B2B Marketing: The Problem with Relying on Data and Why Creativity Matters

As a B2B marketer, you’ve probably had it drilled into your head that your marketing campaigns must, above all, be based on data. While it is obvious that data should play an important role in your marketing decisions, it’s necessary to have some understanding of data’s limitations. So, here’s the right way to think about data:

-Data can tell you what happened, but not why.

-Data can tell you what might happen if nothing changes, but it cannot tell you what will happen.

-Interpreting data is a highly subjective exercise – think about all the pollsters and statisticians who get it wrong!


Do we Have Data Overload?

Technology has provided us with the means to extract unlimited amounts of data about our markets and customers. You could say that data has reached a saturation point and, therefore, is presenting real challenges for marketers. Who has the necessary skills and the time to interpret all of this data and come up with the right insights to form the foundation for effective marketing decisions? Ask yourself the following questions:

-Where is the human being in all of this data?

-Are your customers just numbers in your CRM system to be analyzed, scored, and sent along (or not) to the sales department and then included (or not) in your next round of digital communications?

Data may form the basis of your marketing strategies, but it’s not a given that it will drive the kind of results that you desire over the long-term.


The Importance of Creativity

If the science is in the data, then the creativity must be in everything else. B2B marketing is often perceived as not being a particularly creative endeavor. It seems that B2B marketers have become overly focused on the science because it is believed that the answers are in the data. The problem with this approach is that it’s possible to make data mean almost anything you want it to mean. Without even intending to, you may use data to prove an existing point of view or validate what you think you already know. However, just think about the marketing which has stood out over the past few years. It’s not the data that has made it distinctive; it’s the creativity. Click on this link to see five stellar examples of creativity in B2B marketing.

There are many widely-recognized B2B brands where creativity has succeeded in differentiating themselves from their competitors. Let’s consider IBM, a giant of a company that has continually created memorable marketing moments without veering from its roots. Those moments include:

-In the 1990s - Big Blue becomes the first machine to win a chess match, beating world champion Garry Kasparov.


-In 2011 - Watson wins Jeopardy against two former champions.

-The centennial celebration - IBM’s history highlighted through people who were born in each of those 100 years.

-More recently - The Cognitive Advantage Initiative that promotes Watson technology across a variety of industries by highlighting how digital is now an integral part of our modern world.


The Three Lessons of Creativity

1. Creativity gives your business a competitive advantage by providing differentiation from your competitors and driving business value.

2. Real people telling real stories creates an emotional connection with your audience and captures attention much better than a mundane statement of features and benefits.

3. A long-term brand strategy creates a wider impact. Focus on one major aspect of your brand. A big idea, told in a simple way, will stick in your customers’ hearts and minds and make your brand unforgettable.

To sum up, data is essential, but creativity remains at the heart of successful B2B marketing. If you want to learn more about B2B digital marketing, feel free to contact the experts at Americaneagle.com!

About Author

Tim has been building, designing, and executing websites since 1999, and joined Americaneagle.com in 2009. His specialties include online e-commerce consulting, web and business marketing, and project management. With technical and creative savvy, Tim is a born entrepreneur & problem-solver. When not staring soulfully at Google Analytics, Tim enjoys roughing it Apple-free in the great outdoors.

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