The world seems awash in data with trends like IoT, wearables and big data dominating the headlines. For a B2B marketer, these headlines can feel very consumer oriented and likely not relevant. They are most concerned with data that falls into their marketing domain (email, web traffic, social, earned media measurement) and feeding sales as much as possible. That approach, although understandable on the surface, misses a number of undercurrents that B2B marketers will start to encounter.
Data is Just for Consumers and Science Projects, right?
Data, both its growth and value to marketers and their audiences, is growing across all spectrums. Given the integration of software and application-centric computing, every B2B technology and non-consumer enterprise has access to mountains of data that eluded them before.
Just a few examples:
- If you’re a SaaS provider, understand how different departments within your enterprise client interact (e.g. HR vs. procurement vs. finance) and their contributed value to product development.
- If you’re a security hardware provider, buying attitudes are changing internally at Fortune 500 companies and you need to understand how to reach and message to the CFO vs. the network admin.
- If you are a manufacturer, how are your internal systems keeping up with and tied to marketing demand?
- If you are a distributor, does your entire value chain (manufacturer, transportation & logistics, fulfillment to marketing) have a baseline understanding of what’s working and how to make improvements to answer a customer complaint or demand?
In these scenarios, there is a considerable amount of data created and exchanged. If made available and actionable, that data can change decisions in real time that not only effect something like a volume of orders to be shipped, but the outbound marketing that needs to adjust to maximize that opportunity on a regional, national or vertical level.
So, you think you’re data-driven….
Your marketing department likely believes that it is making decisions using data in the best possible way. If so, this means you already have a wealth of data that you can arm your PR and communications partners with for more strategic results.
However, with the flood of funding injected into data visualization and mining technologies, and Hadoop-drive companies spawning IPOs, 360 degree views of projects/customers/partners are coming sooner than we realize to the entire enterprise. The growing demand for data will filter down into marketing, and marketing data won’t be just about email open rates or website traffic. It will be about 360 degree customer/partner/supplier engagement across the lifecycle and “inserting” marketing into the DNA of the company, from R&D to sales to retention.
This evolution could bring marketing into even closer contact with the entire company. With access to more of the “right” data, B2B marketers could be the champion of every department in the business, not just sales.
Tying the lessons of what’s working in a data-driven version of traditional marketing and PR is only the beginning. Data is coming to every level of the enterprise, and B2B Marketing needs to understand, embrace and lead from the front.
Vice President, Technology Business Development East Coast