How Marketing Technology's Role Evolved at Dun & Bradstreet - eMarketer
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How Marketing Technology's Role Evolved at Dun & Bradstreet


Rishi Dave
CMO
Dun & Bradstreet

Since eMarketer last spoke with Rishi Dave, CMO of Dun & Bradstreet, the business information services company had honed its utilization of marketing technology to help achieve its business goals. eMarketer’s Bryan Yeager checked in with Dave to discuss what’s in store for 2016, and how Dun & Bradstreet maximizes its return on investment (ROI) from marketing technology.

eMarketer: How did marketing technology evolve at Dun & Bradstreet throughout 2015?

Rishi Dave: We’ve leveraged marketing technology to drive our overall growth strategy by focusing on three big things from a marketing standpoint. One was modernizing our brand and what we stood for. Another was changing our go-to-market strategy—we’ve shifted from just being product-focused to persona- and people-focused. The third piece was how to scale our growth and pipeline against that.

That third piece is where marketing technology played a role in how we manage the process of demand generation, nurturing leads, generating pipelines, getting it to sales, leveraging our data to target the right customers, prioritizing the right accounts and executing the right programs against that.

eMarketer: How has this influenced your approach for 2016?

Dave: Technology has played a large role in helping us scale our overall marketing strategy, and it works in concert with our thought leadership and content marketing efforts, as well as our data and analytics efforts. We also built the organizational process and culture around getting the maximum value from our investments in those areas.

“Marketing technology experts cannot work in a vacuum. They need a set of processes, content and strategy to work with them to help drive the ROI from that marketing technology.”

eMarketer: Tell us about the process and culture initiatives you’re working on as they relate to marketing technology.

Dave: We use a T-shaped marketer concept, with specialists in areas like content, technology and analytics. As CMO, I focus on creating cross-functional “tiger” teams across these T-shaped marketers so that they all work together toward a similar end.

An example relating to persona-based marketing—which we focused on a lot in 2015—is having a persona for a prospect like the chief marketing officer. We created a tiger team of these T-shaped marketers by grabbing different functional expertise in marketing technology, data, content and creative. They work together in service of the persona with joint metrics, which has been effective in getting us results.

This is important because marketing technology experts cannot work in a vacuum. They need a set of processes, content and strategy to work with them to help drive the ROI from that marketing technology.

eMarketer: There’s a lot of buzz around account-based marketing, especially for business-to-business (B2B) companies. How does your company approach this strategy?

Dave: We’re definitely focused on account-based marketing. I view account-based marketing as leveraging your data and analytics to prioritize the right set of accounts to focus your marketing efforts.

We have various sources of first-party and third-party data that we use to build models based on what we’ve done with that customer, what we could do with that customer and where that customer is going. Then, we look at customers where we’ve been successful and see what other customers look like that customer.

We use predictive analytics to assess and prioritize the set of accounts that we go after, both from a marketing and a sales perspective. Once we know the accounts we’re going after and we’ve estimated the demand for our various personas within that account, we execute our persona-based marketing against those accounts to drive pipeline.

“We have various sources of first-party and third-party data that we use to build models based on what we’ve done with that customer, what we could do with that customer and where that customer is going.”

eMarketer: Is there any convergence between marketing technology, which is typically associated with owned media and first-party data, and advertising technology, which deals in paid media and third-party data?

Dave: It’s common in the industry to mix up your data and analytics strategy with your technology strategy and seeing the two as the same. A lot of best-in-class companies are defining their data strategy—they’re asking, “What data do I have? How do I leverage that data to build analytics? How do I use that data in all my different marketing technologies that I invest in to drive an outcome?”

Separate out data from technology. You may come across this jargon-y term, “master data management,” which is what best-in-class companies are doing. At the highest level, it’s about taking all the data that’s generated across the enterprise, combining it with third-party data, mastering the data and using that as a single source of truth across all the technology that they use—not just marketing technology, but also in their service systems, the systems they use for finance, etc.

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