B2B Data Gulch: Brands Lack Solid Acquisition Strategies

Most B2B marketers have a data acquisition strategy in place, but only 16% say it’s solid, according to The 2018 Database Strategies & Contact Acquisition Benchmark Survey, a new study by DemandGen, sponsored by DiscoveryOrg.

In contrast, 32% acknowledge that their program needs minor enhancement, and 43% say that it requires significant improvement. Another 9% have a data acquisition plan that doesn’t work at all -- and that figure is up from 3% in 2017.

But they are ambitious. Their goals include marketing to specific segments (68%), better targeting of key stakeholders within target accounts (55%) and improved outreach to total addressable markets (54%). Overall, 49% collect prospective buyer behavior.

But daunting challenges keep getting in the way: 

  • Data is old/outdated — 71%
  • Don’t have time/resources to implement an effective process — 62%
  • Don’t have a standard operation procedure for marketing/sales teams to keep data up to date — 57% 
  • Not enough data on current customers — 43% 
  • Data is siloed — 32% 
  • Legacy technology issues/limitations — 27% 
  • Other — 7%

Except for the contact name, which is utilized by 92%, the most widely used data field is the email address—91% cite it. Next is the name of the company, at 85%. 

In addition, 68% collect title and 47% the location of the company — i.e., the mailing address and country. 

More advanced marketers also use company size (23%), industry vertical (22%) and company revenue (16%). A mere 18% collect data on prospects’ specific needs and pain points. 

But brands would like to do more. For instance, 53% want to collect buying intent insights and 52% want the time frame for a buying decision. 

Another 41% would like to gather commentary on challenges and pain points and 33% on budget information.  Only 24% seek the direct phone number.

Fewer companies rely on clunky manual email validation to ensure accuracy — at 44%, down from 58% in 2017. And 45% use third-party tools for this task. 

Not that data accuracy is high on the priority list. Of those polled, only 14% scrub their data in real-time, while 10% do it daily, 6% do it weekly and 13% do so monthly. But 30% clean their data quarterly, and 27% are not sure. 

What kinds of third-party data services do they use? Here there’s a disconnect. 

The study shows that 47% utilize data append vendors, but only 36% say they’re very effective. Similarly, 47% patronize data enrichment vendors, but 40% believe they highly effective. 

Social media data is acquired by 22%, but only 16% rate it highly. And 29% use no third-party data.

DemandGen surveyed 129 B2B marketers, with most based in the U.S. 

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