Using rich data is commonplace in the B2B world. It seems though that people have tended to shy away from applying those same data-driven marketing principles to the consumer marketing world or may not have even known that it’s possible. For the businesses that do, it’s a game changer.
B2B marketers have the art of prospecting down to a science. They know exactly what their clients look like and use data insights to guide their ideal targets through the buyer’s journey.
Although the B2C world is different, in some ways there’s a lot to be learned from the way B2B marketers manage their audiences, personalize their customer experiences, and use data to drive strategy.
Let’s take a look at some areas that we’ve traditionally thought of as B2B marketing and examine at the process through a B2C lens.
New Data Economy
I had the pleasure of attending the Marketing Nation Summit recently where Marketo CEO Steve Lucas welcomed us to the Engagement Economy. The process Lucas outlined for success in this new era is to listen, learn and engage. Although this might seem like an obvious way of operating, it hasn’t always been as easy as 1-2-3 for businesses to follow this process.
The area that most organizations have struggled with is the learning part. In order to effectively engage with their customers, organizations must gain insights about who they are, what they care about, and what they are interested in.
Many B2B marketers have successfully overcome this challenge by leveraging third party data to cover information gaps, which allow them to learn as much as possible about their clients, prospects and target accounts. For example:
- Firmographics—Detailed company characteristics have become widely available through LinkedIn or vendors such as Dun & Bradstreet and ReachForce.
- Technographics—An organization’s technological profile can now be scraped by companies like Datanyze and BuiltWith.
- Intent Data—Business users web content consumption can be gathered from social listening tools or web aggregators, like Bombora.
- Engagement Data—As we all know, this is Marketo’s sweet spot—an engagement platform enables us to track how an individual is currently engaging with your organization across channels and across marketing and sales for seamless communication.
All of this sounds great, right? But you might be wondering if this level of rich data is even available on a consumer level? Well, previously this would have been near impossible. But we have come a long way in understanding individuals to the point that your reliable data options are starting to become plentiful.
In the past, you may have only had someone’s name, address, and their transaction history with your company. While you can glean some insights from this 1st party data, you really need to enrich with 3rd party data to get some real, actionable insights. Let’s look at some of the data points that are now accessible to help drive a strategy for B2C marketers.
- Contact Information—Accurate and up to date contact information is the first step of engagement. Data append services will allow you to validate and fill in missing contact details as well as update records with the national change of address (NCoA) ensuring you remain in touch with your customers.
- Demographics —Socioeconomic characteristics can help paint a fuller picture of who your customers are by including information such as; age, gender, education, marital status, religion, ethnicity, and the number of children in the household.
- Lifestyle Characteristics—These data points take it a step further and allow you to assess details like what type of car they drive, if they are new parents, or their urbanicity category.
- Professional Information—This is where you can connect the dots of individual consumers and match their profiles with their professional profiles. For example, you can append their occupation, employer, title, business contact information or if they themselves are a business owner.
- Real Estate Records—Property information allows you to get a better gauge of a household including; real estate value, the number of properties, home ownership, square footage, and length of residence.
- Wealth Data—You have your customers’ spend history but that is not the same as spending ability. Wealth ratings and scores such as net worth, income, total assets and propensity to spend can be instrumental in helping to maximize your organization’s revenue.
- Interest Attributes—Lastly, to effectively engage with your customers and prospects it’s helpful to have a better idea of what their interests are and what they care about. For example; what type of charitable organizations they donate to, their political affiliation, their hobbies, and other personal pursuits.
You might be surprised to learn that your company can gain access to these (and many more) consumer data points to enhance your sales and marketing efforts. With these data insights, you can better understand your current customers, find new prospects that look just like your best customers, and craft your messaging to engage your customers and prospective customers most effectively.
If you were surprised to found out your company can gain these deep consumer insights, well it gets even better. You can now also integrate them directly into your marketing automation platform for real-time intelligence.
Another key theme from the Marketing Nation Summit was the recent growth in adoption of Account Based Marketing (ABM). ABM is a B2B strategy where sales and marketing are aligned to penetrate a defined set of target accounts by using personalized tactics for each. This is different than the traditional B2B marketing approach, where broad-reach campaigns are employed to draw in large numbers of inbound leads. Some of the benefits of an ABM approach are a clearer ROI, reduction in wasted resources, and better sales and marketing alignment. The rise in ABM is mainly due to technology advancements making it easier for organizations to closely track engagement within accounts and personalize at scale.
So how does this translate to B2C? There’s a lot to be learned from this more optimized marketing strategy. Firstly, the main principle of ABM is a very targeted approach to filling sales and marketing pipeline, as opposed to casting a large net for lead generation. B2C marketers should embrace this logic by being more proactive in directing their revenue stream instead of trying to convert any and all potential customers that come their way. This can be done through predictive prospecting tactics on the consumer level by using lead scoring (based on the data insights noted above) and only allocating resources towards those that fit the model of their ideal target customer.
The second lesson to be learned here is personalization. At the heart of it all, we are all marketing to people, whether they are part of a target account at a B2B organization or part of a consumer household. By understanding and marketing to real people, not devices or channels, you can successfully engage with your customer and nurture them to become a customer for life. You’ll want to focus on tying all engagement experiences back to the consumer level—in other words, do people-based marketing.
When flipping the script of some of these traditional B2B mindsets to apply to consumer marketing, you might start to wonder if some of these tactics are intrusive? But the truth is, it’s the opposite. By using data insights to drive your strategy you are respecting the needs and interests of your consumer by investing in a way to drive better customer service from day one. To put it simply, putting the customer first.
It’s all about being a respectful marketer, regardless of whether your primary audience is businesses or an end consumer. The goal is to be personal, and relevant. As Lucas, points out in his Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy, “The choice is binary. We can choose to engage, choose to demonstrate we understand the values of the buyer, and choose to let them know we want them as a customer, or risk being sentenced to a lifetime of irrelevance.”
People want relationships, and personalized and meaningful interactions with companies they choose to do business with. As marketers, we should strive to overcome the impersonal, high-volume approach to marketing that only leads to frustrated customers.
As we all embark in this new Engagement Economy together as marketers, we should be willing to look at things through a different lens, adopt new technologies to optimize and enhance our campaigns, and think about the customer experience first.
Article published with permission from here.