Data is today’s marketing currency. We harvest it wherever we can – via paid, owned and earned media. And this harvesting is facilitated by numerous tech and services providers: known-data appending plug-ins like Dun & Bradstreet and Social123; anonymous data marketplaces such as (Oracle) BlueKai; and currently the hottest of the data sources, predictive analytics providers such as Lattice Engines and 6Sense.
But what’s almost always neglected in the marketing data discourse: the media companies that have been generating traffic, prospects and customers for marketing clients for years.
Marketers shouldn’t neglect these sources and their evolving capabilities. Top-tier media companies aren’t the “lead-gen sources” of old – they’re the “data-gen providers” of tomorrow.
We’re slowly seeing B2B media companies evolve. They’re leveraging new technologies and long-held expertise to grow into sophisticated data repositories for their clients. This is great news for marketers.
The optimism stems from the wealth of data types available today – big, small, prospect, intent, behavior and account intelligence. And, it appears more is on the way.
Having spent a chunk of my career working within a B2B media company, and now both partnering with and serving these organizations as customers, I can say the definition of "media company" is clearly changing. This includes traditional web and print publishers, digital lead-generation providers, and advertising technology companies offering solutions to better deliver audience and leads.
These shifts are part survival and part opportunity. It’s survival in that media companies are shedding expensive print and eyeball-generating web operations. And opportunity in that they’re emerging as data-source experts to serve marketers’ seemingly endless appetite for highly specific customer and prospect information.
Behind closed doors, media executives are debating and plotting to answer one question: “What’s the core business we’ll be in a year from now?” The consensus – DATA marketing solutions.
To make this a reality, media executives are NOT JUST thinking about traffic, impressions or lead generation. Progressive, next-generation media organizations are investing to deliver high-quality prospect and performance (e.g., content performance) data to their marketing customers. All this to arm marketers with intelligent prospect info and marketing intelligence to put their marketing technology systems and content to work – to create new customers.
Data as the New Media AND Marketing Currency
B2B media executives are still in the thick of it, but they also understand “monetizing traffic” or trying to squeeze “every ounce out of their databases” isn’t a long-term success formula. Rather, new-era media companies realize that data is the invaluable asset they can provide to their paying marketing customers.
Data that informs how and with what to capture prospect interest. Media companies use this data in concert with both their own content and their customers’ marketing assets.
Just as importantly, they wield data about their visitors, subscribers, and attendees, that can be packaged and made actionable for marketers’ demand generation and customer acquisition efforts.
Let’s dive deeper into a few types of emerging data sets that are becoming the lifeblood for progressive media companies to better serve their customers. We'll discuss what BOTH media companies and the marketers they serve can do about it.
Behavioral Prospect Data to Signal Intent
Based on a user’s behaviors, media companies have a unique grasp on what buyers or targeted companies may be interested in. Using data science, this intent-based data can be collected and shared about an individual’s online activities. Most importantly, specific areas of content interest can also be gathered, which often signals research around an upcoming purchase. The media company can also provide precise, additional targeting by serving ads or emailing offers, for example.
Marketers use this data to score leads based on specific activity and increased interactions. They can also prioritize and fast track the best opportunities immediately by nurturing prospects in a more targeted program or sending to sales for immediate follow-up.
Company Content Consumption Data for Account-Based Marketing
Account-Based Marketing is all the rage today, and for good reason. The focus is on the ability to identify and target specific companies that B2B marketers and sales chiefs have earmarked as ideal prospects for their product or service.
Media companies use digital tactics, demand generation, and data solutions to help marketers identify purchasing intent with a specific list of target companies. Using company IP addresses and domain intelligence, for example, they can share this activity data when target companies (“accounts”) are viewing or engaging with their content and retarget them immediately with additional information and offers.
The media company transformation to "data-gen providers" is still in its early stages. They’re just starting to team up with marketers to use data science for advanced targeting and sophisticated data generation. So, what can marketers do to tap into the wealth of prospect and customer data intelligence?
Do your homework: Get underneath the hood of your media and ad-tech providers to understand what type of technologies and data systems are in use and what data types and formats are available.
Test and test again: Very likely you won’t get it right the first time. Continue testing and figure out the data approach that’s going to up your game in marketing and customer acquisition.
Build your data plan: Since you already have buckets of data within your own marketing tech systems, devise a holistic plan that integrates your first-party data and your media partners’ data to create intelligent targeting and engagement.
Partner up: Don’t settle for out-of-the-box data services. Media companies are experimenting with all kinds of new data products. Be the marketing pro who shapes the new offering to gain a first-mover, competitive advantage.
For both traditional and new-era media companies and the marketers they serve, data intelligence represents a significant opportunity. It’s not a matter of if prospect data and intelligence will be available and put to work – it’s a matter of when. Don’t be caught flat-footed. It’s time to partner up with data-gen media companies.