Data is the new oil and martech is the pipeline

B2B marketers will require a blend of creative and analytical skills to remain relevant in today’s attention-poor world, says Matthew Stevens

The attention span of your average audience is shorter than ever. People are mentally filtering out ads, a skill they’ve learned out of necessity to combat a bombardment of irrelevant marketing. Ad blocker use in the US doubled from 15% to 30% between 2014 and 2018. It’s become such a big problem that even Google now includes an ad blocker with its own web browser. Big data couldn’t have arrived sooner.

Data-driven marketing is nothing new. The best marketers have been using every bit of data they can get their hands on to inform their campaigns since marketing began. “It’s a lot faster and data is easier to access,” said Rachel Magnay, head of analytics, data and insight at Microsoft UK, on a recent Disrupt Forum panel. “But a lot of the methodology has been around for a long time.”

The question is this: how do we remain relevant in today’s attention poor world? 

A smaller slice

People are more individualistic than many marketers have previously given them credit for, but customers now want personalised experiences. There’s no reason why two people of the same age should have the same tastes or needs. Data-driven marketing lets us look past outdated demographics. 

By asking the right questions of data, we can slice these demographics into ever-smaller pieces to get a clearer picture of who we’re marketing to. The real opportunity lies in the ability to quickly analyse multiple data sources, not just first party, to drive intelligent interactions based on customer signals. By building this view on the customer’s world, you can quickly map a way to offer value to their journey in the most relevant way.

Insight has no place in marketing without action. While data is the new oil, technology acts as the pipeline that can help realise its value. Having the right martech stack has never been so important.

We’re not robots

Heavy work is made light with the aid of artificial intelligence. But AI will never take the role of the creative agency. Why? Although data and technology offer the platform to drive individualised engagements, it’s strategy and imagination that provide the spark to deliver those moments of delight. 

Today’s agencies and corporate marketers need a mix of creativity and analytical skills. It takes ingenuity and intuition to balance data insights with the gut feelings often required for creativity. Genesys’ ‘Opportunity Based Marketing’ programme, for example, saw every interaction analysed to better nurture each lead with the right content, on an ever more bespoke journey to conversion. It achieved a 74% engagement with priority contacts.

Marketers can’t view their audiences in a vacuum. We use data so that we can look beyond restrictive fields like age and gender, and create a more accurate, meaningful picture of our audience. It lets us create campaigns that more accurately reflect the human experience – after all, B2B buyers don’t all wear suits.

Every creative campaign we produce takes this approach – using big data to further our understanding of our audiences, technology to enhance and manage the delivery and our ongoing creativity to delight customers in an attention poor world.

The B2B Marketing UK Agencies Benchmarking Report 2019

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The B2B Marketing UK Agencies Benchmarking Report 2019