Data-driven marketing is proving itself to be one of the lasting darlings of modern-day marketing. While the term is still relatively new to some in the industry, the foundation of the concept is not. Data-driven marketing allows marketing decisions to be made with a factual base by quantifying concepts that were previously unquantifiable. It’s a broad strategy that places emphasis on audience analytics, consumer insights, and predictive intelligence.
And industries are taking notice. In fact, 64% of businesses “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in today’s hyper-competitive global economy, according to a survey by Insights Report. Using data-driven marketing can greatly increase response rates and improve lead generation.
In the B2B world, data-driven marketing takes on an even more impactful role. CEB reports that most B2B buyers are now almost two-thirds of the way through the purchasing decision before even contacting a vendor. That knowledge means marketers must find innovative, new ways to attract and keep a prospect’s attention before the final decision is made. By using data such as customer insights to drive their marketing decisions, marketers can focus resources and better understand prospects, allowing a greater level of personalization.
Now that data-driven marketing is quickly becoming a foundational aspect to many B2B marketing strategies, it’s time to focus on what trends within it seem to have the most traction. Here are the top trends for B2B marketers to keep in mind:
Focus on the Customer Journey
Particularly for B2B marketers, it’s important to understand how the customer journey evolves, before and after the sale. The right data analysis will allow an in-depth measurement of engagement across channels and will take a look at how an account can move from one marketing segment to another throughout the sales cycle. By being able to create campaign flows that best reflect common journeys, marketers can better ensure consistent, positive experiences across accounts along the way. All of this draws back to the comprehensive data collected to drive better marketing decisions.
Hyper-Personalization and Account-Based Marketing
Today’s decision-makers are placing an increasing level of importance on personalization — beyond just the correct name at the top of an email. With that, B2B marketers are finding Account-based Marketing, or ABM, to be the key. As this blog covered before, ABM is a strategy for brand, demand, and expand. ABM answers the problem B2B marketers face of trying to personalize content in an account-based environment.
According to a recent Harvard Business Journal story, CEB found that the usual number of corporate decision-makers is close to 5.4 within a single account. Regardless, each decision-maker expects content to be tailored to them specifically. Through ABM, as well as the right automation technology, marketers can provide that level of personalization at a new, deeper level. However, none of that can become a reality without the right data driving the decisions.
A Greater Focus on Predictive Analytics
More and more brands have become aware and focused on the predictive power that data can provide. According to a recent Forrester study, 89% of marketers claim predictive analytics was on their roadmap and will continue to be. Imagine being able to foresee, with great accuracy, what clients or accounts will do next or know what will have the most impact with each one.
As a more granular amount of data can be collected through increased interactions, marketers can use that data to both understand the past and, to a certain extent, predict the future. That sort of insight can help B2B organizations focus and target buyers in the best way. With the growth of content marketing, video, and the continued use of email marketing, B2B marketers will need to shift their focus to the “why” more so than the “way.” By thinking like that, they use the data collected to predict and plan better.
Keep Up with the Ever-Changing Marketing World
While not all of these trends are applicable to all B2B marketing teams, most can be tailored to an organization’s business objectives and, ultimately, help find what is best suited to the target audience. The marketing world is just as ever-changing and fast-paced as the digital one. As such, many more could — and likely will — be added to the list. But, as far as trends go, these seem like they’ll stick around for awhile.
Ready to learn more? Find out how your organization can stay ahead of the curve with the right marketing automation solution.