The Benefits & Challenges of Data-Driven Marketing

By Nick Price

Only one-third of marketers report that their data-driven marketing strategies are “very successful,” according to a recent report from ZoomInfo and Ascend2. The research revealed that 64 percent of these very successful data-driven marketers revealed that personalization is their most important objective. In addition, 64 percent of this group identified “improving data quality” as their greatest challenge in achieving personalization.
One of the challenges in getting there is that marketers aren’t spending enough time identifying audiences. Instead of simply looking at past performance metrics, marketers should be identifying groups of target audiences and buyer personas and then developing strategies to reach these audiences. Intent data is on the rise in B2B marketing because this data can help marketers identify audiences and improve predictive marketing. Intent data works best as a piece of the puzzle that is layered on top of targeting data, which can help marketers deliver more personalized messages.
As marketers focus on collecting data, large amounts of it are not even used. In fact, some estimate that only 10 percent of data is structured enough for digital marketers to use. As data collection practices advance, the value of data is becoming more time sensitive. Time is essential in using data and marketers should act quickly on what data reveals. Real-time insights are beginning to redefine success. In order to get to this point, companies should establish the right foundation and establish closed-loop reporting, so that they can continually improve ongoing campaigns. A company’s B2B digital marketing strategy should dictate the data-driven approach, not vice versa.
Intent data is trending in B2B because it helps companies identify when a business is interested in a particular topic, which can imply that company’s interest in services around the subject. The data is based on billions of interactions across the web and factors in elements like white papers downloaded from a competitor, articles read in industry publications or searches for a particular product.
Intent data is designed to help B2B marketers reach in-market buyers at the time they are more likely to convert. The data gives marketers insights into the behaviors of prospects, even if these people are not engaging with the company’s own CRM system. This gives marketers the ability to identify and prioritize accounts that are in the buying cycle to help speed up sales before the competition closes the deal.
Data can be applied across a B2B marketer’s program. While content creation dredges up the picture of creativity, data is just as important to content marketing as great copy. Even though content creation teams aren’t always well versed in data, B2B companies can train these staffers to understand the value of data to help content development strategy. These teams should understand both the effectiveness of content that has already been distributed, as well as data that can help inform content creation to begin with.
Content teams should establish key performance indicators to help set goals for campaigns and measure engagement. These should support overall business goals. The most effective KPIs to look at are traffic, engagement rates and conversions. These can help marketers inform what kind of content is working, and what’s not, and plan accordingly.
The dance with data is important. It’s easy for marketers to put all of their eggs in the data basket and miss some big picture things. It is very important for marketers to have internal checks and balances for better performance.

Nick Price

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