New research by B2B marketing technology company Demandbase has found that financial services, manufacturing, and software and technology are the fastest-growing verticals in B2B online advertising.
According to the study, which analyzed the 2013 campaign strategies and spend of B2B marketers in more than 20 verticals, business marketers became savvy with online advertising through the use of audience segmentation and personalization. As a result, marketers said that refining their audience segmentation and personalization strategies is a top priority going into 2014.
“The key takeaway [from the report] is the importance of understanding your customers and leveraging that insight across all marketing campaigns,” said Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase, in an exclusive interview with CMO.com. “Segmentation and personalization are growing in all aspects of marketing, but they’re especially important for B2B.”
Demandbase found that the most common attributes used to segment and target audiences included industry and revenue, with some business marketers building a specific list of businesses from their own first-party CRM data.
The financial services industry saw a 144 percent increase year-over-year in online advertising in 2013. These companies were also the most likely to target audiences by revenue (82 percent), more so than any other attribute. Marketers from manufacturing companies were most likely to target companies based on industry (91 percent), yet this sector was the least likely to personalize ad creative and carry that personalization through to the Web site. Last, software and technology companies, which were early adopters of account-based marketing, were most likely to build out lists of preidentified companies to target.
Up until now, according to Golec, B2B marketers haven’t truly been able to take advantage of advertising technology to target their business audiences the way their B2C counterparts have.
“The ability to target and personalize ads can really change the game for both marketing and sales,” Golec said. “Based on what we saw in 2013, this will be the year when B2B marketers can move the needle with online advertising.”
Growth was, in large, part due to stronger adoption of account-based marketing and the increasing sophistication of tools available in the market today, Golec added.
“[My advice is] focus on your customers,” Golec told CMO.com. “Be sure you understand who they are, what’s important to them, and why your products and services can help them be more effective in their own businesses. More importantly, focus on the right customers. Marketing should be building audiences, especially with advertising, based on the accounts their sales team wants to target. Finally, it’s essential to be creative and personalize advertising to stand out and deliver the ultimate customer experience, from first touch to closed business.”