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Digital revenues skyrocket for B2B businesses

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Why we care about adtech: The complete guide

B2B firms saw their revenue from digital channels skyrocket in the past two years. These companies say 40% of their revenue now comes from digital channels compared to 28% two years ago, according to Salesforce’s State of Commerce report. That’s a reflection of increased digital order growth as B2B global same-site sales grew 95% over that period. 

Read next: How B2B marketers can activate first-party data in their CDP

Three levels. This is just the beginning of a transformation, according to the study, which divided firms by three levels of online competence: 

  • Leaders: 35%
  • Moderates: 55%
  • Laggards: 10%

While 31% of all B2B sellers say online channels provide more than half of all revenue today, 57% of leaders think digital will provide more than half of their revenue within the next two years.

Nearly all (97%) digital leaders and moderates (91%) expect buyers to place larger, more complex orders online in the next two years, compared to only 62% of digital laggards. Companies are also prioritizing going direct to customers, with 54% of B2B organizations already selling directly through their websites.


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Experience counts. With 91% of B2B buyers saying purchase experience is as important as products or services, vendors are having to improve their online performance. One way is with marketplace platforms directly connecting buyers and sellers: 33% say launching a marketplace is a priority over the next two years. 

Further, B2B companies are responding to the same changes in consumer preferences hitting B2C. When picking between brands, 54% of business buyers prioritize convenience. So, business sellers are adopting flexible fulfillment. 51% of B2B buyers report using curbside pickup more than they did one year ago and 55% expect to be using options like buy-online-pick-up-in-store and fast shipping more within the next three years.

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The effect on sales. Across the board, 64% of all B2B sellers reported digital commerce increasing sales team productivity. The companies most likely to report this benefit are digital moderates (70%) and laggards (60%).

Also, 60% of companies say digital commerce improves sales team members’ job satisfaction, with digital leaders 1.4 times more likely than laggards to report this benefit. Similarly, 75% of digital leaders say digital commerce has improved customer satisfaction. B2B companies are also seeing improvement in sales and service relationships: 53% of organizations report this as a benefit overall, although leaders (54%) and moderates (56%) are more likely to agree.

Why we care. B2B and B2C marketing and customer behavior have long been considered entirely separate things. The shift online, driven by pandemic-related behavior changes, is altering that. Hopefully, B2B marketers will be able to learn from what B2C has gone through and not re-invent all those wheels.


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About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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How clean, organized and actionable is your data?

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90% of marketers say their CDP doesn't meet current business needs

A customer data platform (CDP) centralizes an organization’s customer data, providing a single 360-view of each consumer that engages with the company. Yet there are still data-related considerations that organizations have to make beyond what the CDP does.

“[CDPs] were designed to fill a need – to enable a marketer to easily get to the data they need to create their segmentation and then go on and mark it from that point,” said George Corugedo, CTO of data management company Redpoint Global, at The MarTech Conference. “But the issue is that CDPs really don’t take care of the quality aspects of the data.”

Maintaining data quality also impacts segmentation, campaigns and privacy compliance challenges for marketing teams that use this data.

Data quality

The data in a CDP depends on the quality of where it came from. Therefore, an organization using a CDP must also consider the quality of the data sources and reference files used to build out the CDP.

“The inevitable question is going to be, how good is this data?” said Corugedo. “How much can I trust it to make a bold decision?”

This is something that has to be on every organization’s radar. For instance, when identity resolution is used, the issue depends on the quality of the third-party reference files. If they are provided by a telecommunications company or credit bureau as the data partner, those files might only be updated quarterly.

“It’s just not an optimal solution, but every single CDP on the market uses some form of reference file,” Corugedo stated.

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It’s up to the data scientists and other team members working within the organization to own the accuracy of these data sources.

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Read next: What is a CDP?

Segmentation and other actions

The quality of the data using specific reference files and sources will vary and will impact the confidence that marketers have in creating segments and using them when deploying campaigns.

Marketers have to make this decision at a granular level, based on the trustworthiness of data from a particular lineage.

“If they have a campaign that is reliant on suspect data, they can actually delay that campaign and say maybe we wait until that data gets refreshed,” said Corugedo.

Otherwise, marketers are just “spraying and praying.”

Using rules instead of lists

The advantage of having a CDP is unification of all data. But the data is being updated all the time. Instead of deploying campaigns based on a fixed list of customers, the use of rules to define segments allows marketers to update who they engage in the campaign.

“A list, as soon as it’s detached from the database, starts to decay because it doesn’t get any updates anymore,” Corugedo, adding that using lists takes longer to execute a campaign.

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Lower quality from data that isn’t updated can have serious implications for healthcare and other industries, where accuracy is essential. 

“Instead, rules are passed through the campaign just like they would be with a list, but those rules reevaluate every time there’s a decision point to make sure that only the qualified people get the particular content at that point,” Corugedo explained.


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Privacy and regulatory compliance

Maintaining data quality through a Redpoint Global dashboard, or a similar combination of tools and data personnel, will also help an organization manage privacy.

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The crucial point is that people on the team know where the data came from and how it’s being used in campaigns. The stakes for sending out relevant messaging are high. Privacy and compliance issues raise the bar even higher.

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If you’re using a CDP, you can save headaches and extra labor by using a tool that has compliance and privacy baked in, so to speak.

“What we’ve done is embrace some of this complexity and absorb it into the environment, so the marketer never even sees it,” said Corugedo. “What we do is with every implementation, we will implement a PII vault that keeps PII data super secure, and we can anonymize the marketing database.”

This way, personal information of individual customers (PII) is never violated.

“Marketers ultimately don’t necessarily need to have visibility to PII,” Corugedo explained “They like to see it for testing purposes and making sure that it looks right and everything, but the truth is we can do that in other ways without revealing PII.”

Having a handle on data quality adds to the confidence marketing teams have in creating segments and executing campaigns, and it can also help protect the customer’s privacy and guard against regulatory infringements.

Facts not fiction: Beyond the CDP from Third Door Media on Vimeo.

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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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