The devil’s in the details — or in marketing’s case, the devil’s in the data. Almost every B2B marketer has a data problem, whether it’s getting the right data on target accounts ensuring data is accurate and up to date or aligning sales and marketing around the same data, the list is endless. And thanks to GDPR, the pressure is on to get your data strategies cleaned up and compliant.
The challenges marketers face today regarding data have not changed. We still need to collect and leverage data to generate demand. GDPR forces companies to examine their approach to data collection and comply with the rules or suffer the consequences. Considering the privacy controversies currently surrounding Facebook and Google, one would think marketers would be obsessed with being compliant, but are they?
Poor data practices continue to be a detriment to any company’s success, according to a new report from Dun & Bradstreet. The research shows that almost 20% of businesses have lost a customer due to using incomplete or inaccurate information, while an additional 15% said they failed to sign a new contract with a customer for the same reason.
Key findings from the survey include:
The report, which surveyed more than 500 business decision makers, found that almost half (46%) of the survey respondents said data is too siloed to comprehend. Respondents said their biggest data challenges are protecting data privacy (34%), having accurate data (26%) and analyzing and processing that data (24%).
These challenges may be caused by a lack of data structure and support. According to the survey, 41% of respondents said no one in their organization was responsible for data management and 52% said they do not have enough budget to implement data management practices.
"Information has always been critical for businesses, but over the past decade, the volume of data, the types of information available and the ability to do new things with that data have expanded enormously,” said Anthony Scriffignano, Chief Data Scientist at Dun & Bradstreet, in a statement. “It's not surprising that many business leaders feel they are still catching up and their organizations are yet to make the most of data — and some have even been fined or lost customers due to incomplete or 'dirty' data."
“But how do you know it’s working? Show me a dashboard.”
You’ve been there. I’ve been there. Whether it’s your CMO, head of sales, CEO, or just that curious little reporting angel on your shoulder — we all want proof that our marketing is having an impact.
Here’s the problem: you know there are dozens of touch points between your marketing campaigns and every buying center that ultimately closes business with your company. Sometimes hundreds. But between click-through rates, opens, web visits and a whole mysterious black box of offline stuff, it’s still a struggle for us to communicate the value of our marketing programs on pipeline and revenue.
And most of the tools we use today — from marketing automation to custom dashboards — are all focused on minute interactions with individual people (inherited from the lead-based attribution that relies on a cookied form fill and known contacts, and the B2C bias that runs through most digital marketing tools).
But using tactical micro-metrics like cost per click (CPC), cost per lead (CPL) and click-through rate (CTR), and on-page optimizations is like looking at a Seurat painting up close.
You can count the dots, but it won’t help you see the whole picture.
Too often, B2B marketers end up in this scenario: you’ve measured everything. Your UTM hygiene is pristine. You track CTR, CPC and CPL on every permutation of channel and content or ad creative. And you optimize constantly, culling out underperformers and iterating on your superstar content.
But no matter what you do, your tiny tweaks never quite seem to add up to a more efficient funnel (and no one beyond the digital marketing team really thinks they matter). Somehow, you always seesaw between quality and quantity, and those optimizations don’t shake out downstream as better opportunities, faster sales cycles, or any improvement in opportunity-to-close numbers.
So, let’s start by admitting it’s not just you. Actually, it’s very possibly a problem with the way you’re measuring success — by hyper-focusing on the small stuff, you may be inadvertently losing resolution on the bigger picture.
If you’re measuring minutia, you’re going to be focused on minute optimizations. That’s fine if you’re selling high velocity, ecommerce or consumer, but that’s not B2B.
B2B buyers are signing up with you for the long haul. Their livelihoods depend on your product working, so they need to trust you deeply. This applies to your expertise, ability to deliver and ethics.
The account-centric measurement mentality is designed to pull you out of the weeds, so you can understand the impact of complete, coherent, cross-channel programs, not individual ads and campaigns. This is accomplished in two ways:
By using newly-available, account-level web traffic data in this funnel, you’re able to focus in on exactly the metrics that mean something:
We all know leads can be a little wishy-washy. But one thing that doesn’t lie is cold hard cash — that’s real revenue. And if there’s one thing revenue wins lead to, it’s confidence.
When you’re confident in your reporting, and know it represents what’s really going on with your programs, you can commit to bold ideas and big bets.
And ultimately, that’s my brightest vision for B2B marketers — a future where more of us can make bigger bets on memorable experiences, and easily understand the payoff of those bets so we can iterate and make more. But in order to get there, we need to use our data points to create the full, big picture first.
Janet Polyakov is the VP of Product Marketing at Terminus, where she runs sales enablement, digital marketing, content strategy and more. She has also served as the Director of Global Growth Marketing and Senior Manager of Acquisition and Retention at Matterport.
Aqfer aims to enable system integrators and managed service providers (MSP) to deploy customized marketing data lake solutions for companies with diverse and specific needs. The Aqfer approach is designed to make it easier to handle the large-scale complexity of modern ad tech and martech data management, as well as allow channel providers to focus on integration and customization issues that create enterprise value.
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