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B2B marketers are prioritizing data-driven marketing, but are not yet making full use of the tools available to them, according to results from a recent Dun & Bradstreet (DnB) study [download page]. Based on a survey conducted among 164 B2B marketers by Adweek BrandShare, the report indicates that relatively few are utilizing martech features such as lead scoring/grading and data onboarding.

The most commonly-used mar tech features by respondents are campaign analytics (73%), retargeting (62%) and campaign reporting/dashboards (61%), with many also using the A/B testing (59%), search engine optimization (59%) and audience segmentation (59%) tools available to them.

However beyond those, there’s a marked drop to other features that the analysts argue have more widespread use among B2C marketers.

Those include lead scoring/grading, used by just 31% of B2B marketing respondents. Prior research has found lead scoring to be one of four key best practices that can lead to significant lifts in conversion rates from marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to sales.

While content personalization is used by only about one-quarter (24%) of respondents to the DnB study, other research has suggested that two-thirds are testing this, particularly to see what type of content prospects are engaging with. Content personalization is a key aspect of marketing enablement, as detailed in MarketingCharts’ Marketing Enablement trends deck.

Meanwhile, other martech features yet to be seized upon by B2B marketers include data onboarding (22%) and predictive data (16%), per the report.

What’s Standing in the Way of Improved Data-Driven Marketing?

B2B marketers face a range of obstacles to succeeding with data-driven marketing, the report finds. Chief among those is a lack of data expertise, cited by 4 in 10 as being among their biggest challenges.

Problems with the underlying data also abound: many pointed to obstacles including reliable third-party data sources (38%), the accuracy of audience data (38%) and a lack of appropriate audience data (35%).

Recent studies confirm that B2B marketers are trying to improve their contact data as they shift from a product-centric to audience-centric approach to growth.

Integration of marketing and sales platforms also emerges as a challenge to data-driven marketing success, although there are signs that alignment between these functions is improving.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that the smallest proportion of marketers singled out regulation of personal/audience data as a challenge. Various pieces of research (such as this one) have demonstrated a seeming lack of concern regarding the upcoming GDPR regulations, even as consumers seem ready to take advantage of the privacy options afforded them. It remains to be seen how the B2B space will be affected.

Other Report Highlights: Programmatic Stats

  • Some 63% of B2B marketers report currently buying or selling advertising programmatically, which is flat from last year.
  • Still, roughly two-thirds (66%) of B2B marketers expect their spending on programmatic advertising to increase this year relative to last.
  • Two-thirds of B2B marketers strongly agree (26%) or agree (40%) that brand safety has become more important to them in the era of “fake news.”
  • The biggest programmatic advertising challenges facing B2B marketers are: targeting the right audiences (31%); and measurement and metrics (31%).
  • Two-thirds (68%) of B2B marketers increased their in-house programmatic capabilities in 2017, and 61% plan to do so this year.

The full report is available for download here.

About the Data: The report is based on a survey of 164 B2B brand marketers and agencies, all of whom had a job title of manager or above and are located in the US.

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