4 Ways Big Data Powers B2B Marketers
Harnessing big data has increasingly become a game-changer for competitive advantage and heightened customer experiences. What is big data and how can you best utilize it for your advantage in marketing?
What is big data?
Big data is commonly referenced with 3 Vs: velocity, volume, and variety. Together, they characterize how we understand big data. In general, they refer to using immense amounts of data collected from multiple sources with the highest velocity and the greatest volume.
When you think of velocity, it’s about two things:
- How fast data is updated, optimally in real-time vs days or weeks.
- How fast data can be analyzed, finding the patterns and predictions that will drive revenue growth.
Volume refers to the sheer number of transactions and data points needed to power decision-making from segments down to the individual.
Variety is about having access to a rich digital footprint on which to derive insights, analyze, and predict.
What does this all mean for you? Big data puts more insights and intelligence into the hands of marketers to reach their best customers in real-time, with the right action or message, no matter where they are in their journey. And this intelligence starts with deep insights – including views, social media likes, clicks, and web engagement. This is holding true within the industry – according to Salesforce’ 2022 State of Marketing, 88% of marketers engage in a data-driven way.
So let’s take a look at the 4 ways big data powers B2B marketers!
1. Big data accelerates the transition from marketing funnel to flywheel
In a previous post on the value of the marketing flywheel, I talked about the impact flywheel marketing can have on customer experience. And big data can be a key reason why. The flywheel is based on the idea of attracting, engaging, and delighting your customers from first contact through lifetime value. Big data creates a finer point on each of those stages by understanding:
- what attracts your prospect at the right moment
- what will engage your prospects and customers
- what will delight at each stage of the journey
As a result, you are more mindful of what content truly engages a customer whether they are researching potential vendors or ready to become a customer.
For example, if a B2B marketer was building market awareness for HR solutions, he or she may choose to offer an infographic on HR metrics because big data found patterns of interest related to that topic over the past few days.
2. Personalization (hint: it’s not just for B2C Marketers anymore!)
B2C personalization was anchored on the idea of presenting the right messaging at the right time no matter where a consumer is in their digital journey with a brand, otherwise known as real-time marketing. In fact, engaging in real-time is one of the top 3 priorities for B2B marketers in the coming year. While B2B can be more complex given the number of folks involved in a business decision and the different stages of a buying cycle, personalization is no less important as big data can be an incredibly valuable tool to understand what and how to personalize.
Let’s think about a company considering the purchase of a new HR system. They’re likely reviewing several solutions to meet their needs. As they cruise a vendor’s website, the Head of HR could be prompted to download an eBook that is tailored to ways HR leaders can benefit from their solution.
Two great examples of products that help leverage insights to create digital, personalized experiences for web visitors are Adobe Target and Optimizely. Products such as these use big data to help connect the dots on the sales stage that person is in (consideration, for example), the role (head of HR), and a prediction of lead quality (high).
3. ABM excels with big data
When you think about the definition of account-based marketing (ABM), data is the foundation. Companies have large and dynamic amounts of raw insights from their sales and marketing motions, how prospects and customers (in turn) engage with a company, and customer success data.
How does big data help ABM?
ABM is successful at engaging when it’s based on personalizing content by buyer and influencer roles in a target account. In order to scale content, you’ll need to use data to understand the who, where, and what to personalize.
Marketing and sales need to be closely aligned so both teams know what target accounts should be prioritized and what the plays should be. The only way those teams can define the right approach is by scoring and segmenting the accounts that matter. This in turn creates a more refined ideal customer profile to target because you now know which target accounts align with your ideal customer – whether it’s revenue size, region, industry, or use case. In fact, according to Salesforce’s State of Marketing, 70% of marketers use some form of ABM yet 45% struggle to deliver a personalized experience. Marketing tools like 6sense and Demandbase are purposely built to develop and grow ABM strategies.
4. Big data fuels AI
In the past, finding the best prospects to convert was heavily dependent on historical, transactional data that didn’t consider behaviors and contextual intent throughout the buying cycle. With the advent of big data and the ability to increase data volume and velocity, B2B marketers have a deeper, tighter sense of moments that matter to customers, using the tools of AI and machine learning – whether assessing a potential solution to their problem, comparing vendor solutions, or making a final vendor decision.
By understanding and combining context, company demographics, firmographics, and behavioral, B2B marketers can not only identify customers with a strong lifetime value (LTV), but also lookalikes with a high probability of converting and becoming similarly strong advocates of the company. With this in mind, it’s no wonder 47% of marketers intend to increase their use of AI over the coming year.
Becoming literate in big data takes a team, and product marketers are front and center in leveraging it for persona and ideal customer profile development. There’s an insightful blog by Zoe Quinton called “4 Tips to Building Powerful Buyer Personas” that demonstrates a roadmap to building personas that can strengthen and accelerate business growth. One key point Zoe mentions is the importance of creating a 3-dimensional view of your ideal customer. To get there, it’s about understanding common trends of your best customers goals, along with challenges – and then using those customer insights to build the ideal customer profile.
In the end, harnessing big data and the intelligence that comes with it helps you:
- Better understand your best customers and their intent
- Increase the number of ideal customers and their lifetime value
- Amplify “the who and why” across your product, sales and marketing teams
That’s the power of big data.