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How B2B Marketers Leverage Data to Target Buyers

Data is a major hurdle to personalization

May 10, 2017

With more data about their target audience and a maturing marketing technology stack in place, it’s more possible than ever before for B2B companies to deliver custom communications for both an individual buyer and specific accounts. But executing these strategies is rarely simple, according to eMarketer’s recent report, “B2B Personalization: Delivering One-to-One Experiences to Buyers.” (The full report is available only to eMarketer PRO subscribers.)

By using data effectively, B2B marketers can begin to know and understand their target buyers and target accounts, which allows for precise and accurate personalization.

Methods Used by Their Company to Learn About Target Audiences* According to B2B Marketers in North America, Aug 2016 (% of respondents)

Research shows that B2Bs are starting to adopt data and analytics more widely.

A March 2016 survey of B2B marketers worldwide conducted by Dimensional Research for Progress found that 70% of respondents use big data, historical information and predictive analytics to improve their marketing effectiveness. Furthermore, April 2016 polling by Regalix found nearly four in 10 B2B marketers said a key benefit of marketing analytics is identifying precise customer needs.

In order to deliver an accurate personalized experience, B2Bs must use multiple sources to gather information about their buyers.

An August 2016 survey from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs found that about half of B2B marketers in North America used website analysis, keyword search, employee feedback and competitive analysis to learn about their target audiences. Less frequently used data sources included database analysis (31%) and auditing existing buyer data (24%).

April 2016 research from Altimeter also shows the importance of having a variety of data sources to create personalized and targeted content. At 65% and 63%, respectively, social media metrics and website analytics were the top two data sources used by content strategists surveyed in North America and Western Europe. About half also said they used data from customer service records and customer surveys for personalization.

Data Sources Used by Content Strategists in North America and Western Europe* to Create Personalized/Targeted Content, April 2016 (% of respondents)

Whitney Powell, media director at B2B marketing agency DWA media, uses multiple data sources to get the right audience for targeted programmatic campaigns that her agency runs in a one-to-one scenario for clients. “It is a combination [of data] from their CRM [customer relationship management], lead generation, data management platform or from a core niche site that must be brought together,” she said. “We use analytics to validate the audience to ensure that the audience is right.”

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “US SVOD and Linear OTT Services: Pay TV Alternatives Come into Focus”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer PRO customers.


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