Remember the last time you had a truly great buying experience?
Maybe it was a car you had your eye on for some time. Then an engaging YouTube ad that made you finally register for that test drive.
Afterwards the sales executive followed up with a video of the exact model you were considering, made just for you and sent it straight to your phone. In the end, a unique offer delivered over email made you “sign the cheque” – and buy the motor of your dreams.
Great buying experiences come in all shapes and sizes. The usual characteristics are that the content is personalised, you’re approached through the right channel, at the right time and – unfortunately for B2B marketers – it’s most likely in your personal rather than your professional life.
B2B marketing has historically lagged behind the consumer space in creating exceptional, customised marketing experiences. But expectations of B2B companies are growing.
Marketers have to know what customers need, where their pain points are and how they can help to solve them. But of course, all of that depends on unified, accessible and accurate data.
This blog will explore why siloed data has held back B2B marketers in the past – and why the Customer Data Platform can change all of that.
B2B’s difficulties with data
Having up to date, comprehensive data on your customers is critical. One in five businesses lost a customer due to incomplete or inaccurate information about them, according to our Past, Present and Future of Data research.
And of course, when it comes to prospects, the wrong data can end the relationship before it even begins.
But managing data is difficult, given the wide range of marketing channels – and supporting tools – used today, which often result in vast amounts of siloed customer data.
In fact, a significant proportion of businesses point to data management as their biggest hurdle (28%) – and many struggle with accessing data (20%), sharing it between different teams (18%) and linking all the data in the organisation (17%).
Siloed data can lead to a confused and fractured buyer’s journey, as each marketing application draws on different information and communicates different messages.
This can equally cause a significant productivity problem, as marketers spend hours manually stitching lists together across their platforms.
Something has to change. But in an already complex landscape of tools, marketers need a digital platform that’s not about adding on – but unifying everything in one place.
The real B2B marketing revolution
The Customer Data Platform – or CDP – might sound like just another addition to a long list of acronyms. But actually, this technology is designed to be the glue that holds together the deluge of sales and marketing data.
In a nutshell, a CDP takes in customer and prospect data from sales and marketing systems, enterprise systems and third-party data sources. This varied information is then consolidated, structured and unified in one place.
That means that data from your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, MAP (Marketing Automation Platform), web analytics, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), transaction records and external information – to name a few – is all brought together in one place.
Critically, the CDP connects, segments and activates that customer and prospect data directly to support marketing campaigns and sales outreach, whether it’s online or offline.
With the right CDP, marketers can even draw on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict the customers most likely to convert, what the next best action is, what they’ll buy and when they’ll do it.
Marketers benefit from a single view of customers, in a unified system, that then links with the other key platforms they use. That means teams can see new opportunities faster, create and scale more impactful campaigns and improve the overall buyers’ journey.
The missing link in marketing
B2B customers today expect more. Mundane and overly promotional campaigns won’t cut it; now it’s time for a more personal – and relevant – approach.
The B2B buying and customer experience can be improved significantly if marketers use unified data, available in one place and ready to drive actions.
All in all, AI-powered CDP can help inform creative, customised campaigns by providing marketers with valuable insights into buying behaviour.
Written by Adam Leslie, European Sales & Marketing Solutions Leader at Dun & Bradstreet.
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