I recently had a chance to have lunch with Marc Johnson, CMO of Bombora, which offers a cooperative approach to intent data. With the recent demand for B2B and B2C data, we’ve tightened our partnership with them. We currently have some of the lowest rates for Bombora’s Predictive and Intent data segments, as well as excellent scale with our direct integration. Hence I took the opportunity to learn more about tips to make the most out of B2B data and their approach to business.
- When it comes to data, what is the biggest opportunity B2B marketers are currently missing?
B2B marketers are missing out on the chance to use data to align internal teams, specifically sales and marketing. Rather than marketing handing over ‘qualified’ leads and sales attempting to close ‘opportunities,’ shared data about specific customer segments and accounts can help sales and marketing teams, leading to revenue growth. For example, at one of our customers, field marketing works with regional sales to program in-person events based on data about products for which specific target accounts in that region are currently in market. This eliminates organizational finger pointing and drives improved revenue performance.
- You built the “first-of-its-kind” data cooperative of premium B2B media companies. What was your strategy for building its membership?
Everybody wins. That is our strategy. Bombora gives media companies insights into their audiences and the ability to better serve their advertisers. And we don’t compete with them by selling media. Quite the opposite, we are helping them effectively punch above their weight against the handful of heavyweights that have seemingly unlimited scale and resources. This has been critical in building membership to over 2,500 B2B websites encompassing more than 9 billion monthly interactions.
This approach extends as well to activation and distribution partners that Bombora enables by putting “intent inside” their applications—from programmatic media to content personalization to predictive lead scoring to good old-fashioned email—making their offerings perform better.
- You say in a B2BCommunity article from earlier this year that “record-off-the-needle moments” are plaguing today’s marketing efforts. Is there a worse-case scenario than just not reaching your customers as a consequence here?
When you blast irrelevant content into the marketplace willy-nilly, you will, at best, be ignored by your customers. At worst, you will do irreparable brand damage and lose the opportunity to interact with them, especially if you are using a targeted approach to irrelevant content. A prime example of this is an overzealous lead nurturing program, in which a prospect need only download an educational (a.k.a. upper-funnel) white paper and instantaneously receives a hardcore cold call (lower-funnel) from a rep at the vendor promoting the whitepaper. This instantly destroys the value created by the content and sets the relationship back to square one.
- You talk about how the B2B buyer journey now includes many different roles, not just senior decision makers. It’s likely also fragmented amongst channels. This presents a lot of multi-channel targeting challenges and opportunities. How do marketers get started?
Research studies have shown that up to 17 individuals can be involved in a B2B buying decision. Indeed, according to a recent Deloitte study, only 38 percent of companies are functionally organized. This means that all types of folks, from interns to executives, are influencing buying decisions well outside of what their stated functional area and formal title would indicate.
The key element to remember about B2B buying is that, as Jonathan Becher of SAP said, “Big glass buildings don’t buy software, people do.” So start at the individual buyer and influencer level and build out and operationalize personas for what your existing customers and engaged prospects are looking for and the channels they use.
- You are referenced in a recent whitepaper by Lattice Engines talking about Account-Based Marketing. What are some tenets of the content strategy that should power such an approach?
Embrace the adage “Content that aims to educate, sells. Content that that aims to sell, doesn’t.” The first step is listening. For Bombora, that means mining intent data to understand what topics are surging (or trending) at specific companies and locations, and using that data to fulfill the informational need of prospects. This idea of buyer need, rather than vendor pitch, is core to Account Based Marketing.