How B2B Marketers Can Use Data to Boost ROI on Advertising and Tech Investments

In association with Eyeota

In this exclusive byline, Kristina Prokop, CEO, Eyeota, outlines how business-to-business (B2B) marketers can effectively leverage their data to make their ad spend go further.

B2B advertising is growing in leaps and bounds, becoming more sophisticated in terms of strategies, tactics, and tools. But with new growth and opportunities also emerges new challenges.

According to eMarketer, US B2B digital ad spend will grow 14.9% this year to USD$16.46bn (~£13.04bn), rising to USD$18.47bn (~£14.63bn) in 2024. Overall, digital spend in B2B will represent 49% of all B2B spend by 2024, up from 39.2% in 2020. Within that digital ad spend, mobile B2B ad spending is seeing particularly notable growth, going from 40.5% (USD$3.53bn/~£2.8bn) to 53% (USD$9.79bn/~£7.76bn) of B2B digital ad spend between 2020 and 2024. 

Kristina Prokop, CEO, Eyeota

So, what about the data that drives these investments?

According to eMarketer, US B2B marketing data spending will grow just 3.2% this year to USD$3.77bn (~£2.99bn), and another 3.8% in 2024 to USD$3.91bn (~£3.1bn). Compare that to U.S. B2B martech spending, which is expected to grow 12.4% this year to USD$7.41bn (~£5.87bn), and another 14.9%  in 2024 to USD$8.51bn (~£6.74bn).

The numbers paint an interesting picture: B2B advertising and martech investments are growing strong, but the vital data increasingly needed to drive success with these investments often isn’t receiving the same level of attention. For marketers who reverse this pattern, there’s a significant opportunity to improve ROI. Here are three areas where data investments can go further for B2B needs. 

Account-based marketing (ABM) solutions

ABM is an always-on strategy that enables brands to deliver relevant experiences to target key B2B account prospects that are most likely to become customers. If implemented correctly, ABM campaigns are hyper-targeted to a B2B organisation’s account list, ensuring every lead generated is valuable. At the same time, ABM can help B2B marketers strengthen and expand relationships with existing clients by engaging audiences at the point of renewal and getting ahead of cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

There are three types of ABM campaigns that B2B marketers should consider, each of which is contingent on access to high-quality B2B data: 

  • Classic ABM: The classic approach to ABM helps B2B marketers grow existing accounts via one-to-one targeting. This requires marketers to look for B2B data and partners that can strategically reach new contacts within an existing account to identify new opportunities and strengthen the relationship.
  • Full family tree ABM: This ABM approach helps marketers grow existing accounts and target new ones via one-to-few targeting. The right data partner can help B2B marketers identify clusters of accounts with similar attributes and use those criteria to target the full corporate hierarchy.
  • Look-alike ABM: This approach to ABM enables B2B marketers to target new accounts via one-to-many targeting. With quality B2B data fuelling look-alike ABM, marketers can increase campaign scale by targeting look-alike audiences and using first-party data to target more companies that over-index on their criteria.

Unique audience segments driven by intent

Going one step further, B2B marketers should look to complement their ABM targeting strategy with unique audience segments based on intent signals. By leveraging B2B intent indicators to identify which target companies are actively researching a company’s products and services, marketers can amplify engagement with custom audience targeting. The right data partner will offer an array of options in this regard, including keyword-specific destination audiences and competitor targeting. Furthermore, they’ll be able to help B2B marketers understand when (and what) a prospect wants to hear from them.

Business-to-consumer identity linkage

Finally, B2B marketers need to be considering how they’re leveraging identity linkages within their marketing. After all, modern, blended lifestyles have made it harder than ever to reach the right audience, and the "consumerisation" of B2B means that B2B2C data is what’s truly needed for optimal audience reach. Particularly as cookies go away and the B2B population increasingly consumes media anywhere and everywhere, the time for true multi-channel audience targeting in B2B is here. That’s where identity linkages come in. 

B2B marketers should be looking for data partners that can offer linkages that tie business and consumer data together to create a complete, interlinked web of multi-channel B2B audience targeting data. Such linkages are capable of powering unparalleled audience creation, reach, expansion and measurement. For B2B companies, rounding out audience profiles with consumer data — particularly insights around people’s interests outside of their work lives — can unlock more powerful and personal messaging opportunities and wider inventory sources. 

B2B marketing and advertising investments will continue to grow, and ensuring new investments are successful requires simultaneous investment in the right kind of data and partnerships. By prioritising quality data and partnerships in the above areas, B2B marketers can overcome their most pressing challenges and position themselves to leapfrog the competition.