Clearing The Path For Big Data in B2B Marketing
It’s time to clear the path for big data in B2B marketing
In the world of big data and marketing, business-to-consumer marketers are taking the lead – they have access to highly valuable information that is easy to obtain, analyze and utilize to increase their marketing success. However, in the world of business-to-business marketing, big data is just now starting to creep its way in. Why? Because the data sets needed to increase the success of B2B marketing are much more in-depth and not as easily obtainable.
Small businesses, associations and B2B marketers are starting to realize the benefits of big data – but the path to big data success is not clear to many of these marketers.
How is big data different for B2B marketers than B2C marketers?
In the world of B2C, big data needs are generic – name, address, gender, birthdate, occupation, etc. Simple. Consumers can fill out a form the size of an index card providing B2C marketers with an abundance of useful information. But that same form is entirely useless to a B2B marketer – they need big data relevant to the industry or association itself.
According to Andrew Kretzschmer, MultiView’s director of sales operations, the data needed to increase success for B2B marketers includes information like “industry classifications, employee counts, company contact information and type of company.” This is the type of data that can provide insight as to which companies could be successful partners or tips on where to look for future prospects.
Once you have the data that can be useful to B2B marketers, you need to organize it so similarities can be found. When similarities are found, “populations” can be determined.
For example, let’s say data was collected and organized, and a similarity was found – companies with less than 100 employees based in the Southwest region of the U.S. seemed to have more engagement and higher success rates. This similarity gives these B2B marketers a target population.
In addition to knowing this is a target population, companies can send this information off to third-party data vendors for lead-generation assistance and receive, in return, look-alike populations.
Even though big data is different for B2B than B2C, there is still one very significant similarity: No matter what data you have, no matter what data you need, “as a marketer, you have to build relationships and trust,” according to Kretzschmer. Even with all of the data in the world, if you are unable to build trust and a relationship, you will be unsuccessful. Make sure you keep this in mind as you push forward – big data is not the solution to all marketing problems.
How should you collect data?
You cannot go online, print off a generic information sheet, and expect it to have the necessary data fields to provide your specific association or business with the information needed to increase the success of your B2B marketing team. Every industry, trade association and business is different. Therefore, the information needed is different for every group.
I suggest creating your own information sheet for potential members, clients or partners to fill out at events, like industry trade shows. You may even consider creating two – one for individuals and one for businesses.
Let’s use a law enforcement association as an example. If they were creating forms, they would need to determine which data sets could be most useful to their B2B marketing team.
For the individual form, the association might chose to include:
- What part of the law enforcement industry are you in – corrections, investigations, sheriff, etc.?
- Are you in a rural town with a small force or an urban setting with hundreds of officers?
- Are you in a high-crime area or a low-crime area?
- How many years have you been in the industry?
According to Kretzschmer, the business form should include entries such as:
- Where are you advertising?
- What trade shows do you attend?
- What is your company revenue?
- What is your company size?
- What is your niche in the industry?
These forms have endless possibilities – it all depends on your industry. However, all of the information (once collected, organized and analyzed) helps the marketing team by providing information that can increase individual engagement, help determine populations and acquire look-alike audiences.
For example, after a company collects, organizes and analyzes the data, they realize that a large number of their successful clients attend a specific trade show. They would then have a target population – any business that attends that specific trade show.
How to continuously update prospect information?
Once you have a person’s or business’s information, it doesn’t always stay the same. People and companies move. Names change. Sizes change. Therefore, it’s not a collect-it-once-and-done project. You will need to constantly maintain and update your data in order to keep your data clean.
So, how can you continuously update information? Here are a couple ideas:
- Require an updated information form once a year – at renewal, on the first of the year or any time you see appropriate.
- Adjust your website to require an information update at regular intervals when a person logs in. For example, a member logs in regularly but once every six months or so, or a pop-up appears when the member logs in requiring an update.
- Send email reminders regularly to update personal information online so you can continue to provide them with the best information possible.
Who should you partner with to help you with your big data needs?
In order to make the most of big data and technology, you might not need to do it all on your own. Find companies to partner with that will assist you on the path toward big data success.
Kretzschmer suggests these companies, for starters:
- Lead411 – Combines “crowdsourcing, verification technology and personal oversight to provide the most accurate data available.” Lead411 is a lead-generation site.
- DivTech – A “company building innovative solutions that combine the best practices and technology of inbound marketing, and expands upon them with software and an experienced sales team.”
- ZoomInfo – A lead-generation site that provides profiles of millions of businesspeople and businesses worldwide.
- Dun and Bradstreet – A data analytics company. Dunn and Bradstreet creates valuable relationships by providing truth in data.
Big data is breaking out of the B2C world and into the B2B world. For B2B marketers it’s a constant process of collecting, organizing and analyzing very specific data sets. Be creative when collecting the data – you have a very unique set of information to acquire. Don’t try to tackle it alone. Find data partners that will make the path to B2B big data marketing success much clearer. Now, it’s time to trek down that path and put data to use.