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As a content marketer, I tend to shy away from numbers in favor of the more creative aspects of my job. However, over the years it's become clear that data is not something to be ignored, but embraced. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that data is the largest untapped resource in B2B marketing.

Big data has changed the game for marketing teams, especially for B2B companies. Collecting data provides a clearer picture of the customer profile, what value props resonate with them, and what the customer journey looks like.

In my personal experience, I’ve found taking a data-driven approach to B2B marketing has garnered much better results over time. By giving me a clearer idea of who I’m writing to, data-driven marketing has also given me a renewed sense of creative inspiration in my marketing campaigns

My recent article on the role of storytelling in B2B marketing highlighted the importance of creating content that appeals to the emotional subconscious. This type of marketing requires a thorough understanding of your audience’s intricate inner world; their hopes, what drives them, and challenges they face.

Data-driven marketing enables you to connect with your target audience in new ways, make informed marketing decisions, and craft compelling content and messaging that demonstrates to potential buyers a thorough understanding of their issues as well as your ability to provide the best solution on the market.

The modern consumer’s expectations are greater than ever before; in order to appease them, we need to take a data-driven approach to deliver a hyper-personalized customer experience tailored to their needs. It’s this type of marketing that elicits the best response rates and encourages your audiences to take action, improving lead generation, boosting conversion rates and improving your ROI.

What Is Data-Driven Marketing?

Data-driven B2B marketing is the practice of collecting customer data, then analyzing this data and leveraging the findings to guide decision-making, optimize marketing campaigns, and inform your overall approach to marketing strategy and customer interactions. You can learn how to use marketing information management to aid in this process.

By removing the guesswork from the B2B marketing ideation process, you’re able to come up with marketing initiatives that are based on facts rather than assumptions and generalizations, and allocate your resources more effectively.

According to Zendesk’s recent report CX Trends for 2023, 75% of customers are willing to spend more in exchange for a better customer experience. Leveraging good data is one of the best ways to capture your target audience’s attention, deliver a positive customer experience, and set yourself apart from the competition.

In spite of this, HubSpot Blog's 2023 Marketing Strategy & Trends Report indicates that only 42% of marketers know the demographics of their target audience. This is basic information like name, age, and location.

The good news is that by implementing data-driven marketing practices in your own organization, you’ll gain a significant advantage over your competition. According to Forbes, data-driven businesses are 23 times more likely to outperform their competitors. 

The customer data you collect can provide valuable insight into trends and preferences which can be leveraged to create more impactful marketing campaigns, build long-lasting customer relationships, and encourage brand loyalty. 

What Types Of Data Are Important To B2B Marketing?

So you know that data-driven marketing is important, but what exactly are we talking about when we say “data?”

In fact, there are several types of data as well as data sources that are important to consider from a B2B marketing perspective and that can be used to inform your B2B data-driven marketing strategy:

  • Demographic customer data refers to an individual’s basic information: name, age, location, and contact information. 
  • Technographic customer data refers to the technologies used by a business or individual.
  • Firmographic data is data related to a business, such as the company name, industry, and number of employees.
  • Quantitative data is the type of data collected by analytics tools which indicates how often individuals are completing an action such as opening an email, clicking a link on your website, or completing a form.
  • Qualitative data tells you how an individual’s experience was, including online reviews, direct feedback, and questionnaires. 

Most businesses stop at demographic data, which gives them enough information to devise more targeted marketing campaigns. 

However, digging deeper into other types of data, such as technographic data, can provide invaluable insights into a business’s workflows, pain points, and can help you to identify where you may be able to provide value.

Why Data-Driven Marketing Is Better

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1. Better Understanding of Your Target Audience

Big data helps us to understand how our audience behaved in the past, and makes it possible to predict how they might behave in the future. Understanding who your prospective buyer is and where they are on their journey can help with audience segmentation and designing marketing campaigns that target individuals based on their specific goals and needs.

2. Improved Lead Generation and Quality

Big data enables you to identify more quality leads, determine which stage they’re at in the buyer’s journey, and spend time devising a marketing strategy tailored specifically to them. By identifying better quality leads, you set your sales team up for success and increase your ROI.

3. Superior Content Marketing and Personalization

Ever feel like an ad or piece of content was speaking directly to you? That’s the sign of a well-developed content marketing campaign. The better your understanding of your target audience, the easier it is to devise a marketing strategy that will resonate with them and move them to take action.

4. Enhanced Customer Experience

The more customer data you collect and analyze, the better able you are to identify patterns while cultivating a deeper understanding of the individual behind those patterns, enabling you to devise an experience where the customer feels seen and catered to on a personal level. 

5. Improved Marketing Campaigns

Within a crowded marketplace, individuals are faced with an unprecedented amount of options, but choosing between them can be difficult. Data helps you to better understand your target audience so you can create marketing campaigns that effectively address their concerns and demonstrate why your solution is the right one for them.

6. Clearer Reporting and KPIs

In order to devise the best marketing campaigns, you need a clear understanding of what’s working, and what’s not. Implementing processes for data collection and analysis and tracking KPIs will give you a better understanding of how your marketing tactics are being received and what changes you can make to improve them.

3 Steps To Build A B2B Data-Driven Marketing Strategy

1. Data Collection

All data is not created equal. Experts estimate that bad data costs U.S. businesses $700 billion each year. Inaccurate data can hinder the performance of your marketing efforts. Before you design a campaign around specific data points, make sure you’re focusing on the right data, and that your collection methods are sound to ensure high-quality and accuracy.

2. Data Analysis

Once you’ve collected the data, you need to learn how to interpret it. The analysis of this data will give you more clarity around your marketing efforts and help you to better understand the behavior of your target audience.

3. Data Execution

Once you’ve analyzed the data, you can now apply your findings to create B2B data-driven marketing campaigns, helping you to determine things like subject matter, content length, use of images, and when to schedule an email campaign or social media post.

The Future Of B2B Marketing Is Data-Driven

With new tools and techniques for data collection emerging on a regular basis, this is one marketing tactic you’re not going to want to ignore.

By collecting a wider array of data and learning how to analyze it, you can unlock a new understanding of your target audience, their behavior, and how you can alter your approach to anticipate their needs. 

At the heart of it, data-driven marketing is about connecting with your audience, demonstrating that you empathize with their pain points and that you have a solution that can help. 

With more time and increased interactions, you can continue to cultivate a deeper understanding of your customer, giving you the ability to design marketing campaigns and customer interactions that nurture a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.

If you enjoyed reading this, you may want to check out this article on how to prove the ROI of your marketing activities. And while you’re here, subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest B2B marketing trends.

By Anya Leibovitch

Anya Leibovitch is a content marketing strategist and writer. She has worked with brands and agencies such as GSoft, Divisional, and The Green Organic Dutchman to create story-led brand content and thought leadership articles.