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Trends · 2 October '20

5 reasons why B2B marketers need to be data-driven

B2B marketing is undergoing a revolution. 

Throughout the 20th century, marketing was mostly a “spray-and-pray” operation. Marketers would fashion advertising campaigns aimed at the widest possible audience, in the hope that some of them would be attracted to their brand. 

In the 21st century, all that has changed. The rise of B2B marketing tech has empowered marketers to change their MO radically: now, it’s possible to identify niche audiences, create content that speaks directly to their needs and wants, and automate communications across all stages of the buyer’s journey. 

That said, even the best B2B marketing software is nothing without data. B2B data is vital to the success of your marketing strategy; if technology is the engine for your strategy, then data is the fuel. But not all marketing data is created equal. It needs to be detailed and accurate. The quality of your marketing data matters and can determine the difference between success and failure. 

At Cognism, we’re dedicated followers of data driven marketing. Data underpins all of our business decision-making, from identifying potential customers to content creation, campaign planning, lead nurturing and more. But we didn’t arrive at this methodology overnight. It’s taken us years of trial and error. 

So for this article, we’re winding the clock back. What made us choose a data-driven marketing strategy as the right path to follow? These are the 5 things that convinced us it was time to make data the centrepiece of our strategy. 

Scroll to see our reasons why B2B marketers need to be data-driven. 

1 – Data helps you identify your target audience  

Very few brands can get away with a “spray-and-pray” approach in 2020. To find success in B2B marketing, you must choose as narrow a target audience as possible, then market to them using relevant, useful content. Then, once you’ve achieved an acceptable share with this audience, you can use it as a base to engage new contacts. 

This process starts with the development of an Ideal Customer Profile, or ICP. Your ICP sets the tone for the whole of your B2B marketing plan – the channels you choose, the content you create and the campaigns you build. When you’ve got a defined ICP, you can then begin the process of finding other buyers that exactly match that persona. 

Here’s how to create an ICP for marketing, in a nutshell: 

  • Analyseyour existing customer base. If necessary, create a spreadsheet to help you do this. List your customers out and look for similarities between them. Are there any factors that link them together? Company size, industry, pain points, the technologies they use? 
  • Also consider competitors and their target markets. Do you want to emulate or avoid their strategy?
  • Raw marketing data such as website traffic and content downloads can also help you define your ICP. Are there any trends here that match, or don’t match, your current customers?
  • Use these insights to build a detailed persona of who your perfect customer is right now. This is your ICP – a single document you can refer to whenever the time comes to executing a new part of your marketing plan.

The bottom line: use customer data to create an ICP for your business. It enables you to focus your efforts on the right audience for your product or service. 

2 – Data helps you generate quality leads  

In B2B lead generation, the marketer’s task is to provide sales with the best, highest-quality leads. If the leads that marketing is generating are inaccurate or not qualified properly, the whole business suffers. 

Data is the bedrock of B2B lead gen. Without good quality lead data, your sales team will be wasting time cold calling decision-makers who have changed roles or even left the company. They’ll be prospecting to too many industries at once, or to those who have no interest in your product or service. 

B2B data platforms, such as Cognism Prospector, can show you a global marketplace made up of hundreds of millions of business people, with names, job titles and email addresses. You can then segment this marketplace into as narrow a target audience as you like, all corresponding to your ICP. 

The bottom line: data is the essential component for effective lead generation. Feed your sales team only the best quality leads by investing in a reliable data provider. 

3 – Data helps you craft compelling content  

The first step in the B2B marketer’s quest to become data-driven is to identify your target audience. The second step is to generate quality leads that match that target audience. The third step is content marketing - crafting content aimed at your ideal buyers and encouraging them to take action. 

In content, data leads to knowledge. The more you know about your ideal customer, the more potent your content will be. As you build up your ICP, you’ll discover what drives your prospects. You’ll know the problems that keep them awake at night, the problems that only your product can solve. 

You can then devise B2B content that shows your ideal buyers how you can solve their problems. You can show them the better life that can be theirs if they make that purchase. Because you know your customer well, you can plan content that addresses them directly. It’s as if you’re speaking only to them. This approach yields success: 79% of organisations that exceed revenue targets have a personalisation strategy for their marketing. 

The bottom line: use customer data to identify patterns in what motivates them to purchase, then create content that plays on those drivers. 

4 – Data helps you build effective campaigns  

For most marketers, campaigns are where the real lead gen action is. They’re how you get your content seen by the right people. They’re how you nurture leads before they’re ready to buy, and persuade them to take action when they are. 

Just like content, data can help you become a more effective campaign marketer. From email subject lines to marketing messages and CTAs, and even the best times to send – everything can be tested and evaluated. Let data be your guide to making better decisions and launching marketing campaigns that delight and convert. 

The bottom line: review your marketing campaigns as they’re running. Make adjustments if they’re not as effective as you’d planned. Alternatively, if something on a campaign is working well, use it as inspiration for your future campaigns. 

5 – Data helps you become a smarter, better marketer  

The great thing when you use data to drive your B2B marketing campaigns is that every aspect of every campaign generates more data. You can use this data to evaluate what works and what doesn’t. You’ll create a feedback loop, allowing you to make changes and optimisations faster than ever before. 

Your customers’ needs will change over time. What drove sales one year may not necessarily do so the next. When your campaigns produce data that records engagement with every email, every social media post, every display ad, you feed the machine. You can quickly A/B test new ideas on small segments of your audience to see if they work, before rolling them out to the entire list. 

The bottom line: measure and track data across all areas of your marketing function. If your data is telling you that something isn’t working – change it! Get into a regular pattern of testing and iterating. 

Your B2B marketing data challenges – solved!  

Cognism is the number 1 choice for B2B/SaaS marketers. Every day, our 500+ clients use our pioneering, all-in-one prospecting platform to engage with their ideal buyers and increase conversions. 

Don’t believe us? This is what just some of our marketing customers have to say about Cognism: 

Cognism has been a pivotal tool for us! It’s brought in a magnitude of high-quality leads – 300 in total in the month since we joined. 2 of those leads went on to sign contracts with us, generating £70,000 in extra revenue for our business.” – Goude Mind 

“I’d recommend Cognism to any small business who wants to find B2B leads and grow quickly.” – Launch Academy 

“We tested Cognism against some competitors; in terms of data quality and quantity, Cognism surpassed them every time.” – Dennis Publishing