Programmatic needs to develop stronger partnerships with B2B marketers

David Gosen, MD and SVP international at Rocket Fuel, discusses how programmatic needs to develop stronger partnerships with B2B marketers

B2B companies and agencies are increasingly anticipating and even driving where the technology goes next. What used to be a supplier-customer relationship is steadily maturing into a stronger, more collaborative partnership model. Programmatic has largely been the champion of Direct Response, dealing predominantly with performance, conversions, leads, bookings, and sales, but now it is being increasingly used for B2B campaigns. 

Historically, B2B marketers have been slower to adopt online display, including programmatic, due to challenges in targeted databases that are smaller and often less reliable than B2C. This is not to suggest they are behind the curve on advances in data and technology – they do see the value of data, data science and modelling in making their marketing more precise.

Building company profile and attracting interest in services has long been the domain of sponsorship, print advertising, events/experiences, and press, but the feedback loop on these traditional techniques have always been slow and imprecise. As programmatic platforms have developed, it has become increasingly possible to link brand and direct response campaigns, and feed insights from all activity into future campaigns in real time. 

Results have shown that 93% of EU marketing professionals are under more pressure to demonstrate results than ever before. They are looking to add faster, more efficient and transparent means of achieving the same, and better results. Content, social media, and different forms of display advertising are growing as ‘go-to’ strategies for engagement on digital channels. With video and other high-impact creative formats now available through programmatic, B2B marketers can add a digital string to their bow, with further huge creative opportunities opened up.

With the ability to synchronise campaigns across channels, react to real world data, such as location, weather, and also reach people as they move from one device to another, B2B companies can reach people in increasingly relevant ways.

This can be taken one step further with artificial intelligence technology. Artificial intelligence gives businesses the ability to identify people within their target audience, and cross references huge volumes of data, effectively in order to reach them at that moment in time and context when an audience is most receptive to a message – what we often refer to as ‘brand moments’. These moments are as meaningful for B2B as they are for B2C. This can not only reduce the cost of reaching campaign objectives, but helps avoid over exposure, and reduces wastage. 

While aggressive techniques to drive conversions may result in good short term results, the long term impact can be damaging. B2B marketers need to be mindful of falling into this trap with programmatic. Keeping the big picture in mind with both B2B and direct response campaigns working together will lead to long term as well as short term success. With programmatic there are now clear, demonstrable links between brand uplift and direct response performance. This may not be any great revelation, but marketers’ ability to show clear evidence of a campaign’s effects on sales is certainly good news.

Programmatic is able to show results of B2B campaigns in their own right. With analytics packages revealing results against campaign metrics such as awareness, engagement, and lead generation, programmatic is growing up. Marketers are now able to use faster than ever feedback loops to gain insights from both B2B and direct response campaigns to inform future strategy.

With these developments, programmatic technology provides genuine partnership opportunities for B2B companies and agencies. With next generation insights, and an integrated brand and direct response approach, marketers are able to bring programmatic into their strategic thinking instead of leaning on it purely as a media tool. This can then be the bridge for marketers to adopt more advanced applications of marketing data science that allow them to execute their data modelling and optimise in real-time. 

This unlocks the ability for marketers to truly show how they are helping their businesses grow.

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