5 reasons why you need a B2B data-driven marketing strategy
Behavior and habits in B2B marketing have changed in recent years. Often, potential customers remain anonymous until they reach the last buying stage, the one where actual contact with sales takes place.
For this reason, data-driven marketing is essential. But what is data-driven marketing? And how do you build an effective B2B data-driven marketing strategy?
We will answer these questions in this post. We’ll explain what data-driven marketing is specifically about, how it can be useful in B2B marketing, and outline why you need a B2B data-driven marketing strategy in five points.
What is data-driven marketing?
Data-driven marketing is literally defined as marketing guided by data. It’s a type of approach that starts with data to make better decisions, and it’s aimed at creating the conditions necessary to build increasingly effective marketing strategies.
Very often, however, this is done by making use of outdated data. Instead, the goal is to collect up-to-date, objective data, analyze it, and use it.
By collecting and processing data through specific technologies, you can understand the needs of potential customers, analyze their requirements, and thus offer unique, personalized, and engaging experiences. In short, you can give them what they want.
Indeed, customer behavior has changed. Today’s customers expect to be known, including in the ways they operate online, to be spoken to, and to have content that is tailored to their needs and wants.
This type of approach is useful for improving brand communication through data and information obtained from customers; it allows companies to acquire leads faster but also to increase ROI (Return of Investment).
Data-driven marketing: some data
Unfortunately however, it seems that data is still not exploited enough in this area, when in fact it offers numerous benefits. Let’s look at some of the data:
- 87% of marketers say data is their company’s most underutilized resource.
- 40% of brands plan to increase the budget dedicated to data-driven marketing.
- Companies that use data-driven strategies generate five to eight times the ROI of companies that do not (source: invespcro.com).
- 64% of marketing leaders say data-driven strategies are vital in today’s economy.
- Two out of three marketers say data-driven decisions are more effective than instinct (source: marketingevolution.com).
- 80% of customers are more likely to buy a product or service from a brand that offers personalized experiences (source: wunderkind.co).
It is well known that data-driven marketing is a beneficial resource, but not everyone has recognized its value. But how does this process take place? We’ll discuss this in the next section.
The 3 phases of data-driven marketing
A precise data strategy encompasses the entire customer relationship process: from the moment of first communication to after-sales. Within this path, data-driven marketing has been divided into three phases:
- Data Collection — the collection of data;
- Data Analysis — the analysis of data;
- Data Execution — the activation of data.
As the term itself indicates, this first phase, called “data collection,” is when all data, both internal and external to the company, must be collected and integrated. There are various collection touch points: from the website, to social media, to email marketing, to enterprise information systems.
The greatest difficulty is being able to manage and integrate this data effectively. Because of privacy issues and the advent of GDPR, it’s not a straightforward and simple process.
This second phase deals with the analysis and processing of data in order to gain new insights and create a complete picture about the consumer. There are different ways of doing analysis, the most common being the creation of a customer cluster, where the customer journey can be reconstructed for each one.
It’s a process that can be done either at the level of the individual, tracking behaviors, actions, or master data. It can also be done at the aggregate level, analyzing buyer personas, in other words, different behavior profiles to which customers can be associated.
The third and final phase concerns the activation of the collected data. That is, the point at which data is used to initiate communication, marketing, or sales initiatives.
Specifically, customer data can be used to define rules that trigger specific actions on specific targets. For example: sending targeted communications on a birthday, triggering an email after noticing that the customer journey is potentially on standby, or sending specific content, all depending on the context and stage of the customer journey.
Now that we’ve provided an overview of what data-driven marketing is and how it works, let’s move on to the central theme of our post: B2B data-driven marketing.
Why is data-driven marketing essential for B2B?
Within B2B marketing, the process of using data to create your marketing strategy is essential. But what does this mean?
It means that decisions are no longer made through personal preferences, intuition, or expectations, but because the data actually communicate that it is the best decision. B2B data-driven marketing can have some impact on the target audience because the messages you create and the budget you invest in are shaped by the available data.
B2B data-driven marketing is objectively changing the way companies make their decisions. If you think that all 20th-century marketing was in the footprint of the well-defined “spray-and-pay”-that is, the creation of campaigns aimed at as broad an audience as possible in the hope that some of them would be attracted to the brand, in the 21st century, many things have changed.
With B2B data-driven marketing, you can identify niche audiences, create content that exactly meets their desires, and automate communications at all stages of the buyer’s journey. In short, if technology is the engine of your strategy, data is its fuel.
Now, we understand how important a data-driven approach is in B2B marketing. Let’s look at the 5 reasons to build a B2B data-driven marketing strategy!
1. It helps to identify the target audience.
Successful B2B marketing requires choosing as narrow a target audience as possible, then marketing to it through useful and relevant content. Once you have achieved minimal sharing with this audience, you can use it as a basis for engaging new contacts.
In short, this process begins with the development of an ideal customer profile, referred to as an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), a mandatory step that will then set the tone for the entire strategy.
Using data analysis, it is possible to analyze the existing customer base and identify customers through similarities and likenesses. In short, it can be said that KPIs based on customer data enables companies to focus on targeting the right audience with specific products or services.
How to create an “Ideal Customer Profile”?
- Analyze your customer base. List your customers and look for similarities among them. Are there factors that tie them together? Company size, industry, weaknesses, the technologies they use?
- Consider competitors and benchmarks with relevant target markets. Is their strategy to be admired or avoided?
- Even “raw” B2B marketing data such as web site traffic and content downloads can help you define your KPIs.
- Use this information to build a detailed profile of who your ideal customer is in this very moment.
2. It’s useful for generating quality leads.
Doing quality lead generation is one of a company’s most complex goals. B2B marketers’ goal is to provide high-quality leads to Sales, and if those generated by the current strategy are inaccurate or unqualified, there is an underlying problem.
Data-driven marketing is the foundation of B2B lead generation. Without quality lead data, the sales team will waste time making so-called “cold calls” and risk targeting too many industries at once or those who have no interest in the product or service, and this is very detrimental to the company.
A target database can be very useful, which can help segment the market into targeted audiences based on the ideal customer profile. This ensures that the sales team is fed only the best quality leads.
3. It supports creating engaging content.
After finding the target audience and generating quality leads, the third reason why it is critical to make use of B2B data-driven marketing is for creating engaging content aimed at the target audience.
The profiles you have created, also called Buyer Personas, can help you understand what content will best suit your audience. Use your customer data to identify what content will motivate consumers to continue their buying journey and create content in line with those factors.
You can then create B2B content that shows your ideal buyers how to solve their problems and make their lives better. Because you know your customer well, you can plan content that addresses them directly, as if you were speaking only to them.
4. It enables effective campaigns
For any B2B marketer, a campaign is where the real action takes place. It’s the process by which content is shown to the right people, leading them to become established leads, so when the time comes they can be persuaded to make the purchase.
From email subject lines to marketing messages and CTAs, and even the best times to send them: You can use data to test and evaluate everything in advance.
5. Data helps you implement personalized marketing
Among marketers, 98% agree that personalization improves customer relationships (source: Forbes).
We know that personalization makes everything much more effective. Personalization can be implemented in so many ways. Email campaigns can use segmentation to send targeted emails, newsletters can be personalized, as can landing pages.
In short, the use of data is a huge advantage for marketers who can build strategies critically and effectively.
And then it is crucial to remember that all B2B data-driven marketing is aimed at understanding the customer journey. The more you know about your customers, the better chance they have of developing the right messages, and meeting consumers at the right time and where they prefer.