Marketing technology stacks have been giving marketers headaches since the dawn of time (OK, maybe not that long … but it feels like it). The tools are too complex, too inaccurate, don’t integrate well, aren’t used enough, have too much overlap, and the list goes on.
And yet, experts predict that marketers will keep leaning into more complex marketing automation solutions and personalization tools. The catch? According to Forrester’s 2022 Predictions, 75% of these efforts won’t meet their return on investment goals.
The root of that stunning shortfall, analysts say, is a lack of insight into the prospective buyer. So while B2B marketers will try to get more tech-savvy, they’ll continue to waste money and fall into the same old trap if their data is not up to par.
The Good News: More Automation Means Personalization at Scale
Marketing automation solutions are nothing new, but they’re on the rise. According to a research report by MarketsandMarkets, the marketing automation sector is expected to grow by more than $4 billion over the next five years. So why now?
“Automation has always stayed true to its claim that you can write an ‘if this, then that’ statement,” says Hussam AlMukhtar, senior director of strategic growth and partnerships at ZoomInfo. “The difference now is that we have access to more insights than ever before.”
This means that the more nuanced marketers can get with their targeting, the more successful their marketing automation will be. For example, at ZoomInfo we have a tool called Workflows that automates marketing activities based on real-time data, which allows marketers to launch personalized outreach that captures target accounts based on website traffic and prospects’ buying signals.
A workflow may look something like this: When intent signals are identified for [ABM platforms], then select [buying committee] and export to [CRM] as [leads/contacts] and assign to [marketer or sales rep].
When automation platforms get buying signals from target accounts, they can trigger customized emails and display ads. With this technology, marketers can get extremely specific with the signals that trigger selected ads to specific target accounts, saving countless hours that would have been spent manually personalizing each touchpoint in the buyer’s journey.
“Without automation, you can waste a ton of time — and therefore money — uploading lists, picking which content to serve, and passing leads off to sales,” says Colin Chang, a marketing programs manager at ZoomInfo.
The beauty of automation is that it’s hard at work even when you’re off the job (including when you’re sleeping). But before you add more marketing automation solutions to your tech stack, make sure that you evaluate them holistically to ensure a new tool will integrate well with your existing platforms.
The Bad News: Automation is Worthless Without Great Data
Imagine trying to build a multi-story house with no foundation. Impossible, right? Now imagine trying to build a multi-story house with a failing or faulty foundation. Again, not a great idea.
Think of automation as your marketing house and data as the foundation. If your data is inaccurate — or you simply don’t have enough of it — you’re wasting money on a house that’s going to collapse.
“Not having enough data can be a bigger issue than having bad data. It’s why marketers don’t see ROI on personalization efforts,” AlMukhtar says.
Data enrichment tools can greatly improve your return on investment. For example, Enrich updates your data sets by cross-referencing ZoomInfo’s platform to fill in the gaps. If you only have a lead’s first name, last name, and company, Enrich can automatically fill in their job title, phone number, email address, and other firmographic and technographic data to complete the picture.
Let’s say you’re targeting ZoomInfo and you know that it’s a software company based in Vancouver, WA. That’s true, but if you know that ZoomInfo is a software company and a data broker and an intelligence platform and is publicly traded and has more than 500 salespeople across ten locations — you’re able to create a much more personalized message.
When you have strong data, you know exactly who to target and what to say — and that’s when you’ll start seeing ROI.
Invest in Robust, Data-Backed Tools
It’s inevitable: MarTech budgets are moving toward more automation and personalization. This has the potential to be game-changing for B2B marketers in the best way — but only if they prioritize accurate, high-quality data.
Software isn’t cheap. If you’re investing your MarTech budget in expensive marketing automation solutions without adequate buyer insights, you won’t see ROI. Rather than investing in lots of individual solutions, invest in a few robust tools that integrate well with your platform and are built with best-in-class data, such as intent data and in-depth buyer attributes.
This will make your automation solutions run smoothly and your salespeople happy. When paired with strong data, automation mitigates human error, reduces sales cycles, and results in targeted lists of killer leads.
If you take one thing away, let it be this: Invest in good data, and the rest will fall into place.