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Generating digital demand for the modern buyer journey: a B2B marketer's guide

The lofty goal of raising the profile of marketing in our organizations requires that modern B2B marketers set very high bars for themselves and their departments. For instance:

  • “Owning the full customer experience.”

  • “Proving marketing ROI to leadership.”

  • “Driving higher revenue through marketing alone.”

  • “Creating agile marketing infrastructures the fail fast, learn and optimize on the fly.”

Truly sophisticated marketers know that the path to a seat at the executives’ table relies on two things: proving marketing’s economic value and actively improving marketing capabilities with authority and resources. But for far too many of us, there’s just one hitch.


Marketers are consistently denied access to the customer data they need because the data is siloed away and scattered throughout a maze of multiple internal owners.

It’s not their problem. It’s yours.

Your goals — the ability to drive the exact right, personalized message to the right buyer at the right phase of his or her buy cycle at the right moment for them on the device they prefer, and to capture, measure and optimize each of those interactions all the way through the sale and customer LTV — require an enormous amount of data and tracking integrations across the enterprise.

And where might that customer data be stored?

  • Across your marketing technology stack, (CMS, MAP, DMP, DSP, etc.) which needs solid integration with your CRM, and which may be owned by IT or by sales.
  • On your website, which may or may not be owned by marketing, and which must be properly tagged and accessible to the rest of the stack.
  • Your customer purchase data sitting in your ERP, which is usually integrated with neither your martech stack nor your sales team’s CRM.

If these three sets of customer data do not live in a central customer data platform or aren’t at least synced via APIs, the B2B marketer is left with an expensive marketing technology stack that is really just a glorified email marketing suite with some basic retargeting and account-specific displays.


While we can’t tell you exactly why your organization may be stalled for want of key customer data, we can tell you that many companies are stuck in this particular driveway for two simple reasons:

  • Non-marketing customer data owners have zero incentive to make their data available to marketers and believe they’ll face potential risk if they do so and something goes wrong.
  • Senior leadership hasn’t grappled with the fact that expensive marketing software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms cannot “automatically” make marketing measurable or create personalized customer experiences, and that the organizational change necessary to do so requires personally spent political capital to achieve.

Solving this puzzle demands relentless marketing evangelism.


If you’re stuck on the outside of the data walls your marketing team needs, you need a smart lobbying plan, a strong business case and pounds of persistence.


Creating your plans.


If you’re going to get a bunch of customer data owners to the table to commit to a lengthy data integration effort that will provide them with little to no benefit, you’re going to need more than flowers. You need executive sponsorship. Identify senior executives who have specific known goals for the organization and build a lobbying plan and business case tailored to each of them.


Building your cases.


Here’s some data points that get to the truth of a set of common executive preoccupations:

  • 74% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to buy based on experiences alone. (Forbes / Arm Treasure Data)
  • 83% of executives feel that unimproved CX presents them with considerable revenue and market share risks. (Forbes / Arm Treasure Data)
  • CX leaders have 3x greater returns than CX laggards in terms of stock performance. (Watermark Consulting)
  • 74% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to buy based on experiences alone. (Forbes / Arm Treasure Data)
  • Customers will pay a 16% price premium for great customer experience. (PwC)
  • CX drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, more than ‘brand’ and ‘price’ combined. (Gartner, via CMSWire)
  • 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase when brands offer experiences personalized to them. (Epsilon)
  • B2B buyers are more than halfway (57%) through the purchase process when they finally reach out to a potential vendor. (WebFX)
  • 70% of B2B buyers and decision-makers prefer remote or digital interactions with vendors. (99 Firms)
  • B2B buyers read more than 10 pieces of content before they make a decision to purchase. (99 Firms)

Get in front of your target executives.


There’s no getting around the final stage. Make and leverage connections, especially with your CIO, CTO and other stakeholders in your IT department. Remember: they aren’t the bad guys here. Their job is to keep company data safe. Always keep in mind that data management is scary for those entrusted to manage it, and you want to be their ally in doing so.


If you make traction, make the ask for the executive sponsorship for a data integration initiative. Reiterate the benefits for the enterprise using the arguments most in line with your target’s priorities, then make it clear that success is unlikely without them.


Come up short? Don’t be afraid to ask why and probe if there is anything you could do to help make it a priority. If need be, move on to your next executive.


Overcoming these challenges as a marketer is undeniably difficult. Yet, without it, there is simply no path to the future you’ve worked so hard to realize.


Need someone to have your back through the process? We’re always happy to chat.

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