In a world of more, do less
Understanding the right insights from data will allow marketers to spend less time, money and effort on the things that just don’t cut it, says Thad Kahlow
Can you really have too much of a good thing? For many of us, the influx of data collection in B2B marketing is a concrete example of just that. In a recent informal study of more than 20 B2B companies, only 10% of marketers said they feel like they're ‘getting data-driven marketing right’. So, what's going wrong for the other 90%?
Marketers are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data available, and many feel unable to effectively use that information to create programs that positively impact business goals. Between changes in customer behaviour, new channels and platforms popping up daily, and competition appearing seemingly overnight, marketers need to find out what works best and scale that – while also trying to be everything and everywhere.
The key to doing less is understanding business data and moving from collection to analysis. Having the right insights from data available to the right business owners is imperative when creating a focused approach to marketing. We all know the value of data: it lets marketers prioritise their tasks and helps us uncover what is actually relevant to customers, not just what we think is relevant. Data lets us spend less time, money and effort on the things that just don’t cut it – and reach customers in more effective and engaging ways.
Even sophisticated and technically-savvy B2B companies often struggle to understand how marketing’s efforts influence their sales pipeline to do less and focus on the highest return efforts. A Silicon Valley-based software company faced this very challenge. We analysed their marketing and sales data to determine how marketing campaigns influence business outcomes. We were able to determine over 300% return from ad spends. We proved that over 30% of their sales opportunities were influenced by multiple marketing channels. As a result of this pilot, the company refocused their efforts, spending more on their top-performing channels and cutting the unprofitable ones.
In another example, a large home improvement brand sought to prove the hypothesis of the high impact of digital on in-store sales. They wanted to justify an increase to their digital marketing budget and expand their product rollout. We ran a deep analysis of their sales and marketing data, including profit margins and in-store point-of-sale data from their corporate data warehouse. We layered this with first- and third-party marketing and demographics data. Our analysis helped the company run pilot campaigns in fewer, select target markets where demand was highest. Ultimately we were able to prove a 78% ROI during the test, which represented a lift of over 200% in quality leads versus pre-test.
The real challenge for most companies is finding the experts who can work with the technology and reveal the insights that lead to improved returns from marketing. Bringing in data experts often comes down to an expensive in-source versus outsource decision, along with significant software platform investments. Making an investment in analytics is often challenging for many B2B marketers focused on generating leads.
Understanding your customers can help you uncover what is truly impacting your pipeline. Aligning your marketing and sales effort is critical to success in the long, consultative B2B sales process. If a channel is working, and data proves its value, it may be time to be bold, and pass on what others may consider critical channels – doing less, but proving more positive business outcomes.
For the full US agency league table, including the financial details of all the agencies in this list, download the full report now. It also contains exclusive industry research, setting out how the industry looks today, both in terms of economics and wider B2B sector trends.