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Understanding your target audience is a critical foundation for any marketing, and in the digital age this means having the right data. Among B2B marketers, some 8 in 10 are making data a priority for both better insight and analysis and improving the coverage of their target audiences, per a benchmark survey [download page] of B2B marketing executives conducted by Demand Gen Report and commissioned by DealSignal.

One driving force behind this expanded target account coverage is the increased use or implementation of marketing efforts such as account-based marketing (ABM). Starting/scaling ABM efforts was chosen by 56% of survey respondents when asked, “What current business initiatives make expanded coverage of all potential target accounts and contacts a bigger priority for your company?” The same percentage of respondents also reported they were looking for improved contact information to support segmented campaigns, with 54% looking for a deeper reach into audiences.

The Expected Payoffs: Increased Engagement and Growing Pipeline

Investing in expanding or improving total audience coverage has several payoffs in the eyes of survey respondents. Two-thirds (68%) feel that running more personalized campaigns to better target buyers could result in increased engagement. For those running both account-based and lead-based campaigns, engagement often determines the number of marketing-generated opportunities that are picked up by sales, so increasing this figure through personalization should result in an increased contribution to marketing’s pipeline.

With the benefits it brings, other studies have shown that personalization is being adopted by a growing number of companies. As an example, Econsultancy found that 71% of organizations are now using personalization in their marketing activities, representing an increase from 62% the year before.

Other payoffs expected by roughly half of respondents include identifying new accounts that fit with buyer criteria and can be used to grow pipeline (51%) and more refined account and contact criteria (49%), which is the most common way in which these marketers are measuring their coverage.

How to Measure Audience Coverage?

An overwhelming 87% of the marketing executives surveyed identified contact information (including email, phone number and address) as one of the types of data they use to identify and measure audience coverage. While for those with tightly-defined account lists this proves relevant, using such contact information exclusively might result in marketers missing out on opportunities to identify new accounts that would otherwise meet target criteria.

Indeed, as just 45% are using account data and related firmographic data, some B2B marketers might not be making the best use of the data available on the market for their ABM efforts.

Here are some other findings from the report:

  • Three in 5 respondents use persona criteria to identify and measure audience coverage.
  • Just under half (49%) of businesses conduct formal demand planning sessions.
  • Three-quarters of demand planning is focused on an “ongoing need to help fuel sales pipeline” while half (52%) is focused on ABM.

The full report is available here.

About the Data: The survey of 106 B2B marketing executives was conducted by Demand Gen Report. Of the total respondents, 86% were from companies in the United States and represented various industries including business services, SaaS, PaaS, manufacturing and telecommunications and represented a range of company sizes.

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