Infogroup CMO Tony Marlow has some advice for his peers: the only way to effectively target B2B audiences is to mirror the seamless, personalized shopping experiences that consumers have grown to crave.
A provider of data, analytics and marketing services based in Papillon, Nebraska, Infogroup announced the hiring of Marlow as well as four other senior executives less than three months ago. The appointments are part of a strategy to expand the firm’s digital solutions and services, the company said at the time. This includes as helping brands identify and reconcile new and existing sources of data, increase the performance of real-time decisions through AI modeling and deliver more robust cross-channel campaigns.
According to Marlow, Infogroup’s data and software as a service offerings should be more relevant to enterprises than ever given the increasingly consumer-oriented behavior of many B2B buyers outlined in a recent Forrester report.
“We live in a predictive world — just like an intuitive connection between twins, devices are auto-completing us,” Marlow told B2B News Network. “Your mobile device literally finishes sentences for you. Your online store knows what you want to buy. We need to take that same combination of machine learning and human expertise to ensure the data we have is clean and up to date, but use this predictive technology to turn our data into actionable intelligence.”
Clean data, along with the right marketing stack and associated technologies, is sometimes overlooked as organizations try to simply replicate the ease of use in B2C organizations, Marlow said. It’s a matter of also using information in a way to provide a similar level of personal, one-to-one kinds of messaging. Besides their own data, Infogroup also offers almost 2.5 billion B2B data points across an audience segment of almost 18 million businesses.
“A lot of marketers typically talk about audiences, but even within B2B scenarios, talking about it implies you’re grouping large numbers of entities together and treating them the same. We’re moving beyond that,” he said. “Business now don’t want to be treated the same as the business next door or the one on the stock exchange.”
Marlow said Infogroup is also interested in tapping to another consumer concern: the privacy issues associated with being part of social networks and other third parties. GDPR is one example of how the information B2B buyers give over to receive “free” content such as a white paper needs to be handled more carefully.
“In the same way consumers demand a value exchange when it comes to the services they use and the data it generates, you could argue the same is true in business environments,” he said.
As Infogroup evolves, Marlow said his marketing priorities will be about repositioning the firm as a provider of actionable intelligence based on a more granular look at prospective buyers.
“Persona-based marketing has often been along the lines of, ‘Let’s chase a title.’ Now we can customize based on what an individual knows, does, what their responsibility includes,” he said.
Infogroup also made headlines this summer when it won $53.6m in damages after a federal jury found its previous CEO, Vinod Gupta and his new company DatabaseUSA.com had stolen its intellectual property (IP) while deceptively implying that the two companies were linked.