B2B Marketing

Leveraging Customer Data is Still a Major Challenge for B2B Companies

In today’s multi channel world to reach increasingly connected prospects, a company needs to provide a user journey across channels and platforms that are part of their target audience’s world.

Indeed, marketers are increasingly aware of the need to connect with so-called “consumers of information” through the savvy use of data and targeted engagement strategies. But are they doing it effectively?

The Digiday/Acxiom State of the Industry study found that while most marketers want to understand their customers and engage with them with bespoke experiences “in this era of the empowered consumer”, the majority haven’t yet found the optimal way of tapping into user data effectively.

Here are some of the most prominent study findings:

  • 70% of marketers have subpar or no ability to integrate customer data between online and offline sources.
  • 80% don’t apply customer value scores.
  • 74% can’t recognise customers in real time.
  • 20% of respondents apply grade their leads to identify their best prospective customers.

According to Digiday, while businesses aspire to offer relevant, individual experiences to customers, inspired by Amazon’s data tracking and recommendation model, they are “hampering their customer-centric ambitions by failing to invest in data coordination.”

48% of the digital marketing execs surveyed said they focused “relentlessly” on building customer insights, and yet, few are executing those strategies in meaningful ways.

How do these stats relate to the state of digital marketing? According to the authors of the study cited, marketers should strive to use their data more efficiently by integrating it.

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Digiday recommends that businesses take the following approach to customer data:

  • When it comes to choosing the right data to track and analyse, stop looking for the silver bullet – focus on integrating all types of customer data available, instead.
  • Find your five-star customers – by identifying your most important customers and creating personas to find others like them. This will increase the value of your customer portfolio.
  • Use our online information offline – for those companies which use a mixture of digital and offline advertising, logically, online user intelligence can be used to inform offline operations, too.

Earlier this year, Forrester predicted that, with data explosion, marketing directors would come to realise the importance of data analytics in their efforts to get insight into the needs of their prospects and clients, and turn that intelligence into business insights.

And in its B2B Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2012 report Forrester predicted that in 2012 marketing automation would hit a tipping point as a result of the software price coming down, the considerable improvement of its interface, and last but not least, the diminishing effectiveness of outbound methods such as cold calling and unsolicited emails, driving businesses to adopt a lead nurturing approach instead.

All of this points to the need for B2B marketers to actively consider what tools and techniques they need to employ in their business to start to engage and respond with target customers with relevant and timely content that will drive engagement and ultimately leads and customers.

To truly deliver on building personalized online experiences to drive increased conversion, B2B markets need to invest in scalable marketing solutions that include marketing automation capability to efficiently analyse the huge increase in data being generated about their prospects online.

Through the use of inbound marketing and marketing automation tools, businesses can use the intelligence to serve up increasingly personalised online experiences that meet the needs of the user.

Marketing automation call to action

Image courtesy of iGerard.

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