There are a lot of good marketing folks out there, all of whom have more marketing channels at their disposal than at any other time in history. In a space that’s inundated with people vying for the same finite number of customer dollars, it's important to do all you can to stand out from the crowd. These days, it takes a mix of traditional marketing know-how and technological help to rise to the top. Here are five habits that can help you go from a face in the crowd to king of the hill: 1. Know your audience. This goes a little beyond something like Xbox One marketing to people who play video games. Some gamers play for the thrill of competition, while others crave an emotional journey. By getting to know the habits and preferences of your customers, even information that might seem irrelevant to your product could provide new opportunities to connect. When you merge customer purchase histories with social engagement data, you can create detailed, accurate reports that will help you understand your customer community like never before. 2. Cut through the static. Since at least the 1980s, we’ve been hearing about how the average customer has the opportunity to view 5,000 advertisements every day. Whether or not you believe that oft-contended statistic, it’s pretty clear that advertising clutter is a real issue. Making sure your voice is heard no longer means simply yelling louder than everybody else. Instead, today’s top marketers are creating targeted campaigns designed to start a relevant, contextual conversation with specific groups of customers. These conversations lead to engagement, which can in turn lead to sales. 3. Let your data work for you. Sometimes a factual approach backed by real numbers can have just as much impact as a campaign that relies on sentiment. The challenge is being able to sift through your data to find the stories hidden in the numbers. Thankfully, tools like Microsoft Power BI exist to let you do just that. No longer will you have to flood the IT department with questions like “Who are our most profitable customers and what are they buying?” With Power BI, simply ask the question and you’ll receive an interactive visualization of your data in response. Share that data with your team and you’ll have the beginnings of a whole new campaign on your hands. 4. Set sales up for success. While moving hearts and minds is a great thing, the folks in the sales department will love you infinitely more if you can consistently convert prospects to leads. Nurture your leads by building multistage, trigger-based programs personalized with content and offers that match the interests of prospective customers. Score these leads as they progress toward making a purchase, sharing the most promising of them with sales. Go the extra mile by giving the sales team a peek at your marketing calendar. It’ll give them even more insight into the qualified leads you send their way, and they’ll be able to shoot some expertise your way too. 5. Plan the perfect campaign, then be ready to improvise. There’s an old adage that states “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” While we certainly wouldn’t call your customers the enemy, there’s still something to be said for the fluid nature of sentiment—especially on social media. Thanks to social engagement tools and the visual campaign designer, you can quickly see what folks are saying and alter your campaign in a way that adds value. You can even track ROI as you adjust the course of your campaign, gaining insight into the effectiveness of your changes. If you’d like to explore more of the ways Microsoft Dynamics Marketing can give you a leg up on the competition, download our Market Smarter data sheet. More the interactive type? Check out our web-based product demo.