Less than two decades ago, marketers were sure that the new age of “big data” heralded the answer to their prayers.
To market effectively, you need good intelligence — but good intelligence requires the right data. “Big data” meant that marketers (and sales) could get their hands on as much data as they could ever possibly want or need.
Only… it didn’t quite work that way — at least for B2B marketers.
Instead, B2B marketers soon realized that too much data is just as bad as having too little. True, all the right information they need is “out there” somewhere — but where exactly is it, how to access it within the infinite expanse of “big data”, and how to ensure it’s accurate, are questions marketers didn’t really have an answer to.
As a recent survey by the Marketing Technology Industry Council has revealed, the sobering reality is that B2B marketers aren’t really better off now than they were two decades ago. In fact, ironically, the greatest challenge B2B marketers are struggling with today is — surprise! — how to leverage “big data” itself.
A partial solution is no solution at all
B2C marketers, by contrast, haven’t similarly struggled with big data. The B2C marketing industry was relatively quick to respond to the advent of “big data”, by using end-to-end data solutions like audience management platforms to collect, verify and process all the right data, and then execute marketing campaigns over any channel.
Yet no such solution has existed for B2B marketers, who were left to make the best out of what’s available to them — piecing together disparate data and analytics platforms in a vain attempt to form a clear picture of their target audiences.
According to the Council’s study, the average B2B marketing department uses 16 different technologies to manage its data. Some larger, enterprise companies are using more than three times that.
Aside from the absurd cost — in both money and work hours — required to manage so many tools, the net result is hardly worth the trouble.
Only 12% of marketers said they saw a “significant” amount of value creation from their martech investments. That’s an astonishing figure — particularly considering that marketers nevertheless continue to invest in ever more technologies regardless!
In fact, 50% of B2B marketers polled by the study pinpointed having too many technologies as one of their biggest challenges. Unsurprisingly, 49% singled out a related problem — the inherent difficulties integrating their various platforms.
And oddly enough, of the top four marketing technologies on the purchase lists of the marketers polled, 3 were also on the top of the list of difficult tech to justify!
Clearly, marketers understand the need for a technological solution to a problem (“big data”) that is impossible to tackle manually. That’s why they keep investing in martech.
But after years of frustration, B2B marketers are increasingly waking up to the fact that partial solutions to big data — no matter how carefully cobbled together — are simply no solution at all.
Because if your data and intelligence is split up and isolated in countless siloes, it is impossible to form a coherent, accurate picture of your audiences. And if you don’t know your audience, you can’t market to them effectively.
B2B Audience Management — The Time Has Come
What marketers need is single platform to consolidate those disparate data sources together in one place, where they could be cross-checked, verified and analyzed. Then they could build a clear, accurate, holistic, human picture of their sales and marketing audiences, and create effective marketing and ad campaigns based on that highly accurate intelligence, using precisely the right channels.
That’s why we believe the introduction of a B2B Audience Management Platform is so revolutionary for B2B marketing and sales.
What is a B2B Audience Management Platform?
A B2B Audience Management Platform (AMP) isn’t just another data point or analytics tool. It’s a whole new, more effective way of doing marketing, based around 5 fundamental features:
Single Source of Truth
The foundational element of an AMP is that it does away with the need for multiple data sources. An Audience Management Platform functions as the “single source of truth” for your marketing data, by blending, cross-checking and verifying multiple data points to the highest possible level of accuracy.
That means combining the first-party data from your CRM and Marketing Automation Platform, with third-party data, contact databases, social profiles, intent data, and data from the open web. That information is all cross-checked and verified, to ensure the highest possible level of accuracy, and then integrated into your marketing technology stack, ready for used in cross-channel marketing campaigns.
Individual and Company Data, together
It’s not about “ABM” or any other buzzword. The simple fact is that modern B2B marketers are expected to have a holistic picture of both the leads and accounts they’re dealing with.
Essential to its function as a single source of truth is an AMP’s ability to provide detailed data on both tiers: the individual and company level. It also needs to tie the two together by accurately matching leads to accounts, to ensure full alignment both within and between sales and marketing.
In-Built Intelligence and Scoring
Simply providing a list of leads and accounts isn’t enough. Batch-and-blast marketing, if it ever worked, is a thing of the past — today’s B2B audiences expect you to speak to them and their needs directly.
Businesses need actionable intelligence to know who the right people are, how to reach them, what messaging they are receptive to, and when to act.
An AMP has that intelligence capability built into the platform itself, to enable prioritization and segmentation of leads. Leadspace processes its vast breadth of B2B data with Artificial Intelligence (AI), to help target, qualify, engage, route, and convert leads.
Rather than providing data from one homegrown database, an AMP aggregates multiple data sources to provide you with the widest available market possible.
The result is a highly detailed, 360-degree view of every lead and account, moving beyond basic insights like job title, age and company name, to over 100 actionable, personal insights for each contact, such as job function, industry and familiar technologies.
Real-Time, at Scale
As mentioned previously, none of this will matter in the long-term if the underlying data is constantly deteriorating. An effective AMP constantly refreshes the data, so marketing and sales alike can rest assured that the data they’re working with is fully aligned and accurate.
Inbound leads are immediately cleaned, enriched and routed — so you never have to worry about data quality again.
For too long, B2B marketing has been stuck in the Stone Age, with demand gen consisting of too much guesswork and complicated data tools with questionable ROI.
Learn how to master your big data with Artificial Intelligence in our free white paper:
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