By Phil Parrish on March 6th, 2019
The Key to an Effective B2B Programmatic ABM Advertising Strategy
Business-to-business marketers have typically been slower to invest in programmatic advertising channels and data-driven marketing technologies than their B2C peers. Though B2B marketers are still playing catch up, many have started adopting programmatic ad tech and are looking for new ways to maximize its impact on the complex B2B sales cycle.
According to the research and business insights firm Dun & Bradstreet, 63% of B2B marketers are investing in programmatic, and 61% of those respondents expect to spend more in 2019.
What’s driving this growth?
The main appeal is that programmatic aligns well with account-based marketing (ABM) initiatives. With advancements in advertising technology over the past three years, B2B marketers can now leverage programmatic media channels to target specific business accounts, and the key decision makers within those accounts, to fuel demand generation, customer acquisition, and customer retention.
Furthermore, programmatic ad tech helps B2Bs automate the ad buying process while telling a story sequentially through the buyer’s journey. For example, B2Bs may target high value business prospects with a digital video, OTT ad, or display creative to generate awareness. Once the prospects have been exposed to the brand, the B2B marketer may follow up with a series of native ads with longer form content that provides more detailed information on the product or service offering. Lastly, once the high value prospects are engaged, the B2B marketer can serve retargeting ads to convert the prospect into a warm lead – or better yet – a paying customer.
According to eMarketer and Dun & Bradstreet, 48% of B2B marketers already have this type of ad personalization in place:
Now that B2B marketers are integrating advertising and marketing technologies to invest in programmatic channels, how can they improve audience targeting to lower cost-per-acquisition? How can B2B marketers develop a programmatic ABM strategy that’s an integral component of their marketing plan? Below we outline advanced programmatic ABM strategies in detail to help take your B2B advertising to the next level.
Activating First-party Data
The most powerful and actionable data you can leverage for programmatic advertising is the first-party data you already own in your CRM system. By activating this CRM data, you can target contacts and accounts you already have a relationship with online.
Examples of CRM data you can segment for audience targeting may include:
- Prospects who have submitted a lead form on your site
- Prospects who have downloaded a white paper or case study
- Prospects or customers who have opted-in to your email communications
- Prospects or customers who have attended your webinars or events
- Customers who are up for renewal
- Previous customers that are no longer paying for your products or services
When thinking of the various ways you can segment your CRM data, you can begin to see that CRM data onboarding and targeting provides an effective way for you to cross-sell, up-sell, retain, and reactivate your prospects and customers.
You may be thinking this sounds complex and difficult to execute, but CRM targeting is becoming a common tactic for enterprise B2B and B2C brands.
So how can you activate your first-party CRM data?
By partnering with a programmatic agency and leveraging an industry leading B2B marketing technology like LiveRamp, you can activate your offline CRM data in a secure environment that protects your confidential records. Here is what a typical CRM data onboarding workflow looks like:
- Send your PII-based offline customer data to PrograMetrix
- By leveraging LiveRamp’s technology, we “anonymize” the PII data and match the data to an anonymous, people-based ID
- Matched IDs are translated to web-based cookies, mobile IDs, and identity graphs
- PrograMetrix can distribute these matched audiences to over 500 platform partners for campaign activation across channels like programmatic display, mobile, video, OTT, search, and social.
By utilizing turn-key technology, these B2B people-based ID graphs result in higher match rates and device reach for professional contact lists, allowing you to find and reach more of the professional audiences you care about.
Below is a visual representation of the account-based data you can activate from your CRM system while targeting ads to the right decision makers at high value business accounts. In this example, we are helping a client target decision makers in the HR department at insurance companies:
It’s important to note that your PII CRM data is uploaded in a secure platform that is anonymously matched to internet cookies, device IDs, and identity graphs. When we turn the campaign on, we are not using your PII and we never see it through the process, which means your data is safe, secure, and private.
In addition to activating your CRM data, agencies and technology providers can tag your website, drop cookies on your web visitors’ browsers, and remarket these users once they leave your site to keep your brand top of mind. This is a more common example of leveraging first-party data.
Custom B2B Audience Types
As B2B marketers look to extend audience reach to net new prospects outside of the first-party data they own, many marketers are unaware of the custom B2B audience segments that are available from specialty programmatic data providers.
Below are the types of custom B2B audiences we activate for our clients:
- Firmographic Data – Firmographics are leveraged by B2B organizations to define market segments for sales and marketing alignment. These descriptive attributes are used to group individual firms together in meaningful audience segments. Examples of firmographic data includes:
- Company Size
- Annual Revenue
- Age of Company/Years in Business
Historically, LinkedIn has been a leading platform that provides accurate firmographic data for audience targeting. These data sets have now been extended beyond LinkedIn to the broader programmatic marketplace, which gives B2Bs marketers an opportunity to extend the reach of their firmographic campaigns.
- Technographic Data – Technographic data shows you the hardware, software, cloud services, and other sources of technology companies use to run their business. By knowing the technology products installed at your accounts, you can be more precise in your targeting and outreach which leads to faster conversion and close rates.
Technographic data can also be used to conquest against your competition. As an example, we’ve helped an HR software company develop a custom audience segment powered by technographic data to target business decision makers who are currently using a competitive HR software platform in an effort to persuade them to switch providers.
HG Data is the leading technographic data provider we utilize in many of the B2B campaigns we manage for our clients.
- B2B Intent – Marketers can now access data on companies that are actively researching specific products or services. By utilizing this data, B2B marketers can target ads to high value audiences who are in-market for the products and services they offer.
B2B intent data can be activated across programmatic display, mobile, video, OTT, digital audio, social, and paid search channels.
- Account Based Marketing & Professional Targeting – ABM capabilities help B2B marketers target employees at a specific list of companies.
Advanced ABM strategies help B2Bs target the right business decision makers at specific companies by leveraging professional data sets which include job titles, job functions, and seniority. You can think of ABM and professional targeting as taking the information on a professional’s business card to target her with engaging ads online.
Activating Third-party Data
Marketers can increase their addressable audience by expanding their first-party B2B audiences with third-party B2B data. Third-party data can be used to reach additional professionals at target accounts in your CRM, or to reach more decision makers and influencers at accounts you do not currently have in your CRM.
Today’s modern marketer needs a data management platform (DMP) to manage their first and third-party data. By leveraging our DMP, our clients are able to access data from over 80 providers and test those data segments against each other. Third-party data can be activated as a standalone tactic or combined with first-party data to extend audience reach.
Look-alike models can be developed from high indexing behavioral segments that produce clicks, engagement, and conversions on your campaigns. Look-alike modeling is a great way to increase targetable audiences for greater campaign fulfillment by leveraging online behaviors to identify new users who have not engaged with your brand before.
Below are some of the premier B2B data providers that we have forged deep relationships with:
- Bombora – the largest aggregator of B2B intent data, Bombora provides marketing and sales teams with insights about when their customers are actively in-market
- Ziff Davis – introduces technology buyers to a wide range of software and hardware providers who can meet their short and long-term requirements
- Dun & Bradstreet – D&B improves B2B programmatic advertising by providing access to over 300 million business records and maps that data to over 350 million cookies and mobile device IDs for audience targeting
As mentioned, modern marketing and advertising technology stacks were not designed for the B2B industry which has forced B2B marketers to play catch up with their B2C peers. So, while B2B marketers made some progress with the platforms and data available to them, none of it was optimized to meet the challenges of advertising to other businesses.
As advertising technology has evolved, we have developed a proven framework and forward-thinking B2B programmatic advertising strategy that helps our clients match data – like professional email, phone number, and connected devices – to target key business decision makers at high value accounts with precision. By activating first-party data and connecting it with the best sourced B2B third-party data, we help our clients build richer profiles of the audiences they care about, power smarter campaigns to convert them, and accurately measure the impact of their advertising.
Though increasing awareness, brand recall, traffic, leads, and purchases is a key focus of ours, we execute B2B programmatic ABM campaigns in a privacy-safe way for brands and agencies. By partnering with PrograMetrix, you get the highest standard of privacy compliance that stays up to date with the latest legislation, so your business and customers are protected.
To advance your B2B marketing and advertising strategy, you need the right team of experts at the keyboard to integrate the best ad technology while executing a forward-thinking strategy. If you are ready to take your B2B advertising to the next level, feel free to contact us to learn more.