So you’ve adopted a data-driven marketing strategy, a positive step for any B2B brand. Now answer this: What kind of data-driven marketer are you?
- Pretty savvy – I source and use my own data.
- I use a delivery platform and operations team to activate data.
- Working with an affordable partner is the best approach for me.
It’s clear that not all marketing teams are the same. Not all sales and marketing alignment is the same. Not all buyers are the same. Yet why is marketing data still seen as pretty much all the same? There’s more to data-driven marketing today than a basic inferred contact that some might call a lead. While this is certainly fine for some campaigns, serious data-driven marketing strategies need more than that.
What kind of data do you need?
- I’m doing some high-level demand gen, so I need inferred contact data.
- I’m planning to precision-target, so I need actual in-market contact data.
- I’m after buying groups, so I need multiple contacts at an account.
- I am looking for all contacts in an account.
- Business intelligence is what matters most to me.
- I’m an agency helping my clients meet their goals.
- I’m a small B2B business with big demand gen targets.
The good news is that today, no matter what your role or organization size, you can find quality data choices and partners who can support you.
How much support you want is up to you, because today companies have options for almost every scenario. Smaller brands appreciate having an extension of their team to bring experience in content syndication, data-driven marketing and programmatic display. Larger brands with bigger martech may not need a managed service, but appreciate the accuracy and reliability of data delivery.
Your team may be very experienced at using data for demand generation, or it may not be a question of experience at all, but bandwidth. In either case, look for a partner who’s built out levels of support for organizations of all sizes and experience levels.
Find a data-driven partner that B2B brands of all types and sizes trust with their lead flow. You want to know that when you bring their data into your processes, you can expect the data has undergone rigorous collection processes before it ever gets to you. And when a vendor makes this commitment to you, it shows how much they trust their own work. Some data partners have a policy that if a lead doesn’t meet your expectations, you don’t pay for it. Look for a partner with this level of commitment, whether it’s strictly a data relationship or more services-oriented.
Many B2B brands work directly with our delivery platform and with our network of partnerships and collaborations to access data. It just depends on your interest. Do you want to handle a lot of this yourself and access your own data? If you activate data through a marketing cloud delivery platform such as the True Influence Marketing Cloud, (or if we do it as a service) you can count on a safe environment. Integrations with popular systems like Salesforce, Marketo and Hubspot are well-established.
Let’s assume you will need intent intelligence at the core of data-driven marketing (who doesn’t!), whatever your particular level of activation skills. As you talk with different potential data partners, ask about their capabilities in areas like these. Then you’ll have a better idea of what kind of data-driven marketing partner they will be.
- Topic listing – This refers to the taxonomy of how a data partner constructs their topics — the topics you want to use to target audiences.
- Speed of adding new topics – Some providers are unique in how they build out custom topics to support specific needs of B2B brands. Compare how long it takes to achieve a fully tuned signal around a topic.
- Contact-level intent data – Some vendors uniquely triangulate data to identify actual individuals expressing intent. The accuracy of contact data is a differentiator among vendors.
- Curates intent signals from the entire internet – Many data vendors use publisher web sites to capture intent data. The problem is assuming visits to this environment actually represent buyer intent. Publishers deliver content according to their own editorial calendar and tag it by topic. Intent movement from these platforms reflects what content they offered that month, not necessarily what interests companies.
- Custom segments – When a vendor builds out custom segments, brands can toss those overused, off-the-shelf audiences. Instead you efficiently identify and target boutique audiences who are more relevant for your brand. Some vendors refresh custom segments weekly, assuring the most current data available.
To recap, whatever kind of data-driven marketing organization you may have or may aspire to be, these three areas represent the formula for success.
- Organic leads layered with intent intelligence – Scaleable, quality-focused lead sourcing through artificial intelligence. Think of it as “organically sourced free-range data” for custom audiences or enhancing existing lists.
- Delivery platform for activation and reporting – Engage buyers with relevant programmatic ads, useful content syndication and actionable business intelligence via a marketing cloud.
- Self-service or managed service – Involved working directly with a delivery platform, data and a partnership network and partner team. Should allow flexible options to accommodate the unique needs of each organization.