How Programmatic Media-Buying Tackles B2B Marketers’ Top Five Prospecting Issues

unnamed-13 Bill Guild is the VP of Marketing for ChoiceStream, a full-service DSP that delivers top-of-plan results by optimizing each phase of online, video, and mobile campaigns. Prior to ChoiceStream, Guild was part of several marketing positions at companies like AOL, Nexage, and Oracle.

AdAge recently published a B2B Research Insights whitepaper by Avention,  “Finding the Ideal Customer Prospect,” that focuses on prospecting challenges that marketers face. According to the findings in the whitepaper, which are based on a study of B2B companies*, the marketers experience a variety of problems in reaching out to prospects. While the study and responses assume that B2B marketers will focus their efforts in email and other tried-and-true direct channels, it is worth considering the contribution that can be made by the newest direct channel, programmatic media buying. Below we explain how programmatic media-buying addresses the top five concerns uncovered in the research:

1. Research Finding: A brand’s database lacks depth and accuracy.

Programmatic media buying brings a wide breadth of data and a whole new scale of reach to B2B marketers, filling a void that many companies currently experience. Programmatic systems can incorporate a brand’s first party data with their own proprietary data as well as a variety of customer segments from vetted third party providers.

Not only does data become robust with programmatic media buying, but it’s also accurate in real-time. Often, the data that a brand has about its prospects is largely outdated. The beauty of working with a programmatic partner is that the vendor comes with an entire warehouse of new data that is constantly updated. This gives the brand access to verifiable sources for information about prospects, to pull this information at any given time, and to target these users.

2. Research Finding: A brand does not have the technology to make sense of big data.

AdAge’s B2B survey revealed that marketers were looking to improve database efforts by better segmenting data, scoring prospects, and targeting them with appropriate messages while qualifying them for the sales team. A CRM system helps marketers to manage incoming leads and track the relationship with these leads as they move through the sales funnel. A programmatic media buying system complements this by helping a brand to identify the best sources of new prospects, and to find and target them with outbound marketing. The real advantage comes from insights, a byproduct of programmatic advertising.  Extensive data and the ability to correlate it with engagement and response help a brand to identify the personas of its top customers. The personas can be used strategically to guide creative design and placement across all channels. A full-service partner manages all back-end logistics while delivering you the data that you need to build new programs and continue targeting prospects in programs that you already have in place.

3. Research Finding: A brand lacks an approach to defining customer personas.

The performance of a programmatic media-buying campaign actually informs a brand about its customer persona. Rather than relying solely on comparing trends in-house and looking at who top customers tend to be, running a campaign allows a brand to see spikes in prospect engagement. Not only that, but by closely observing these spikes, a company learns the different customer segments that form the type of individual who engages most with a campaign. The best part? You don’t have to have your own marketers sitting down, scouring through reports. Some programmatic media partners provide the extra technology needed to supply you with a digestible report that defines the persona for you.

4. Research Finding: A brand doesn’t know where to find good data.

Working with a programmatic company means that your marketing and sales teams aren’t burdened with driving all data acquisition and management. Your partner will find pre-existing data for you, store this data, and use the data to optimize your ad performance. As a campaign progresses, your programmatic partner houses data about top-performing segments, and provides you with a breakdown that is meaningful and informative.

5. Research Finding: A brand lacks a solid understanding of who its “ideal” customer is.

There are two types of challenges in this category.  Product launches in which a brand might not know who its customer is, and existing products for which the customers may be easy to describe, but difficult to find online.  You have an idea of who your customers are, and what companies are top buyers, but what identifies these top prospects online, and where can the highest performing prospects best be influenced with respect to brand awareness?  Programmatic media buying can help with all of these challenges.  Audience discovery, qualified unique reach, and measured lift are the core values of branding in programmatic media.

What about those who show the most direct response to your advertisements? This all depends on how you define conversions in your sales funnel, as well as where in the sales funnel you want to measure. You could look at the top of the funnel, prior to a sale, and measure how many prospects remember a brand or think fondly of your company. If you are focused further down the funnel, you might look for click-through rates, or prospects who fill out a sign-up form on a site after seeing a your ad. You may also be interested in prospects who are closest to a deal, and who ultimately hire your company. Your ability to measure any of these metrics constrains your ability to find your ideal customer persona. However, if you can measure it with a pixel or a poll tied to an ad, working with a programmatic partner allows you to optimize these metrics. It also gives you the insight into personas needed to move to the next level of strategic marketing.

*The findings in this whitepaper were based on a study in late 2013 that covered over 300 B2B marketers in the technology, financial services, consulting, nontechnical, and medical/pharmaceutical industries, and from companies with mostly less than 50M in annual revenue.



  • MultiView, Inc

    Excellent article! Programmatic fills a lot of holes in traditional B2B ad campaigns that were previously unable to be filled. Sometimes it makes more sense to hire out prospecting, especially when your company’s technological capabilities are lacking.