Big data is consistently cited as one of the biggest opportunities available to B2B marketers in
the current landscape.
Big data refers to the increasing volume, velocity and complexity of data available. From a
marketing point of view a lot of this data is driven by increasing investment in digital marketing
activity, sophisticated CRM platforms and the growth of marketing automation. New tech
platforms and software are constantly being built and launched to help us track our target
audiences at every stage of the buying cycle so we as marketers are able to refine our
messaging to such a specific level that we know our target buyer’s next move before they do.
Though in theory this is a revolutionary development in the B2B marketing landscape providing
us with unprecedented insight, the reality of small marketing teams and limited budgets means
our people are often expected to perform multiple disciplines across the marketing spectrum
when in reality a lot of these tasks often won’t align with the individuals core skillset.
In an ideal world, a ‘perfect’ B2B marketing team would be made up of a combination of
visionary thinkers; strategists and planners; data savvy analytical individuals; wonderful creative
minds who can conceptualise and design and erudite, highly commercial content creators who
craft great stories and deliver them across a range of channels and mediums. But this isn’t an
ideal world, and often a person who excels in creativity and vision, may very well be expected to
deal with data analysis and organisation, or vice versa.
This isn’t a great use of talent, it isn’t the best way to maximise the return on your marketing
investment and it ultimately won’t bring your team or the business the results that are required.
So finding efficient strategies to structure your marketing team becomes critical. I’ve worked
with many clients who more and more look upon big data as a core part of their marketing
function and they’ve had to adapt their marketing structure and budget accordingly.
With a small core team, I’d always advise a combination of a strategic thinking visionary; a
creative thinker with good commercial knowledge and a specialised data strategist or analyst
who understands a variety of marketing tech platforms and knows how to capture and analyse
data that will support business critical marketing decision making.
There a few common mistakes when it comes to marketing teams and data. One is investment
in multiple platforms which can become expensive and hard to manage, with limited output
because the data doesn’t work together. Another is looking upon it like it’s an administrative
task, and therefore one that’s often given to junior members of the team. This is in fact the job
of a skilled data expert. This person needs to have the commercial understanding of your
marketplace, they need to understand how their role fuels marketing decision making and they
need to have the voice to influence strategy based on data.
Be very careful about the amount of technology you invest in. It’s very easy to get carried away
with the latest piece of tech that will offer x,y and z insight. But if your resources are stretched
keep it simple.
Work with a data led expert and work out which aspects of data are going to be critical to
marketing decision making and demonstrating ROI from activity. This might be a consultant, a
freelancer or someone you have in house. Identify which tech platforms you need to support
you, then make the implementation, management and data analysis the full responsibility of a
data expert with plenty of experience.
Data is extremely powerful, it’s readily available, but those who will succeed in using it for
competitive advantage are those who really take the time to understand how to get the most out
of the data at their finger-tips. A data strategist will have been involved, and they’ll continually
use full or part time experts to help them make the most of their data and ultimately increase the
business impact of marketing.
Data is one of B2B marketing’s biggest opportunities, but the way you resource this opportunity
is critical to whether or not it’s a successful tool in your organisation.
If you’re interested in talking more about data roles and candidates get in touch at