Demandbase Audience Management Destinations

ABX Platform Demandbase released one of its “largest product launches of the year”: Audience Management Destinations.  While the firm has long supported B2B Campaigns via display advertising and LinkedIn channels, Audience Management Destinations extends its reach into consumer platforms and social advertising.

“B2B buyers are people, too, and B2B marketers can and should be advertising on those channels,” said Demandbase CMO Jon Miller.

New advertising channels include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Bing, and Adobe Audience Manager.  Additional services will be rolled out next year.

Demandbase does not store Personally Identifiable Information (PII), so its social outreach is GDPR and CCPA compliant.  Instead, Demandbase leverages LiveRamp’s identity resolution, an opted-in identifier system that matches individual identifiers across platforms.

Demandbase also expanded its integration with LinkedIn.  Previously, it only supported account-level targeting on LinkedIn, but now marketers can target at either the account or person level.

Demandbase Targeting

Marketers will build audiences using a set of selectors that include first-party data, third-party data, intent, technographics, and activities. (See the image on the right).  They can then activate campaigns to their targeted buyers across the business and social web.

“This will allow a highly consistent customer experience across social networks and other platforms,” explained Miller on LinkedIn.  In addition, the new release expands marketing’s outreach and orchestration across a broader set of channels “using the account intelligence and the Demandbase One platform.”

“We’re constantly learning about how the B2B buyer thinks and acts, and this new account-based social targeting functionality plays a role in reaching buyers more holistically,” said Miller. “By viewing the buyer not just as someone within a target account or in a buying committee, we recognize that buyers are individuals, too.  This mindset shift — and the corresponding ability to engage with them as such across business and social platforms — gives our customers yet another advantage in today’s B2B go-to-market landscape.”

Demandbase claims that it is the only system that runs both “people and account-based plays from one system.”  Marketers can target specific audiences and “then automatically apply the most effective sales and marketing tactics to advance the account in its journey, across every touchpoint, and with the most relevant messages.”

Demandbase augmented its company and contact intelligence in April with the acquisitions of InsideView and DemandMatrix.  The two firms supplemented Demandbase’s firmographics, contacts, and technographics and provided Demandbase with a set of sales intelligence, B2B DaaS, and ICP/TAM tools. 

Demandbase supports its own intent data along with partner datasets from Bombora and G2.  TrustRadius is coming soon.

“Demandbase’s solutions are stronger in certain areas and helps drive top of the funnel engagement or audience targeting, while InsideView has been more focused on bottom of the funnel data.  We realized the two companies are quite complimentary and we could combine our customers to offer a much more complete solution to all of them.  Today we have an integrated top of the funnel to bottom of the funnel marketing and sales data provision to allow customers to look at the full funnel and identify a more appropriate addressable market, including what kind of technologies those companies use.”

InsideView CEO Umberto Milletti to MarTech Series this week

The three companies combined to create a four-cloud solution that supports Advertising, ABX Marketing, Sales Intelligence, and Data.

“What’s exciting about this is the ability to provide all of this to customers as one solution,” continued Milletti.  “We have done a lot of work since the merger was completed to combine all of our technologies and go to our customers with information on how much more we can do for them.”

Demandbase combined its Demandbase One platform with InsideView and DemandMatrix to support four clouds.

What Is Intent Data?

Bombora Intent Data Collection Model
Bombora Intent Data Collection Model

I am beginning a monthly series entitled What Is where I provide an overview of one of the underlying sales and marketing intelligence technologies or processes being deployed at B2B firms.  I will begin with Intent Data.

Intent Data is one of the three informational elements of B2B Lead scoring (the other two are Fit and Opportunity).  Intent data consists of first, second, and third-party elements and identifies when companies are actively researching specific product categories.  First-party data is captured in your marketing automation systems and web logs.  Typical first-party intent data includes

  • Web Logs
  • Webform Submissions
  • Email Clicks
  • Downloads
  • Page Views
  • Webinar Attendance
  • Trade Show Booth Visits

In short, if somebody is viewing your website, reading your collateral, meeting with you at a tradeshow booth, or attending your webinars, then he or she is displaying purchase intent.  Of course, not everybody doing so is a potential purchaser, but a high percentage of individuals digitally interacting with your firm are somewhere in the buyer’s journey for your products and services.

“The case for intent data is clear. If only 3 percent of the potential buyers for any given product or service are in the market at any given time (while 40 percent are poised to begin and 56 percent aren’t interested), identifying and focusing on those buyers, and those close behind them, is the key to efficiency and effectiveness in revenue growth. That’s been the Holy Grail of marketing and sales for years. After all, how many times have you heard a sales rep say, ‘If I’m sitting at the table, I win more than my fair share of deals. Just get me to the table!’

That’s the promise of intent data. And practice shows it’s more than just a theory. Fifty-percent increase in close rates and an 82 percent reduction in sell-cycle have been attained.”

Buying Guide: From the Black Box to Revenue Metrics – Translating Buzz into Results,” IntentData.io.

Unfortunately, intent data is often anonymous.  Unless the individual submits a web form, you are most likely limited to an IP address.  As B2B visitors are usually accessing your platform from a corporate IP address, it is possible to tie the IP address to the company and at least associate the activity with a company.  Companies such as DemandBase, Bombora, KickFire, Clearbit, IntentData.io, Zoominfo, and Dun & Bradstreet offer Visitor Intelligence services to map IP addresses to companies.  Along with the company name, they enrich the visitor intelligence with firmographics such as location, size, and industry. Some vendors include technographics as well.

Real-time visitor intelligence can assist with the user experience. By providing immediate firmographics, websites can be immediately customized based upon size, location, or industry.

As visitor intelligence is beginning to feed chatbots, it is possible to prioritize customer support and sales queries. As bots become more intelligent, they will digest the firmographics and customize the conversation. Likewise, ABM customers and prospects can be given priority over non-targeted prospects. If these teams are verticalized, chats can be routed to specialized teams.

External third-party intent data is provided by vendors such as Bombora, The Big Willow, and True Influence.  External intent data is gathered from B2B Media websites that evaluate topics of interest across their network and determine which topics are of interest to companies.  Interest is gauged by articles viewed, white papers downloaded, searches performed, case studies read, etc.  Generally, each company is baselined by topic with interest determined with respect to the baseline.  A surge of interest takes place when short-term interest in a topic is well above the baseline for the company.  Intent data is generally delivered as a numeric score by topic with companies licensing the topics of interest.  As intent is determined at the corporate level, it works best in lead scoring. One limitation of third-party data is you don’t know which individuals are researching specific topics, but this ensures that the data is GDPR- compliant.

TechTarget Priority Engine provides technology-specific second-party intent at the individual level along with contact information, buying stage (early or late based upon content viewed and downloaded), and key influencers (companies of interest).  TechTarget is focused on Technology topics across its 140 media sites and its BrightTALK webinars and virtual event service.  TechTarget is considered second-party intelligence because it owns the content directly, and contacts have opted in, making them GDPR-compliant.  It also offers first-party intent data through KickFire

G2.com (FKA G2Crowd) is another well-known source of second-party intent data. G2.com is a technology review site, so site traffic is highly associated with company and product research, making it a very strong source of early-stage demand intent. Competitors include TrustRadius and PeerSpot.


Additional Resources:

Putting Lipstick on a Pig

The task of software product developers has become increasingly difficult.  It used to be that marketing could “put lipstick on a pig” and sell a poorly designed product based upon futures, a few cool features, and a high ROI claim.  But increasing competition and higher user expectations make dressing up a weak product more difficult for several reasons:

  1. Buyers do much of their research upfront, so marketers and sales no longer control the narrative.  Purchasers are now able to frame their requirements and conduct much of their basic research before raising their hands.
  2. Review sites such as G2.com (FKA G2 Crowd), TrustRadius, and PeerSpot provide input on what users like and dislike about software products.  If there is a disconnect between promises and reality, these problems will be surfaced.  If there are connectivity, performance, or scaling issues, these will also be flagged. (Warning: be wary of reviews that are manufactured by vendor campaigns.  Look at the review dates and note if reviews are tightly bunched in time or if a small vendor has several-fold more reviews than its larger competitors.  These reviews are often derived by campaigns, some with rewards, for reviews.)
  3. We’ve all come to appreciate great design thanks to Steve Jobs and Apple.  Most of us are not experts in what makes for great design, but we are much better at identifying poor design, balky workflows, and ugly interfaces.
  4. Services must integrate with each other.  It is no longer possible to build a product that only weakly integrates with key vendors.  Simply providing a download CSV for enterprise software platforms is unacceptable to admins.  The AppExchange has thousands of vendors on it.  In SalesTech and Martech, it is expected that your service integrates with Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Adobe/Marketo, and Eloqua/Oracle.  Other common integrations are Chrome Connectors, Hubspot, Gmail, Exchange, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator (SNAP).  We are already seeing Sales Engagement vendors such as SalesLoft and Outreach.io build their own partner ecosystems.
  5. Competition is fierce.  In the Marketing Technology space, Scott Brinker identified approximately 3,500 Martech vendors in his 2016 graphic, up 87% over 2015.  By 2019, the vendor count had doubled to 7,040. That is a large gaggle of voices calling for attention.

"Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2016)" courtesy of Scott Brinker and Chiefmartec.
“Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2016)” courtesy of Scott Brinker and Chiefmartec.

Products rarely succeed if they are backed by poor marketing.  But is increasingly difficult for poor products to gain traction by marketing alone.  Firms now must tie strong marketing to strong design and an unmet user need.  A company like SalesLoft identified an underserved market (Sales Development professionals) and gave them “sincerity at scale.”  Likewise, DemandBase was talking about Account Based Marketing for years (and supporting it with their programmatic marketing platform) before other vendors recognized the value of targeting your best clients and prospects.

In a blog, Gartner Research VP Jake Sorofman warned marketers:

When your value proposition, use cases and features are all in perfect harmony with a high-value need, customers take notice. You’ve won their minds. When the user experience doesn’t just fulfill these use cases, but does so with artful simplicity and deep respect for the user, you’ve won their hearts, too.

When I’m evaluating which products to profile, a poor UI is a red flag.  I’m also wary of profiling products that lack an integration story, have typos on their website, push marketing puffery into bald-faced lies, or whose pitches suffer from featuritis.

So be wary of the firms that sell features over value, that promise ROI with gauzy claims of indirect benefits, or that fail to understand the underlying needs of their customers.  A pig with lipstick is still just a pig.