The major disruptions we’ve experienced over the past year have given many marketers the “kick” they needed to change things up. A new report by WARC and Spotify brings to light how B2B marketers are shifting strategies and exploring new channels. The report draws on survey results from 330 tech and telco marketers and insight from marketing leaders, and while it focuses on the perspectives and outcomes within these specific verticals, it also includes many principles that can be applied across the board for B2B. From my perspective, here are the top takeaways from the report and what they mean for data-driven digital marketers.
- The overlap between buyers’ business and personal lives is increasing.
The report highlights how people’s “personal and professional lives are intertwined like never before.” Many of us have some direct experience to confirm this. With more people working from home, on their personal devices, and at all hours of the day, business and personal worlds are blending as people pivot back and forth between tasks. This is especially true for Millennials and GenZ, who prefer to do their own research before making a purchase. In a study, 89% of respondents aged 21-40 said they check messages and emails out of office hours.
Yet, even with the almost stream-of-consciousness workflow, buyers have high standards and expect interactions with brands to be frictionless. In line with this change, data providers are offering contact data that combines both personal and business characteristics for each contact, allowing marketers to reach them across various devices and accounts. The result is a more consistent experience for buyers and more effective campaigns (instead of duplicating efforts to personal and professional profiles).
- There are benefits to mixing it up.
The report noted that more than half of B2B marketers are increasing the number of channels in their media mix and half are experimenting with channels they have never tried before. They put it this way: no single channel has the answer. Many B2B marketers today are working to find the right channel mix and the right data to fuel their campaigns.
- The target audience makeup is changing, too.
Take a minute to think about everything you know about your target customer. Now throw that out the window. This is an exaggeration, of course, but not too far off from the type of rethinking needed for marketers examining their audience in the current environment. The report noted that along with changes in how they reach prospects, many B2B marketers are changing who they market to. This adjustment is in response to a less hierarchical workforce (“opinion-formers” hold significant influence with actual decision-makers), as well as concrete changes from the pandemic – businesses are operating differently, with different processes, routines, employees, and needs.
One way to adjust to these changes is by using intent data to fuel target audience research and campaign execution. Intent data insights are gathered when buyers’ online activities are anonymously monitored, captured and analyzed based on their website visits, content downloads, product reviews, registration for webinars, etc. to identify purchase intent signals. The result is the power of data to reach the right buyers at the right time – when they are searching for a solution.
- Many marketers are unprepared for how data is changing.
The impending loss of third-party tracking cookies and new regulatory changes will certainly impact most marketers – and many are not ready. In the survey, only a third of respondents say they’re prepared for life after tracking cookies, and 29% say they have no plan in place to collect and manage customer data. The report says it’s a watershed moment for digital marketers as they can no longer “follow” prospects around the internet. But while third-party tracking cookies offered many benefits, it was an imperfect system. It’s time for marketers to weigh their options for targeted outreach without cookies. Instead of following the cookie trail, new methods for targeting give marketers insight into the whole prospect profile and the access to reach them, while adhering to privacy regulations.
One of these new methods is the Identity Graph, which combines online and offline data from multiple quality sources to expand and optimize digital marketing reach. Using the identity graph, marketers can custom-build their audience, then take the anonymized IDs from the graph to a demand-side platform to deliver targeted digital ads. And if the data supplier has a high match rate – like OMI has with LiveRamp -- you can execute a follow-up email campaign to the same audience, minus whichever records didn’t match. Or you can simply retarget those who opened or clicked on your message.
The result is more accurate multi-channel marketing and an even more complete view of the contact. This innovative data strategy elevates digital marketing initiatives by reaching the right targets at scale, with high-quality data—and without the hassles of dealing with multiple data providers or worrying about data privacy concerns.
We’re in a period of “test and learn,” as the report says. Most of us are still in the midst of some kind of disruption, whether it’s directly affecting our industry, impacting our daily lives, or we’re weathering general changes in the economic environment. These events, along with digital transformation, have been a catalyst for change in B2B marketing. As many of us are learning and the report notes, new ways to reach target audiences must be explored.
Reach out today for more information on how we can support your digital marketing with fresh, accurate contact data.
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Go here to find out about leveraging our SMB and medical market data on the LiveRamp Data Marketplace.