“Decision Triggers” and “Pain Points” will make data a real business for b-to-b
July 25, 2012 - Business-to-business media sits on a potential goldmine of customer data and business intelligence. However, actually monetizing that data has proven tricky. The promise of lead generation quickly devolved into commoditization for many companies. Today, b-to-b companies are recrafting their approach to lead generation by offering business intelligence with quality, actionable insight into customer behavior.
Identifying “decision triggers” – the factors that push a customer into actually buying or taking action – as well as serving specific “pain points” for customers will be key for b-to-b media and business information companies trying to develop data as a business in the future, according to Tim Baskerville, director of HG Data Company, a leading supplier of targeted sales leads for vendors of enterprise technology. This week HG Data announced the HG Funnel program, which adds specialized business intelligence to leads collected through channels such as banner advertising, white papers, webinars and live event registration.
“Long-term, and I mean over the coming years, I think the trend will be beyond just specificity and more to predictive behavior,” Baskerville says. “We’ve heard from a number of major data companies who could sell more predictive information if they could get it. We’re working on that problem, and we hope within a year to have a solution that we can take to market. Right now as an industry we have enough data that is ‘nice to have.’ We need to move to the next level so that it is comprehensive enough and powerfully predictive enough so that it addresses a significant pain point. I’ve had a lot of ‘great ideas’ for media products over the years, but the only ones that amounted to anything were ones that customers associated with genuine pain. Just because you can build it, they won’t come. Once you measure their pain, and it’s real, you have a business.”
Previously, Baskerville was general manager of paid content with 1105 Media, and says the key for b-to-b media companies to expand their data offerings is moving beyond data dump to selective offerings. “You can’t take every obscure fact and turn it into a business,” he says. “Customers of b-to-b media companies want information about their marketplace, and often highly specific information. I see it as a continuum. A space ad in a print magazine isn’t as important as it once was because the response it generates is sometimes not measurable, and in other cases is measurable but not granular enough. Using vehicles like white papers on moderately-focused topics like ‘cloud computing’ adds a bit of specificity into the mix, but often not enough.”
That means taking specificity to a whole new level. One tech enterprise client for HD Data needed to address very narrow market-enterprise users in the U.S. that were using Solaris Servers versions 7, 8 or 9, but not versions 10 or 11. “That level of specificity isn’t generally available, at scale, through the marketing services infrastructure that b-to-b players have erected over the years,” says Baskerville. “Using our ‘Big Data’ analytics approach and trolling hundreds of millions of source documents, we were able to generate that prospect database and fulfill that order in two days. That’s the way the b-to-b world is evolving. Strategically, we’re hoping to partner with the market-facing brands that have deep customer relationships – some of them ABM members – and add an additional layer of specificity that will raise lead value through better targeting.”
By Matt Kinsman