Brand New World: The Paradigm Shift in B2B Communications – Part V

B2B Data Management

 The Business world is firmly focusing on digital transformation. Companies are feverishly assessing and reconsidering current revenue models, operational processes, customer engagement and marketing strategies. By 2020, one million new devices will go online every hour. As a consequence the digital experience has become a new reality that creates disruptions as well as significantly more data. In the new digital world, 83 percent of B2B buyers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Four out of five customer purchases are starting online. And an estimated 60 percent of the journey to a buying decision is traveled before a supplier is even contacted.

In part V of our series on the paradigm shift in B2B communications we want to explain the importance and the possible leverage of using B2B data in order to improve your brand´s success.

Data is at the center of the digital world. Its pool is constantly expanding at an enormous rate. Data is also key in B2B communication and marketing because it allows a precise targeting and evaluation of your marketing campaign. Buyers in the B2B world react less on an emotional basis. They are more influenced by facts and figures. And they want to see the value proposition. Data can allow predictions about what customers and the wider audience might do next, if you include behavioral information into your pool. Moreover, intelligent data analytics is a key precondition for a successful digital transformation of the entire production process. Building up the necessary capabilities and analytical routines is therefore essential. But it will take years to make use of these immense data volumes in a way that leads to the right decisions.

The New Currency

“Data is the currency for business in the new digital world”, says Bob Ray, President Americas at DWA, a global leader in media planning and communication strategy. Ray points out yet another advantage in the use of data. “You have to go beyond companies that are in market and identify and reach individual members of the buying team, with personalized content at the right time in their customer´s journey”, he explains. That makes data the key ingredient for a targeted effort, a sound strategy and the effective evaluation of any campaign outcome.

A recent article in the British magazine “The Engineer”, titled “The top three trends driving the factory of the future”, stated that “We´re only scratching the surface of what can be achieved” in terms of big data. According to the American technology and services company “Aberdeen Group” the average IoT organization´s “total volume of data grew by 30% over the past year.” The report stated in early 2015 that “54% of IoT organizations reported that their current data analysis capabilities are insufficient.” But with data management moving from centralized storage into clouds, the task of utilizing big data won´t get easier. Ericsson is forecasting that there will be around 28 billion connected devices worldwide by 2021.

Applying Value to the Data is Key

According to various surveys the most commonly used sources for gathering marketing data are websites, keyword search, employee feedback, the sales pipeline, competitive analysis and database assessment. More than half of marketers are indicating in surveys that they already have invested in Big Data. But still many have not yet decided how to leverage the available information in order to improve their B2B digital marketing success. This is no surprise, since applying value to the data is one of the most challenging preconditions for making your data effective. This means that organizing, categorizing and finding the most valuable information in your existing data pool is a first major step after the data collection, if you want to create more relevant, personalized and targeted messages and stories from it.

Conclusion: Our five-part series has shown that the digital transformation of the business world is altering the allocation within existing value chains. Production will be fragmented and decentralized. But digitization is not an end in itself, the customer always remains at the center of all efforts. The brand experience is transformed as well. The only chance for a brand to stay in the game and remain relevant is to raise awareness, be purposeful, authentic and engage in a constant conversation with its customers. In order to optimize this approach a digital marketing campaign needs to be set up to generate sufficient impact and sales for the brand. The digital marketing campaign allows for improved precision in audience targeting, more effective feedback tools and a chance to better measure the impact of your content. For an effective brand communication social media needs to be utilized with more engaging, visualized and timely quality content. The available data need to be leveraged in order to make all these efforts more successful.