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5 Reasons Programmatic Advertising is the Future of B2B Marketing

Just as some of Hollywood's biggest summer movies premiere riding a wave of buzz, so too do the latest marketing trends. Likewise, as Hollywood continues to blowout budgets to produce films that may or may not be a hit (Independence Day sequel, anyone?) marketers are investing heavily in tactics they too hope will produce blockbuster results.

One such tactic that marketers are lining up to test is programmatic. Dun & Bradstreet recently surveyed over 100 B2B marketers and discovered that 78 percent planned to spend up to half of their advertising budgets on programmatic this year. What's more, 65 percent said they would spend more on programmatic this year than ever before.

It should come as no surprise. Programmatic advertising, or audience-based purchasing of media inventory, has been one of the hottest topics in digital marketing and has recently taken center stage within the B2B community. Despite the hype and interest, many wonder if programmatic will be a blockbuster hit or a major flop for their sales and marketing initiatives.

Before we answer, let's define programmatic in plain English, without the fancy jargon - no sub-titles needed.

So why are we seeing this massive shift to programmatic? In essence, programmatic intends to make media buying simpler, more cost-effective, and most importantly, highly targeted.

Programmatic advertising refers to the use of automated technology to buy and sell digital media across millions of websites, as opposed to relying on human interactions to manually secure digital ad placements. In other words, anytime a machine is used to purchase and deliver a digital ad, it's considered programmatic. While it may sound like science fiction, it's a serious reality for most marketers these days.

So why are we seeing this massive shift to programmatic? In essence, programmatic intends to make media buying simpler, more cost-effective, and most importantly, highly targeted. It is intended to solve the inefficiencies of digital advertising by leveraging customer data and insights to target the right user at the right time in the right environment. It's for these reasons marketers are giving programmatic rave reviews.


Here are 5 reasons we believe programmatic is going to be a huge hit this summer and beyond.

1. It's Highly Targeted

As a seasoned B2B marketer, you know the companies that make the perfect prospects. But knowing who the right people at those companies are and getting in front of them make all the difference. According to research, one-third of B2B purchase decisions involve 6-10 people. Doing a one-off media buy on a website you think they may read is not an efficient use of your media budget. Instead, programmatic buying offers you and your team the opportunity to tailor messages to specific individuals across the Web on different devices, in real-time. Essentially, you can hone in on specific customer targets based on your data.

But be cautions! Not all data is created equal. It is imperative to understand the differences between 'deterministic' data and 'probabilistic' data.

'Deterministic' data is of the highest value to marketers. In short, it guarantees that the intended audience is, in fact, who they say they are. This data is based on fact, while 'Probabilistic' data, which is the norm in the online industry, makes assumptions about audience behaviors based on browsing patterns, click strings, etc. Both are important and it is essential to combine them to achieve the most effective outcomes when executing a programmatic campaign. Dun & Bradstreet, for example, has over 30,000 fact-based sources for its data.

  • Audience Consensus: 62% of B2B Marketers cite the "ability to layer insights/data" into advertising as the biggest advantage of buying advertising programmatically.

2. It Can Ingest Firmographic Data

Marketers are obsessed with identifying customer demographics and psychographics, but for the B2B world specifically, firmographics trumps all of that data. Firmographics are business-related criteria that can help you narrow down your audience to focus in on those organizations most likely to represent potential clients or customers. The data sets can include everything from a company's geography and employee size to the organization's annual revenue and total assets. These insights can help you understand where to spend time and money prospecting and upselling. And best of all, this data can be layered on your media buy in a programmatic advertising platform or environment.

  • Audience Consensus: When it comes to the types of targeting used by B2B marketers, more than half cite firmograpic data (i.e. job function, job title, industry, company size, etc.) as being the most useful.

3. It Opens Up Your Business to New Environments

If you're selling shiny widgets, you are justified in assuming you can reach that customer on a website that focuses on talking about the shiny widget industry. But that buyer has other interests and can be found across the Web. Programmatic takes the focus off site buying and puts it on audience buying, allowing you to effectively find prospects in environments beyond the standard industry sites most marketers would expect. This opens the door for your brand to engage your audience across the Web.

  • Audience Consensus: 68% of B2B Marketers believe audience targeting is more valuable then contextual targeting.

4. It's Not Just for Display

Your brand message should not be constrained to a 250 X 300 box on the right rail of a website. Don't get me wrong; display ads can serve their purpose, but there are a variety of digital marketing strategies you can employ in the programmatic environment. Costly channels like mobile, video and native can be integrated with your data to drive highly targeted campaigns. While they are still pricier than traditional display ads, programmatic's ability to target specific users will reduce wasted media spend typically comes with a "spray and pray" strategy.

  • Audience Consensus: Newer, emerging channels like "video" "re-targeting", and even "sponsored content" are steadily being used by B2B marketers in their advertising efforts.

5. It's Cost-Efficient

It's every B2B marketer's favorite word: efficiency. We said it before, but it's worth repeating. Because programmatic advertising leverages first and third party data to target down a specific employee at a company, there's no need to pay exorbitant CPMs for impressions that aren't optimally targeted. What's more, programmatic provides the ability to adjust the price or "bid" for specific media placements based on ROAS and real-time data, rather than arbitrary pricing.

At the end of the day, when you can show your team that you found the right buyers and saved some budget along the way, you will come out looking like the A-list star of your organization.

  • Audience Consensus: 55% of B2B marketers believe programmatic's biggest advantage is how cost-effective it is.

Do these benefits get you excited to see programmatic play out within your organization? If you need more proof, think about this: at the end of the day successful business rests on building strong relationships. This means delivering messages that your prospects care about based on where they are in the sales funnel. Someone who is at the top of the funnel won't respond to a sales message geared towards bottom of the funnel prospects. Programmatic enables you to deliver digital unique advertising messages that appeal to a variety of audiences so you can engage in multiple conversations and maintain blockbuster relationships. If data is guiding smarter decisions, programmatic is the vehicle for using the data to reach the right audience.

Want to understand how to deliver blockbuster results in the summer of programmatic? Check out our eBook to discover why Programmatic Matters.