B2B Marketers, Here’s How Customer Data Platforms Make Personalization and Selling Easier
Do you market B2B products or services? Ever feel like your B2C colleagues have it easy?
As a B2B company, we know that feeling. Your customers are entire companies, not individual consumers. So instead of millions of prospects, you probably have hundreds or thousands. You also often have to deal with lengthy, intricate buying processes, involving multiple people and departments. What’s more, all of these individuals likely have different preferences, interact with different channels, prefer different kinds of information, and respond to different marketing messages.
Somehow, you have to find and reach these decision makers with content and messaging tailored to them, while mounting a coherent campaign across the entire organization. The task gets even harder when your data on these customers is incomplete, inaccurate, or scattered across multiple internal systems.
An enterprise Customer Data Platform (CDP) solves these problems for B2B marketers.
A CDP provides what marketers need to deliver personalized interactions across all marketing channels: a single, unified view of who each buyer is and how they’ve interacted with your business. And it enables you to reach prospects and customers with a consistent, targeted message every time they interact with your company, online or offline.
What a CDP offers, above all, is the ability to cut through the complexity of the corporate buying process through account-based marketing. A true enterprise CDP can associate multiple individuals with an account and help you orchestrate hyper-personalized, omnichannel campaigns. The end result: more targeted, efficient, and effective B2B marketing.
How a CDP Empowers Marketers with Data
No doubt your marketing team already has systems for collecting, storing, and working with customer or user data. These may include customer relationship management (CRM) software, web and mobile analytics solutions, email automation software, call center databases, a data management platform (DMP) for your online ads, and IoT databases for connected devices.
An enterprise CDP, such as Treasure Data, doesn’t replace these other systems. Instead, customer data platform software pulls in data from all of them to generate a single, comprehensive view of every customer. In addition, it provides actionable insights and tools to help you manage all your interactions with the customer, at every step on a buyer’s path to purchase.
- An enterprise CDP assembles all your first-party data into a unified profile of every buyer, enriched with second- and third-party data. That includes behavioral data gathered in real time from any source: web, mobile, CRM, email, call centers, and so on. A CDP constantly updates each profile as new data comes in—and the platform can store unlimited amounts of persistent data, so you always have a complete view of every customer’s history.
- A CDP also provides data management and modeling at scale, along with tools to guide your marketing campaigns. Such tools help you model buyers’ behavior, create fine-grained segmentation, automate workflows, and activate your other marketing applications. In addition, an advanced enterprise CDP will allow you to work directly with large data sets and build your own machine learning models and analytics.
In short, an enterprise CDP isn’t just one more specialized tool for managing a chunk of your internal customer data, or one small slice of your marketing activities. Rather, it’s a marketer-controlled system that unifies all of your company’s data about customers and helps you direct every aspect of targeted, omnichannel campaigns.
Why a CDP is the Ultimate Tool for Account-Based B2B Marketing
Account-based marketing treats each company as its very own market, with content and messaging tailored to match. Through such targeting, an account-based approach can increase conversion rates and reduce the costs of landing corporate customers.
Nevertheless, an account-based approach is hardly simple to pull off. Most companies make purchasing decisions by committee, with various individuals and divisions contributing to the outcome. That inevitably makes for a longer, more complicated, more uncertain buying process. And it means you have to sway multiple decision makers within your target account, each with different interests, intents, and patterns of data consumption.
Here’s where an enterprise CDP really shines. A CDP enables you to target the individual buyers within an organization with personalized, omnichannel campaigns, while also managing your campaign at an account level.
- With a CDP, you can associate individuals with a corporate account, and then build profiles and map out identities and personas for all the individuals involved in decision making. An enterprise CDP can create profiles for both the account and individual buyers, so you can view and target corporate customers at both levels.
- Armed with this information, you can then use CDP analytics and segmentation tools to understand the behavior of the different individuals in a corporate account, then create campaigns tailored to each person and their data consumption preferences. Such a hyper-targeted approach speeds up purchasing decisions and helps you make the most of your marketing budget.
Depending on the CDP, you may have access to powerful predictive tools that provide intelligent guidance for decision making. Treasure Data’s predictive customer scoring engine, for example, applies machine learning to determine how intensely buyers are engaged with your company and how likely existing customers are to churn.
Meanwhile, an enterprise CDP’s unlimited storage of persistent data helps B2B marketers tackle a corporate buying process that can take months or even years. No matter how long a company’s purchasing cycle, your campaigns are based on a complete record of your interactions with both individuals and accounts, going back to your first contact.
How Account-Based Marketing with a CDP Looks in Action
The first step in account-based marketing is to identify the right corporate account to target. Then you can identify likely decision makers within the account, and launch campaigns to reach each of those people with targeted campaigns. Let’s see how that process works with Treasure Data CDP.
Step 1: Identify the account
Let’s say an anonymous user is browsing your company’s website. Using a third-party vendor, the CDP identifies the IP address through account mapping and extracts the account information.
Step 2: Identify decision makers within the account
Working with another partner, Treasure Data then uses account mapping to determine who is part of the buying journey for your product or service and helps create demand units. Eventually, you’ve identified people from five different departments involved in buying decisions. Each of these committee members will have different viewpoints based on their personal data consumption.
Step 3: Build out profiles of each individual
Beginning with just a few pieces of information, the CDP builds out a profile of each person from your first-party data, while enriching it with data from outside sources.
The system can then extract useful information about each buyer’s intent from their behavioral and other data—such as their web browsing activity, mobile app usage, email correspondence, interactions with your digital ads, or communications with call centers.
Step 4: Create segmentation and targeted campaigns
Using the information and tools provided by the CDP, your company then targets each buyer within the account with a campaign tailored to that specific individual, not just a hypothetical persona. This may entail delivering personalized content, automating workflows and setting up event-based activation. When a user interacts with a particular piece of content, for instance, that behavior could trigger a targeted Google ad campaign.
Step 5: Use incoming data to optimize campaigns
Throughout this process, the different channels you are using send new signals back to your CDP, which it uses to generate new insights and update the customer’s profile. Marketers can then use that information to decide what steps to take next.
For example, you could evaluate whether a buyer took the action you wanted after viewing a piece of content—and if not, you could then mount a retargeting campaign aimed at that individual. The CDP can enrich each profile with third-party data, giving you a fuller picture of your buyers and helping you make better decisions over time.
So What Do B2B Marketers Need in a CDP?
For account-based marketing, it’s essential for a CDP to provide segmentation on multiple levels—by account, by individual, and by industry. That’s not a given with every solution on the market. In addition, here are some important factors to consider when shopping for an enterprise CDP.
Scalability: B2B companies have to work with relatively low volumes of data, since they have fewer customers than B2C companies. Nonetheless, scaling is vital for any type of sophisticated data analysis or processing.
Flexibility: A flexible CDP can easily connect with a wide range of outside systems and handle any type of data, from any source. Some vendors may offer CDPs that work well with their suite of products, but have difficulty integrating data from other systems without an add-on or workaround.
Extensibility: This means you can deploy useful new functionality quickly, rather than having to build components from scratch. For example, Treasure Data has a library of prebuilt extensions for B2B analytics, churn prediction, next-best-action recommendations, sentiment analysis, and many other CDP use cases.
Security: Any CDP should ensure the security and privacy of your customers’ data. For example, you may want to verify whether it complies with SOC 2 and ISO 2701 standards, encrypts all data and complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Financial stability: Once you’ve invested in a system, the last thing you need is to find yourself scrambling for a new solution because the vendor has suddenly closed up shop. That’s a risk with some CDP startups that have only limited funding.
To sum up, a CDP could give you the competitive edge you need to land that next big corporate customer. But enterprise CDPs are far from interchangeable, and some of them may be better suited to B2C than to B2B marketing—especially if you’re pursuing an account-based marketing strategy. So it pays to take your time, consider all your options, and see which one is truly right for your business.
To help you choose the CDP that will help you reach your ROI targets and sales strategy objectives, download our comprehensive CDP request for proposal (RFP) template.