Here’s A Look At the Tech Platforms And Tactics In Use by B2B Marketers

November 5, 2018

B2B marketers are expressing confidence in their sophisticated use of web analytics but have a ways to go in adopting customer data platforms. So finds Dun & Bradstreet in its 2019 Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising Outlook survey [download page], conducted by Adweek Branded among 237 B2B marketers.

The results indicate that virtually all B2B marketers (94%) use web analytics, and that roughly half (48%) use web analytics with advanced functions.

B2B marketers have also widely adopted content management platforms, with 72% using them and 30% using them with advanced functions.

Not surprisingly, customer relationship management (CRM) technologies are also commonly used, though like content management platforms more use them for basic (48%) functions than for advanced ones (36%).

Other technologies show less maturity and adoption. Interestingly, relatively few B2B marketers (57%) are using a marketing automation platform, and just 1 in 4 report sophisticated use of marketing automation. It’s a similar story with data management platforms, which are in use by a slight majority (52%), with 1 in 4 reporting advanced usage.

Finally, demand-side platforms (41% using to some degree) and customer data platforms (45% using to some degree) are the least common technologies in B2B marketers’ stacks.

A study released early this year by Dun & Bradstreet also found some room for growth in B2B marketers’ use of technology, that survey indicating that few were taking advantage of advanced marketing technology features.

Most B2B Marketers Say They Can Create Data-Driven Insights

Marketers have traditionally had an easier time accessing data than deriving insights from it, but respondents to this latest DnB survey are showing some confidence in this area.

Indeed, more than half (56%) report currently creating actionable data-driven insights, and another third (35%) feel that they’ll have this capability in the next 1-2 years.

About half of B2B marketers, meanwhile, are personalizing experiences across digital channels (48%), though fewer (33%) are personalizing across both digital and offline channels.

There’s also less ability on the part of B2B marketers to currently engage in multi-channel attribution (a common problem for marketers), 1:1 targeted customer engagement strategies, and predictive analytics.

It appears not too much has changed in the past couple of years, as previous data from Regalix also showed that few B2B marketers were using predictive analytics and attribution tools.

The DnB analysts point out that B2B agencies seem to be ahead of their brand counterparts in the implementation of a number of platforms and tactics, though.

For example, 31% of B2B agencies are using a demand-side platform with advanced functions, compared to 19% of brand respondents. Agencies also report higher usage of tactics including:

  • Real-time campaign optimization (58% versus 39% of brands);
  • Cross-device targeting (63% versus 36% of brands); and
  • Predictive analytics (42% versus 28% of brands)

This could indicate an over-reliance on agencies on the part of brands for data-driven marketing, according to the report, and agencies do report more confidence in their ability to manage and derive insights from 1st- and 3rd-party data than do brand marketers.

What’s to Blame?

For B2B marketers looking to point the finger, there are a range of obstacles that are cited as culprits. When asked to identify their companies’ biggest obstacles to succeeding with data-driven marketing, respondents tagged siloed or inaccessible customer data (32%), integrating of marketing and sales platforms (32%), incomplete customer data (30%), lack of data expertise (30%) and accuracy of audience data (27%) as their largest hindrances.

Considering that one-third of US organizations’ customer and prospect data is believed inaccurate, that might be a good place to start…

The full DnB study is available for download here.

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