By Ben Goldman, Anteriad
B2C marketers aren’t the only group affected by a move away from third-party cookies. B2B marketers are perhaps more affected — their entire business model relies on accurate targeting and tailored messaging. With account-based marketing (ABM), the process is even more reliant on accurate targeting and measurement as B2B marketers use complex and sometimes siloed solutions to precise content for a group of stakeholders.
Privacy regulation and changes from Google and Apple to reduce the reliance on third-party cookies take away the ability for B2B marketers to use advertising channels for ABM — unless they use ID-based alternatives.
At the same time, B2B marketers have spent a lot of money in the past few years on demand generation and lead acquisition, especially as in-person events dried up. Now that the economy is tightening, they have an incentive to bring those leads and active deals successfully through the pipeline. This requires highly targeted marketing and advertising, something that ID-based targeting can help with.
To execute demand generation campaigns and then engage with key accounts via brand marketing efforts, you need a solution that can connect adtech and martech technologies. A new trend to use “Account IDs” is emerging because of the complications that can arise from connecting these two universes. Operating on a common Account ID is a smart approach, but it requires ID-based techniques and companies to really work together.
The Early-Stage ID-Based Advertising Trap
Right now, it’s critical for B2B marketers to take ID-based marketing seriously, and to take ownership of their ID data, strategy and measurement. Too often, that’s not happening. B2B marketers have historically relied on tech- and data-heavy partners for support. With fewer resources and smaller scale than their B2C counterparts, B2B marketers have benefitted from the economy of scale that comes from working with a partner.
However, when it comes to ID-based marketing, that can become a problem if B2B marketers aren’t careful. While third-party cookies were just that — third party— ID-based marketing uses first-party data. Only the B2B marketer should have total ownership and oversight of such an important asset. After spending so much on lead acquisition, B2B marketers should pick partners that can add value while giving B2B marketers control and avoid partners with black box solutions or limited flexibility.
Such partnerships reduce scale, measurement and visibility across channels, and minimize the number of data partners they can access, all while increasing the cost of activation on the campaign side. Interoperability is important to execute effectively improve and show ROI on previous marketing investments
Building A Solid ID-Based Core
No one expects a B2B marketing organization to suddenly gain new data analysis, technology and media expertise. However, there are some core elements that every B2B marketing team should prioritize in their move to ID-based marketing:
- Centralized data: A B2B brand with a data set about their core client and prospect group has a responsibility to manage, maintain and grow that data set. It is the most valuable asset they have. Prioritizing activities like data reconciliation, data hygiene and security will set the brand up for successful ID-based marketing with any number of different partners across channels.
- Measurement transparency: The “Account ID” approach to B2B marketing requires accurate performance and activity insights for a particular account across every channel and touchpoint. This approach requires total transparency and aggregated reporting.
- Interoperability: B2B brands need to be able to connect with a host of platforms, data partners and publishers to activate their ID-based marketing at scale. Platforms need to ensure that they are prepared for the future and make B2B account and professional identity a priority. Working with companies that prioritize open, interoperable technology across elements like data clean rooms, ID-graphs and reporting ensures that the B2B brand retains flexibility and can achieve true scale.
- Unbiased activation: From data partnership to media buying, B2B brands should have the ability to access the audiences they need and buy the inventory that is right for them at a fair price while also having the ability to analyze campaign data into a report that helps ABM marketers connect account wins with digital activation.
Taking Steps Toward Success
B2B marketers have another responsibility: To push platforms to recognize the particular needs they have across an account rather than just a specific individual. Account IDs require a specific type of ID-graph that knits individual IDs together into a more complex whole. DSPs, SSPs and other programmatic platforms need to have the infrastructure in place to not only enable Account-ID targeting but also reporting.
To make this work, B2B marketers need to underpin their Account ID strategy with individual or “professional” IDs that adhere to privacy regulations and other ID requirements. Here, too, platforms need to be able to work with B2B marketers to connect individuals (professionals) to an account strategy.
These steps might not be easy, but they are the foundational building blocks that will ensure that B2B marketers get what they need from ID-based marketing. With this in place, there will be amazing opportunities to move deals down the funnel and show return on demand and digital investments. Without these elements in place, B2B marketers lose scale, visibility and data ownership, and they pay more in the long run.
Ben Goldman is the SVP of product development at Anteriad, a full-funnel marketing solutions provider.