It’s still true that, in B2B marketing, there’s no substitute for experience. But in 2019, effective marketing takes more than experience. Today, the most effective marketers are combining what they know about customers with factual data on what they or others like them are doing next.

The combination of subjective, experience-based insights with objective, data-based insights can push marketing efforts to new levels of success. But, many B2B marketers have yet to combine these two valuable insight streams to drive their marketing and sales.

Relying on experience alone simply allows marketers to look back at situations that may have changed since the last engagement with a customer. While that’s valuable information, knowledge based solely on past behavior doesn’t tell you what your customer is thinking about now or what they’re planning to do next.

Data, on the other hand, can be predictive. It can indicate what the customer is likely to want next, based not only on past purchases but also on analysis of digital activity like social network conversations, online searches, blog post subscriptions, company activity and many other factors.

When you supplement this objective data with the marketer’s own subjective analysis and familiarity with the customer, that’s when marketing becomes most engaging.

First, a few definitions: Subjective marketing is founded on the marketer’s own experience regarding product successes and failures, knowledge of new products, understanding of the customer and prospect base, and existing and past customer relationships. These all are essential to setting up a marketing plan. But only looking back at past experience may cause the marketer to miss future opportunities or even take the wrong actions when the marketplace has changed.

Objective marketing incorporates data of all kinds, facts that enable analysis of the current state of the marketplace and anticipation of the needs of customers and prospects. This data, housed in a CRM system, can automatically manage leads, employ business intelligence tools and customized reports, help segment markets, collect data on website visitors, score opportunities to allow marketers to focus on pursuing their most likely successes, and embrace a wide range of social networks and news sources to alert marketers to possible issues and opportunities.

You can get details on these capabilities in an instructive whitepaper from Point To Point, scheduled for publication in April. It describes how using subjective and objective marketing together can help you avoid pitfalls—like missing a change in key personnel at one of your prospect companies—and discover opportunities that might have been overlooked with subjective marketing alone.

Let’s consider one example of how these approaches work together.

Customers cast light on a new market

Suppose that for 20 years, you’ve supplied window shades and blinds to manufacturers of recreational vehicles. You’ve marketed shades and blinds with a variety of materials, designs and functionalities that distinguish your product from those of competitors.

Typically, you communicate with your customers and receive their feedback by email, phone and in-person sales calls. That’s all worked fine, but you’re a savvy marketer who understands the value of data. You’ve built out your CRM to embrace a wider range of inputs, including such sources as social network posts, blog post subscriptions, online videos, chat and search analytics.

In monitoring social conversations around RV window shades, your CRM begins turning up a number of threads in forums from owners vociferously complaining about one RV model’s unshaded skylights, which awaken families in their motorhome at dawn with sunlight pouring in.

You manufacture a skylight blind that could solve this problem, so you employ tools to gather objective data to address this narrowly segmented target audience. You write a blog article about your skylight blind, with opportunities for readers to comment. You offer an online survey to determine if customers would be willing to pay for this feature, with results tallied by your CRM. Then, your CRM identifies and sends personalized messages to members of RV forums and RV clubs, linking to the article and survey. And you join the forums to converse with these owners. On Facebook, you provide links to the blog, survey and a YouTube video showing how the blind works.

The response from this narrow segment of the consumer market is positive. You gather all the comments and results, along with your CRM’s analysis of data regarding interest in the blind, and relay the information to product designers with the RV manufacturer, recommending they specify your skylight blind as original equipment.

Combining your subjective knowledge of RV owners constantly looking for solutions and new projects with current data has furnished insights that allow you to pinpoint your audience, as well as the support you need to approach designers.

Subjectivity and objectivity surface a new opportunity

Relying solely on your experience and intuition, you may never have surfaced this opportunity, because it required a narrow, data-driven segmentation of the total RV market — manufacturers and owners of a particular line of motorhomes.

A CRM system attuned to analyzing data from calls, customer visits and marketing campaigns; monitoring social networks; evaluating surveys; and gathering other data allows you to segment your audiences more narrowly and lay a path to future growth by anticipating changes in customer issues, needs and product designs.

You can learn more about these best CRM practices in Point To Point’s upcoming whitepaper, detailing the value of adding objective marketing tools to subjective methodologies. We’ll send you a copy upon request.

Point To Point also can help you navigate through the ins and outs of CRM and data analysis to gain advanced personalization, and build out digital marketing and compelling brand stories that drive results. If you’d like more tips on CRM and market segmentation, please contact us. We’ll help you achieve your objective, whatever the subject of your digital marketing needs.