need?

  2. What don’t I already know about this lead?

These questions will help you figure out the next question to plug into your progressive profiling tools. The answers will change, but survey tools like GetFeedback make it easier than ever to adapt and fine-tune your progressive profiling tactics.

When in doubt, consider the stages of the buyer’s journey and focus on creating the most helpful questions for each stage. As a general rule, your questions should start broad and gradually get more specific.


Progressive profiling solves a lot of problems, but what makes it so powerful is that it makes solutions available without requiring trade-offs and compromises.

You want as much info as you can get, but you also want to increase conversion rates? Progressive profiling gives you both in a scalable methodology that multiplies the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and enhances your user experience.

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