Why B2B Marketers Are Slow To Invest In Data

Join #B2BChat on Twitter every Thursday at 8:00 PM EasternGood data is essential for B2B marketing organizations to excel. Sirius Decisions research indicates that good data can increase revenue driven through marketing by 70%. It isn’t hard to believe, just ask any B2B marketer that has tried marketing to a bad prospect list.

Despite the positive impact data can have, B2B marketing organizations have been slow to embrace new sources and types of data.

In a recent #B2Bchat about new data available for B2B marketers, participants shared a number of concerns or barriers to using new data.

  • Many participants simply assumed the data would be inaccurate. Burnt before, they are very slow to invest in new data.
  • Concerns about the impact of incomplete data. What if a behavioral profile only reflects portions of behavior?
  • Data is expensive, even good data often will not deliver ROI.

These are all valid concerns, but allowing fear to keep you from considering new opportunities or moving forward is a path to oblivion in any marketing.

Incorporating New Data Opportunities

Here is how you can overcome the concerns marketers have raised to adding new data into their B2B marketing efforts.

Data Quality
Start asking the questions about how data is captured and how it is maintained. Nearly every provider is willing to share this information and has ways to illustrate the quality or accuracy of the data.

Partial Profiles
There is no perfectly complete source of data available. The real question is if there is enough information to improve your marketing.

Cost
Some data providers will offer free tests to determine both cost efficiency and quality, others will offer discounts or waive minimums to prove the effectiveness of the information they are offering. Look for opportunities to test and prove the effectiveness.

The full discussion covered a number of specific types of data and included an interesting side conversation about testing. Highlights from the full #B2Bchat discussion are below or available here on Storify.


New Data Opportunities for B2B Marketers

Highlights from #B2Bchat discussion on Thursday, November 8, 2012.

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Mon, Nov 12 2012 23:06:43

Q1. Today’s Biggest data challenge: Getting data, doing analysis or acting on the findings? Why?
A1 from what I’ve seen getting accurate/relevant data…or figure out what data would be accurate/relevant #b2bchattraci browne
A1) Getting the right data and interpreting it. #b2bchatSteve Cassady
I believe you must have an objective in mind as you mine through data. Look for trends and patterns. Sample and test assumptions. #b2bchatBilly Mitchell
Marketers today are getting too much data, often don’t know how to act on findings. Lack of specific experience is an issue. #B2Bchat A1Andrew Spoeth
I don’t think too much data is a problem…that’s like having too much money… having not enough is a problem #b2bchatDave Krawczuk
+1 RT @tracibrowne @andrewspoeth I think the too much data problem is a result of not really thinking thru what has value to them #B2bchatFatima Lora
Q2. Contact data (lists) based on recent content consumption. Is it valuable and would you use it? 
A2 depends on the content…but even if not to pass along to sales…still good info to have for a marketer #b2bchattraci browne
A2 Yes, could be valuable as long as it’s verified…even then it’s only as good as the day it’s found. #b2bchatJennifer G. Hanford
A2) I think the key word here is recent. If it’s based on recent activity, it has more weight #b2bchatRich Grant
@b2b_chat i think this is huge, and synced messaging will define cutting edge marketing but privacy needs to be managed carefully #b2bchatRussell Glass
What questions need answers? What messages drive desired actions? What actions need to be tracked? How can we improve? #Data #B2B #b2bchatBilly Mitchell
Q3. Using email or marketing automation segments to target banners. Is it valuable or would you test it? 
A3 Absolutely test it. Test everything. #b2bchatBilly Mitchell
@b2b_chat bit biased because @bizo provides this, but it rocks. syncing marketing nurturing with display & social is holy grail. #b2bchatRussell Glass
@b2b_chat allows nurturing to continue between emails… so list doesn’t get burned. freq goes through roof so velocity goes up. #b2bchatRussell Glass
Testing is so valuable, especially when dealing with large volume campaigns. A/B subject lines, offers. #B2Bchat #email A3Andrew Spoeth
Absolutely, if you are targeting email, why not use same data to target display? RT @wittlake: RT @b2b_chat: Q3. #b2bchatCasey Carey
A3. Marketing automation, dynamic content, varying stages of the buy cycle, personas. TEST, TEST, TEST. #b2bchatChristy U Ferguson
A3. People always say "test everything," but does anyone actually do it? RT @dannyhanssel: Agreed. Always test. RT @billymitchell1 #b2bchatCasey Carey
To be honest, "test everything" scares me. It takes time to do it well, need to plan for analysis and follow up on results. #B2BchatAndrew Spoeth
@andrewspoeth And "test everything" means you likely don’t have a "control", which is a huge miss IMO. #b2bchatChristy U Ferguson
@cuferg Ah, good point. Ideal test has a hypothesis, high volume, control group, and action plan based on results. #B2BchatAndrew Spoeth
Q4. The content your prospects are downloading, including competitors content. Is this information useful and would you be willing to buy it?
A4: Yes if it includes dates and is comprehensive. Partial list could be misleading. #b2bchatDan Hanssel
#b2bchat would definitely buy data on what customers are downloading. Gauge their hot buttons and interests, draw conclusions etc.Sherri Anderson
A4. It would be an interesting data point to know what prospects are downloading, but really depends on quality, price, etc. #b2bchatKimbra Fox
Q5. Key influences on a topic (assume the data is “pretty good”, not Klout!). Valuable? Would you pay for it?
A5. Key influencers….different story. Yes, I’d pay for that if new to the space, etc, but if not, I should already know them. #b2bchatChristy U Ferguson
A5 if you are a B2B marketer and don’t know who your key influencers are your doing something wrong #b2bchattraci browne
@b2b_chat Yes. As an agency working across many areas, this is valuable. (Client-side may be less so, you live in it). #b2bchatEric Wittlake
A5 *Very* valuable when coming from a key influencer…would definitely consider it, as budget allows. #b2bchatJennifer G. Hanford
Q6. What new types or sources of data are you interested in now, ans why is it interesting? 
What marketer worth their salt doesn’t crave data? Conversion rate, cost per lead, lead to sales, purchasing behaviours etc. #b2bchatBilly Mitchell
A6 I’m more interested in essay questions…most data collected doesn’t tell enough about the buyer to be worth anything really #b2bchattraci browne
+1 RT @wittlake: @billymitchell1 Yep. More than that, I want data I can act on. Not what worked, but extended to what WILL work. #b2bchatJennifer G. Hanford
A6 We are all about buying behavior data. Motivators, timing, actions, history and yes, future opportunities. #b2bchatBilly Mitchell
@billymitchell1 I’ve come across a lot of marketers who love playing with data…but never seem to do any good marketing #b2bchattraci browne
Marketplace is dynamic. What worked before might not work now. Take your best shots and use real-time data to adjust aim #b2bchatBilly Mitchell
A6. Would love more data that shows the connections between prospects and their peers. Valuable in B2B. #B2BchatAndrew Spoeth
@andrewspoeth #b2bchat A6 I’m very interested in mobile data now. All that rich behavioral information.Steve Gershik
Interested? Join #B2Bchat on Twitter, every Thursday at 5:00 PM Pacific time and follow @b2b_chat for future topic announcements!

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About Eric Wittlake

I am a digital and B2B marketer with a background in online media and analytics. I work with B2B clients on media and integrated marketing programs at Babcock & Jenkins. You can connect with me on Twitter at @wittlake or in the comments here on my B2B Digital Marketing blog.