B2B Marketing Trends From the 3rd Annual Adweek BrandShare Study
If you asked a B2B marketer how much they invested in programmatic advertising back in 2014, you’d likely get a blank stare in return. Today, if you’re not spending a significant portion of your media budget on programmatic, you’re likely in the minority. According to the results of the latest Adweek BrandShare study conducted for Dun & Bradstreet, 63% of B2B marketers currently buy advertising programmatically and almost two-thirds said they plan to increase their spending on programmatic in 2018.
Today’s B2B marketer no longer questions whether programmatic technology is the right way to purchase digital advertising. Instead, they have a clear understanding of the roles programmatic and data have in their marketing strategies.
Why Programmatic Advertising is Expanding
“Spending on programmatic continues to grow because it’s the most efficient way to buy media,” says Dun & Bradstreet’s former SVP, Audience Solutions, Anudit Vikram. “Programmatic can be managed by a pretty lean team with minimal effort. And because it’s all about the data, which is getting better, it’s much easier to execute at scale.”
Not only are B2B marketers combining programmatic and data to drive their ad buying and audience targeting, they’re also turning to data to drive their integrated marketing campaigns. In fact, almost 80 percent of respondents said they either use or want to use a solution that integrates ad tech and mar tech.
Marketing Data is Still the Fuel for Success
And while there’s a clear consensus among B2B marketers about the importance of data-driven marketing, a lack of expertise remains a top challenge for B2B marketers when it comes to fully leveraging the data. Just 40% of marketers said they are using a data management platform (DMP) to organize and analyze customer data.
“Data is ultimately the key to success in executing programmatic campaigns,” explains Vikram. “In the B2B realm, it becomes even more important because your target is not necessarily an individual person, but [rather it’s] a prospect associated with an account or organization that is really of interest to you. Having a data asset that can help you target at both the individual persona as well as at the account level is critical.”
Next Steps for Marketing Departments Interested in Programmatic Advertising
Build Your Programmatic Skills - B2B marketing departments need to enhance their in-house capabilities. They not only need to understand how different programmatic technologies work, but should find ways to integrate their digital ad buys with their larger marketing and sales platforms.
Enhance Your Targeting - Successful programmatic campaigns need a clear picture of the target. Look for ways to enhance and customize your campaigns based on the specific needs of your different target segments, with the goal to personalize the messaging based on where your prospect is in the sales cycle.
Create Brand Safety Policies - Beating ad fraud requires an active approach. As you enhance your organization’s skill set, be sure you have people who understand the issues of fraud and who can work with your ad tech vendors and agencies to ensure brand safety. Again, organizations like TAG and the IAB can help.
Enhance Your Data Capabilities - Lack of expertise remains the top challenge for B2B marketers when it comes to fully leveraging the data. If you can’t build your in-house resources, at least consider audience targeting tools or vendors that can empower your programs. For example, ask third-party vendors about how they refresh their B2B data.
Align Marketing and Sales - In many B2B organizations, marketing and sales operate in different silos on different platforms. But their goals are ultimately the same. Look for ways to integrate your systems, especially as you move toward an account-based marketing approach.
The 2018 B2B Advertising & Marketing Outlook examines how B2B marketers are adopting programmatic, their use of other data-driven marketing tactics, and the challenges they face in bringing greater alignment between marketing and sales. Check out the full report to see how you measure up against your B2B counterparts.