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How data-driven marketers are connecting online and offline channels

This week’s guest blog was contributed by Anudit Vikram, Senior Vice President, Advanced Marketing Solutions, Dun & Bradstreet from his original post on the Dun & Bradstreet blog.

Gone are the days when marketing's primary focus was generating leads for the sales team. Now, marketing's scope is broadening to be more directly involved in driving business growth.

B2B marketers need to have a deep understanding of the multiple stakeholders involved in the buying journey, both online and offline, to develop relevant content and amazing customer experiences at the right time and the right place along the purchase path.

B2B Dichotomies

B2B marketing is complicate, and it’s due to what I call B2B dichotomies - the dual-faceted nature of B2B as a result of technology advancements and the changing face of the buyer.

There's some important yin and yang dynamics in the world of B2B marketing involving people. It's clear that digital native millennials are rapidly gaining influence on purchase decisions, and they're forming their impressions in large part using online research.

However, a large and final part of decision making still lies in the hands of those who have not yet completely embraced digital. I call them digital immigrants, those who grew up before digital was so pervasive in daily life. Unlike the B2C space where millennials are already in final decisioning/purchasing seats, the B2B world is still largely run by an older guard.

But that's not all. The B2B path to purchase is different from a typical B2C purchase. The B2B buyer's journey is a complicated matrix of online and offline touch points with multiple stakeholders involved in a purchase decision.

This Knowledge Tree article, "What Do Today's B2B Buyers Want?", highlights the reality of the B2B buyer group: "A DemandGen report shows that in the past year, 34% of B2B buyers have increased the number of stakeholders involved in the purchase process. For any given sales situation, there could be anywhere from 7 to 20 people involved in a B2B buying decision…it takes five to six decision-makers to agree for a sale to even happen."

Digital millennials, digital immigrants, online, offline, multiple buyers, a buyer's journey that is anything put linear…How can today's B2B marketers get a handle on this crazy pace and change? The answer is with data.

Activating and Connecting the Right Data

As buyers engage with your brand, online and offline touch points generate data that can be captured and input into your marketing stack. This can begin with an anonymous prospect you pick up via your website and goes into your DMP, to the known customer who makes his/her way through your marketing automation and web forms and ends up in your CRM.

As data is generated and populated in your sales and marketing systems, it's imperative to stitch the data together and enrich it for a consolidated view of your customers and prospects. To make the most of your data you need to:

  • Know what data you have where.
  • Bring needed data together in one place with a common, unique and persistent identifier.
  • Enrich your first party data with relevant third party company and contact data.

Placing a bet on your data can feel like a risk, but I will tell you with confidence that it is the key to your marketing success. Is it hard? Yes, but with today's technology and data management best practices, it's not daunting. Is it worth it? Yes, and working with your marketing tech and data partners, you can rise to the challenge.

With the right data, you can do analysis to:

  • Understand whom you are engaging with, when and where.
  • Measure the effectiveness of your content and engagement techniques.
  • Re-calibrate, re-invest and re-deploy your resources.

With well connected online and offline channels, you'll develop an integrated omnichannel marketing and sales process that works smoothly. Your buyers will weave in and out of well-timed experiences, encounter useful engaging content and experts to help them make informed decisions and shake your hand when you win their business.

See Anudit’s full presentation from Oracle Modern Marketing Experience 2016: Bridging The Divide - Integrating Offline & Offline Channels for B2B Marketing.

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Photo: Stock Rocket/Shutterstock


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