The results of Dun & Bradstreet's sixth annual report on B2B marketing data is out, and the results are show great ignorance. Generally speaking, the bottom line is that B2B marketers know that data is key, but they aren't exactly sure as to how to make sense of the data.
For starters, 38 percent of the of the 250 B2B marketing professionals that were surveyed as part of this comprehensive report acknowledged that Account Based Marketing or ABM is an integral part of their marketing strategy. However, of this same subset of marketing professionals, the vast majority – 88 percent – acknowledge that having high-quality data is absolutely essential to having success with ABM.
The main issue, however, is that of all 250 professionals surveyed, half expressed that they had serious doubts as to the quality of their B2B marketing data overall. Only six percent of the marketing pros surveyed who are not currently implementing ABM plan on doing so in the near future (within 6 months). This reluctance to adopt ABM as a marketing strategy is due first and foremost to this lack of confidence in the data.
ABM in the B2B Space
As if it wasn't already completely evident, the old inbound-centric marketing model is completely anachronistic at this point. Instead, marketers are realizing that they have to identify potential clients and then pursue them enthusiastically with personalized content and marketing materials.
This is the case in the B2B world, just as it is in the B2C world. But there is one crucial difference: whereas businesses looking to entice consumers are principally concerned with demographics, businesses that deal with other businesses need to carefully examine firmographics.
Thus, firmographics are to B2B what demographics are to B2C, and all marketing professionals agree that data is important. Nonetheless, only half of respondents in the Dun & Bradstreet report do not feel that the data regarding firmographics is accurate. Then there are those who feel that this data is dubious. According to the report, a mere 11 percent of the marketing professionals surveyed feel that the data is trustworthy.
Marketers are at a Crossroads
Dun & Bradstreet's Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Josh Mueller acknowledges that B2B companies are at an impasse. In his own words, “They overwhelmingly understand the value of data to their organizations, but have not yet figured out how to collect, integrate and apply that data in insightful ways to help make business decisions.”
“I was surprised at the significant gap between what marketing leaders are saying and what many are actually doing—or not doing. [The majority] of respondents acknowledge that great data quality is critical for improved performance, but many have not taken the steps required to ensure they have great data quality. Because of that, omnichannel marketing, account-based marketing, and personalization are simply buzzwords for many [B2B] organizations instead of an integral part of their marketing strategy.”
Marketers Are Unclear as to How to Turn Data into Insight
The fact of the matter is that, just like everyone else, B2B marketing professionals are simply overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data. They are keenly aware that they need to be able to parse out useful firmographics from this overabundance of data, but they are only now just taking the first steps towards figuring out how to do this.
For B2B enterprises to be able to compete moving forward, they must be committed to improving the quality of their data.