How important has analytics become for successful B2B marketing? The DemandGen’s latest report – Marketing Technology: The Road Ahead for 2013. Challenges, Opportunities and Key Priorities for B2B Marketers – tries to answer this and other technology related questions on the table for the year ahead. B2B marketing automation burst on the scene in the not too distant past, with companies acquiring platforms like Eloqua and Marketo with little thought of how they might actually employ them in their marketing efforts. While at the time this might have been seen as premature, those acquisitions might finally be paying off in spades – or at least the potential is there.
The accumulation of massive amounts of data, affectionately known today as Big Data, is defined by Wikipedia as:
A collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. The challenges include capture, curation, storage, search, sharing, analysis, and visualization. Examples include web logs, RFID, sensor networks, social networks, social data (due to the social data revolution), Internet text and documents, Internet search indexing, call detail records, etc.
For B2B companies, a smaller definition for the purposes of marketing might be any of the information and analytics that they accumulate on prospects and customers from any number of sources, including social media, prospect interaction, outside appended sources, and website analytics. While it may seem daunting, this data can yield a treasure trove of information that can take marketing to the next level.
In the DemandGen report, Malcolm Friedberg, head of LeftBrain DGA, a marketing partner of ours sums it up best:
The application of technology is rebirthing marketing and, quite literally, shaking our discipline to its core. New expertise. New agencies. New approaches. Sure, some of the same skills still apply, but there’s a complementary set that’s now essential. And while brand may not be dead, it certainly has a new, left brain-focused partner in crime: marketing analytics.
The marketing analytics revolution promises to help B2B marketers achieve new levels of professional excellence. Yet this endless horizon also has the potential to derail a whole generation of marketers.
The proliferation of technology is expanding so rapidly that it’s impossible to keep up with every niche product. The best marketers won’t necessarily be the ones with the best strategy or most skillful execution. Success will hinge on something much more pragmatic: understanding technology and how to apply it.
In the midst of this growing challenge, however, one thing is absolutely assured: The requirement for analytics-based decision making is here to stay. No matter which set of tools marketers use, we must continue to embrace this new standard. The renaissance of marketing is about measurement, accountability and ROI. And marketers that become skillful at extracting marketing intelligence from this watershed of integrated data will become tomorrow’s marketing leaders.
For all those companies sitting on marketing automation solutions, the time is ripe to start using them. Dive into the data and make sense of the analytics. It’ll point the way to B2B marketing (automation) success.
You can get a copy of the DemandGen report by emailing Mark Evertz at LeftBrain DGA.
Chuck Swanson is Co-Founder of Digital C4 in Portland, Oregon. Chuck and his team help companies enhance their online brand and content visibility using proven SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Custom Content Creation and Blogging.