#B2BSMX Day 2 Recap: The Future Of B2B Advertising & Account Intelligence

Published: August 12, 2022

B2B marketing gurus from all over gathered at the stunning Encore Boston Harbor to share all their insights and industry must-knows during day two of the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange. Here are the key takeaways from day two of the conference:

  • Connecting and matching first-party data;
  • Cleaning third-party data;
  • Maintaining the acquired data to ensure accuracy;
  • Injecting data into every step of the buyer’s journey; and
  • Leveraging advertising to engage digital buyers;

Demandbase’s CMO Jon Miller kicked off the day with his keynote titled, “Unspam Your Brand: Account Intelligence For Smarter Sales & Marketing,” which focused on helping companies better use their technology and resources for enhanced results with their customers.

The B2B buying industry today is unfortunately filled with irrelevant offers, conflicting messages, noisy advertising and sellers who ignore what they should know about their customers, Miller explained. B2C companies like Amazon and Netflix use all the data and intelligence they must make a customer’s experience better, more relevant and more personalized. Many B2B companies are taking notes from successful B2C businesses to advance their organizations.

These industries are very different, but at the same time, they have their similarities. Being that the B2B buying space is anonymous at times, it creates challenges. However, there are also some real advantages to being almost fully digital and B2B companies have the opportunity to become more personalized and engaging like their B2C counterparts.

Get the latest B2B Marketing News & Trends delivered directly to your inbox!

How To Master Account Intelligence

Without knowing the correct buying committee to target, B2B marketers end up spamming the wrong messages to the right people and the right messages to the wrong people. These interactions are unfortunately irrelevant and not helpful to the buyer, causing marketers to miss out on opportunities. To fix all the uncalled-for emails and messages, marketers must find these anonymous buyers and bring them to their websites.

“The number of accounts that you COULD pursue is larger than the number you CAN pursue,” stated Miller.

Account intelligence is when a marketer takes all the insights in their database, matches it, cleans it and then augments it with third-party information. Activating that intelligence at every stage of the buyer’s journey will engage customers more effectively and close deals faster.

The Journey To Stage Alignment

According to Miller, marketers use data and intelligence at their disposal to get their message aligned to where the buyer is in their journey? First off, marketers must figure out which accounts are the best accounts for a company. Next, they must find which accounts are showing interest in a marketer’s pocket or their categories. Then, gather all the information — whether it’s an existing customer or a new one — to better understand the account. Finally, they need to know how much time is a buyer spending as a proxy for an interest?

Memorizing the acronym “FIRE” will help a marketer on their journey to stage alignment:

  1. Fit accounts in your ICP; 
  2. Intent Interest in products and or competitors; 
  3. Relationship: Context and history with the account; and 
  4. Engagement: Time spent with your company. 

“All these ingredients combined for better predictive models can tell a marketer which accounts are in market,” stated Miller. “Marketers can see which accounts are showing signs of being the best accounts as they enter documentation, and which are not. All this data is helpful for the account structure, but also tells a marketer where each account is in a binder.”

ABX Stand Ups Are The Secret Weapon For GTM Alignment 

Say goodbye to marketing sourced pipeline and marketing influenced pipeline. Marketers must shift their focus to all sourced pipelines if they want to increase their revenue. The total pipeline measured by a marketing team is more valuable than an individual measurement. Tracking measurements from a team-based approach will help marketer’s zero in on metrics, according to Miller.

Here are the major takeaways for alignment:

  1. Entitlements: Define your sales and marketing contract;
  2. Marketing-driven, sales-owned account selection;
  3. Standups are your secret weapon; and
  4. Aligned metrics are essential: Everyone-sourced pipeline.

“If we are a soccer team and we’re passing the ball back and forth, up and down the field, nobody really ever cares to see if the forward scored that goal or if the fullback scored it,” said Miller. “What matters is that we scored that goal, and we scored more goals than they did. If you’re truly going to work together as a team, you can’t point fingers as to who did what.”

B2B Advertising: The Key Weapon To Engaging Digital Audiences

John Arnold, Principal Analyst at Forrester, took the stage to close out day two with his keynote titled, “The Future Of B2B Advertising.” Arnold stated that, “Forrester predicts that about 60% of businesses are going to embrace a hybrid work model for their future. Only about 30% of companies are going to be fully in the office and about 10% are going to be fully remote.”

So, what does that mean for digital audiences?

There’s an opportunity here to get in front of these digital buyers with digital advertising. Forrester’s Global Marketing Survey, 2022 revealed that “58% of B2B marketing decision-makers are planning to increase paid media spending this year, while only 8% are planning to decrease spending.”

B2B organizations have more options than ever for utilizing cross-channel advertising and paid media.

Where are consumers spending their digital time? Forrester’s Arnold revealed the top 10 B2B buyer mediums and channels that are “always or often” used to keep up with business topics and trends:

  1. Google search engine;
  2. LinkedIn;
  3. Vendor websites;
  4. Analyst websites and content;
  5. Emails sent from vendors;
  6. Reviews and ratings websites;
  7. Podcasts;
  8. YouTube;
  9. Webcasts; and
  10. Twitter.

Buyers Seek Privacy & Relevance

Customers simultaneously want privacy and relevance. Relevant advertising requires a careful balance since people don’t want to be tracked… but they still want to see relevant ads. Arnold added, “You need a good data strategy, you need to have insights about your buyers, you need to know what their preferences are so that you can target them and advertise to them in ways that make them happy. Make content that’s relevant but also respect people’s privacy, which is really difficult.”

According to Arnold, the optimization approach is the old-school way of making content relevant, whereas the new approach called “maximization” looks at four pillars. First, increasing efficacy. He said it’s all about getting in front of the right audience. For example, if a marketer is using an ABM platform, the promise of those platforms is that they’re going to put ads in front of an audience that is willing to buy. Marketers are also going to want to track that because amplitude shows how much reach a brand has. Are marketers reaching their entire audience and are they able to reach out and give them enough impressions? Value is the next pillar that begs the question, are marketers gaining more awareness and a better perception? Then the fourth and final pillar is creative excellence. Is a marketer’s brand creating concepts that engage buyers and really bring home the overall brand promise? 

It’s essential to implement a comprehensive audience strategy by breaking out of the known world that B2B businesses stay in, Arnold added. B2B marketers must challenge their organizations to evolve paid media. They must lay the groundwork for major change with a step-by-step approach, develop a strong business case to justify resource allocation and realignment, team up to surface and address obstacles to all key stakeholders and set realistic expectations — and then set out a course for high achievement.

The B2B space is constantly evolving and changing, so it’s crucial to evolve with it.

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s recap and more from B2BSMX!

B2B Marketing Exchange
B2B Marketing Exchange East
Campaign Optimization Series
Buyer Insights & Intelligence Series
Strategy & Planning Series