If you’ve worked in marketing for a while, you probably know what B2B data-driven marketing is. But just to give you a refresher, here’s the definition:
Data-driven marketing means collecting objective data in a targeted way, analysing and using it to improve the decision-making process and to scale business through automation.
It’s a difficult concept to understand — in a way, all companies use data to inform their business development decisions.
According to these stats, 78% of organisations say data-driven marketing increases lead conversion and customer acquisition and 64% of marketing executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hyper-competitive global economy.
This is especially true for those entering the B2B digital marketing space. In fact, data is one of the main driving forces behind ABM — without relevant information Account-Based Marketing is a shot in the dark.
Impressive statistics and cool buzzwords like ABM is all fine and dandy, but why is data-driven marketing crucial to your B2B success? More importantly, how do you even get data from your digital marketing efforts?
The landscape of B2B marketing is changing. More and more companies are opting for the digital model (if they haven’t yet) and the gap between B2B and B2C marketing is closing in.
People are starting to realise that even though technically you are selling business-to-business, the core of this interaction is still human-to-human. And humans, by our very nature, require a personal approach — that’s just basic psychology (there’s the B2C marketing influence!). According to this survey by Visable, over half of B2B customers expect marketers to know their behaviour and tailor the offer based on their specific needs.
This is exactly where data comes in.
Data-driven marketing approaches will help you create a digital image of your potential customers wants, needs and behaviours. What do they like to see? What do they need? How do they make their decision? The data will tell you.
This, in turn, will inform your marketing decisions for maximum result.
Data-driven marketing recognises customers’ concrete interest based on their digital body language. It can identify customers through targeted activities and qualify them for direct contact by the sales team.
And once you know what they are looking for, you can see which of your marketing measures are more effective.
Are people clicking more on Google or LinkedIn ads? What’s the average response rate to direct marketing? What kind of content drives up engagement?
Knowing exactly how your audience interacts with your content will determine how you can optimise those channels to create a meaningful personalised experience for them, and in turn increase your ROI.
Before you start with any data collecting, it’s important to figure out what this data is going to be used for.
If you are like any B2B business operating in digital marketing, you probably already have a wealth of data generated from things like marketing automations or your CRM.
This means that all this information is fragmented or scattered — in other words, difficult to use properly.
Think about it — if you don’t know what you are looking for, how are you ever going to find that relevant data?
Not only is collecting every and all pieces of data time-consuming and costly, it will most likely tamper with your overall strategy. Oh yes, having data-driven marketing requires an overhaul of your whole company strategy and setting processes in place.
This is why knowing your exact objectives is key to a good data-driven marketing strategy.
As was mentioned above, data management should be a company-wide affair. This starts with the decision of management to implement this approach consistently.
Data-driven marketing is a long-term cross-departmental strategy that concerns every aspect of a company’s sales and marketing approaches and ideally should inform every decision on business development.
This means that all departments, mainly sales and marketing should be working together, consistently exchanging data.
Aligning sales and marketing is one of the benefits of an ABM strategy — B2B organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth, and 27% faster three-year profit growth. Despite this, few organisations report tight alignment between these two core teams.
If you want your data to work for you, it’s important to keep the communication lines between your teams open. Have regular meetings to discuss objectives and strategies and most importantly — communicate, communicate, communicate!
Learn how your marketing team can help your sales.
No matter how much data you collect or how well you communicate with your departments, the integrity of said data still remains one of the most important points about your data-driven marketing.
While this may seem like an obvious point, it’s one of the biggest obstacles for marketers to overcome. According to one recent survey, 64% of “most successful” data-driven marketers reported improving data quality as the most significant roadblock to data-driven marketing.
Unfortunately, a lot of B2B organisations still use outdated or inaccurate databases, corrupted files and irrelevant prospect information.
The logical solution here is to make data management a priority. Obviously, this involves significant investments in skills and technology.
For example, the personal dashboard included with every UMG campaign makes sure of the accuracy and timeliness of information, as well as pools all relevant data on a single screen for you.
Once you’ve covered the first 2 steps and established a goal, figured out data workflow and aligned your teams, it’s time to start the process for data optimisation.
Here are a few tips that might help get you started:
B2B data-driven marketing is the key component in the marketing digitalisation of your business. In order to understand, plan and execute your strategies in digital marketing, it’s important to know what is being backed up by data.
Some people believe that in the future the job of a marketer will be transformed into a job of a data scientist, and there is definitely some truth to that.
As marketing techniques get more and more sophisticated with each year, it’s not going to be enough to rely on gut feeling only — data will need to be a crucial part of your success.