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B2B Marketing Analytics

What if you handed Christopher Coloumbus a GPS back in the 15th century? Well, initially, he’d probably accuse you of black magic. But eventually, the pioneer explorer would derive overwhelming value from such a device. Rather than relying on a compass, an astrolabe, and a quadrant to create vague (and often inaccurate) nautical charts, Mr. Columbus would unlock precise, data-driven insights into his current location, his target destination, and the optimal route to get there. Ultimately, our seafaring friend would devise a robust strategy, allocate his resources efficiently, and achieve his goals with maximum ROI and minimum cost. 

The impact of B2B marketing analytics on business is akin to the impact of a GPS for Christopher Coloumbus. It provides scientific, data-driven rigor to your marketing strategy and answers the question — “how are my marketing efforts currently performing and how can they be optimized to drive bottom line business objectives like pipeline and revenue?”

The following article covers B2B marketing analytics at a high-level. It also highlights a few valuable articles that cover detailed topics within the wide world of marketing analytics.

What is B2B marketing analytics?

Numbers don’t lie. And marketing analytics is all about numbers. It is a set of tools that grounds your marketing strategy by providing reliable context and direction to an otherwise intuition-based practice. Marketing analytics also delivers an unmatched capacity for personalization — empowering marketers to meet their audience where they want to be met and hand them content that they want handed to them.

In simple terms, B2B marketing analytics uses data to determine what’s working and what’s not. This could be across a specific ad campaign, email marketing efforts, web content, a particular lead persona or demographic, etc. In turn, marketers can do more of what’s working and optimize or cull what’s not working. As a result, marketing dollars are allocated efficiently to drive consistent, scaleable, and predictable growth. 

In other words, marketing analytics involves tracking, monitoring, and crunching data to gauge the performance of all your marketing efforts. It applies technology and data science to derive actionable insights into customer behavior and conversion trends. Ultimately, the objective of marketing analytics is to help marketing teams optimize their ROI. 

How does B2B marketing (+ analytics) differ from its B2C counterpart?

There’s a reason this article has made it a point to underscore B2B marketing analytics. The nature of B2B marketing renders B2B marketing analytics fat, far more pressing than its B2C counterpart. Here are a few reasons why…

Lengthy sales cycles:

It’s no secret that B2B sales cycles can be looooong — especially when compared to its B2C counterpart. A study by Implisit found that the benchmark length of the average B2B sales cycles was more than 3 months! (84 days for Lead -> Opportunity and 18 days for Opportunity -> Close). This duration can stretch to 6, 9, or even longer than 24 months based on the nature of the product or service in question. Accordingly, it’s in the best interest of B2B marketers to track and optimize these sales cycles (with marketing analytics) to ensure that leads who are well along the way to converting, don’t drop off as a result of MoFu or BoFu inadequacies after expensive, time-consuming investments at the top of the funnel. 

Several touch-points:

Not only are B2B Sales Cycles long — they’re thronged with convoluted touchpoints as well.  Unlike a common B2C/e-commerce customer journey — which may involve a quick google search and a skim through reviews and pricing before check-out, B2B customer journeys can be crowded and non-linear. By necessity, B2B marketers lay the path with blogs, white-papers, webinars, emails, social media interactions, ad campaigns, and more to capture audience attention. As a result, marketing analytics becomes all the more important to keep track of event, channel, campaign performance at a granular level. When you’re conducting so many marketing efforts simultaneously, it’s vital to measure what touchpoints are helping/hurting your end-objectives.

Multiple stakeholders:

When was the last time you employed a buying committee to help you purchase a new pair of shoes? Unlike B2C transactions, B2B deals, as a result of larger average contract values and several end-users, involve multiple (on average 6.8) stakeholders across different departments (Marketing, Sales, Finance, Engineering, etc) and positions (Manager, CXOs, VP, etc). Note that different strokes (or selling-points) work for different folks (buyer persona within the same account). As a result, it’s valuable to track and analyze behavior at an individual level AND an account level using B2B marketing analytics. For one, this will empower marketers to alter customer journeys and marketing efforts based on specific buyer personas. And secondly, it’ll provide focus to the types of leads or prospects teams should be going after for larger/better conversions.

There are a myriad of other reasons why B2B marketing analytics must be a prerequisite for B2B marketers. While B2B deals involve higher average contract values, the conversion rate is, by design, lower than in B2C. As a result, each lead is objectively worth more in a B2B setting. In turn, tracking, measuring, analyzing each lead is crucial. Additionally, there’s a massive disparity in the rate of content consumption between the B2B and B2C market. With sooooo much content across sooooo many different channels being floated around, marketing analytics helps gauge what content is actually contributing to customer conversions. 

And there you have it, a non-exhaustive run down of what B2B marketing analytics is and why it’s far more valuable (and necessary!) for B2B marketers as compared to traditional, B2C marketing analytics. 

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