2021 has been a turbulent year for B2B marketers from a data perspective. Jon Clarke of Cyance reviews the current landscape and shares his thoughts on how the data landscape will shift in 2022 and how B2B marketers can capitalise.

As the tracking cookie continues to crumble, the big question on marketers’ minds is ‘What will we do now?’. How are we supposed to understand our customers and future-proof our tech stack and marketing strategy?

The good news is, despite all of the change and uncertainty, 2022 will provide plenty of opportunities for B2B marketers to re-define their use of data, driving better engagement with prospects and optimizing their campaign performance.

Cookies will be yesterday’s tech by the end of 2022

Whilst the cookie deprecation has been delayed, more and more people are opting out of cookies. Firefox and Safari have already blocked tracking cookies by default, and Google itself has announced that it won’t roll out alternative user-level ad identifiers as a replacement for third-party cookies. Cookies will be a null and void entity long before the deprecation deadline.

B2B marketers will be turning their backs on cookies over the coming months and will need to look towards MarTech and AdTech to provide a longer-term solution that generates the same, if not better, insights into customers and prospects. One such solution is Universal IDs.

B2B marketers will come to realise the potential of Unified IDs

Unified IDs present an opportunity for the marketing industry to thrive in a cookie-less world by building a unique ID for users that can be tracked across the entire digital ecosystem, without the need for additional syncing. Unified IDs represent a personal, static, exchangeable, and interoperable identifier for each user, taking into account their multiple touchpoints.

Already we’re seeing innovative B2B marketers exploiting the numerous advantages that Unified IDs have over cookies. Firstly, they have a longer shelf life than cookies, making it much easier to build audiences, attribute behaviour trends and measure activation outcomes over time. Plus, Unified IDs work in an omnichannel manner by definition, and I expect to see an expansion of data sources beyond the traditional and including more modern channels such as SmartTVs and wearables. Finally, I predict that the increased use of Universal IDs will translate into much more reliable and accurate data for the marketer, providing a wider picture of intent.

A seismic shift towards Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

2021 has already seen a significant shift to Account-Based Marketing (ABM), with 70% of marketers reporting that they use ABM, up from 15% from 2020. But I expect to see this dynamic accelerating even further over the next 12 months.

More and more B2B marketers are experiencing the benefits of a personalised and targeted approach in their campaigns. We now have the required technology and the accurate data – it’s only a matter of time until we reach 100% ABM within B2B.

ABM provides a much more personalised marketing approach, encourages both marketing and sales teams to align, and as a result, it shortens the sales cycle. ABM is so much more precise and measurable than traditional approaches, providing clearer ROI and more efficiency in marketing and sales teams. 

ABM is also a more tempting solution for marketers since marketing expenditure, as a percentage of revenue, is at its lowest point in over a decade. Marketers are looking for solutions that do more with less. ABM does just that: its efficient and targeted form of outreach results in less wastage than traditional mass advertising and less targeted digital strategies.

Quality over quantity in B2B data

For years, the sales and marketing industry has been of the opinion that, when it comes to data, the more the better, quantity over quality! This has been particularly true during the pandemic, when many businesses have tried to make up for lost in-person and telephone sales by reaching out through digital content and channels, but without truly appreciating the buying stage or digital journey of the modern B2B buyer. As a result, we’ve seen that buyers are feeling inundated with messaging that lacks context and relevance. 

So, as B2B demand generation teams recognise this, I expect to see a much needed shift in attitudes in 2022, with marketers looking to strip down their use of data to focus only on the most useful, relevant and accurate insights. By cutting through the data noise which has become such a distraction over recent years, marketers can instead concentrate on getting a clear view of buyers’ intentions and their position in their buying journey. Nothing else really matters, and this is something greater numbers of B2B marketers will understand over the next 12 months.

Marketers will integrate data to get a complete view of the customer

Finally, in line with a streamlined set of data points, I also expect marketers to look to remove data silos and integrate all of their insights into one unified platform. This will allow them to generate a much clearer and more accurate picture of their audiences.

In particular, I expect to see more integration between different data sources, such as first-party and third-party intent data. This in turn will be layered with wider insights such as firmographic and technographic data. In doing so, B2B marketers will begin to get a full view of the customer.

B2B marketers that embrace these shifts in the data landscape, and adapt their strategies and campaign activations accordingly, will undoubtedly come out on top next year.