Understanding the Potential of Digital Marketing for Advanced Targeting

Potential of Digital Marketing for Advanced Targeting

It’s 2020, so savvy business-to-business (B2B) marketers need to stop acting like it’s 1980. That may sound obvious, but you would be surprised at how old habits die hard in the marketing world. If you’re still creating a one size fits all message and blasting it out to a large, unsegmented audience, you’re missing out on the most effective marketing technologies the world has ever seen.

Digital Marketing

Corporate marketing has gone digital. Buyers of your product or service search for you online. They see and respond to ads on websites. Lead generation is digital. Prospects will share their email addresses with you if they are interested in your content. Lead nurturing takes place through email. Social media connections, such as those available on LinkedIn, help establish trust and fuel the building of sustainable relationships.

The digital universe makes possible a number of innovations in marketing. In addition to the basic connection points like email and the web, digital marketing can leverage data and analytics—along with advanced marketing tools—to drive far superior marketing and sales outcomes. Account-based marketing (ABM) and hyper-targeted marketing are two of the most prominent examples.

Account Based Marketing

ABM refers to a process, and related technologies, that enable sales teams to target the right people within a specific account. If you’ve ever been involved in selling into a major account like a Fortune 500 company, you will understand the challenges ABM helps you overcome. Using data, an ABM solution lets the sales team identify exactly the right person, or people, who will buy your product inside a large account.

Consider the following example: You sell WiFi routers, but you aren’t completely sure whom to call at a big company. According to LinkedIn, the company has 1,400 people in its IT department! ABM probes the account data to reveal the people who might buy WiFi routers. It does this by looking at job titles and related data points like content they’ve authored. A prospect inside the account might have just tweeted a review of a WiFi router. Bingo! That’s your person. Plus, the ABM tool can help you figure out whom he or she reports to, and so forth.

Hyper-targeted Marketing

Hyper-targeting is a comparable practice to ABM, but it’s used in a broader context. In contrast to mass targeting, where you share the same message to a large audience, hyper targeting involves sharing customized or even personalized messages with small, selective audiences. For example, let’s say you sell software that runs on Microsoft Azure. You wouldn’t want to waste time and money reaching out to people who are on Amazon, right?

Then, you can use data analytics to dig deeper into the profiles of potential buyers to get a strong match between who they are, what they need and what you sell. You can reach out with a message that seems as if it were crafted just for them. The response will likely be a lot better than if you go with a generic, mass targeting approach.

Another example, let’s say you sell a tech stack like an ERP system or accounting software. You wouldn’t want to waste time and money reaching out to people who are not in the market for this type of solution, right?

Then, you can use data analytics to dig deeper into the profiles of potential buyers to get a strong match between who they are, what they need and what you sell. If you sell ERP, then you can probably find people with the term “ERP” in their titles. Those are your targets. You can reach out with a message that seems as if it were crafted just for them. People respond well to communications that fit their needs and pain points. So, if you’re targeting ERP buyers in the EU, you will get better engagement with a message like “Comply with EU privacy laws using our ERP solution” than you will with a generic, mass targeting message like “Free ERP trial.”

If you’re not using digital marketing, ABM and hypertargeting in your B2B campaigns, it’s time to start.

About the Author

Hugh Taylor is a technology marketing consultant and former executive at Microsoft and IBM. He is the author of “B2B Technology Marketing” and the editor of Journal of Cyber Policy.

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