Data-Driven B2B Marketing: Is Your Vendor up to Speed?
There’s no doubt that today’s B2B buying cycles are getting longer and more complicated, according to Demand Gen Report’s 2019 B2B Buyers Survey. Some findings worth noting:
- 75% of B2B buyers say they’re spending more time researching their purchases.
- 73% now use more sources to research and evaluate purchases.
- 35% say that their most recent B2B solution purchase involved 4-6 decision-makers.
- 37% say ads from the solution provider they ultimately chose to purchase from positively impacted their view of the vendor.
Yet, B2B and consumer buyers have more in common than you might think. Salesforce research shows more than 8 in 10 business buyers expect the same experience as when they’re shopping for themselves. This “Amazon effect” holds true particularly for younger B2B buyers.
Clearly, B2B marketers face challenges that consumer marketers often don’t — from complex sales cycles, multiple decision-makers and a top-notch customer experience to the need for long-form educational content geared to each part of the sales funnel. If you’re in the business to business marketing space, you’ve got a lot of balls to juggle. And you need a business to business marketing agency that can keep up.
Vetting your marketing vendors
When deciding on B2B marketing services to support your campaigns and maximize your ROI, here are some points to keep in mind:
- Quality of data. Is the vendor an original data compiler? What is the size of their file? How many targeting attributes do they offer? The more you can drill down to specific attributes, the stronger your campaign will be.
- Industry experience. How much do they know about working with your target audience? Your B2B data partner should demonstrate a relevant track record in your industry.
- Access to programs. Can the vendor put together a coordinated, truly multi-channel campaign, including print, display, mobile, video and social media?
- Long-term client partnerships. Long-standing, collaborative relationships show a marketing provider’s commitment to helping businesses grow, rather than simply acting in a transactional capacity.
Data: The foundation for business to business marketing best practices
Not only will an ideal marketing agency have extensive experience in current marketing strategies and trends, they should also be experts in data-driven marketing solutions like the team at Specialists. When it comes to B2B targeting, data is the key differentiator between marketing that meets your goals and campaigns that fall flat. According to Dun & Bradstreet, 89% of B2B professionals agree that quality data is extremely important in achieving desired ROI.
With clean, accurate and responsive data, you’ll have the power to not only reach prospects more efficiently, but also to extend your effectiveness with targeted messaging. Some examples include:
- First-party data targeting. Uses data collected from your own audience to reach more prospects that share the same characteristics.
- Lookalike targeting. Employs real-time visitor and purchaser data to build a profile of your customers.
- Multi-graph targeting. Draws on a lookalike model of your customers and refines it with search history, social and behavioral data for smarter targeting.
- Social graph targeting. Pulls data from proprietary social sharing tools to reach customers based on the content they share and follow.
- CRM data targeting. Uses your database to identify key characteristics between different profiles, and finds new prospects that match your current customer profile.
- SIC and industry targeting. Applies Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system codes to help identify and define specific buyers within your industry.
Insert media can also help target qualified prospects in a unique and effective way. It allows your business offering to “ride along” with the packaging or mailer of a non-competing brand, while gaining their endorsement. But because this type of media program can’t target as finely as a stand-alone mailing, you need to rely on quality data to find the programs that best match your audience demographics.
With the right data in hand, the possibilities for personalization are endless. From welcome emails to direct mail catalogs, 72% of B2B buyers expect personalized engagement at each point of the sale. A personalized email teaser to spark interest might be the initial point of contact alerting the prospect that a direct mail catalog is coming their way. And once the catalog is sent and received, a follow-up phone call may further the personalized approach, putting the marketer in the unique position to ask the right questions, and match their challenges with your beneficial solution. According to the Top 20 B2B Marketing Charts of 2018, 71% of B2B buyers want to hear from vendors when they’re looking for new ideas and possibilities to drive stronger business results.
Don’t forget about the option to license data. When your vendor offers data licensing, this gives you unlimited use of the data they provide, so you can put it to work in as many campaigns as you want.
If you’re in the market for marketing services that generate higher-quality leads, nurture business relationships and position your company as the industry go-to, the team at Specialists Marketing Services is armed with smart B2B data solutions, including B2B data append services, to help power your business to business marketing. Contact us today to learn more.
People also ask…
What are some tried and true ways to create personalized customer experiences that encourage repeat business from B2B buyers?
To keep your customers coming back for more, using their name is just the start. Here are more ways to get personal:
- Drill down your efforts to offer geo-targeted coupons or a dynamic landing page designed for customers of a certain demographic.
- Write content that will better resonate with your audience and pinpoint topics that they want to learn more about.
- Segment your lists based on location, age and other factors to ensure every communication provides value.
- Create automated communications that will keep your customers engaged along their journey.
- Make personalized recommendations to facilitate upselling.
Is there a big difference between business to business marketing strategy and consumer marketing?
The fundamentals of business to business marketing strategy make note of several key differentiators:
- A generally longer sales cycle
- Multiple decision makers
- More extensive pre-purchase research
Consumer audiences often seek deals and instant gratification, while B2B buyers look for expertise, transparency and measurable results. That said, it’s still a human making the buying decision. And sustaining that human’s attention requires mapping out the customer journey and offering various touchpoints along the way. No matter the audience, if you engage them the right way, sales will follow.