Third-party Data Is Only Part of the B2B Story

Recently, one of my esteemed colleagues spoke at an event, poking fun at how “third-party data is so three years ago.” Although I agree with said colleague to some degree, third-party data acquisition is still an integral component of a B2B marketing story. But with the changing trends of B2B buyers, third-party data is only part of a required framework for a B2B brand to be successful for today’s always-on consumer.

So what are these trends?

B2B online buying will surpass B2C by 2020

Forrester expects the US B2B e-commerce market to be twice the size of the US B2C e-commerce market by 2020. This is an opportunity worth $1 trillion. As the buying landscape shifts to more digital purchases and behavior, B2B brands need to think about their data-driven marketing practices now—or expect to incur costs to update their systems in the future. From a DMP perspective, matching profiles with third-party data will continue to be important to extend first-party audiences for B2B companies. However, a marketing stack that integrates seamlessly with site-side targeting, content management systems, CRM, second-party partnerships, and robust analytics tools today will provide a solid foundation to prepare enterprises to capitalize on the revenue opportunity ahead of us. And just for some perspective, the $1 trillion figure is US-only.

Millennials are shifting the buying landscape

Our friends at Google (yes, I said friends) recently did a study on the changing landscape of B2B marketing. We all know that Google has oodles of data, so we can safely assume their data set is statistically significant. One key insight I found interesting was the shift in B2B buyers over the past two years, from 2012 to 2014: 18- to 34-year-olds accounted for almost half of all researchers, an increase of 70%. As this generation becomes more responsible for B2B buying decisions, enterprises need to think about cross-device targeting, identity management, and marketing across screens. This is a generation that has never seen a VCR, let alone lived life without a mobile device. The keywords in this DMP strategy are “deterministic” or “probabilistic ID management.” Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out this webinar.

Second-party partnerships will drive value and revenue streams

Adobe’s Audience Manager’s Audience Marketplace will provide B2B companies with access to a private marketplace where companies can choose from millions of segments with unique B2B traits from top data providers such and Dun and Bradstreet, 33Across, Demandbase, and Bombara (formerly Madison Logic). Once this third-party data is integrated with a B2B’s segments, the opportunities for second-party partnerships will also be simpler. However, second-party data partnerships can be facilitated TODAY with Audience Manager. Don’t just take my word on the value and opportunity here—see what Joanna O’Connell from AdExchanger had to say about the second-party data opportunity back in 2014.

DMP, audience management, or both?

It seems as though DMPs are sprouting everywhere; however, B2B companies should closely examine all use cases required to organize, segment, and activate data. One use case does not fit all, and some DMPs are truly just audience management “capabilities.” Yes, I get that I may be a little biased, but hear me out on this one. I still encourage marketers to really read between the lines when looking into a DMP for your enterprise. Here are the key questions to ask:

If all of this made your head spin, you’re not alone. Grab a cup of coffee and get up to speed on DMPs with this DMP Buying Guide. But if you’re in the lead of a B2B organization, start investing now in your data-driven strategy, whether it’s with third-party data or beyond.