Without a foundational understanding of one’s customers, companies can neither segment, target nor personalize marketing efforts. Nowhere is this more important—and difficult—than for business-to-business (B2B) companies, which usually speak to more than one decision-maker. eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher spoke with Ian Dahlman, vice president of search and analytics at digital advertising agency gyro, about how B2Bs are using audience data and insights to do better and more precise marketing. Dahlman was interviewed as part of eMarketer’s August report, "Using Marketing Data for Merchandising: Optimizing Inventory Levels and Launching New Products."
How do B2B marketers typically use audience data and insights today to tailor their efforts?
It’s important to understand that a lot of the decisions that are being made on the B2B side are six-figure purchases. These are much longer decision-making processes and, therefore, they require a much more granular understanding of the buyer or the decision-making unit. Each of the people within that decision-making unit could be an influencer, or a ratifier or a roadblock. All of those people need to be communicated to differently.
It’s still early in terms of being able to consistently have that deeper understanding of each of those groups on an ongoing, iterative basis. There are clients who are absolutely doing it, and they made the right investment. But it’s not an upfront, one-time investment; it’s an iterative thing.
How do B2B marketers begin to take personalization to the next level?