In the world of B2B marketing, we know online consumer data is extremely important. Data-driven analysis is simply best practice across all verticals. Buzzwords like ‘big data’ and ‘consumer metrics’ have become ubiquitous, burrowing their way into the hundreds of blog posts and white papers we read regularly. But surprisingly, a significant number of B2B marketers have yet to develop concrete strategies to reveal, leverage and implement the powerful insights hiding just beneath the surface of these data sets.
As B2B marketers, we should all be asking ourselves if our lead generation tactics are based on fact or if they are just educated guesses. Let’s explore some basics that can unlock the potential of your consumer behavior data.
Is data a driving force behind my decisions?
Let’s say you’ve created a budget for digital advertising in the fourth quarter. Where will you channel these funds? The specific tactics adopted by B2B marketers often reflect their level of insight into their target demographic.
As an example, let’s consider generic ad retargeting. It’s fairly simple to implement a system by which website visitors can be served online ads related to your business. But, if you can determine whether or not visitors are high-value prospects, those likely to convert as opposed to a casual window shopper, or at what stage of the sales cycle the visitor is in, generic ads can quickly be transformed. The ads become personalized, timely content that directly reflects the current behavior of the prospect.
Without this all-important data, the process of ad creation and targeting is a guessing game. There’s virtually no way to know with certainty that an ad will reach the right person if the right customer has yet to be identified.
Now that you know you need customer data for decision-making, you may ask what information you can expect to gain through analysis of customer behavior data?
There is an enormous amount of information to be gleaned from the various analytical tools available to B2B marketers. These tools deliver astonishing perspective into the interests, motivations and current objectives of prospective buyers.
We can define the development of visitor-specific online assessments as lead scoring. Think of lead scoring as a form of behavioral segmentation, in which potential buyers are organized into specific groups based on their documented on-page behaviors. Lead scoring provides a general understanding of how likely an audience member is to convert based upon information such as:
- The number of repeat visits
- The type of content viewed such as service offerings, contact information, downloadable whitepapers or eBooks
- Time on page
Ultimately, the process of lead scoring empowers B2B marketers with an understanding of the best methods to communicate with online visitors given their assessed position within the sales cycle. Although there are several methods for customer segmentation, behavioral analysis is an excellent way for B2B marketers to develop a comprehensive suite of tactics to use to woo future customers traveling to and from the website. I recommend behavioral analysis because it’s not rocket science, meaning any B2B marketer can learn the tools of the trade quickly, and it’s incredibly efficient and effective.
Now that we know the kind of insights to be gained through the analysis of customer data, how does this information help guide prospective customers towards my services?
An understanding of customer behavior data allows you to anticipate customer needs. You can then prepare ads and e-mail messages that reflect their current interests and expectations. For example, if a visitor returns to your website multiple times to view and download whitepapers and case studies, you can target them with ads offering live consultations, product demos and introductory webinars. If visitor navigates to your ‘Contact Us’ page multiple times, you can target them with ads offering a complimentary consultation with a salesperson. In both scenarios, the behaviors of the online audience member have directly determined the ad content they see.
As B2B marketers hone in on the type of content delivered to prospective customers, can consumer behavior data save money on their digital ad spend?
The answer is a resounding yes. A thorough analysis of consumer behavior data through lead scoring can separate likely buyers from dead-end visitors. With this knowledge, you can carefully select who is receiving targeted ads. Instead of adopting a generic, all-in approach to retargeting, you can significantly reduce your advertising budget and improve ROI by developing powerful connections with those who have already demonstrated a willingness to enter your sales funnel.
In the end, you may ask, how do I know that lead scoring based on customer behavior data is working?
It is unrealistic to expect that changes made to your advertising tactics will produce an immediate sales boost. After all, the B2B sales cycle is significantly more complex and slow-paced than B2C direct response campaigns. Instead of examining sales figures as a measure of ROI, it’s important to investigate each sector of your sales funnel, devoting equal attention to fresh prospects as well as recently converted customers to identify changes related to your customer behavior analysis.
Those who deploy effective lead scoring tactics reinforced by customer behavior data will likely experience increased activity in all sectors of the sales funnel and, in the best of scenarios, faster transitions from new prospect status to a successful conversion. By providing compelling content to prospective clients derived from their actions online, your advertising campaign will effectively function as a helping hand, guiding them into and through your sales funnel while simultaneously offering a degree of personalization. This will decrease the likelihood that your customers won’t be poached by competitors.
The More You Know, the Better
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